Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cubicle Comedy of Errors

 At my work, we recently had our spacious 8x9 cubes compressed by 33% to 8x6. No one is happy about this. With a full L-shaped desk, you end up with about 15 square feet of livable floor space. And the door is right behind your back, so there is no privacy at all. It is unbearable. See for yourself:

Criminals get larger prison cells than this.  Click to enlarge, but not much.
 Imagine an entire floor of these boxes. Or don't imagine it. Take a look at our glorious cube farm for yourself:
33% smaller cubes also means 33% more people in the same area.
 On the up side, this has forced some of us to learn how cubes are constructed, and to figure out some more optimal cube configurations.

Do you know what these are for?  I do!
My friend Shawn and I both modified our cubes. I'm actually pleased with my layout now, even if it is smaller, and I've helped a few others re-arrange their cubes as well. All unapproved by management, of course.

I tell you all this to explain how I came up with the following scheme. Shawn was away for a week of vacation. I decided to give him the welcome home gift of eliminating his cube. I "borrowed" a 3-foot cube panel from somewhere else and closed off his door. The end result was this:

The photo was obviously taken from above. A normal person would see simply a solid wall where a door used to be.
I even made it more authentic by writing up a work order for door removal:
My job done, all I had to do was sit back and wait for the festivities Monday morning.  This is where everything went wrong.

Problem the First. We've been compressed for a few months, and to my knowledge, the manager in charge of the compression has never once come around to check if everything was done properly and we were happy (ha!) with our new prison cells. I figured I could borrow the panel on Thursday, replace it Monday, and no one would be the wiser. As luck would have it, the manager came around not three hours after I removed the panel. He was surprised to see empty space where there should have been a wall, and promptly wrote up a work order to have a panel installed. Oh no. Come Monday, I'm going to have an extra panel!

Problem B. Friday morning, Shawn calls me up from his vacation and asked me to get a box out of his cube and deliver it to a conference room. Uuuhhh.... Oh no. I briefly debated whether I could climb over the cube walls without killing myself.  In the end, the thought of lying dead in Shawn's cube until Monday convinced me to disassemble his door, remove the box, and put the door panel back in place.  This was clearly not planned well.

Problem 3.  I intended to borrow a ladder from Shawn on Monday to get some work done at my house. He was home Saturday, so I had to debate getting the ladder early, or wait until Monday after Shawn had seen his cube (or lack thereof) and potentially would no longer be on speaking terms with me. Decisions, decisions...

Luckily, in the end, everything went well. According to Shawn, he walked to his cube Monday morning, didn't find his cube, and was somewhat confused. Then he saw the work order and the panic started to set in. Are we in trouble for modifying our cubes? Would they really un-do all the work we did?? When he walked around the corner to find where they should have placed the door, only to still find no door, he finally knew it was a joke.

And he was a good sport about it and still let me borrow his ladder.

I'm still not sure what to do with this extra panel, though....

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tim, great post. But au contraire! 33% smaller cubes equals 50% more people in the same area. Let's say you have 7200 sq feet and could fit 100 8 x 9 cubes in that space (8x9 = 72). Reduce the size of the cubes by 1/3 then those same cubes now occupy 4800 sq feet leaving 2400 sq feet free for new cubes. The new cubes are 8x6 or 48 square feet. Divid 2400 by 48 and you get 50 additional cubes. 50 more than 100 is a 50% increase in square footage. I guarantee that's exactly the way facilities and leadership did the math.