Is Bigger Better? Office Politics and Working Real Estate Space

office politics

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“What are you doing in Frank’s office,” I ask Bob who is staring at the overhead light fixture. Startled, he quickly looks down. I continue to tease him, “What is this? A meditation room? What are you doing?”

Bob mumbles, “Counting.”

“Counting what?” I ask.

Bob takes a second, takes a breath and confesses, “ceiling tiles.”

It takes me almost a minute, then I realize what Bob is doing: he’s measuring the size of his office against Frank’s. Bob’s anger replaced his embarrassment. He realizes he has a smaller office. They were equal on the org chart and at the same pay grade, but not equal in square footage. It was important.

I was now to get more practice in the anger management of a staffer who felt slighted. It was my turn to mumble, “Oh no…I’m sorry…this was the best we could do in allotting the limited space to our dedicated people…we attempt to be fair, but sometimes things are not perfect…” It was the truth. But I knew exactly how Bob got his crappy office.

I assigned it to him.

Bob didn’t notice that Frank also had a breath-taking view of the city. Bob’s smaller window overlooked the parking lot. And I knew that, too …

For all my platitude-ing, Bob was one of those employees who would be forever aggrieved. I spoke of ‘dedicated people’ and Bob was not one of them. He was a subpar performer who delivered all that was asked—and nothing more. His evaluations were “satisfactory.” His office was satisfactory.

I did not have much margin in my budget. But there are always methods to acknowledge the superstars. I allocated the trappings of stature to those who exceeded expectations.

Bob Fryling who is the Publisher and Vice President of InterVarsity Press, writes in “The Leadership Ellipse“:

“Jealousy and ego also affect how we gauge our perceived importance in daily organizational life … Cabinet officers to President Richard M. Nixon used a tape measure to see whose office was bigger and whose office was closer to the Oval Office.

“How petty.

“However, how many of us have also done the same thing mentally (if not with a tape measure)? If someone is closer to organizational power than we are, we know it and feel it. The challenge is what do we do with that knowledge and those feelings? How do we face down the giant of ego and jealousy?”

Appearances count. The number of ceiling tiles is a clue on how much power an individual can exercise. The bigger the office, the greater the perceived power to influence and to lead — even across my modest organizational structure. Power gets things done.

These things matter. Except when they can’t and don’t.

Ancient Rome understood how size and looks mattered and how leaders employed a presence. The first Roman emperor, Augustus (27 BC to 14 A.D.) did not need the external appearances of power. Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-In Chief of Forbes Media, writes in “Power Ambition Glory,”

“Although there was no doubt that Augustus was the boss, he was careful to avoid the title and trappings of a monarch—which he realized went against the Roman grain and had cost Julius Caesar his life.

“Augustus wore neither a crown nor the robes of a king. A simple broad-brimmed woven straw hat that had shielded him from the harsh rays from the Mediterranean summer sun signaled to his subjects his simplicity and modesty.

“He projected the image of a reluctant “care-taker” of the empire, a leader motivated by a desire to serve and to uphold the principles of Republican government.”

However reluctant the small business owner might act to be as a caretaker of your empire, do not give up your seat of power in the corner office. You are no Caesar Augustus. And no Andy Grove.

Grove understood the egalitarian culture of Silicon Valley. He had an 8 x 9 foot cubicle when he was CEO of Intel, manufacturer of computer chips. We mere mortals cannot pull off this level of leadership without some cosmetic help.

It is true that good arguments can be made for open office space where everyone is “equal.”

But remember — the work office is a seat of power to get things done.

View Image via Shutterstock

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Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.

127 Reactions
  1. I think it cannot be prevented. Even if you give them equal space, they will still find something to complain about if he is the complaining type – he has to resolve the jealousy by himself. He has to see that it will not get him anywhere.

  2. Aira, you are right — there seems to be an inverse proportion.

    It is interesting how the best people never complain — but management is most sensitive to their needs.

    Marginal performers are forever complaining and management is less concerned with their complaints.


    • Naga sankar Devineni

      It is true sometimes. In reality, the people behind the scenes who make the big decisions might favor a person who has worked less hard than another. However, it can be said that this type of “evaluation” is not based on performance or even through appropriate methods. It relies solely on the connections that the person has and how they are viewed. The issue that can begin to rise is jealousy and or confusion regarding the promotion that the person was given. Others might view that move as unfair since the person might not have worked as hard as the rest. This would cause an uneasy work environment and create a hole in the employee’s trust in the incentive system. Since Bob’s work was only satisfactory, how can he be upset and compare his office space to Frank’s? No matter what, jealousy in the workplace will always exist, but sometimes it is unfair when employees who perform only on average complain. If Bob was giving his very own best at the time and his hard work was showing off the results by helping the company achieve its goals, it would make a little more sense if he was unhappy and wanted to upgrade his office space. However, I believe employees should not complain about their work conditions and environment but try to focus on more important things, such as doing the best they can at the assigned tasks and achieving the company’s short-term and long-term goals.

