Recently, I participated in an event at work that I referred to as “The Great Cube Shuffle,” in which every single employee – save two – moved to a different office or cubicle. I was not one of the two. I moved two offices over, from a 10’x10′ office facing my minions’ cubicles with a narrow window next to the door on the right side as you look out, to a 10’x10′ office facing my minions’ cubicles with a narrow window next to the door on the right side as you look out. This is part of what some call strategic alignment and others call rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. But that’s not the point of my story.
The point of my story is this: during the shuffle, I noticed that all of the other managers had arranged their desks in the middle of their identical-to-mine offices, but I had put my desk against the wall with the narrow window, exactly the way the two unmoved HR people had arranged theirs. So if you visit one of the others in his office, you sit across the desk from them. In my office or in HR, you sit and your host has to swivel around to face you, or can join you at the small round table in the corner. Mine’s actually egg-shaped and three-legged, but you get the idea.
It’s easy to draw pop-psychology conclusions about this, but I actually take the non-verbal cues of seating position pretty seriously. I choose to sit at the head of the conference table or not to with great consideration. And my company is not the sort where we get a lot of visitors from outside, so the office arrangement must be primarily for colleagues. Seems odd to me, that’s all.