I have a new workspace.
Working from home has its perks; I can never replicate the pleasure of leaving my ‘office’ and walking into my kitchen to fix myself a hot meal, and continue to work while I wait for the food to be ready. But factor in inconsistent power supply, and therefore, the cost of running a generator for twenty-four hours – not to mention issues with availability of that fuel in the first place – and then, one starts to wonder…
But then, work won’t wait. Deadlines won’t wait and clients won’t either.
So I had to improvise. I had to look for a way to meet my commitments and get the job done – while minimising running costs. I found it somewhere on the Island, a place that attempts to replicate the coffee culture of Starbucks.
See Also: List of co-working spaces in Nigeria.
I like the place mostly because of the ambience. Because of my nature and the nature of my work, I like quiet. I get lost in my thoughts a lot – that’s where all the ideas and concepts and whatnot come from after all – so peace helps facilitate the process. I function best when it’s quiet around me.
I have a couple of friends – I have a friend in particular who is one of the best graphic designers I know. When it comes to work, he is my polar opposite. He cannot work in a quiet place. He thrives on noise.
Imagine both of us went to work in the same company in the same office in the same room. Chaos.
But of course, if it ever came to that we would have to look for a way to make it work. He would probably have to wear headphones while he worked so his noise won’t disturb my quiet.
What then, is ideal workspace ambience?
For example, the atmosphere within a banking hall cannot be the same with that of an advertising agency. While I have heard music being played softly in a number of banking halls, advertising agencies are usually synonymous with noise. Everybody’s blasting their favourite song loudly, people are arguing about Game of Thronesor The Premiership quite loudly. Someone is sharing the nearest cinemas movie list while another is sharing Ms. Ikeji’s latest headlines. All sorts of haphazard activities are happening at the same time; yet in the midst of that chaos is order. Things are getting done.
That’s probably part of why creativity is seen as such a big deal, particularly by ‘regular’ folk. Everything looks so disordered, so confused and uncoordinated – yet when things are done it’s almost like magic. Basic understanding is important – working in a bank is not the same as working in an advertising agency.
Yet, both of them are workplaces.
At one of the workshops I attended, one of the facilitators came to talk about making your workspace yours. He talked about putting little personal touches; surrounding yourself with things that encourage and inspire you. One of my favourite people in the world works in a consulting firm. She doesn’t have an office; she’s housed in a cubicle, and is surrounded with pictures of every memberof her family, immediate and extended. I have little action figures on my table at home and I had them on my table when I worked a nine-to-five. Looking at the little creatures, wondering what they would be thinking if they were capable of thought entertained me to no end. The friend I wrote about earlier, the one that likes noise, changes his computer wallpaper every day. It’s a routine, because according to him fresh pictures inspire fresh thinking.
And he’s freakishly good at his work.
While the company owes it to the employee to provide a balanced and conducive working environment, the employee must also take it upon himself to personalise his workspace and make it into what will bring out the best of him. The company cannot exactly cater to individual tastes – depending on the number of employees and so on – so the onus falls on the staff to do what is necessary.
At the end of the day, you’re the one earning the salary, and you will be the one to bear the responsibility of falling behind on your job.
Own your workspace.