Most of us have one place that we like to call “home”. But here’s the $10,000 question – is it your office/workplace? It’s probably not the first place you’d name, but if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us should be calling the office our homes based on the exuberant amount of time we spend there. More and more, the workaholics, the twenty somethings who are just trying to make a name for themselves, and the ones who just can’t get away from the desk are spending more time in their workplaces than any other place. Is it bad? Is it good? Is it, eh?
The bad: A few of us have the luck to enjoy a clean, wonderful office space with inspiration aplenty – the rest of us spend our days working in spots cramped with boxes, fans blasted on high in the dead of winter, and dust bunnies bounding across the halls. How is it possible that we spend 8-10-12 hours a day in these environments? Even more, how is it possible that we’re working this hard only to earn enough money to pay for our less than amazing but extremely pricey apartments? It’s become a well known, yet less talked about fact that we’re all spending way more time in the office than anywhere else. So what do you do? Buying a succulent and bringing in your favorite tea to the office can help things, as can talking to your office manager about turning down that blasted fan. Another less considered option would be to stop working so very much in the office and go home at a reasonable hour. Just saying.
The good: Some offices can be a wonderful place of refuge from the rest of the world. At work, you can put your “job” hat on and basically be anyone you want. You can skip calls from your mother because, hey, you’re at work. In fact, you can basically live in an alternate reality when you’re at work if you so choose. You can decorate your desk like one of the top lifestyle bloggers (I’ve spent way too much money in the “desk accessories” section of One Kings lane), eat whatever snack you fancy, and do whatever you want with your lunch break – if you get one.
The “eh”: Offices have their good and their bad, but a lot of it is often just “eh”. Take the coffee machine for example. Simple by design and function, yet there’s often a strangely long line for the mediocre tasting coffee and you can’t help but burn your fingers each time you use it. However, it gives you coffee, so it’s got to be okay, right? There are other things like office politics, stolen lunches, and flickering lights that are things I’ll avoid for this post but do acknowledge as stuff that can make a big impact, good or bad, on your work life.
So where is your real, daily home? If it is truly your little apartment or cottage, great, you’ve got a good job and or a reasonable idea of how and where to spend your time. If your technical home is actually the office or workplace, ask yourself this: does it make you happy? Do you love working there and do you feel energized by being there? If you love most of your job (and let’s face it, it’s rare to love every single thing about anything) and you feel inspired by your work place, or at least don’t mind it, it’s okay to call that your technical home. Why? Because you’re growing as a person and giving yourself the gift of a happy environment over a stinky one. Make sure you keep that happy environment going, fill it with good people, keep the culture one that you would enjoy, and bring chocolates in sometimes. If you still call your work place your technical home but you can’t stand it, here’s what I want you to do: FIX IT. It sounds obvious, but no one deserves to spend a majority of their time in an environment that sucks. Think about what two things would make a huge difference for you and your office mates and then go try to get them done. Think about the dream office culture you would die for and then try your best to bring it about by embodying it yourself. Nothing is more powerful than office culture and what’s even cooler is that it’s free to fix. Your coworkers may not follow suit, but you will have made it just a bit better for them and for yourself.
So, where is your technical home?