I live in Franklin, TN just south of Nashville. We have open fields and sprawling pastures with miles and miles of horse fences. And yet the new office buildings going up don’t seem to recognize the beauty of nature all around us. The newest development started with a parking garage, then a high rise office building, and now an apartment complex. Everything seems to be designed to remove the inhabitants from any contact with grass, water or trees. I don’t understand the desire to create an artificial environment of glass, chrome, and elevators.
Human Filing Cabinets. I ran across this term recently in reference to office buildings — and it made my skin crawl. Much has been said about the depersonalization of the modern technology worker’s work space. How can one be creative, innovative and contributing when in a work environment that has all the ambience of a caged chicken pen? When I drive by the high-rise buildings, I cringe in mental pain for those trapped inside in surroundings that remove them from the richness of nature.
Here’s a piece from “The Dilbert Principle,” by Scott Adams:
Boss – “We’ve got a lot of empty cubicles because of downsizing. I hired the Dogbert construction company to convert part of the office into prison cells which we’ll lease to the state.”
Dilbert – “Sounds like a big job.”
Boss – “ Nah, a little paint, new carpet and we’re there.”
The cartoons continue to relate the differences in employees and prisoners; namely that the prisoners had a better health plan. And ultimately, the plan to use spare cubicles as prison cells had to be abandoned because of too many complaints from the prisoners.
Work settings cannot be alienating and dehumanizing if we are to produce anything beyond what a machine could produce. Anything resembling “Human Filing Cabinets” will ultimately suck the life, energy and thinking intelligence out of those who succumb to that alternative.
Okay, I know there’s a lot of personal preference here and not everyone will view it as I do. But I hear from people Every Single Day who describe their work environment as stifling and sucking their souls out of them.
I carefully designed my work area. I selected the colors to be calming, the wood to be rich and energizing, the window to face a waterfall with a view of our bronze eagle. I hear the sounds of birds, glance up to see rabbits playing, and the occasional deer with a baby fawn. It’s here that I can think, create and hopefully inspire others to tap into their greatest passions and talents.
Did you chose the work space you have now or were you thrust into it as part of your “job?” If you work for yourself were you intentional about creating a space that would foster your best work or did you grab a $20 chair and an old door for a desk? How would your “work” change if you were in the perfect environment?