The Not So Big Office

The office I work out of – and the one I created for Sara Rimer of the NYT – are both small spaces. My philosophy about offices is similar to Sarah Susanka’s philosophy about homes. Susanka is an architect and author of The Not So Big House series of books, a woman who has achieved an almost cult-like following and who believes bigger is not better when it comes to houses. I have the same belief about offices — there is a lot of waste in most corporate office environments. Offices tend to “creep” — someone leaves, and, instead of clearing out the cubicle or office, papers, boxes, files and broken chairs get stashed and stuffed into the vacant space. No one notices, until a visitor or prospective client is scheduled to take a tour — then there is a mad dash to make the office presentable. An office should be like a cockpit:  everything you need within easy reach, comfortable chair, view out a window (ideally) and no clutter or boxes to trip over. Creating these spaces is not difficult – smaller, efficient, tighter – but offices like this also need to be planned carefully, and include amenities like good task lighting, color, natural light, views to outside or to other people, places to get up and walk, sit and talk. Environments that allow us to do our best work, and be our best selves, do not need to be grandiose or elaborate, they only need to be efficient, well-thought out and designed to support us in our daily work.

3 Responses to “The Not So Big Office”

  1. Ed Tomey Says:

    What a kick-and-a-half it was, Lisa, to read of you in today’s NY Times! You’ve changed Sara Rimer’s life! I hope you enjoyed the piece. You will probably be flooded with offers! Maybe one of them will be from me!

    Write and tell me how you are doing otherwise — and we’ll catch up!

    Fond regards,


  2. Emon Says:

    I have to say one of the best pieces on workspace I’ve read. Especially your telephone questions to Ms. Rimer was profound. It’s the space between you and the things that surround you!! Thank you for the tips!

  3. Carolyn Says:

    Incredible article about the office space you created Sara Rimer. I love your approach! Thank you for sharing wonderful knowledge on your blog! Can’t wait to read more :) .

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