Boring. Stale. Inactive. Stagnant. Dull.

These are the words that come to my mind when I think about my desk at home. It’s always been in the same corner of the same room, and it’s always had the same random picture frames, sticky notes, books (and dust!), covering its wooden shelves. I actually sort of dread sitting at my home office, and rarely do I get anything done there. Of course…that could also be attributed to the three-month-old in the next room, but I digress.

It’s amazing what a little change-up can do for your inspiration and your will to get things done. At the TorranceLearning office, we switch desks every 60 days. Yes, even the people with desktop computers. It has turned into something to look forward to – not only do we make it fun, but it’s also a sort of “spring cleaning.” And we all know how good that can feel!

First, we shoot NERF guns at a chart with randomly assigned numbers to determine where our work home for the next 60 days will be. After a lot of misfires and misses, we scatter to gather our computers and belongings to move to a new place (usually with a new desk neighbor!). Desks are cleaned, organized, and people have moved within about 20 minutes. But the benefits that these 20 minutes of transition give us are invaluable. Let me count the ways:

  • Our desks are CLEAN! It’s an unspoken rule that you leave your old desk in the state that you would want your new desk to be in. So, everyone takes a lot of care in dusting and cleaning up after themselves.
  • We get to sit next to a new person every two months. I’m good friends with all my co-workers and I can attribute this to the fact that I’ve gotten to sit next to all of them. Leanne and I share candy when we shoot desks next to each other; Matt handled plugging in my power cord when I was extremely pregnant (thank you Matt!); and when Meg and I were in the final stages of closing an enormous project, the fact that our desks touched made a world of difference in our communication.
  • No packrats allowed. If you know you’re switching desks every two months, you’ll learn pretty quickly that you don’t want to keep a lot of junk sitting around. We have great rolling file drawers, but the move keeps us motivated to keep our materials organized and desk-top objects portable.
  • Working at a new desk helps your mood and motivation. It may sound silly, but I know I focus better, and I’m given that nice, new feeling of change to help me break through any mental inactivity going on in my head.
  • Oh, let’s face it. It’s fun. We get to shoot NERF guns for pete’s sake!

This blog post was written by Jen Vetter, Project Manager.