I ran across this term a couple of years ago 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 given to a caged chicken? When I drive by the high-rise buildings, (I consider anything where you can’t have your feet in the grass in thirty paces a high-rise) I cringe in mental pain for those trapped inside in surroundings they endure to survive.
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.
You may work in a building similar to what I’ve described here. What have you done to make it a more personal and enriching place to be?