Memory-Lane Monday: Mobile, redefined

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The company in which this pilot fish is working is rearranging its buildings on a floor-by-floor basis to create a new "mobile" workspace. But that sounds better than reality.

"It consists of very small cells with low partition 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 some workspaces designated as" residents ", where you get your own office, a more typical office with cabinets, telephones, and so on. But for those of us designated as "mobile workers", we have a locker, a laptop with an IP phone and a rolling computer bag, and we expect that we find a place and sit where we can. "

This arrangement is touted as offering workers more collaboration options – and there are designated open areas in which Fish and his "mobile" colleagues are expected to collaborate.

But if they need an office, they rarely sit in the same office for two consecutive days. And if mobile workers have several meetings in a row, they have to give up their place – they sometimes sit at multiple offices during a single day.

As a result, all mobile workers spend a lot of their time tidying up and unpacking their work areas and moving around like people in the street trailing behind.

"Before the transition, I vehemently discussed with my supervisor because of the nature of my job, I needed a" resident "space," says Fish. "But he insisted that according to the criteria set by management – which were not communicated to us – I had to be mobile, so I am.

"Flash forward a few months later: I met my manager in the hallway and he complained of not being able to find me again. Well, I'm mobile.

"But then I thought, maybe there's an advantage to that after all!"

Sharky is still at the same address. Send me your real history of computer life to sharky@computerworld.com. It's completely anonymous. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark newsletter and read some great old Sharkive tales.