Thursday, July 28, 2011

a space of one's own

We recently completed a treehouse for our 10-year-old daughter in our garden. It's about seven square meters of real estate located two and a half meters above the ground. It has two windows, one of which opens with a special mechanism and a door that locks from the inside, as well as being fitted with a padlock on the outside, of which our daughter is the only one with a key. She loves it and has already spent a significant amount of time out there with a friend, concocting Harry Potter-style potions.

This evident desire we as humans have for a space we can call our own got me thinking about the trend towards flexible workspaces that we're seeing in the work world. These flexible workspace initiatives often mean that people don't have an assigned desk and so desks are available on a first come-first served basis. I can understand this from a company perspective. If you have a department where people don't sit at their desks all day because, say, they're out servicing customers or teaching for most of the day, those empty desks are a waste of precious office space.  However, these plans often don't take into account the human side - how territorial people are and how they want to have a space they feel is theirs and where they feel they belong. These flex-desks can be a very upsetting thing for many people.