  3. Madalaina D'Angelo

    It’s interesting to think that the bedroom-saying “size matters” can apply even to the workforce world, that a person’s power has to be personified in the physical instead of the work produced. My boss at the bar I work at shares an office with the two assistant managers and his secretary, yet when he walks into any part of the bar or complex he commands attention and respect and his authority as manager owner is projected– he doesn’t need a fancy suit or car or large office. But I can understand using offices or bonuses or heck, even a parking spot as incentives to better performance and moral, and how the bigger office can also be a showing of power and can be respected as such in certain workplaces or job industries.

  4. Catherine Warchot

    I think that in the business world, it is important to be a “team player.” That means not letting your ego get in the way of doing your best work not being jealous of your coworkers and their successes. Instead of sitting around and wasting time measuring office sizes, Bob should have been doing the best work he could do. And if he was so upset by the size of his office, he should see that as a source of motivation for him to do better work so that he could get a nice office too. He should have also realized that a nice office is not something that has a “right” to, it is a privilege that he must work towards.

  5. Ego and jealousy is unavoidable in many aspects of life. In the business world an employees ego could make or break him or her. A below average employee who has the ego of a CEO can really bring down office moral because of their attitude and self importance. A manager can only do so much to try and prevent any incidents of jealousy and ego much like the manager in the article tried to do with the offices. The only other thing the manager could have done with Bob was to tell him point blank that he did not deserve the office. Some employees are delusional and that delusion can not be reversed. The team aspect of business is often lost with ego and the role of a manager is often reduced to just trying to manage the egos of the office and that can be done by using modest actions, but also requiring those around them to respect their authority and use effective communication.

  6. The reality of business as is in life is that people’s ego play key roles in their work and life performance and demeanor. Today’s “trophy for everyone” society has fostered the desire of glorified titles and perks for the workplace, and the “mine is bigger than yours” concerns. Achievement does not create sufficient satisfaction for many workers unless a superficial reward is attached. For me, I do not need the titles, the big offices, or the up-close parking spots; however, I will quietly take an increase in pay!

  7. Leanne Robinson

    Jealousy and ego play a major role in everyone’s lives. Regardless of how selfless a person is, there will come a time in their life that they feel as if they have a chip on their shoulder. The reality of the business world today is that people need to toughen up. By learning to compartmentalize superficial rewards, a worker can reach his or her full potential and maybe eventually receive those perks. That being said, if Bob is a sufficient worker, he does not go out of his way to impress anyone, and after many attempts to break him out of his shell, a manager can realize that Bob will always only do what is asked of him, and nothing more. This is why Frank deserved the better office, if a worker goes out of his way as an employee not seeking entitlement, he is genuinely passionate about his job. This kind of employee is the one who deserves to “get the trophy”. Frank was a power player, and he deserved to be viewed that way. Respect starts at the bottom, maybe if Bob realized that earlier he would have had the corner office with the view. Great read!

  8. Joseph Lasaracino

    Professional ability is the strongest attribute one can demonstrate in an office. The way you present yourself should be titled with composure and confidence. When a leader, especially a manager faces a crises, it is in those moment when he or she exemplifies perseverance. In the case of the Hurricane Katrina incidence relating to business, it is fine to be emotional and passionate, but one must be able to rally and unify people to work towards a common goal. Image is a vital quality, and displaying that to your colleagues allows others to admire and approach their image in identical ways.

  9. Mary Margaret Sheridan

    I liked this article because it shows how perks like office space can influence employees. This quote, I feel, conveyed the message of the article well, “However, how many of us have also done the same thing mentally (if not with a tape measure)? If someone is closer to organizational power than we are, we know it and feel it. The challenge is what do we do with that knowledge and those feelings? How do we face down the giant of ego and jealousy?” What you do with those feelings of inadequacy define who you are as an employee. Do you get discouraged that someone might be excelling more than you, or do you use that to incite personal change to be better? Do you let it motivate you or deter you? You have to earn your spot at your company and earn your seat in your office.

  10. I think that this phenomenon is unavoidable. We are power hungry animals and we feel threatened when we see someone of similar status have something better than us. I think that one possible way to maybe decrease this is to put efforts forward to encourage people to find happiness within their stature. We are competitive and greedy and will always want something better than we have. This problem will forever plague industries but through careful evaluations of their employees and with certain measures being taken we could possibly decrease the severity of it.

  11. I think people in the workplace, and really in all aspects of life, need to remember that it is not all about “me.” It is not about “my” office size, “my” window overlooking the city, “my” fancy car, “my” expensive suit. It is about working together to achieve the goal of the company and working for the common good to better society. What really matters is who you are inside and how you can best contribute to better the company overall. If someone thinks that can only be done in a large corner office, they belong on the street corner looking up at that office because their priorities are not straight and they are not positively contributing to the business. Jealously is only going to hurt personal performance in the workplace and personal values in life. Although it is unavoidable, the good worker must try to avoid it at all costs. She must focus on the company as a whole and how she can best contribute to that, as a result bettering society and working toward the common good.

