Like so many people, I work in an open-plan office. On some mornings I’m one of the first people in. This has been the case where I work for many months now but it still amazes me that sometimes I’ll be say the 8th person there, and the lights will still be off when I walk through the door!
So quite often, I turn them on…
I usually ask for agreement, but it’s in a quiet, shy, “Is it okay if I possibly turn the lights on if it doesn’t upset anyone”? kind of way.
But this is silly. It’s quite normal to have the lights on at work! So why do I feel I’m doing something “different”, something “wrong”?!
I guess it’s because if a floor of people collectively accept a certain behaviour, like starting the day in the dark, then I feel that this is what’s ‘normal’ and I question who I am to challenge this behaviour.
But if I didn’t come in and turn the lights on, new-guy Andy or shy Victoria would carry on being forced to stumble through in the dark. And poor old me would struggle to see the letters on my keyboard!
Sometimes we need people who can ‘turn on the lights’. People who can spin a situation on its head and present it differently, who can see a positive experience in a negative. We need people who can pick at problems until they’re solved and spur others to change their ways of working for the better.
So are you someone that switches the lights on? Or someone that leaves them off?