Dubai Diaries: What is your comfort zone?
For many, it is their work space - their desk, the people they work with.
Do you have a comfort zone? It could be a special corner of your home, a seat in your favourite coffee shop, a jogging track along the beach, or even (and I know this is the case for many), your desk at your workplace. Since I joined Khaleej Times nine years ago I’ve been lucky enough to have worked at the same desk, which has been transformed over the years through multiple makeovers.
I spot some raised eyebrows; yes, I like to make my immediate surroundings look pretty, and welcoming. I do a lot of decor improvising at home, using off days partly to indulge a love for rearranging and settling, which also helps clear my head; I find these pastimes very therapeutic.
At work, being glued to the computer most of the time, I give the old eyes a welcome break by reorganising my small collection of novels — myriad authors from around the world share space with a gigantic dictionary which may be obsolete, but I haven’t the heart to discard it.
Sometimes, I check whether the tiny plants giving my desk an earthy vibe have enough water — ultimately leaving it up to Ali, our office boy and resident plant expert, to see that they’re well watered and cared for.
A part of my office space that never fails to inspire a smile is the random collection of greeting cards and postcards from friends and family over the years that I’ve tacked to my desk, a little bit of home nesting in my workplace.
A colourful abstract-like Eiffel Tower vies for my attention, as does an ancient Japanese monument, and a pair of bedouins serenely leading a camel across the desert.
At times my eyes hover to the desks nearby, noting the untidy, the well-organised, the bare, and the cluttered ones with interest. These belong to colleagues who have for years had my back, inspired me and lifted my spirits when I was down.
I see a little bit of them in their workspaces, the tea-stained mugs, the eclectic stationery collections, a stash of chocolate, the little souvenirs collected over time from personal or friends’ travels — much like the greeting cards I love so much that surround me.
When I mull over these physical spaces and what connects them to us — I realise it’s also the warmth of the people who inhabit them that contributes hugely to a kind of shared comfort zone. I love my desk — but I also love that I’m surrounded by the kind of colleagues who can make the worst day better with their encouraging words, who help you through some dark times of your life, who can match your sense of humour and laugh at the silliest things that others don’t find even remotely funny.
For the long period of Covid where we worked remotely I realised what I missed most was the daily interaction — virtual meetings always paled by comparison.
Not only did I miss my desk, with all its quirky energy, but also the people who make my office space what it is — a joy to work in, a place which has both personal and professional takeaways on an almost daily basis, for which I’m ever thankful.
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