If there is one stand out feature of office life (or as some prefer to call it ‘cubicle hell’) then it has to be the water cooler! Now understand that it might not be an actual water cooler, maybe it’s the coffee room, or the corner where the kettle it plugged in or some other area, but every office has one! It’s sort of like the central meeting place where everyone gathers and it is also like the worst sort of gladiator arena!The water cooler is the place where gossip happens. Work colleagues chat about last night’s TV schedule, their punk kids’ latest stunt and who was caught kissing who under the mistletoe at the Christmas party! It can be entertaining, but if you are the one being whispered about then it is to be avoided like the plague!
Making An Escape
When a buddy of mine started his own business, we both agreed that one of the best things for him was going to be that he would escape the water cooler gossip once and for all. He was destined to spend his time alone in his home office working in peace and quiet and he could not wait. You see, this buddy of mine – let’s call him Mike – worked in an office with some of the worst gossips I have ever met! They knew everything about everyone in the office and were not shy about sharing that information!
Mike soon settled into his new career, and his business went from strength to strength. We often joked about how nice it was to be away from the ‘water cooler tongue witches‘ as we had dubbed them! That’s why it was such a surprise when one afternoon Mike called me up and made a startling confession. He missed the water cooler!
It wasn’t so much that he missed the gossip, it was more a case of being lonely. Mike missed the camaraderie he had shared with his co-workers and felt like he was missing out on the social aspect of office life. Working alone certainly has its perks in terms of working to your own schedule, but there is no-one around to suggest drinks after work or a game of two-on-two basketball during lunch!
Finding A Solution
There was no way that Mike was giving up his flourishing business, but he was not yet in a position to hire any staff to keep him company so we put our heads together and came up with an idea to solve Mike’s loneliness!
It wasn’t until I spotted a notice in the local paper advertising office space for rent that an idea began to form. We decided that he should find space in a shared office or business center. That way he was able to get the best of both worlds. He would still be a free agent, but there were also going to be other people around him – many of them who were maybe in a similar situation as Mike.
It didn’t take long before Mike found a suitable space in a business center which rented out work stations. Not only did he find that he now had that social element he had been missing, but his business also benefited from the use of conference facilities and a more prestigious address.
If you are in the position that Mike was in and are starting to get sick of your own company then it is time to start looking for an alternative workspace. There are many shared offices and business centers around which can hire out a desk or cubicle next to some other small businesses. These locations usually also offer a range of valuable services such as conference facilities, mail room staff and other essential facilities which could prove very useful.
Stefan Loewer is a business consultant and writes for pbcenters.com a leading provider of any kind of office space.
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