When office moves occur, petty politics can become quite tense, as any facilities manager will tell you. Moving someone from one place to another in the office is fraught with challenges. Although the most notable issues relate to having a pleasant view out of the window or being near friends, there can be some deeper political positioning going on which is worth being aware of. For instance…
- Sitting near the boss. Ambitious people like to keep their ears open, gather intelligence and also welcome the frequent opportunity to informally chat to the boss. Add to this the opportunity to chat to other important people waiting for their meeting and it is easy to see why this is a popular seat. Added power also comes from the close proximity to other power sources.
- On a busy junction. While some may think sitting near a busy corridor is annoying, others relish in the increased visibility and opportunities to networking. If it happens to also be next to a photocopier, water-cooler or kitchen frequented by directors and executives, even better!
- In a quiet corner. Yes, less interruptions so productivity can improve. However, the reduced visibility and opportunities for interacting with others are a major drawback to sitting in the backwater. Being pushed there can also be a political manoeuvre by competitors.
- Next to troublemakers or the unpopular crowd. Problems of proximity here. Their unpopularity could easily spread.
- In a different building from the powerful people. A quiet backwater for sure, and one where you can write your resume without interruption, which is probably just as well because you are likely to need it sooner rather than later.
Of course, where you sit is not the only thing to think of and here we have only scratched the surface. But, if you have a choice, particularly in an open plan office, think it through and notice how others are trying to influence their seating arrangements. It does make a difference!