One of the reasons I enjoy it is that I have the perfect folding chair. Now stay with me for a moment…I know that little league baseball, folding chairs and business may not seem to have a direct link, but I believe they do. You see, I spend a lot of time watching games and sitting, so the chair is important. Not only is it a place to put my body, it’s turned into a whole functional experience that is fully accessorized for each occasion.
The chair I have is from Gander Mountain and it is more than a chair and the traditional cup holder. In fact, it has a full cooler that drops down and loads of pockets so that I can stock it with drinks, snacks and all my electronic gadgets. It’s also mobile so that I don’t have to be relegated to the bleachers at the game, I can take my light-weight chair and move it based on the environmental conditions. I can get the best view, avoid or seek sun and most importantly, choose who to sit near. The truth is that I usually sit somewhere near home base and often, by the same people.
Imagine if we had that flexibility at work with our work environment. It’s not a novel concept. In fact, organizations have been trying to find the best way to offer mobile furniture options and configurations for over 15 years. While some are successful, many are not. It’s not because the furniture doesn’t have the right features or ease of movement, it’s because even though employees ask for mobility, once they settle in, they really don’t want to move. We become tied to the people and location where we perform the act of work, whatever that is. We tend to rely on the people around us to say hello every morning, to discuss the same tired stories, and to eat our lunch or take our breaks at the same time too.
So is the issue lack of organizations offering flexibility and mobility or is it the fear of the people? What if we assume it’s the latter? How does that change your approach when you think of the workplace in the future? What changes would you put in place to truly encourage greater partnership, collaboration and movement within your organization? How would you move the people with the “right” skills around the organization most effectively?