    • I really liked your response to the topic and I very much agree. People should focus on what they can do for the common and organizational improvement not only see own, selfish goals. What is more, jealousy is really destructive factor and might very negatively affect work environment and relations between people. Every organization is built from people and if they go against each other there is no possibility to create strong, effective unit. Employees should understand their roles and responsibilities in the team and fully committed to them. Additionally, employees must get clear and transparent incentives plan at the very beginning, so they can be aware of what to expect for which performance and what are requirements towards their work.
      People who see further and can predict future outcomes do not pay attention to materialistic, current elements which won’t last in opposite to the growth of the organization.

  12. If Bob wanted a bigger and better office than why did he seemingly not want to perform at a level above satisfactory? I think that’s his main issue. It was not what his coworker was doing, it was what he was doing. I think that can be lost in the workplace sometimes. People can overlook doing their work for the benefit of the company and instead make everything about beating out the guy in the cubicle or office next to them.

  13. I believe that looking for things to complain about is a sign of a bad worker. There are certain people that will always find something to complain about no matter what. These people think that everything should always go their way and whenever it doesn’t they will point fingers to anyone else bu themselves. A true leader never looks for someone else to take the blame and is accountable for themselves. A true leader also does not let jealousy cloud their judgment. The size of a room is irrelevant and complaining about that is just looking for trouble. The differences in the sizes of the rooms probably wasn’t even intentional.

  14. Appearances almost always have an impact whether consciously or subconsciously, many people tend to equate their physical ‘domain’ with their status, whether it be their homes cars or offices. Additionally the difference in office sizes may affect the motivation of these two different employees, apparently Frank may have recognized that the additional effort he exerted resulted in additional benefits, whether financial or spatial, and your observation of Bob’s discovery may indicate that he too recognizes the difference in office sizes. It is important to note that Bob’s reaction may indicate that he does not truly understand the difference that effort rewards employees and may simply recognize, as many of us do, that he has been slighted rather than that Frank deserved the better space.

  15. Josephine Livingston

    Once again I am reflecting before living this life of leisure. It always amaze me how upper management (Director, Second Line Manager) is concern about having an large office and one with a view. They assume their title mean that they are entitle and this is one of their many perks. Those who have the attitude, “I have arrive” are never satisfy, complain and want more. Whether their work area is in a cubicle or office (with the door close), their focus should be getting the work done and completed. Letting our “ego” fester, causes so much jealousy, bitterness, as well as a hostile environment, and the size of the office space in not the focus, its the know how and skills one possess to complete the job. No one own anything on job, correction, if you touch the job/project which needs to be done, guess what, you own it! The reward is not the size of your space, its getting the work done as a “team” and the greatest reward is reaching its goal to ensure customer satisfaction!

  16. As sad as it is, in reality the person who gets the better office is not necessarily the one who does the best job as much as it is the favorite among those who have the most power. Not only does a person need to be a top performer, he needs to be the top performer and favorite personality or, even more precisely, the one in whose favor the currently powerful want to be. If they don’t like the person, at least they want the person to like them. Right?

    I, personally, do not like that kind of thing. It’s like high school cliques, just annoying and petty. Those who do the best job should be rewarded. But, I guess that it is the way of the world. Perhaps there is no choice but to participate or perish. Perhaps it is really a secret incentive plan: do an awesome job AND make the “cool kids” love you, and you will get company benefits AND the secret menu benefits, such as a bigger office. I have a feeling, though, that in this secret incentive plan, performance may not be fairly evaluated, and incentives and are not necessarily based on performance.

  17. One of the biggest flaws of mankind is the looking at “what others have”. It is true sometimes in reality the people behind the scenes who make the big decisions might favor a person who has worked less hard than another. However it can be said that this type of “evaluation” is not based on performance or even through fair methods. In fact, it relies solely on the connections that the person has and how they are viewed. The issue that can begin to rise is the jealousy and or confusion when it comes to the promotion that the person was given. Others might view that move as unfair since the person might not have worked as hard as the rest. This would cause an uneasy work environment and create a hole in the trust the employee has with the incentive system. I try to always go by the idea that what others have is what they earned; I pay no attention to who has better things. That however, might be tough for other people to comply with when they deem something as unfair.

  18. Sadly, this stuff matters, and I believe that it always will. People are so worried about what others have and get jealous when someone else has more than them. Although both offices are the same size, Bob thinks that the Frank’s office is a better than his. If I was in your shoes I would have done the same thing. Why reward Bob if his work was only satisfactory. It would be a different story if Bob was a great employee that does everything right. I believe that the ones that do the job the right way should be rewarded. That should be the motivation to do a good job. As an early employer, I try and overachieve with everything I am doing, so that I am not in a position like Bob is in. Incentives are a great way to get your employers to work hard. When someone is happy, they are going to give you their best work. Therefore, reward those that will do this for your organization. I always work 110% always is so important because you never know whose watching. Therefore, if I want that corner office with more ceiling tiles than Bob one day, I will be rewarded when the time comes.

