Post 3 in the series: How to Set Up Your Desk
As we move forward in this series towards discussing where the best place to put your desk is, it’s worth acknowledging explicitly the need to have a permanently fixed “home base.” Off and on there have been movements against this in some companies, towards the concept of “hoteling.”
David Allen has some good words on this, which also serve to show the value of having a specific and primary spot where you do your work:
Some organizations are interested in the concept of ‘hoteling’–that is, having people create totally self-contained and mobile workstation capabilities so they can ‘plug in’ anywhere in the company, at any time, and work from there.
I have my doubts about how well that concept will work in practice. A friend who was involved in setting up an ‘office of the future’ model in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. government, claimed that hoteling tended to fall apart because of the ‘Mine!’ factor–people wanted their own stuff.
I suggest there’s a deeper reason for the failure: there needs to be zero resistance at the less-than-conscious level for us to use the systems we have. Having to continually reinvent our in-basket, our filing system, and how and where we process our stuff can only be a source of incessant distraction.
You can work virtually everywhere if you have a clean, compact system and know how to process your stuff rapidly and portably. But you’ll still need a ‘home base’ with a well-grooved set of tools and sufficient space for all the reference and support material that you’ll want somewhere close at hand when you ‘land.’ (Getting Things Done, 91)
Posts in This Series
- How to Set Up Your Desk: An Introduction
- How to Set Up Your Desk: Basic Principles
- Excursus: Against Desk Hotels
- The Four Ways to Configure a Desk
- Where to Put Your Desk
- What to Put on Your Desktop and How to Use It
- What to Put in Your Desk Drawers and How to Use Them
- The Rest of the Room: How to Set Up Your Office