Looking into another working office is a rare privilege. It's like peering into the minds of the employees and seeing how they function within the space with all their unique and quirky aspects. Today, when we happened to visit another office we saw something which admittedly took us aback. As the one receptionist turned and got out of her seat, we noticed an index card, taped to the back of the chair with, assumedly, her name on it. Curious as we were, we glanced at the back of the next unoccupied chair and noticed another index card and name. Had the receptionists actually quarantined their office furniture? It got us thinking about personal territory and objects and how they fit in with the communal space of the office...
Perhaps the reason we were so shocked was due to the laid back atmosphere of our own office. Chairs are hardly reserved for individual workers. In fact, because the task chairs move around so frequently due to spontaneous meetings, there is a very good chance we could be in a different chair everyday of the week. Strangely enough, the one thing our office seems to be very territorial over is pens. Each person in the office seems to have their own preference of pen. They place separate orders from Staples and guard them with their life. But in general, our office is very liberal with their supplies and furniture.
But why is this? Aside from the fact that we're a small, tightly-knit bunch, we think the willingness to share also stems from our open-office environment. We don't have cubicles or any other division of private space in our office which seems like it might encourage this kind of behavior. To be honest though, we wouldn't mind if there was a bit more boundaries between our stuff and the people around us. Sometimes it's a real pain to come into the office and have to hunt down an empty chair to pull over to our desk, or search for the scissors and stapler because they're not where we left them the day before. But whether or not it requires boldly labeling our things is debatable since it might appear a bit snobbish.
Are you territorial about your workspace whether it is in the home or office? If so, what can't you stand people using? What are your methods for reserving those things?