  19. Mary-Christina Onyeocha

    “These things matter. Except when they can’t and don’t.” Seeing the scenario of this office politics from the windows of the above quote, one could see that, it is broadly divided into two parts. Now, Bob is still an actor entertaining himself and his audience on Part I of the drama “when these things matter.” It takes a charismatic team playing leader to pull Bob out of this cloudy outlook of self-worth and achievement; probably, gently and diplomatically. If, unfortunately, the manager/leader is still a-stage-one-actor (in the same boat with Bob), this kind of petty jealousy possibly builds-up destructive-sticky swamps for Bob, the manager, and the organization at large. Reading through the lines, it could be analyzed that Frank seems to be an insider of the manager’s authority while Bob plays the role of an outsider trying to exercise power without authority.
    The question is, how long would it take before Part II – “when these things can’t and don’t matter” begins? No one knows. Part I (when these things matter) might cause short-term, intermediate, or long-term damages before giving way to Part II (when these things don’t and can’t matter). To some extent, the managerial/leadership skills of the manager/leader could intervene and reduce the possible damages this office politics could cause. On the other hand, if Bob understands that, office space matter; but, side-by-side with his self-worth and what he could positively offer to organization, such things “can’t and don’t matter.”

  20. Jelena Cobanovic

    I think that you did a fair job with assigning the offices to Bob and Frank and I would have done the same thing. Since Bob’s work was only satisfactory, how can he be upset and compare his office space to Frank’s? I believe that no matter what jealousy in the workplace will always exist, but sometimes it is unfair when employees who choose to perform only average are complaining. If Bob was giving his very own best at the time and his hard work was showing off the results by helping the company achieve its goals, it would make a little more sense if he was unhappy and wanted to upgrade his office space. However, even then I believe employees should not complain about their work conditions and environment but try to focus on more important things such as doing the best they can at the tasks they have been assigned to and achieving the company’s short term and long term goals. Once they do that, the management staff might be able to somehow reward them and that way, they show that they recognize when someone works hard and perform above average. If the management staff at least acknowledge employees hard work, it will give them additional motivation to perform even better which in general leads to more successful and positive work environment.

  21. After reading this article, I noticed a trend; you get what you put in. In Bob’s case he was a satisfactory worker that did everything that was asked of him, so in result his office replicated what he put in. Frank, who was the same level of prestige as Bob, had a significantly better office than Bob. This is because Frank exceeds expectations by putting in more effort; resulting in him getting an office that exceeds expectations. Until reading this piece, I never thought about the significance between office size and power. Having a big space symbolizes the power to have an influence over others, in turn helps you get things done! There is also a fine line between abusing your power and using it for good virtue. Power can often be abused and it is up to the leader to have an understanding on how to use power without putting fear into one’s followers.

  22. I think on paper have offices where everyone is equal is a good thing but i worry about complacency setting in. The article mentions how we perceive the looks of things with value so it we attac more value we can use this as motivation to do better. If everyone is the exact same in the office then someone may not try as hard but the person with the shinny new office, the large windows has a status symbol. A symbol that says i work harder and better than you. You can leverage this into a competitive but respeful work environment

  23. As a child, my grandma hammered into my mind the phrase, ” You get bees with honey.” I took that into friendship, academia and my professional life.

    Although the above story did not say who had a “higher” position or more responsibilities ultimately, if I was a boss, I would reward those with the best attitudes, the most pleasant to work with before the ones with foul attitudes and with such practices as tile- counting. It would never cross my mind to do such a thing. One, because I do not care and two, as to not upset myself either. Lastly, suppose there has been a remodel or renovation and the tiles are sized differently. Not only would you be loud and wrong, but sound ungrateful.

    That person would be someone I overlooked as I assigned more power, gave promotions and raises because there would never truly be enough and they have no grace. Grace and tact take you places skill could not get you into.

    Having had dinner conversations with my parents for years, who were both Law Enforcement supervisors, I was blessed to come into the workforce with a huge awareness of behaviors that stuck out for the worse and those that did for the better.

  24. Natalie M Barbieri

    Having a larger office space with a better view is a status symbol. With this in mind, bigger is better. Bigger symbolizes success in your company.

    My dad told me a story once. He said that when he was promoted, he received a corner office–it was a large space with larger windows on both sides. Sometimes he would stand by his windows and looked out onto the people 50 stories below walking around. When he retired, he told me that other employees were literally fighting over the space.

    I think that all employees want to look and feel successful. The feel of success comes from praise, raises, etc. Your boss telling you that you did a good job can brighten up a day. However, the look of success is also important. Some employees buy new clothes to look successful or a new car. But a new office really symbolizes success. Everyone sees it!

  25. In my opinion, the article shows the influence of how perks like office space. I think Bob’s anger replaced his embarrassment is natural feeling because he realized that he has smaller office. Many companies treat their employees equally if they are at the same pay grade, but unfortunately they are not equal in square footage. I feel that companies should be equal for square footage with their employees who are at the same position, in order to treat them equally treated. The article mentioned how we perceive the looks of thing with value so we can use this as motivation to do better in our work place. I believe that all employees want to be more successful because the feel of success comes from raises and praise. For example, if your manager telling you that you did a good job, that can brighten up a day. However, the feel of success is very important.

