MY INTEREST HAS NEVER WANED on the subject of how we organize and manage our individual work spaces at the office. The place where one spends 8-10 hours a day appears ultimately to absorb one’s own personality. To a large extent it also depends on the nature of what we do. The space assigned to us is also reflective of how mindful we are at work. I have often envied the uncluttered office tables of some of my colleagues and secretly wished that I could also follow their example as at any given point in time several heaps of paper are stacked up on my table including material that may not have been read for months but which I am scared of losing !

ON REFLECTION I realize that one has to be ruthless too in the way we handle the flow of paper in and out of our offices. The concept of a paperless office is indeed fascinating and we should all be working towards that – notwithstanding the seductive presence of the heavy duty photocopier – if we still wish our grandchildren to talk about the forests in Amazon or in the Western Ghats for that matter. It is also true however that it is extremely difficult to get rid of deeply ingrained habits.  Being an old fogey, I still have difficulties in reviewing a document unless I am holding its hard copy – pretty much akin to my insistence in holding the newspaper that I read every day when actually one can read it on-line. I also realized of late that a key reason why papers get spread out on office tables is largely on account of our inability (or rather difficulty) to have a sequential approach to work. We should deal with a matter first and proceed to the next only when the earlier one is completely disposed of however compulsive or compelling the interruptions are.  This is easier said than done but not really impossible.

THE CHARM OF AN OFFICE is substantially enhanced by the personal touches that we provide to our own assigned work spaces – family portraits, notes and drawings of our children, texts of our favorite prayers, mementos from friends, plants and of course the ubiquitous post-it notes. My own personal favorite is the famous Holstee poster, which, if followed, I should no longer be working !  Two posters I saw in a Mumbai office however remain etched in memory :  EVEN THINKING ABOUT SMOKING IS PROHIBITED HERE  and 

DESPITE ALL TALK of a corporate culture, the need to use  a common font  in  corporate communications, et al, it is ultimately the individual stamp that is carried on all activities that we personally handle which makes workplace interesting. The way we draft a letter, prepare a spreadsheet or make a power point presentation will all have traces of our personal involvement even if the stuff that goes out bears the company name. Our mindfulness at work and the care we invest in whatever we do enhances the quality of work and ultimately if we do not take individual pride in what we do (and that finally is our personal signature) it will only be “yet another boring day” at the office. 

WORK BECOMES FUN when we become conscious of the impact that we can surely make on account of what we personally do – otherwise we only fill in the hours and the sense of fulfillment will always elude us.

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