The Texas based law firm of Haynes and Boone moved their Dallas operations into a new “green” office today. Despite the laudable initiative, some lawyers and many support staffers have complained about the new “confines.” Apparently, personal space is at a premium in the new space. Administrative assistants are particularly annoyed, as they will be moved out of cubicles into an open floor plan, “fishbowl” situation.
In addition to the lack of privacy, Haynes and Boone issued new policies regarding how secretaries use the personal space they still have. Most of the new rules meet an accepted standard of “petty.”:
2. There will be a sufficient number of small plants that Gensler will place in appropriate areas around our floors. You may have one 8-inch potted plant in your office or on your desk–none on the ledges.
3. Please do not put any objects or plants on ledges or the tops of your cabinets. Two framed pictures and a small candy dish may be placed on your desk, but no beanie babies on desks.
You’re moving into new environmentally friendly offices, but you’re going to regulate the number and types of plants employees are allowed to have? That’s not directly contradictory, but it’s certainly annoying.
Additional regulations after the jump.
The rules seemed to be only directed at the secretarial staff. Arguably, lawyers are allowed to have a mini-rain forest in their offices. Says one disgruntled tipster:
[Haynes] couldn’t have picked a worse time to crack down on personalization of work areas. Both staff and attorneys are up in arms about having our spaces drastically shrunk, and secretaries especially (at whom this memo is primarily aimed) are unhappy about the move from cubicles that provided them a little bit of privacy to the new “open office concept” that packs them cheek-by-jowl in fishbowls.
The economy is tanking, people are losing their 401Ks, the new offices are smaller and less private, and Haynes and Boone is legislating how people are allowed to ingest nutrients:
5. Eating meals or snacks at your desk or in your office is discouraged. Also, no food will be allowed in the training rooms. All meals should be eaten in the lunch room on the 6th floor, except on those rare occasions when there is a client-imposed deadline that prevents you from leaving your area. If a medical condition requires something different, please contact Human Resources.
6. There will be free fruit and drinks in the lunch room and break out areas. Drinks at your desk should be covered at all times when not being consumed. With raised flooring, in case of a spill, we don’t want liquids to seep through the flooring. Lids and coasters for your drinks will be provided.
And while we’re here, make sure there is nothing at your desk that makes it look like “your” desk:
8. Office decorations (i.e. wall pictures, framed degrees and/or certifications, objects on desks and shelves, plants, holiday decorations, etc.). We ask everyone to please work in your area for at least 60 – 90 days before any decorating is done. Personal shelves, area rugs, or furniture will not be allowed at the new space. Nothing should be affixed to the glass doors or windows. At this time, no lights or lamps should be used on your desk. Facilities will assist with hanging your pictures after 60 days.
We know that a lot of support staff and administrative assistants read ATL. Are these measures draconian, or merely insulting?
Haynes and Boone’s firm motto is “Turning the formerly frustrated… into the presently ecstatic.” How is that working out?
Earlier: K&L Gates to Nickels and Dimes