  26. Damilola Anjorin

    Open space does not guarantee that everyone will be treated equally and I do not believe it will limit Office politics. Someone is always going to be better, someone is always going to be smarter, there will always be preference. Even if everyone is in the same office space, everyone’s level of productivity will not be the same, neither will everyone have the same level of commitment. As mentioned in the article, “the bigger the office, the greater the perceived power to influence and lead” Jealousy and ego in the workplace exist in every organization and this is based on the individual that is affected regardless of how much provision is made available, instead of being jealous, we can seek to influence and always try to exceed expectation in our dealings.

  27. Veronica Cordova

    In any business environment employees will always be jealous of others. Jealousy is created when a person feels insecure or anxious about his/her importance or value to others. Especially, in the workplace when jealousy can cause problems inside the organization. Managers or CEO’s from companies should treat all employees equally. Praise all employees for a job well done instead of just a select few. Avoid favoritism and ask for opinions of all workers, instead of relying on a select few to prevent jealousy. Remember that resentment and jealousy can cause lack of teamwork. Organizations should not treat departments differently from each other. They all should work as one team. In conclusion, Managers should create a work team atmosphere and stop favoritism among from employees.

  28. Meagan McClendon

    In this situation it seems that Bob was unable to make the connection between his performance and the size of his office. Although Bob and Frank were on the same level in the organization with regards to pay, Bobs inability to go beyond what was required of him resulted in a smaller office. When an employee in in a situation like Bobs, they are likely not to improve due to their jealousy and ego. The employee feels slighted which then results in them not pushing themselves to go above and beyond within the organization. This pattern can turn in to a viscous cycle if the employee does not get out of their own way. Once an employee is no longer motivated, they basically have relegated themselves to a stagnant position within the workplace. A disengaged employee has to reevaluate their outlook which can be easier said than done. They have to drop their ego and turn their anger for their predicament into focusing on becoming motivated by others around them, even people they may be jealous of. In Bobs situation, he could take a step back and analyze what Frank is doing that he is not which could lead to him getting more recognition.

  29. I agree with this article. As a person with power in an organization, there are certain benefits and incentives that should come with the positions, one of them being large offices. But those factors are not necessarily making the person a leader. In this article, we see Bob, a subpar worker, who has been given an executive position in an organization by some means. He wants all the bells and whistles that Frank enjoys a fellow executive, but he hasn’t put in the work that Frank has, and it shows by the benefits and incentives he was given. This also brings up another point, that sometimes it doesn’t matter what an employee is given, they will not be happy. Also, this brings about the point that all employees don’t perceive certain benefits as important as others. If Bob deserved this position, HR or his manager would need to sit down with him to see what he finds important and work out what could to make sure he is satisfied. A satisfied employee usually is a happy employee. And satisfied and happy employee usually produced results.

  30. Priscilla Sanchez

    Jealousy came upon Bob because he realized that he was not getting the equal amount of office space as Frank was getting. He knew that although they had the same position and same pay rate, that there was a difference there. The difference was that Frank exceeded expectations and went above and beyond for his job which is why managers were impressed by him and his work ethics. Bob on the other hand was different. He did his job like he was told and was given satisfactory results, but he did not go above his job description which is why he was given less power. Prof. Yoest, was the one who assigned his room knowing that there was a difference among the two rooms of the same position. However, it was not intensional and did not know that Bob would legit go and count the tiles.

  31. Euclides Rengifo

    This article really is very important because it lets see the reality of how clients can persist the power of a director when they enter his office and observe in detail the space and comfort of the office, and this is very true although the functions of the employee, coordinator or manager of an organization are not as important or extra-corporate for the entire corporation, the size of the office, his desk, and chair visually represent importance and power to fellow employees and customers.

    On the other hand, I know that the environment of an office depends on how the spaces, the designs and the decorations or images are used with messages that decorate the walls because each person who comes to the place can visually read sentences or see images that They inspire a leader to conquer their goals successfully.

  32. I think it is important to provide equal pays and benefits to all employees to keep the workplace in peace and ethical environment with the existing resources and conditions. If you have to make a decision about one bigger room to give one of two employees who are in the equal positions and get equal pays, there should be some other evaluation factors. For example, one of them might be working longer than other or one`s performance would be better than other. These kind of evaluation factors would take roles in decision making process.

  33. Appearances count. The number of ceiling tiles is a clue on how much power an individual can exercise. The bigger the office, the greater the perceived power to influence and to lead — even across my modest organizational structure. Power gets things done.

    This article related to previous readings about power and influence. These two qualities are not the same. A leader can have power, but not be influential. Influence comes from within whereas power can be attained through a number of ways, including appearance. If a leader does not have the best office or wears the nicest outfits, then they are perceived to have more power. Employees will then listen to their leader and things will get done. As materialistic as this sounds, I think it is very true. Even in the smallest businesses, appearance will generate power. I have seen this on my own teams, big and small. The leaders and coaches carry themselves with great pride and nice appearances. Therefore, they had power and credibility. I also have experienced leaders who did not carry themselves with any sort of pride and appearance. As a result, followers were not influenced by them and did not think of them as having any power.

