What’s in an Empty Office?
By Thomas Boyle
The answer seems easy, right? Sure, there is nothing physically in an empty office but the message an empty office sends can be louder than an office full of people.
Working in a small, remote office with around 40 people has been an awesome experience; I get to know everyone and interact on a pretty regular basis. There are a ton of great benefits, and although I love being able to work from home I find myself most productive when I’m in the office. I know not everyone feels the same way and many people I know would rather work at home, but for me, I find that the lines get blurred when working from home. After all, I don’t have to tell my dogs to be quite, answer my home phone, or deal with my drama-filled neighbors if I’m at work, but that’s just me.
In fact, if you came to my office you would realize how at home I am here. New York Jets and Jaguars stuff is scattered throughout, lots of marketing examples and magazines on the table, along with the most important stuff – the photos of my family and friends. Actually, if I got fired today they better leave more than one box and pack a lunch cause it’s going to be a while! What does that say about me? I’m a hoarder or a pack rat? I hope not… I think the message it sends is I’m here to stay and personally invested in this company. I’m not saying that’s always the case because I’ve seen some crazy cubicles full of all kinds of stuff, from honey badgers to pink boas, but I think more often than not it has always led to a positive experience and increased employee engagement. Most employees work between 8 and 10 hours a day; that’s more time than they spend at home with their family, why shouldn’t they feel at home?
Looking at the flip side, when you stumble into someone’s cubicle or office where there is nothing personal, I think this sends a much louder message. Ok, granted not everyone is a pack rat like me, but, for me personally, seeing an empty office automatically makes me wonder if they are coming or going or even plan on staying. It reminds me of when people say “it’s just business, nothing personal.” Are you kidding me? Of course its personal, especially given the direct impact work can have on your overall happiness.
So the next time you look around the empty walls of your cubicles, think about adding some flair, something that says, “I like what I do and I’m here to stay.” Better yet, next time you pass that co-worker’s desk that has nothing on it, print the below image and pin it to their cubicle.