This week will mark the fourth time I have moved desks this year. I know what you’re thinking, there must be something wrong with me, a reason my colleagues can’t stand to share space with me for more than a month or two. Is the gleam off my big forehead too much of a distraction? Am I too heavy-handed with my perfume? (Britney Spears Fantasy, of course.) While I am considerate enough to wear earphones, I have been known to forget that people can still hear when I sing along to a Taylor Swift number. I would like to add that each relocation has been circumstantial – a new job title, making room for team members or realising that the spare desk over there has a better view than mine. Either way, I have been passed around this office like a goon sack at a high school party and as a result consider myself an expert in the art of moving desks. Here are my top five tips for a smooth transition.
1. DO leave it until the last minute
I have found that the longer you wait to move, the more likely some kind-hearted (albeit easily fooled) co-worker is going to help you. “What! It’s Friday already? How am I ever going to get this sorted by Monday?” If this doesn’t work then a simple shaking of the head combined with an exasperated sigh will get you over the line. Never underestimate the power of pity.
2. DO NOT pretend you know how to set up a computer
The lead up to the first move was a period of panic – good god, they expect me to setup my own computer. I’ll admit it, I work for a web design company in the IT industry but those fancy fangle dangle contraptions also known as computers still scare me. The plugs, the cables – who knows what goes where? And don’t even get me started on the perils one faces once it’s actually turned on. I told myself to play it cool – you’ve built Ikea furniture (kind of). I lasted a minute before managing to disconnect everyone’s phones. Lesson learned.
3. Think of it as forced Spring cleaning
With each moves comes the opportunity to rid your work area of all the crap that has accumulated. You’ll feel like a new employee once the pile of paper, illegible post-it notes and dried-up pens have been given the heave-ho. Be warned, there will also be some tough decisions. It may still have a few chocolate crumbs, but do I really need to take the Snickers wrapper with me to the new desk?
4. Mark your new territory
Unfortunately, I am not condoning rubbing your bits all over the keyboard and putting the mouse down your pants. We spend 40+ hours a week at our desks so why not make it feel more like home? Work days are just better when a photo frame, plant, bobble head or Word of the Day Calendar grace your desk. These spaces do become another extension of our personality so screw the sideways glances and make Ricky Martin your desktop background for god’s sake!
5. Make friends
Don’t become known as, “that weirdo that sits next to me.” With the latest relocation I find myself moving across the room into very foreign territory, among our web designers. I am a new species being introduced into an existing ecosystem. Now, I may not know the difference between serif and sans serif fonts (although I pretend I do) and the closest I’ve come to coding is colour coding my wardrobe, but I refused to be labelled an outcast. Get to know your new neighbours, common ground is easier to land on than you may think – “You like dogs? I like dogs!” If assimilation is proving harder than first anticipated, I have always found that passing around a bag of lollies or beef jerky will earn you lots of points.