  34. No matter what type of environment an individual is in, jealousy and ego will always play a factor in their personal development. It is human nature to want what you cannot have, or in this case, did not earn. I think when it comes to work related issues and jealousy, people have to have a higher standard of self-awareness for themselves. In this article, does Bob really think that he does better work than Frank and deserves to have the bigger office? If he knows that his evaluation tells him that he is satisfactory, does he not realize that he needs to be better than than and go above in beyond in order to get things that are also above satisfactory? As humans, we are always comparing ourselves to others, but rather than dwelling and complaining about what we do not have, we have to use it as motivation to push ourselves to achieve to get what we want.

  35. Jealousy within a workplace can cause a lot of unecessary drama. People always feel that everything is about them in the office when it should be about the whole team. I think a lot of times people think too highly about themselves, so when someone else gets praise they are upsetted by this.Everyone is going to achieve at something and do better than someone else. I think you just have to be happy for your team and work hard to achieve you goals. Managers have to make sure they are creating an environment that includes everyone and stop showing favoritism. Managers show favoritism by the way they praise employees and giving them special treatment. Managers have to give all their employees the same treatment to make sure jealousy isn’t in their team dynamic.

  36. Even if we do not recognize it verbally, the size of someone’s office is almost always correlated with their power position in an organization. As you stated in the article about giving a lesser employee a smaller office. Even though these two men had the same position on paper, it is easy to decipher who was the true leader in the organization. It is good practice to have an open door policy in an organization because it helps company culture, but sometimes it is necessary for higher ups to flex their power in order to get things done. It is important to model ourselves off of great leaders throughout history but it is often hard to imitate their practice because they have a special gift most do not possess.
    Another point a agree with in the article is if you do have a jealous employee or someone who feels they have been wronged (even though they have not) it is important to quell the situation before it becomes something bigger. The importance of having face-to-face conversations cannot be overstated as most of the times parties can reach an agreement.

  37. It seems that Bob’s awareness of the superiority of his co-worker’s office was his wake-up call alerting him to his true position in the organization. It was at this time that Bob may have first realized there were differences between himself and Frank, despite sharing the same title and pay. In the Federal Government, attempts are made to avoid situations such as this, by mandating that everyone of a certain pay grade receive desks or offices that are identical to each other. Also, specific office locations are assigned by seniority to prevent management favoritism. I feel that it is natural, and even healthy, for people to compare themselves to their peers. Perhaps after this incident, Bob did some introspection and realized that Frank is a more exceptional employee who deserved the better office. Maybe not. Making decisions such as these are part of the fun and the headaches of being a manager. I think the manager did the right thing by assigning the better office to the superstar employee, as it lets that employee know that his efforts are seen and appreciated. It also sends a message to employees such as Bob regarding the types of behavior that will be rewarded by management.

  38. Mayara Correa Bonamichi

    In my opinion, ego and jealousy are always going to be present in any organization. Coworkers are partners but most of the time they are competitors, and the power of each employee is always going to be measured by the other coworkers. It can be the size of the office or the reserved spot on the parking lot, people always have a way to measure which person has more power. Bob was the kind of employee that just delivered what was asked and nothing more, so he should not expect to have the same office as an employee that put more effort into the job and that has a better performance, he needs to see what the employee does to deserve a bigger office. I believe reward in this case can help the employees and the organization, Bob can use his jealousy as a motivation to work better and put more effort into his job. To avoid the kind of situation that Bob and Frank had, the manager needs to treat all the employees in the same way in order to have a good working environment.

  39. The team I am a part of right now all have the same size cubicles, even the middle managers. The only the chief officers and vice presidents of our organization have the perks of having a larger corner office with a nice view. My peers compete and compare for things that may not be measured by a tape measure. We see who can gain the most favor from the leadership by taking on extra projects or being overly friendly. The leadership often reward the go-getters with additional training or favor you as new roles are created. The department lead that sits in the identical cubicle across the aisle from mine does not boast or misuse her authority but levies our need for attention to get the job done. Her positive reinforcement and career planning assistance make us want to reach department goals.

  40. Reading this jealousy and envy is a major factor when it comes to work space. Sometimes as humans we have the half empty perspective vs. the half full view. Bob seeing that his office was smaller than franks made him feel less than when he shouldn’t. when I worked at Harris teeter distribution the structure of the front offices where the same. They prided their selves on making managers feel as if they were on the same level. Which I understand that, but we know life isn’t going to be fair and we can have a totally different view about things. Not everyone gets an office and for him to have one is a blessing because he couldn’t have one completely. Jealousy is a virus that needs to get out of the work place and word period because it causes more harm to not the jealous party but people around. What if the boss of the company had a small office and he didn’t would he be jealous? Sometimes people can just be appreciative of what they have things will turn out in a different outcome for them.

