A ‘Bigg Boss’ house at my workplace

By Sushmita Dutta | Updated: Oct 15, 2014, 10:49 AM IST

The other day I was thinking that does any TV show closely resemble my new workspace which falls under an ‘open office plane’...

Suddenly, ‘Bigg Boss season 8’, which recently started amidst much fanfare, crossed my mind. The superstar Salman Khan introduced a bevy of stars from Bollywood, TV, fashion, who have entered the house, and will stay there for almost 90 days, in a bid to win this season of the famous reality show.

A shock awaited stars and viewers, who were otherwise waiting for the huge, lavish Bigg Boss house one is usually used to. Instead, the contestants were made to stay in a huge wreckage of an aeroplane. The contestants had to even adjust themselves on the plane seats even for sleeping, which they did quite comfortably. Their hopes of a well decorated, luxurious, full of various amenities - in a single word, a designer house had crash landed.

After making the contestants go through a tough grind by making them remain without the usual comforts and a series of difficult chores, Bigg Boss lived up to its expectation of twists and turns.

When the contestants had happily accepted their life in the plane despite difficulties, they were rewarded for their diligence. They were presented with a luxurious house that is the best in all of its seasons.

Co-incidentally at the same time, our office space was also shifted. And I could not help but compare it to the recently started reality show. I could find so many common things between the house of Bigg Boss and our new work space.

When the inmates of the reality show moved to the lavish house, their happiness knew no bounds. Similarly, I and all my colleagues were amazed on seeing the new furnished office space. The lavish new building and floor space ‘floored’ every single one of us. I realised that a nice office creates happy people and makes them productive. The entire building is as opulent as the house of the reality show. I was amazed to see the glitzy floor and gargantuan size of the building. Like the Bigg Boss’ house, our new office floor also has a swanky pantry with many electrical appliances fitted inside. Special attention has been paid to the hygiene which reflects in the spacious, plush, well designed and neat washrooms.

In any work space, there are three areas that affect the worker’s posture- the seat, the work surface and the floor. But most importantly, it is the workstation where we sit and work for hours which needs to be comfortable. Chairs in the new office space have been placed keeping in mind the ergonomics.

When the new office desks and chairs are put together with the work space, an exciting look emerges which is similar to the slick look of the ‘house’ we are looking at these days on the TV. The desks have been nicely made and provide adequate space for office equipment, stowage and at the same time for maximising the floor space. The cubbies and tall shelves will help in storage which will make the place less cluttered.

Lighting is another important part. There are scientific studies that have shown that bright lighting improves work whereas the dull lighting can slow down work and create sluggish environment. Lighting is important too as it effects working of the employees. Although natural lighting is indeed best, good quality ceiling lighting has been used here as we work in night shifts as well. Along with this, it has been taken care of that lights are not unbearable and do not hit the face directly or computer and TV screens.

If I look back to the Bigg Boss’ house, in season 8, they have introduced a new concept of keeping a ‘secret society’, where three senior players were initially kept in disguise and were later roped into the game. Unlike the society members, at my ‘second home’, I have many senior players who perform their tasks brilliantly everyday while facing many challenges.

Interestingly, the rest of our team members also perform excellently to hit the mercury high at our ‘hits measuring’ thermometer called ‘whos.amung.us’ which counts roughly the number of readers present on our website at a time. I can relate a bit here as well with the show, since in the ‘season 8’ the contestants have been successful enough, till now, to convert the ‘controversial show’ tag of the programme into a ‘mindful-interesting’ one by accomplishing some tricky tasks, which are classier than the previous ones and are attracting public interest as well.

Last, but not the least, at my office there is a ‘Big Boss’ and a showstopper ‘Salman’! Exactly like the show, who keeps a tab on us while we are working and rewards us or pulls our ears according to the need of the situation! One more similarity, like the show’s ‘week-end-kaa-waar’, at my office we have to face ‘month-end-kaa-waar’. But, thankfully, unlike the show there are no eliminations and here comes the difference between a reel vs real life.

Also, at present, our team is the only occupant on the floor but soon we will be joined by more people. So, would there be one common problem in such an open area? ‘NOISE’.

In the show, the contestants are allowed to make noise and sometimes even go beyond that, since it shows reel life experience of what happens in real life when we spend hours and hours at our work space. I’d like to stress though that a balanced approach is usually needed. It’s clear that if we make more noise than necessary, we’ll magnify its impact on our neighbours. But if we curtail our activities too much, it’ll restrict our own comfort and performance. After all, when taken to the extreme, the best way to reduce noise is not to do anything that causes it (don’t come to the office at all!).

Jokes apart, to make life easier for everyone, at an 'open office plane', one can follow some simple steps:

1. Keep a level voice decibel: One should not raise voice, either during in-person conversations or on the phone. At the same time, a person shouldn’t whisper. A natural voice level without   overly disrupting should be used. One can use his/her ‘natural’ voice level.

2. Meetings should not be held at anybody’s workspace. It should be held at an appropriate setting/conference room.

3. If impromptu conversations look like they’re going to take some time, one should find a more isolated location. Gotten onto a fascinating topic or into a heated debate? Move it out of workspace (and not just to the corridor either).

4. Don’t talk/yell past your immediate neighbour: You have to raise your voice to talk to someone 2 to 3 workspaces away and you know your neighbour and anyone else within earshot isn’t going to appreciate it. Get up and go over to the person’s desk or store those calories and phone or communicate electronically.

5. Usage of speaker phones should be avoided, whereas ringers and notifications should be properly managed. Most important, others’ concerns and privacy should be respected.

All I can say at the end: ‘I work in an open office and I absolutely love it’.