Moving is stressful. Anyone who has done it knows that. Our recent office move was particularly stressful for two reasons: we were going from more space per person to less, and we were blending three offices, with diverse cultures, into one.
Before the Move
The biggest challenge for my business group was having to deal with 48 drawers stuffed with document-filled folders, binders, CDs and hard copies of closing books, back issues of reports and sundry items accumulated over decades. Naturally, it fell to me to sort through it all. The Shred pile, the Throw Out pile and the Keep file (in descending order by size) took me the better part of two months to subjugate.
Even with more than three months to prepare, there was a scramble to get things done in the last two weeks. Our last day, Friday, was a half day. At that point, the phones would switch off, the computers be disconnected and everyone would get out so the movers could start moving. I was scrambling to arrange my stuff into the 3 bins we were each allowed for our personal work space – and I forgot to empty one of my desk drawers! Thankfully, a former colleague packed up my files and sent them over.
After the Move
The first week was pandemonium. Unpacking our bins, arranging our offices and work stations, putting away files. Setting up my work was unsettling – I didn’t know where to put what. (I’m still not sure I have things where I really want them). And trying to get any real work done with people scurrying about? Practically impossible. It took me 2 hours to find a heavy-duty stapler.
We are now midway through our second week in our new offices, I’m feeling a little more relaxed. My SVP is on vacation this week – so are several other folks who opted to indulge post-move freedom while taking advantage of the coming long weekend here in Canada (first Monday in August).
The New Normal
I have compared notes about our new office space with several colleagues – each of us sharing what we like and love, what we dislike and hate. Here are the highlights:
- Everything is new and clean
- 3 separate office locations pooled in 1 – will make working together easier and more efficient
- Wifi and video conferencing capability in all of our meeting rooms
- Starbucks coffee machines – grind the beans and brew a fresh cup each time
- Lots of natural light – most work spaces have proximity to it (gets hot in the offices)
- 4 print rooms with a colour and B&W printer/copier in each
- Phone system is VoIP (voice over internet protocol) – lots of features, including an email of voicemail messages
- Comfy chairs – ergonomical and adjustable, with a mesh back for cool comfort
- 2 large kitchen/lunch rooms with 6 microwaves – nice new toasters and kettles, too
- Filtered water on tap
- White noise over the office speaker system – it’s not as disruptive (the open concept) as I feared it would be
- Can’t have plants (despite lots of natural light) for fear of insects
- No garbage bins in offices and work stations – each person is supposed to take his/her garbage to the large receptacles in the lunch rooms (for waste, recycling and organics)
- Hooks in the bathroom are useless – wedged into the tiny strip between the stall door and the wall – nobody’s winter coat will fit, and the stall doors are high so you can’t throw it over
- Impossible to have a good-paced walk – too many people, intersections and cars
- Computers are very slow – lots of freezing and slow downloading of files
- Can get noisy if neighbours have someone chatting in their cubicle
- Too much white and not enough colour
- The finish on the work station surfaces scuffs and gets dirty easily and quickly
- Some furniture is still missing – proper meeting room chairs and lunch room tables
- Sinks are shallow so you splash everywhere when you rinse/wash dishes
- All the restaurants and food courts in the area are expensive
- It’s confusing trying to figure out who sits where – everything looks the same
- There are 4 security doors (you need to have your pass at all times) and each one is different – 2 are push, 2 are pull; and all four are heavy
I did not include commuting tine and routing as this is split – for some (including me), it means a longer commute, but for many others, it’s quicker.
There you have it – an overview of our new downtown office digs. Some pluses, some minuses, to working here, but it is reality and I know I will get used to it.
Here are some photos to give you a sense of the unique architecture of the building. Drop in sometime…