  41. I found the article interesting and yet peculiar. In my office our motto is, put me anywhere, just pay me the dividends. However, I do agree that respect is a two way street and that managers should lead by example and resist the temptation to posture.

  42. I suspect that there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t want something they cannot have. Being unhappy with our position in the hierarchy of our office’s so-called political structure is simply garden-variety discontent. Whether it be in a person’s private life or at work, such discontent, is insidious. It stems from our nature inclination to fail to put things into proper perspective – put things in their proverbial “proper place.” Is a big, corner office with a view nice? Of course. Is it for anyone and everyone? Of course not. Size and view comes with a lot of responsibility and difficult “business” problems; i.e. a healthy, or more likely, unhealthy, dose of stress. Life experience has taught me that if you focus on the right things: hard work, sacrifice, the Golden Rule, “managing up,” etc., then the object of your desire can be yours someday. Unfortunately, people overly concerned about the trappings of power and their relation to it, tend to misplace valuable energy and focus. Obviously, there has to be a connection between performance and reward. Incentives, organizational inducements, like a nice workspace, are very real. I do wonder though, if such “old school” incentives, like THE office, still have the same allure as they seem to have always had.

  43. When it comes to office space, the question of whether bigger is better probably depends on the situation. For someone who is truly a leader, the office, or space, in which their desk is located should really not matter. The true leader is able to inspire and influence others through their own inherent power that they possess because of who they are as a person, the manner in which they conduct themselves, and the way they treat other people. The true leader is secure in their own stature despite the situation or the environment in which they find themselves. The true leader does not require the possession of status symbols, such as a large office, to signify their status.
    On the other hand, people in management positions who do not naturally possess the qualities to influence other people may be assisted by having assets, such as a large office, to display their importance. Higher management may even provide such managers these assets to help make them more influential within the organization. By presenting the appearance that such managers possess a certain level of power within the organization, they may be able to use this perception to influence the right people to get the job done.

  44. What an interesting concept – measuring power within an organization by square footage or the number of ceiling tiles in one’s office. I agree with the statement, “The bigger the office, the greater the perceived power to influence and to lead.” Perhaps I am being an idealist, but I prefer to work in an open-concept work environment where there are no ceiling tiles to count and where employees find, and feel, their value intrinsically…measured by the impact they are having on working collectively to achieve the common good. I have worked in many non-profit agencies in my career with very strong and passionate leadership, some that value their square footage more than the impact that their leadership role has on achieving the mission and core values of the organization. It is true that we are conditioned with a work mindset that “power gets things done.” But we must remember that the same power that gets good things done is also the power that is used to drive corruption, greed, and accomplishments for one’s own good rather than the greater good. In eternity, I want to hear, “’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

  45. There is a reason behind a two-bedroom apartment to have one bigger room also called the master bedroom and the small room called the guests’ room or children’s room. And the reason behind that room distinguishing is the show of power and to some extent respect. When an employee has a bigger office than the rest of his or her coworkers, usually the coworkers should know why that is the case, and if they complain too much about it in the form of jealousy, the manager will do just like the above article stated “ignore and do nothing about their complaints”. There is a lot to be done in a bigger office than a small office. Therefore, I do believe and support that big office should be given to the employee who deserved it as the parent deserved the master bedroom because we know why, and as a kid, we should not question or be jealousy about it.

  46. Hello Professor Yoest,

    Thanks for sharing this article as I understand what it feels like to be working at a big firm after my recent summer internship.

    While big companies can seem grueling and intimidating at first, I believe that they pose the opportunity to strive to make a name for yourself. While it may be more difficult than being a big fish in a small bond, I believe having the competition of fellow peers helps increase one’s motivation to do their best work at all times.

    In addition, a large company provides more resources and peers to learn and grow off of. No matter the company, big or small, there will always be challenges to be overcome.

  47. Humans beings tend to always be dissatisfied with something. Life is not perfect, and people will always find something that they can complain about. It works this way in our personal lives, and the same thing happens in our professional lives too. That is a fact. It does not matter if you are an excellent or a marginal employee, if you have a great bonus or benefits – you will always wish to pursue more.
    It is not an easy task to promote equity among the work environment and make every employee happy. We all have the same rights and deserve to be treated as equal. However, in a situation like that, I believe that exceptional employees deserve to be recognized, even when the company does not have the biggest budget for that – it is necessary to find a way. The company does not want to lose an exceptional employee or have them not motivated. Ego and jealousy is unavoidable. And that should not stop a company from recognizing good employees, as long as it is fair treatment and that everyone has access to the same opportunities.

