Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dream Office

A little bit of prose for those who aren't familiar. I issued a challenge on facebook yesterday for people to stretch their creative writing muscles: Describe your dream workspace. I tried to leave the question fairly open-ended, but I didn't get many responses. Here is my own response, in full. I hope it is enjoyed.

So far as professional work is concerned, if I could have absolute choice, I'd like an office in the uptown core. Saint John is not a tall city of glass and steel, but a city of low-slung, Victorian and pre-Victorian buildings. I'd like perhaps an entire floor of one of these buildings, for us to call our own. The interior, however, I would redo, going for a more open loft-style feeling.

To the extent of my personal office, I'm something of a traditionalist. It must have four walls, though a window on each of those walls, looking out into the situation with the rest of the business, wouldn't be amiss. As the exterior-facing walls would likely be brick, the colour of the interior walls would have to suit; a rich brown, perhaps broken up with some form of wainscoting. Modern art on the walls, perhaps produced by local artists.

Insofar as furniture, I'm somewhat particular. The desk's height would need to be suited to my own and that of my seating. It should be wood, solid wood, if at all possible (for a longer life), and backed, as it would be more or less in the middle of the office, with options for solid cable-management (perhaps a hinged rear segment to conceal cabling). At bare minimum, I would need at least two drawers, and one of those drawers would have to be of the sort to accept hanging folders (and those, preferably legal size). The chair should be reasonably comfortable and of a suitably ergonomic design which can be adjusted. I'd prefer leather for a material, but I am largely flexible. The same colour leather as the blotter on the desk (which, in a perfect world, would fit into a wide enough drawer so that I don't have to reserve the use of that space for just writing by hand on.

Beyond these aesthetic considerations, I would have some technical requirements for my office, and quite a few of these are related to the idea that my business would involve at least two professionals working together, along with one or two support clerks. In my own office, I would require two cabinets: one for my outerwear and breifcase, and the other to hold a network switch and a small server for the office network-based drives, both protected by some form of UPS. While I suppose these pieces aren't required to be in my own office, I like the symmetry of having the two seperate cabinets on either side of the room. A large display (perhaps a flat-screened television with an HDMI or VGA jack) would hang between them to make it easier to present work with clients, as I intend to work from a laptop computer, and having the display to make presentations would be considerably easier. Lighting is extremely important, and whatever can't be provided by the windows would have to be offered by good, high-quality overhead lighting with a neutral color temperature. One last consideration is a shelving unit for reference materials.

As I mentioned, there would be other people working in this space. Ideally, we'd be partnered directly to a business lawyer, and he would have his own space. The office administrator would need his or her own space, as would any clerical staff we needed to hire. Together, as an office, we'd need an efficient filing system (like it or not, hard-copy documentation seems to be hear to stay), preferably of hanging legal folders, as well as a combined printer-scanner fax that is large/powerful enough to handle whatever level of traffic the three or four of us manage to put through it in the run of the day, without being wasted. Ideally, being so close to the Old City Market, a partitioned-off lunch area would have enough space to cook in, but that's not a dealbreaker.

That's about all I can say for my dream office, but I could go on for pages and pages designing other offices or rooms. Comments are certainly appreciated, and feel free to post your own dream workspaces if you so like!

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