Office Space

hideBeerI came across this and had to laugh because just yesterday I was talking about finding a way to hide our department’s printer.  Now obviously hiding a refrigerator full of beer and a printer are for two completely different purposes and I don’t condone drinking at work, but hiding a refrigerator and a printer are still related in their own bizarre way.  Our company is taking all of the printers away from each department and is installing one networked copy machine per floor.  I think that is a great idea if the goal is to reduce the number of printers, reduce the cost of maintaining those printers, decrease toner cost, and last but not least the cost of a depreciating asset.  However, the decision also means employees now need to basically walk across the building to get their print job (never mind the fact that it may be confidential).  This means you pass lots of co-workers who you usually catch up with (you get distracted).  By the time you actually get to the printer, you then find someone has likely walked off with it.  I joked yesterday we should hollow out a file cabinet and hide our 150 pound monster printer in it.  I had a toaster in my office to cook my wonderful sugary goodness morning treats (Pop-Tarts) until Scott sent a picture of my violation to HR (OK, it was a funny joke).

My point is, why do offices have to be setup to be as unproductive as humanly possible?  Want good coffee (stuff that won’t burn a hole in your stomach)?  You have to walk to another building to get it.  I actually asked Facilities if we could put a coffee maker in and was told no because it is a fire violation.  OK, yes it probably is, and I don’t want to be blamed for endangering fellow co-workers lives, but can’t we think of something?  Oh, and by the way, I am the resident Emergency Response Coordinator for our floor, so if I set the building on fire I at least know what to do now that I have been through 2 hours of training.  I even got a fancy orange vest that makes me look all official.  We put a man on the moon, and we can’t find a way to make getting good coffee to an employee without it involving a marathon?  Want a fork, knife, or spoon?  Yeah, you have to walk to another building to get that too.  Want to microwave your food at work?  Yeah, we used to have two microwaves and one broke, so now you have to wait 15 minutes to nuke your 4-minute lunch.

People want things near them for a reason…to save time…and listen up companies…this ultimately saves you time.  Say what you want about Jason Calacanis, but the man has moments of brilliance.  I once heard him say on a podcast that he buys his employees lunch because it keeps them at work, keeps him “up” on what is going on in the office, and keeps them productive.  Southwest Airlines founder Herbert D. Keller also knows this because he is famous for saying “you have to treat your employees like customers“.  I work for a great company, and it does care for its employees and no company is perfect but when you make a change that affects your employees the thing I am reminded of most is you have to poll your employees before making a decision, so you make sure your decision doesn’t ultimately affect morale and the company’s bottom line.  If you poll your employees, and you still don’t listen, then that is an entirely different story.

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