I swear, Terrence is going to ruin us. When we first started talking about the office overhaul, he and I seemed to be on the same page, but now I’m convinced that this was his game all along. The worst bit is that everyone’s going to get on board with him because he’s so darned charismatic. And yet, I’m the one who’s going to be picking up the pieces when the flaws in his approach inevitably come to light.
Our key difference of opinion is this: he thinks I put profit over people, and I think he puts people-pleasing over performance. The way I see it, there’d be no people in our employ if it weren’t for the fact that we’re turning a profit, so it seems to me that financial performance should be primary. Conversely, he argues that we wouldn’t be turning a profit if it weren’t for the people in our business, and the whole thing gets very circular.
Look, I’m not cold hearted. I just think that good people are a dime a dozen here in Melbourne. Office design companies, for that matter, are not key to helping us retain talent. More to the point, transforming our work-space into a ‘home away from home’, as Terrence calls it, is likely to have the opposite effect. If I didn’t run the show, that notion would have me running for the hills. Who wants to be at home when they’re at work? That’s almost as bad as being at work when you’re at home.
I see the rationale behind it. I really do. I just don’t think there’s much likelihood that replacing traditional workstations with plush armchairs and glass-topped coffee tables is going to be conducive to… well, anything much. I mean, sure, start a rare cactus garden, go to town with the breakout room arrangements, but for the love of dog, keep at least some of the elements of your garden variety office fitout. Melbourne might be cutting edge, but people still need desks here.
Anyway, I’m resigned to it. I give it roughly a month before people start to realise it doesn’t work.