Laurie Taylor column

October 5, 2007

"Universities are requiring academics to abandon their own offices for seats in new open-plan spaces"

- The Times Higher , September 28

From: The Large Well-Appointed Office of the Head of Corporate Affairs (Jamie Targett)

Dear Doctor Quintock,

In line with this university's move towards an open-plan hot-desk work environment, I am writing to let you know that the university bailiffs will be carrying out a possession order on your existing office next Tuesday morning at 7.15am.

Any personal or academic belongings not removed before that time will be taken away and destroyed by security officers. (This includes such currently present articles as eight shelves of books, an old bicycle, two academic gowns, a portrait of the vice-chancellor in the shape of a dart board, and a half-empty packet of Camel Lights.)

Your newly allocated university space will be Hot Desk 312 in Area 2B, in the former five-a-side sports hall. This space will be available every morning from 7.30am, but if unclaimed before 8.00am it will be reallocated on a first come, first-served basis.

When seated in your new space, the following hot-desk proprieties should be strictly observed:

1. To avoid undue interference with neighbouring desks, please sit up straight and face forward at all times.

2. Do not use coats, towels or carved initials as a means of reserving your desk for future occupation.

3. All photographs of loved ones should be removed upon vacating the desk.

4. No more than three books are permitted on the desk at any one time (you are already provided with a Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare ).

5. No talking, whispering or grunting.

6. Please refrain from using all extraneous personal devices (mobile phones, games consoles and other electronic forms of stimulation).

7. On leaving your seat, please return it to the neutral elevated position.

8. Do not manufacture or dispatch paper airplanes.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

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