Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Office

by Lawyer Working Girl

As this year starts to wind down, I have to take a moment to reflect on all of the great opportunities that have come my way career-wise this year. One of those, which is the biggest, is the promotion that I received a couple of months ago that I've already shared with you all. I believe that this promotion is really just the start of more great things to come with my company and I am excited about the possibilities. (Another truly awesome thing is receiving my first bonus with the company! WOOHOO!)

Another thing that happened for my company this year was our move to our new office space. For about a year and a half my company was in a smaller building and smaller office space. Then we began to hear talks about moving to a bigger office space, which was the first sign that the company was growing, and that got everyone excited. Now that we've been in our new space for a few months, I look back at our old space, and I'm telling you, it's like going from a Pinto to a Mercedes. Our new space is so much bigger and better than the old office and has new technology integrated in that helps us to stay connected to the outside world (hey, we spend a lot of time at the office) as well as connected with our colleagues in the various offices. I think the new office has even had an effect on everyone's disposition. After all, when you spend a majority of your day at a place, don't you want it to be nice and one that you enjoy?

That got me to thinking about the pros and cons of working in an office. I often think that I would LOVE to be able to work from home where I could stay in my pajamas and post up in front of the TV while I work (especially on COLD days like today). How great would it be to just walk to my kitchen for lunch rather than the breakroom to heat up the lunch that I brought or running out and spending money on food? Although that sounds nice, there are things that I would miss about working in an office.

I read this interview with the co-founder and President of a web application company, whose main issue with the modern office place is also high up in my "pros" column: that it is structured for interruptions. Well, what he calls interruptions, I refer to as the social aspect of working in an office. I love socializing with my colleagues. That's one of the things that makes going to work fun. And the camaraderie, which goes hand in hand with socializing. We build these relationships that are unique in that if we had not worked together, we probably never would have met and would ordinarily probably never be friends (and here I use the word loosely as I do not consider my "friendships" with all of my colleagues to be equal). Also, for some, but not for me, a pro of working in an office means "the office hookup." That's all I will say about that one.

Aside from those two things another pro of working in an office is that you have people to bounce ideas off of. I wonder how many multimillion dollar ideas came from two people sitting around brainstorming? Also, having to go to an office gives me set working hours. If I'm at home it seems that it would be a lot harder to separate time for work and time for personal. Another personal pro is that I get my daily exercise in by walking to the office and back home everyday. Maybe if I worked from home I would carve out gym time, but at least this way, I'm guaranteed to get in some form of exercise everyday.

So, aside from the con in the interview that I flipped into a pro, what are the other cons of working in an office? Ok, maybe he is right that there are a lot of interruptions throughout the day. And there are always meetings. Also, there are the colleagues whose personalities clash with yours, which is really only a problem if you have to work closely with them. There's also gas money/public transportation fare/parking fees involved with commuting to work.

I really can't think of anymore legitimate cons to working in an office. Now, that's not to say that if I were offered the option of working from home that I wouldn't take it, but I guess coming to an office really isn't that bad. So tell me, Working Girls, what are your pros and cons of working in your office?


Anonymous said...

So much fun working in an office than from home - though home is convenient but it as quickly wears one one, tires one. I agree with you on the socializing and staying upbeat and fresh because of these "interruptions" in working from office.

I'm looking for a job currently, and hence, only dreaming about working in an office. Your blog is an amazing, inspirational read. Very re-assuring and motivating it is to hear girls/women talk about work in this way - we dont see it much.. as people/friends choose to talk about casual things more than career-oriented, because they dont want to come across as hard-core careerists maybe. This blog has a purpose and I love it.


Lawyer Working Girl said...

Thank you, Geeky! That's very nice of you to say and I know all of us Working Girls appreciate that. Best wishes to you in your job search!

Marie said...

I work in a very, very small office, so I wish there was more socializing, but I know I would *really* miss that if I worked at home.

I think your point about brainstorming with colleagues is really the best (non-social) aspect of the office - it is so much easier to collaborate and come up with innovative ideas, whereas if we tried to talk over the phone or e-mail, it would be harder to communicate and I don't think ideas would evolve as organically.

Biggest downside: the commute. :-/

Kirby said...

I also prefer to work in an office. I think it would be too difficult for me to separate work and home if I had a home office.

I think the commute is a big downside and another thing that can be challenging if you're at a strict office is taking time off. Whether it be for holiday or even just for an appointment. Working from home gives a lot of flexibility in your schedule.

KP said...

I feel more productive when I work at home because it's a more comfortable space. I work in what I call a compound. A huge building where you're lucky to see windows and even those are tinted. At home I can sit in my dining room soaking up sunlight while working.

But I think being alone all day wouldn't always be good for me.

Lawyer Working Girl said...

Great comments! The downside of taking time off also reminds me of the downside of having a very structured day, if that is the case for you. I've had a job before where from 8-11 I was doing this and from 1-4 I was doing that. I HATED it.

micheal said...

Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet entertaining and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!

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