Friday, March 5, 2010

[Updated] To Cube or Not to Cube: Office Furniture Backlash

Despite daily stabs at tidying up, my current office is a mess. My eight foot desk is bestrewn with papers, files, sketches, packs of gum, mugs, mail, business books, stick-ums, paper clips, notebooks, pens, calendars, and cans of Pepsi. Not to mention a computer, printer, stapler, tape dispenser, headset, mic, and three phones.

Yesterday I began looking for furniture for our new offices in downtown Newport RI. The space is a storefront, with huge glass windows. It's one big room in front plus a small meeting room in back. So my team and I will be a bit like fish in a fish tank. I'll stick some potted trees in the windows, but still.

So, I was delighted to find these 44" high cubicles at a super-discount furniture store. The walls are low enough to see over quite easily. You're not imprisoned, but your mess is private. All the wires, papers, and packs of gum neatly hidden. Plus, there's the added benefit of fabric to suck up some of the sound.

I hadn't counted on the backlash. Nobody likes cubicles. They spit out the word, "Cubicle" like it's disgusting. They don't detail what the problem is, the fact that it's a cube is in and of itself enough. Turns out the prevailing staff vote right now is for desks that look like this instead:

Well, crap. OK I admit on first glance I fall in love as well. So cool, so clean, so modern. Then my mind's eye populates this desk the way it would be in reality. All those wires drooping off it. A wastebasket. Stacks of files and papers inevitably piling up. A mess.

So I guess it's time for Plan C. Trouble is, I don't know what Plan C is, or if we can afford it. Any suggestions?

================================= UPDATE ======================

Thanks to a faithful reader of this blog who emailed me this photo a few hours ago, I found cubes that are stylish -- for cubes at least -- and luckily they are available "lightly used" from a supplier only an hour away from us so they're affordable too.

Yes, that is apparently real cherrywood trim on top. I never foresaw a moment in my life when I would be excited about cherrywood-trimmed cubes. But then, I never thought I'd be in my late 40s either. :-)

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