Cornered!

By Robert Goldman

July 30, 2020 5 min read

The corner office.

It was the pinnacle of career success. Doors were dandy. Carpets were cool. Windows were wonderful. But that corner — that beautiful corner — that was the ultimate reward.

But that was then. This is now. Now there are no corner offices for you to strive for. Now you're lucky to get a corner of the kitchen table as your office, and, if you're really lucky, someone will have cleaned off your morning bowl of mush before you sit down to work.

Of course, many of us would be thrilled to get even a corner of the kitchen table. We're working from on our sofas or in our beds. We're doing something really weird: We're actually using our laptops on our laps.

While it seems unlikely that a corner office will open up in the near future, you are not condemned to spend your working days at a substandard home office. Ask Tim McKeough, the author of "That 'Home Office' of Yours? It Needs an Upgrade," a recent article in The New York Times.

If you can get over the natural instinct of any mature human being to tell McKeough to mind his own beeswax, it's clear that he does feel the pain of the homebound office worker.

"Continuing to work from your bed or the dining table is unlikely to be very productive, or feel very professional, in the long term. But what should you do if you don't have an extra room for a proper home office, or even an obvious space for desk?" he writes

To answer this question, the author spoke to a variety of architects and interior designers. Most of these masters of inner space turned their attention to an element of your home you probably spend little time considering — your closet.

Oh, your poor closet. It suffers in silence as you stuff it with clothes you no longer wear and sports equipment you never use. All the clutter you've Marie Kondo'd out of your life now lives in suspended animation in your closets. But the ultimate humiliation for any self-respecting closet is about to come.

"When you really need a home office," the author writes, "emptying out a small closet to convert it into a work space might be worth the trade-off."

You won't be surprised to learn that converting a small closet can cost big bucks. You'll need a built-in desk and built-out shelving. Still, even after a pricey designer has reimagined your closet with sleek Italian cabinetry and an even pricier electrician has wired up outlets for the 12 chargers you somehow have ended up requiring, it still may not be the ultimate career goal you had in mind.

You wanted a corner office. You got a closet.

If you are resistant to giving up even a square inch of storage space, you will have to sacrifice personal space. Do you have a nook? Guess what! "It can become such a jewel box," says Nicole Fuller, a New York-based designer, who has tricked out tiny spaces with ceilings of antique mirror and "graphic hand-painted wallpaper."

The tiny office that results from these bold design decisions may indeed be a delightful workspace while also providing you with an excellent new pick-up line: "Want to come up and see my nook?" But why bother? While you're creating the ultimate come-hither office, another New York interior designer, Alexander Doherty, has started a war on bedrooms.

"In larger bedrooms, he has positioned desks against the wall at the end or side of the bed," McKeough writes. "In narrow bedrooms, he has placed them just inside the door, before the bed."

You can see where this is headed. When you start thinking about moving your desk into your bedroom, you have to ask: Who even needs a bed? No matter how sleepy you are, the sight of your work piled up in front of you will immediately jolt you awake, guaranteed.

The obvious answer is not to reposition your bed but to replace it.

You may be reluctant to give up your bedroom, but think of what you'll gain. Your kitchen table can be returned to its true purpose in life, a place to provide life support to your sourdough starter. You have also freed your sofa from workplace clutter, so you can stretch out and relax when you watch "The Goop Lab."

You won't have a bed, but you will have a big, wonderful office. And, if you're really, really lucky, you'll have a corner.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: FirmBee at Pixabay

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