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Cubicle Strategy 101: How To Land the Best Workspace In Your Office

milton office space
Milton hangs out in the basement in “Office Space.”

Your office is moving to a beautiful, brand new building, which means it’s the perfect time for you to get out of the cave in no-man’s land Montana that you call a cubicle.

When thinking about the ideal location for your used desk in the new building, there are plenty of things to consider: the amount of privacy, the size of your cubicle (even better if it’s in a corner), and proximity to windows and distractions (like loud coworkers and busy office thoroughfares).

It’s never too early to strategize how to get the best digs your new office has to offer.

Here’s how to land the best spot:

Get friendly with the moving coordinator

Anytime an office moves, there’s a point person charged with coordinating all the details, from the timing of moving each department to where everyone will sit in the new office. Your job is to find that person in your company and kiss up. After winning them over with steaming-hot lattes and fresh bagels, ask about the layout plans for the new office (hopefully, you’ll get even more bartering points by showing interest in their job).

Drop hints to your new BFF that you think your department would thrive with a little natural light, or that you could really use a cubicle with enough room to chat with another person now that you’re leading (insert name of big money-making project here). Before you know it, the moving coordinator will be writing your name on the blueprints for the new office next to that giant corner cubicle that overlooks the duck pond.

Ask your boss

Your boss should want you to do the best work of your career. If you’re doing the best work of your career, not only does that mean that you’re a valuable employee, it means your boss must be doing something right (at least in the eyes of upper management). Make a case for your boss about why having a workstation that’s positioned away from the unending din of the break room will enable you to do your job more effectively because you’ll be able to focus better.

If your company has been hit hard by the economy and has had to freeze salaries or stop contributing to employee 401Ks, you could suggest to your boss that a better situated desk might be a good perk. The key here is not to sound bitter. Be optimistic about the future and talk about how you’re a team player, then drop in a line about how you totally understand that times are tough and that you’re not asking for a raise, but a nicer desk would be great.

If you’re hoping to get a seat in a prime location, don’t be annoying like Ryan and Kelly who work in an annex on “The Office.”

Don’t be annoying

Loud, sloppy and/or obnoxious employees can find themselves banished to the least-desired sectors of the office (think, right outside the bathroom or next to the copier) simply because nobody else wants to put up with their annoying behavior. If you suspect you might be the obnoxious co-worker, it’s time to give yourself a little image makeover.

Stop eating stinky leftover fish at your desk. Recycle the toppling collection of Mountain Dew bottles that has spilled out in the aisle. Don’t yell at everyone you talk to on the phone. Chew with your mouth closed. Stop arguing with your desk mates about whether Brad and Angelina are over. You get the idea. Just stop grating on everyone’s nerves so much. Cleaning up your act will improve your chances of being welcomed back into the prime locales.

Work harder

There’s nothing like a promotion to improve your desk prospects. If you don’t want the tiny cubicle parked next to the utility closet, prove to your supervisors that you’re corner office material. Put in extra hours, volunteer to lead new initiatives, provide unsolicited feedback and ideas for projects that others are working o,n and be the first person people think to ask when they have a question about how to do something.

Even if you don’t get a promotion right away, hopefully your strong work ethic will prompt your supervisors to reward you for a job well done with a better seat.

Posted by James Wilkie

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