The company I work for is in the process of planning a workspace overhaul. I’m talking the full shebang: interior design a completely new fitout, complete with custom furnishings and finishes. We were all given the opportunity to share our ideas at a meeting on the subject this morning, and it proved to be a bit of a… I won’t say the word, but it starts with ‘s’ and ends with ‘fight’.
Mary-Anne from accounts wouldn’t shut about this half-baked idea she has for a ‘honeycomb lounge’ – from what I can tell, it’s some kind of fancy breakout area comprising a series of modular, hexagonal ottomans that can be rearranged into different formations. I mean, it sounds cool in theory, but who here is actually going to use a space like that to get work done?
Everyone in this joint is pretty much glued to their desks, and it’s not that hard to walk to the appointed meeting room when the need to collaborate strikes. The honeycomb lounge just doesn’t sound like something that’s going to get a whole lot of use, and I think the resources could be better spent elsewhere, like on energy-efficient lighting.
Mary-Anne should know this, having been with the company since the early years of its move to Melbourne. Office fitout specialists cost money, and we don’t have endless amounts of it to throw around on features that aren’t going to be that useful. That’s why I think we need to liaise with some experts before getting too wrapped up in brainstorming the process.
Naturally, most of our colleagues were stoked on the honeycomb lounge idea, agreeing with Mary-Anne that it would be ‘really cool’. Of course, faced with such a groovy notion, no one’s going to give a damn about genuinely effective and functional office design. Melbourne types are all too easily sold on style, in my opinion.
I voiced this in the meeting, and got shouted down a bit. Maybe everyone’s right in thinking that functionality shouldn’t trump aesthetics. But hey, I’m just trying to hold down the fort of realism here. We’re people, not bees.