August 12, 2022

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks


Downsizing, rightsizing, reduction in force, no matter what they call it, the end result is fewer employees doing the same or more work. A side benefit of this effort is less floor space required. Another approach is to maximize employee density.

Managers, working with the facilities department, have become very creative when it comes to packing more employees into the same or less floor space. Constructing cubicles with movable partitions has been an effective tool in this effort for the last few years. The initial idea was very simple–just make each cubicle smaller. But there is a finite limit to how small they can be made. This became obvious when it was noted that employees had to roll their chairs backward out into the hall in order to change their minds. Managers rose to the challenge by making the cubicles slightly larger and assigning two people to each.

The cube-sharing concept created other problems. A whole department evolved to ensure that cube-mates were compatible. I remember one incident that took place in the early stages of double occupancy. Whenever I walked by the cube, I could hear an audible sizzling sound. I thought they had a renegade electric frying pan secreted away in a file cabinet, but I could never catch them with it. I realized what it was one day when they both turned to leave at the same time and a bolt of lightning jumped between their belt buckles. It turns out that these two guys had distinctly different religious views. The opposite polarity of their high energy levels would sizzle like spit on a hot griddle when it met in the middle of the cubicle.

There were always those who decided that all they had to do was adopt habits so vile that no one wanted to share their space, thus guaranteeing single occupancy. One such fellow soon found himself at a desk on the landing in the stairwell, but he was alone.

Another drawback to the increased employee density arose when the parking lot had to be expanded to accommodate all the additional cars. However, the same space-saving concept can be employed there as well. It’s a whole lot easier to repaint the parking lot lines than it is to move cubicle walls. We now have spaces so small that we have to get out of our cars, close the door, push the car into the space, and put a rock behind a wheel.

I think the solution is an extension of this concept. Using the drive-in movie idea, each employee drives to work, finds a spot, plugs into a receptacle and works right from his or her car. The size and comfort of each “cubicle” is strictly an individual’s choice. A few strategically placed portable toilets and a golf cart with a coffeepot on the back would handle biological needs. Reserving a conference room simply means blocking off a group of adjacent parking spaces. The only reason for having a building at all would be to house the switching and distribution equipment. Downsizing would be really easy–just revoke a few parking passes.

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One Response to “That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks”
  1. Conrad H Marks says:

    Funny, yet accurate, as usual. Remember “prairie dog” living well.

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