The Cubicle of the Future

June 2, 2021

I remember a discussion by Carl Sagan or maybe Neal Degrasse-Tyson about how time seems to move more quickly as you get older.  As we have fewer unique experiences as we age.  Our brain files them more efficiently as memories, and poof– we are on to the next thing.  I am old.  Time is flying.   But that does not explain the 30 second snippet of life that was the “Back to Work Strategies”.

Do you remember?  We were going to put arrows on the floors of our offices to direct traffic flow.  Everyone was going to be separated by Plexiglas.  Socially distant.

Fast forward to May 30th.  Indianapolis.  Lots of people went to work that day.  They were there to serve the 130,000 customers that showed up for the car race.  A week before the race, they were interviewing the drivers with boom mics from 10 feet away…with masks and Lysol.  One short week later, 130,000 people piled into buses, cars, rickshaws, and net-jets and all had one big fatty group hug and a handful of cocktails at the Indy 500.

So, does this mean that your big Silicon Valley client is going to let everyone come back to their cubicles?  Quite simply, yes.  Yes.  If that is what works for the workers and the business, yes.  Any changes in workspaces will be either from the realization that it is cheaper to have people work from home, or that they can recruit better by making lots of work-from-home promises.  But our customers are competing on a global scale.  The stakes are huge and your dog-walking is not a priority.  Just because you think you work better at home does not mean your boss’s boss agrees.  All the LinkedIn posts about time stuck in traffic won’t change his/her mind.  You have a fridge full a Pico De Gallo at home and a DVR filled with Grey’s Anatomy, and your boss knows it.

So yeah, time is moving fast.  Everything is accelerating, including the reduction in our collective attention span.   So go back and find your “the new workspace” articles.  Put ‘em in a time capsule for your kids to look at while in their cubicles of the future…