The Tale of Prudence The Pink Panther

Or making your office “station,” work friendly (aka productive)

I’m old enough to remember when you were not allowed to personalise your work area, that you had to keep it neat and tidy and you were not allowed to move from your desk. Going to the toilet was even an added nightmare. In short: no distractions were allowed to stop you from being productive.

Of course, I struggled with that and right from the get go, made whatever space I had, mine 😉

Meet Prudence. She (he?) is looking a bit worse for wear now, but has been a part of our world for as long as we can remember

A long time ago, I worked on the ground floor of a two storey building. It was an important state government agency (well, we liked to think so) – a place of very serious business.

I was fortunate enough to have my own cubicle – a decent sized work space. I was off to the left hand side, in the line of cubicles representing the more senior positions.

In my cubicle I had Prudence, my guitar, a number of plants, a fish tank, a radio, a thousand and one knick knacks and some very nice family photos. I also had a floor to ceiling window.

There was a clear line of site from the front entrance to the left, through the customer service area and straight into my cubicle. Anyone walking in off the street could see Prudence behind me off to the left hand side.

Prudence is a hat stand. So, you would certainly see my hat resting on her.

One day I was sitting there minding my own business (which is code for working extremely hard) when one of the customer service staff said to me there was a customer at the front counter who wanted to talk to me about Prudence.

So, I went over and introduced myself. The customer in question complimented me on Prudence and asked if I would sell her to him for a serious amount of money. I politely declined the offer stating that Prudence was an 18th birthday present for my wife.

This wasn’t the first or last time such an offer was made. However, it was proof positive that I was human, the office as a whole was welcoming and not all customers are cranky.

Whether you have an office, a cubicle, a separate desk or a grouped desk in an open office, there is a wide range of information out there on how to create that perfect, creative work space – even for those of us working from home. One of the very positive aspects that has materialised during COVID – is that it has challenged the very notion of how we work and use the spaces available to us.

Just to be clear here, I’m not talking about whether the company or person you work for has a gym, play room, sleep room, a child daycare, swimming pool or is Google.

My view has always been how you inhabit your work space (station) is up to you. However, you do need to bear in mind that you shouldn’t be impacting on coworkers or team mates if you share the same space. The home CEO struggles with this one a bit – what space is mine, is hers 😂

The view from the CEO’s office – Shire of Carnamah

Despite what many experts have said out there regarding minimising distractions in your work area, I have never been distracted by having a window with a view, the fish tank or items given to me by former staff. The reason is simple: these “distractions” help me relax and then gather focus when I need to.

I do understand though, there are those people who need peace and quiet when working. A “power hour” can help with this, or perhaps being quiet at certain times is part of the team’s rules. You can even explore the use of “portable booths.”

Five Considerations When Maximising Your Work Space

I think of my work space as my ultimate working tool. My five broad considerations when it comes to maximising such a space are:

  1. Is my work space safe and ergonomically sound? I know some of you like standing desks. My bunion on my right foot tells me otherwise 🤣
  2. What resources do I need with me? This is as simple as stationery, calendar, a stress ball/cube or worry monk 😂
  3. Can I put my favourite sayings on display somewhere? Is there a spot or two for a photo or a knick knack?
  4. Is there a place for my cup or glass and a coaster to match?
  5. Will any of these items impact on those next to me or around me?

When I have use of an office, my considerations are an extension to the above five points. Do I need a whiteboard? Do I need a bookcase? Do I need another work/meeting table? Do I need additional chairs? Do I need to install a barricade outside the office door? 🤣 Overall, is my office inviting to others!

I have shared some links at the end of this post on a range of ways to personalise and make your work area both fun and productive.

A snapshot from Sunday’s jam session – my pride and joy – a Maton.

What do you do with your workspace?

Some other insightful links

Zenbooth How to Make Your Office Space Look Fun Yet Professional

Smartworks Fun Things That You Can Do in a Coworking Spaces

Capital One Bringing the Office Home: Set Up a Home Workspace That Inspires Productivity

18 thoughts on “The Tale of Prudence The Pink Panther

  1. I thought of Twitter’s Room Rater when I read this post. Prudence looks like she is well loved. Your Maton is gorgeous and I know you must enjoy it. A hand crafted guitar made of local woods – Wow!

