Back Page: On The Job

<< Back to Robb Report, September 2005

Robb Report seldom covers work-related issues, concentrating instead on intriguing ways to enjoy the fruits of labor rather than on the means of harvesting and increasing the yield. When we have ventured into the workplace, we have steered clear of the traditional office space.

 

In this issue, “Platinum Is Golden” showcases a Beverly Hills, Calif., office that, in addition to its exquisite Art Deco–influenced design, offers its Platinum Equity employees all the comforts of home: kitchens on every floor, a formal dining room, and a club room with a fireplace, bar, and poker table. It is enough to make you look forward to Monday mornings. In May 1990, we published “Offices on Wheels,” a feature about gadgets that enabled executives to remain in touch while traveling, and a September 1995 feature, “Plugged In At Home,” explained how custom electronics installers could improve a home office. June 1998’s “Luxury Revisited” included a look at a home office in Florida that was designed to resemble a sitting room. While discussing the perks of working in a luxurious office building, the conveniences of mobile communication, and the benefits of an efficient home office and a comfortable one, none of these stories addressed how these work spaces could blur or even obliterate the boundaries between work and home, which for some people might be a concern.

Carl D’Aquino of the Manhattan interior design firm D’Aquino Monaco says that a majority of his clients request a dedicated office space within their houses, and the essential amenities of any home office, he says, are the walls and the door. “If you don’t want work to intrude and take over your life, you can create a space to contain it and keep the rest of the house private,” D’Aquino says, noting that interior designers’ ability to assist the cause is becoming increasingly limited. Cell phones, personal digital assistants, and other portable technologies can subvert the tranquillity or sanctity of any private space. While he cannot control how his clients employ the spaces that he designs for them, D’Aquino keeps home and office separate in his own life. His house is a strictly work-free zone. “I don’t even have a computer,” he says. But D’Aquino does live 300 feet from his office.

Geoffrey Bradfield, another Manhattan designer, installed a bathroom with a shower in a Fifth Avenue office so that its occupant could maximize his time on the job. Like that client, Bradfield is comfortable with a blurry dividing line between one’s personal and professional life. In December, Bradfield relocated to a four-story Manhattan townhouse, the first story of which serves as his firm’s administrative offices. Bradfield claims that he spends 80 percent of his waking hours on business-related activities, but he does not neglect the remaining 20 percent. “I have a whole floor that is mine. It’s sacrosanct,” he says. “There’s no computer, but there is a television, and also a cell phone that never leaves my side.”

Incidentally, we attempted to contact Workaholics Anonymous, the 12-step organization for people who work too much, for comment, and we were greeted with a recorded voice informing callers that messages are checked once a week. Given those hours, we suspect WA is not run out of someone’s home office, or from an office that could pass for a home.

The essential amenities of any home office are the walls and the door.

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