Monday, August 30, 2010

Office – Office: Comfort Zone

This week we move to a new office building.

Now I consider myself to be the sort of person who challenges status quo, and as an extension of that, the very concept of comfort zone. One shouldn't do the same thing for too long. One shouldn't be in the same place/ space for too long. And so on. On that basis, I should have welcomed this change. I did not. I was aghast because my comfort zone was challenged – that too by some one else.

On deeper thought, I realise that corporate culture is all about maintaining comfort zones – that is your own and ensuring that others move out of theirs. Look at the first email from your boss on a Monday morning. It is inevitably a continuation of last Friday's email where she gave the impression that she was handling everything. But thoughts of the looming weekend ensured that she remained in her comfort zone and did not action that email. What is worse, Monday morning blues have set in. The net result – you are expected to shrug off the blues and get on with the work.

Ever wondered why the "support" staff in office take so long to respond to your urgent online query? Comfort zone (If it is urgent, get out of your comfort zone and look for the solution). Or that the cafeteria helper lets your sandwich go stale before plonking it on your table? Comfort zone (if you want it hot, move from your comfort zone and get it). The fact that the Finance team in every office sits isolated on one floor and invariably has the most number of peons can also be attributed to comfort zone. (All of us have visited that floor at least once in our career with the company for claiming some re-imbursement or worse still figuring out the tax deducted at source)

Ever wondered why during an office shifting process, it is the senior leadership that is often on tenterhooks? They are the first ones to check out the new rooms, with a mental measuring tape – the window is bigger than the old office (yippee), the chair is only rexin (damn), the room is much smaller (how dare they!) and there is no book case (how do I impress the clients now?). An inch of distortion and they will come at you with all that weight accumulated over the years. Did I tell you "comfort" is an integral constituent of that weight?

So what can you do to remain in your comfort zone? Fein ignorance in a tone that says "Yawn! How insignificant."  If pushed, change the tone to "Gawd! How uncouth! That is so 1990s." Fein temporary deafness, cold, cough and/ or vision problems. Work from home, you can always blame the power cut. Whatever you do, don't deliver before time. If possible don't deliver at all!

And if you are being forced to shift from your cozy perch, start bad mouthing the new office. Put it on social media preferably with blurred pictures highlighting that terrible lighting in a flouroscent green.