Work Spaces of QR: The Windowed Cube

By an accident of geometry, my cubicle is a couple of feet larger than the others here in the Cygnus Arlington Heights office, a satellite office 90 some miles down the road from the company’s “nerve center” in the bucolic Wisconsin countryside. (Like Cuba, which is 90 miles off the coast of the U.S., I don’t go to Wisconsin often.)

Also by accident, it is in a corner with windows on two walls. Windows of any sort are the exception to the rule when it comes to cubicles here in Arlington Heights. The view of Arlington Park Race Track grandstand also is not standard for a suburban Chicagoland office building.

However, it is nevertheless a cubicle, lacking doors and walls, and open to distractions from surrounding office mates, mostly of the sales persuasion, i.e. people who speak loudly and frequently. So, there is that disadvantage. Earphones mitigate but do not eliminate the babble.

Productivity-wise, I have secured a second computer monitor from a discard pile in the server closet. I am now convinced a second monitor is a near-necessity for anyone who deals simultaneously with multiple documents. My other productivity enhancer, like the discarded monitor, was another cast-off piece of equipment found in a resale shop for $3. It’s a Panasonic microcassette transcriber – an analog device that certainly is no longer manufactured. Its key attribute is a foot control to start and stop play and an adjustable automatic back-space control.

I have augmented the standard-issue overhead light wieners (fluorescent tubes) with portable lamps to provide some variation of shading and color temperate as well as a mostly illusory measure of control over one’s space. By the way, one lamp was discarded by a former employee, and the other came from the same resale shop as the recorder. Now, if you’re starting to see a pattern here, I hasten to add: It’s not because I’m cheap; it’s because I’m an editor.