Cubicles suck. I honestly don’t think they have an alibi. They’re just another way for companies driven by the all-powerful bottom-line to mechanize their employees. By no means do I support life in the cube farm, but for too many of us it has been, is, or will continue to be a reality. Take heart! Believe it or not, there are actually ways to make cube life (relatively and temporarily) fun. Pimp Your Cubicle 101 should be a mandatory training during orientation. Turnover rates would surely decrease if firms implemented this course. Here are the essentials for making your cubicle bearable:
1. Basketball Hoops
The corporate world takes no prisoners. It’ll chew you up and spit you out before you know it. In an unhealthily competitive environment, it is especially important to find healthy competitive outlets. Solution: office basketball hoops. Buy a pair of cheap hoops that “suction cup” onto a spot (e.g. drawers) in your cube pod. Accompany the hoops with a foam or rubber ball and let the games begin. Be creative with your competitions. Play knockout, H – O – R – S – E, one-on-one (rolling around in your office chairs, of course), etc. Just don’t let it distract you from what’s really important at work…the biweekly SLAM DUNK CONTEST! Channel your inner Lebron and start perfecting your office dunking abilities. Hanging on the rim is highly encouraged. Keep a running tally of points earned to crown an office basketball champion at the end of the year. You’re not past your prime. Keep pursuing your Hoop Dreams.
2. Quote of the Day
It’s 9:30 on a Monday morning and you’re already wanting to throw your computer on the ground. You begin to wonder: how am I going to last until lunchtime? Until the end of the day? Until the end of the week? Until I retire?!?! Your sense of dread snowballs until you find yourself frozen at your cube, feeling completely incapacitated. You turn to your peers, looking for inspiration and humanity. And then, your cube mate pulls out her Quote of the Day Calendar. March 27th: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is” – Albert Einstein. The quote doesn’t solve your cubicle blues, but serves as an important reminder: you can control your attitude and choose to find magic in the seemingly mundane. Speaking of magic…
3. Pandora Playlist
“Sail away, sail away, sail away.” Your music playlist has the power to take you to another world. In this particular moment, imagine sailing the high seas with Enya in this epically weird music video. Music has an ethereal beauty that captivates our creative potential, soothes our worried minds, and speaks to us right where we’re at. It puts us in a trance and distracts us from the tediousness of the task at hand. Some of the best playlists may even cause us to forget about our cubicle altogether. Don’t math check those numbers or edit that banal report without some solid background music. Sail Away.
4. Office Pushups
If heavy metal music or gangster rap isn’t doing enough to blow off your steam, consider setting aside time for physical activity at the office. My personal favorite is cubicle pushups. At the top of every hour, crank out 25 pushups by your cubicle or in a nearby conference room. You’ll feel physically and psychologically rejuvenated. Office pushups are an ideal group activity: I’m talking serious cube solidarity. Get everyone involved and pushup together. If you’re not into pushups, consider air squats, wall sits, crunches, or stretching. Group calisthenics are reserved for Friday afternoons.
5. Standing Desk
Excessive sitting is the new smoking. More and more office men and women are living increasingly sedentary lives. They sit down from 9 to 5 and then go play a virtually motionless game of kickball, followed by beer and nachos. Sooner or later, you’ll realize the negative effects of prolonged sitting: back problems, weight gain, poor posture, general laziness disorder, etc. Consider standing for a portion of the workday. You can put together a makeshift standing desk or splurge for a professional, adjustable desk. In all seriousness, this is actually a game changer. You’ll feel less lethargic at work and be (slightly) more eager to tackle the report that you’ve been neglecting all week. Stand Up!