Memory-Lane Monday: Mobile, redefined

If you need me, I’ll be at ‘my’ desk.

The company where this pilot fish works is remodeling its buildings, floor by floor, to create a new “mobile” office space. But that sounds better than the reality.

“It consists of very small cubicles with low separating walls and only a chair, a height-adjustable desk, a docking station and a flat-screen monitor, available on a first come, first served basis,” says fish.

“There are a few workspaces designated as ‘resident,’ where you actually get your own, more typical cubicle office with cabinets, phones, etc. But for those of us designated ‘mobile workers,’ we have a locker, a laptop with an IP phone and a rolling computer bag, and we’re expected to find a spot and sit wherever we can.”

The arrangement is being touted as providing workers with more options for collaboration — and there are some designated open areas where fish and her “mobile” colleagues are supposed to collaborate.

But if they need a desk, they rarely sit at the same one for two days running. And if the mobile workers have several meetings in a row, they have to give up their space — so they sometimes sit at multiple desks over the course of a single day.

Result: All the mobile workers spend much of their time packing and unpacking their work areas and moving around like street people, dragging their belongings behind them.

“Before the transition, I argued vehemently with my manager that because of the nature of my work, I needed to have a ‘resident’ space,” fish says. “But he insisted that by the criteria set by upper management — which wasn’t shared with us — I had to be mobile, so I am.

“Flash forward a few months: I ran into my manager in the hallway, and he complained to me that he can never find me anymore. Well, duh, I'm mobile.

“But then I thought, maybe there’s an advantage to that after all!”

Sharky’s still at the same old address. Send me your true tale of IT life at It’s completely anonymous. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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