One of the down sides of working for a large business or organisation is the regularity with which they seem to restructure the company and move departments around. Aside from the obvious strain this puts on human resources, it can also mean a costly and time-consuming move from one floor to another or to another building. This recently happened to a friend of mine who heads up the marketing department of a large retail business. After weeks and months of planning, everything seemed to have run smoothly until the very last minute, when the fixings let him down.
The marketing department consisted of around 40 people, all of whom had to be relocated from the first to the sixth floor of the building as part of a restructuring of the hierarchy. Even a relatively small move like this can cause a whole host of logistical problems: from ensuring there’s going to be enough space and planning to layout, to getting all the technological infrastructure in place so that everything will be up and running as quickly as possible after the move to prevent any unnecessary disruption to the work flow. Who would have thought that something as simple as fixings would unravel this whole process?
On the day of the move my friend oversaw everything from the office on the first floor, making sure everything was being packed up properly and labeled so that it would arrive at the right desk when it reached the sixth floor. Everything went well and actually took much less time than he had originally thought. Even when he went upstairs to see how the unpacking and setting up was going, everything seemed to be running smoothly. In fact several members of his team were already operational and were starting to go about their normal work in their new surroundings. It was only when he went over to the corner, where his desk was to be positioned, that he became aware of the fixings problem.
Somewhere between the first and sixth floor the fixings that held his desk together – basically just a few nuts and bolts – had been misplaced, which meant that the legs could not be attached to the top. At first this seemed like a minor problem: “Well let’s just get some new fixings then,” he instructed the office manager, who had been overseeing the upstairs part of the move. Unfortunately it was not that simple. No spare fixings could be found anywhere, and when a search party was dispensed to try and find the fixings that had been misplaced, they returned empty handed.
The layout had been planned to maximize space efficiency, which meant there were no spare desks for my friend to work at. He was therefore left to balance a laptop on his knees while the rest of his department set about their work at their nice new desks. He was not best pleased, as you I am sure you can imagine, especially as he had to wait a full 24 hours before the correct fixings were delivered. As he looked back over all the planning that had gone in to the move, he could not believe that something as simple as the fixings for his desk would cause such a headache.
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