Friday, January 24, 2014

Office Hours

I kind of hate home offices. Am I the only one?

Oh, sure, they look cute.

I could get so much done here. And mason jars!
A chair with wheels!
Seriously, I love crap like this. The problem, though, is that if I ever had a room like these ones, the following would happen:

1. I'd never use it.
2. I'd use it, but I'd sit on the floor, spreading all my papers out everywhere, disregarding my nice desk and storage compartments.
3. I'd force myself to sit in the god damned chair, but I'd be so distracted by my own daydreaming that I wouldn't get anything done.

In the last year, I've grown quite fond of working in cafes. For now that works, but it's not always convenient. There may come a time when I need a home office or when I have my own office at work (imagine!), and I'd like to figure out a way to be productive in a more traditional setting. So, my question is: what is it about the cafe experience that is conducive to getting work done?
  • A big, flat area for spreading out all my stuff so I can see it and reach for it easily.
  • An open room that doesn't make me feel isolated but where I won't be interrupted by others.
  • A space that's slightly uncomfortable (I do not work well while sitting on the couch. I think maybe the discomfort is like a built-in signal for a break). 
  • A space that isn't completely devoted to me where others are likely to come and go around me. 
  • A space where I can have a beverage of choice. 
I'm not sure I can duplicate these things elsewhere. Basically, I want a place that's both open and private where I can drink a coffee or a beer as the mood strikes me.

The thing about being at home is that I'm home. I'm not at work. I don't particularly want to have an office at home because home is where I do home things, not work things. I dislike deliberately separating myself from the other human and cat I share my home with because they are the reason I go home every day. It feels like I'm being sent to my room.

The thing about being at work in an office is that the spaces are made for nobody in particular. They're not made for all people; they're made for no one. What person actually prefers being surrounded by colleagues for hours on end and taupe? Cafes are made to attract people; office spaces assume that you have to go there. 

In the end, I don't think I'll ever want a home office. And if I must have an office at work (if it's on a college campus), I imagine I'll use it as storage mostly and do my real work elsewhere. A separate room labeled as "my office" or even "the library" is a beautiful concept, but it's not for me. I'm just not wired that way.

Tell me, am I alone in my disliking of offices? Where are you most productive?


rockygrace said...

I tried setting up an "office" in the back bedroom, but it felt too lonely back there. I'm happiest with all my crap spread out smack in the middle of the living room. Well, until one of the cats decides he wants to sprawl right on top of everything. Which takes about thirty seconds.

Domestic Kate said...

Lonely, exactly. And yes, there's something about being able to see everything and have within easy reach. As cute as storage bins and stuff are, I'd rather be able to get to my things easily.