Those who occupy a spot in a cubicle farm or hold down a detached desk in an office likely have a growing list of peeves. If you’re just beginning your career, be patient. Your list will have its first entry shortly. When encountered in the working environment, a peeve has the potential to halt productivity. Our minds cease problem solving or number crunching or customer fleecing and enter full scale complain mode. Consider some common impediments to productive work.
- Loud Howard – resides two cubes over and thinks he must yell into the phone with enough energy to drive the words all the way across the country.
- Joe Executive – occupies the walled office with its door and spacious window but hasn’t discovered how the door operates. He’s an expert with his speaker phone, though.
- Story Teller – invests most of Monday sharing his weekend adventure with every passerby or caller. By lunch you’ve memorized his script and could take his place explaining how to replace a left-threaded doobie-whopper with a cookalater valve and save $10.
- Coffee Ring Clown – carries a full cup, dripping spots wherever he goes. He parks the cup on your desk while he pontificates his latest opinion. His exit leaves behind a nice ring where the cup once rested.
- Screen Fondler – can’t seem to talk without pointing and has poor depth perception. Leaves a trail of greasy fingerprints across your once-pristine display.
- Inept Printer User – loves hard copies of any email and every document. Considers the printer his personal tool. In five years he’s never added paper, changed the toner cartridge, or unstopped a jam. Inept Printer User’s effectiveness as a work-stopping impediment intensifies when the handout you need for a meeting that starts in five minutes languishes behind his twenty-five pending jobs.
I’ll stop there though I am certain your list includes additional unsavory characters such as Sammy Snores and George GasBomb. As a full time work from home person I’ve lost the advantages of the housekeeping crew, IT support, and on-call maintenance staff, but I never have to attend another staff meeting so I’ll manage. Last week an impediment to productive work reared its ugly head and bit me. Writing stopped while I pondered a solution.
The carpeted floor of my office has a few drops of nail polish left behind by a previous tenant, but carpet deadens sound effectively and coupled with a white-noise fan squelches distractions. Distractions are the writer’s enemies. A chair mat is a necessity for easy operation of the office chair. Roll in and write, roll out and run downstairs for a snack, roll sideways to grab a reference book–I’ll bet I cover several miles in a session.
The chair mat has been deteriorating for a couple of years. Shards splinter like calving ice bergs. I’ve persevered and worked around the damage until the missing material reached critical mass. Last week I added a new peeve, a new productivity impediment to my list. Seems every time I rolled the chair one or more of the five wheels dropped into the void in the mat and stuck there. Office chairs that experience wheel lock become office hazards.
Was this a case of writer’s block? I was stuck in a hole with no way to move forward or backward. I brainstormed repair options like carving a piece of plywood to match the gap. Common sense dictated that the mat’s next destination was the landfill. A new mat must take its place.
Work remained stopped as I researched mats from my go-to suppliers. The Staples web site as well as Amazon offered more options, styles, and materials than I cared to examine. Prices for mats designed for Berber-style carpet reached beyond my budget and reviews did not give hope the items would last. I moved to a Google search and found scores of work-from-home types facing the same crunch.
Some enterprising souls designed and manufactured their own chair mats, and DIY always appeals to me. I did some quick calculations, considered available materials, and embarked for Home Depot and Lowe’s. My new chair mat cost a fraction of the ready-made solutions.
Interested in making one? Check out John’s Office Chair Mat.
The office chair flies now. And I can resume my work in progress.
We’d love to hear your biggest office peeves. Who knows? Maybe another reader can offer a solution.