    People are affected by their environments. I believe that if I worked at Google I would get a lot of creative things accomplished but may have a hard time crunching numbers.

    Great post Sean!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Rita. Speaking of Twitter’s Room Rater, I should put Prudence behind me when I’m on a video conference call.

      The Maton is a superb guitar – the sound is unbelievable. I’m very lucky to have one.

      People are affected by their environments. At one place as CEO, the main work area was open planned and had 12 staff in it. The work stations were fully self contained mobile units. Of course, whenever I walked through that part of the building, I would hear rumblings of how they didn’t like the current work environment. So, to cut a long story short, I gave them permission to do whatever they wanted with the whole space. The end result: two groups of four work stations placed together, one paired work station and two single work stations. And every one was very very happy 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Always spot on with your recommendations. Love Prudence! I think it always helps if we are able to customize our work stations, helps with the flow, no? Pre-pandemic, it was the best thing in the world for us to be able to work from anywhere. Really refreshing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for such wonderful comments. Customisation does do wonders for the flow 😊 I was complaining the other night about how someone keeps stealing my pen at home. When I got home the other night after a bit of journey to visit a client, there was a canister in the middle of my work station with about 30 different assorted pens in it 😂

      Like

  3. I’m a minimalist at home and when I was at work, and I love sitting in silence when I’m blogging (at home) as I’m too easily distracted. My mother-in-law used to say “Do any children live here?” when she came round in the evenings. The children were in bed and the house was immaculate, what’s not to love.

    Of course, their toys and mess came out during the day, but in the evening it was my space and I liked it tidy lol.

    And that’s just how I loved my office too, tidy with no distractions. However, yours looks great – what, with the guitars. I’d be tempted to play a few songs for my colleagues 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A person after my own heart, Caz. My other family members break out in hives if they have to do anything minimalist in nature 😂🤣😂

      That’s a fabulous organisational skill re the kids!

      Not having the distractions is so important. Yesterday, our grandson was here really early, Linda was fossicking around and the cats were rather demanding. Then the whole family went to visit Linda’s Mum and it was an ahhh moment as my thoughts began to soak up the peace and quiet 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My partner drives me nuts when he leaves three pairs of footwear, his jacket, keys, wallet, phone………………. everywhere. Then asks me do I know where things are!!!

        If our grandchildren are coming over, the laptop gets closed, as do drawers with jewellery etc and I just spend literally 24/7 with them. So when they leave, I’m utterly physically and mentally drained. I forgot what it was like with two little one. The five-year-old boy is an absolute angel but his little sister is like a tornado, whirling through everything to get to what she wants, which is inevitably what her brother is playing with!.

        Of course, I absolutely adore them and wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, you have brought me right back to my childhood! I had a stuffed Pink Panther! Not a hat stand, but a stuffy that hung out, looked cool, and passed judgement on us kids. Ahhhhhh… thanks.

    Okay – about your office. YES! Make it personal. You spend so much time there, it should be an enjoyable space. I always kept a jar of candy on my desk, to encourage people to come by and chat. I was in charge of marketing for a software company, and I needed a way to get the introverted engineers and programmers to tell me what cool things they were working on. Worked like a charm.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. AYE-YUH, JUST CAME BACK FROM AN —ALL DAY—DAY SURGERY—SETTING UP ANOTHER (&TH TIME-?) FISTULA IN MY WIFE’S ARM TO BETTEER ALLOW DIALYSISI, WHICH SHE GOES THROUGH 3 X A WEEK. BOTH OF US ARE SURE GLAD TO BE HOME! THE LORD SURE BROUGHT US THROUGH TODAY! D

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the story of Prudence! Personally, I’m more interested in having a window for my workspace. I tend to pack in, pack out, so I don’t leave many personal items at a desk. I do tend to accumulate work documents, though, which is a habit I should probably watch. Piles of paper are not the most energizing desk accessory. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Prudence is a great character. I am looking across to where she is now. It’s been many a year since I went without a window. The trick with paper is making a decision on what to do with it – do I file it?, recycle it?, shred it?, give to to someone else? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s