  48. Really an interesting reading. Leading people can be at time a very strenuous and arduous task. In fact, a leader faces multiple challenges on a daily base. From taking care of the business, to managing people under him or her. Is a bigger office better than a smaller one? In my opinion it all depends on the company culture. Take for example the former Intel CEO, Andy Grove. In his organization’s culture in particular, and in Silicon Valley in general, office matter did not matter. The second example given in this article talk about the first Roman emperor Augustus who did not care much about material stuff. However, as Professor Yoest rightly puts it, not everyone is Andy Grove, nor Emperor Augustus, and not many organizations out follow their examples. Not that they were wrong.Things need to be put into perspective. If someone is an average doer, that person should expect average recognition. The same is true for all aspects in our daily life. Recognition is important for people who go beyond and above the call of duty. That is why in the military, there are medals and others commendation medals, Purple Heart , Silver Star and so forth. I have been in the same pay grade and had the same rang that fellow battle bodies, however, not everyone received what I did receive from higher ups. Recognition helps to motivate those who are not doing their jobs, it drives them to go even further. We should not confuse equality and equalitarianism. If I know something, it is that managers or leaders tend to do more for those who do more for them.

  49. Calvin Chinanzvavana

    This article is just genius Professor Yoest!!!!! I certainly realized through reading this article why it’s time to rethink what makes good employees successful at their job and move away from office politics of size and view. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid office politics as it will constantly be there whether in a partitioned or open plan arrangement. As companies are more focused and determined to be more nimble, agile and first to market with the small business advantage, new office designs are coming to the workplace, with layouts meant to cater to the variety of tasks required of agile management functions. So, brace yourselves change is coming.

  50. Great article, Prof Yoest. I think it is certainly important for the leader to differentiate himself from his followers through external appearances of authority and/or through certain privileges. Without a demarcation between leader and follower it is sometimes easy to forget who is in charge. If the leader appears exactly the same as his followers, why follow him? For a follower it would not be unreasonable to ask, “What makes him the leader? He’s just like the rest of us.” Of course there are certainly successful leaders who actively avoid standing out, i.e. Steve Jobs or Caesar Augustus, but they are statistical outliers. As you stated, “We mere mortals cannot pull off this level of leadership without some cosmetic help.” Even in my extremely liberal company where we have a sprawling open office space and boast the equality and equity of every worker, there is no project manager I know of who does not sit by the window in a bigger cube than the rest of us. To new employees top-level executives also love to promote their “walk-in-whenever” policy. “My door is always open,” they say. But note the keywords: “My door.” They too are not average workers — they have actual offices with doors that open and close. And that’s fine by me because they are the leaders, and I am not. When they walk by, I know to greet them as Sir or Ma’am. When I see them, I recognize that they are people of authority who deserve my respect. If they were to occupy a cube just like mine I think I would mistake them for just another average Joe.

  51. Thank you prof. Yoest, for this wonderful article.

    It was interesting to see Bob measuring his office size against Frank’s office. Instead, he should measure his performance, contribution, time, stress level and efforts against that of Frank. Someone with bigger offices and nice views also has bigger responsibilities and promises to fulfill. As you mentioned, Bob was just the subpar performer who delivered only what he was asked for, so he should not worry about these things. He should rather use his “extra” time in a better way to contribute towards achieving the goals of the organization and Also, if you get these little success easily, you will never learn to value them.

    There will always be people in organizations who will complain and make a mountain of a mustard seed for other’s success. This unavoidable situations are signs of bad worker and a true leader should never focus on these minor things. A good leader should focus on how he can bring best out of his people so they can deliver the best results without letting ego and jealousy cloud their judgment.

  52. Marina Pontes Oliveira

    Politics is a big part of one’s day at an office and may help going farther. As human beings, we cannot help but to have feelings of envy or pride when faced with apparent small things, such as office sizes. I have worked in an office who experienced the tech trend of ‘open spaces’, as employees complained about the top management distance from them. All walls were brought down and everybody shared the common space – including the CEO. I believe that the result of this initiative was surprising, as employees after a while noticed that the distance that they felt still remained, even without the walls. To me, it was a clear indicator that the problem was never the walls, but instead the management style. Each manager has its own way of dealing with their team, some are more distant whereas other as closer. Even with no walls, the style of some members of the top management remained the same.

  53. Very insightful article as per usual. I believe that the meaning of rewards is something that is given in recognition of a person’s achievements. The type of reward might depend on the type of achievement.
    Whether a company is small or big it should appreciate an employee’s effort or achievement. There is no denial. However, a person that simply does their job should not expect to be rewarded in the same way as someone that goes beyond what is required of them. Also, comparing is always harmful. It needs to be done with objectivity.
    The reality is that even when two people have the same benefits and rewards, one will always want to have better ones compared to their colleagues. Humans are rarely satisfied.

  54. This article reminds me one that I have read about recognition and rewards. It is state that
    « Rewards can be monetary or gift-based incentives that companies use to motivate employees or reward them for their performance, whether on an individual or group level. Recognition, on the other hand, is psychological. It taps into the intrinsic motivations people have to succeed, perform well, and feel valued as well as trusted in the work they do. » The article was explaining that it is better to look for recognition instead of rewards. To me both have to be looked for, they can not be separated. However, recognition comes before rewards. It is easier to appreciate the value of our work when the manager is happy and looks proud of ourselves. Satisfy him/her will not really tell if we are doing a good job, in fact, it just means that we are doing the job. Recognition is the expression of a good work, and reward is the action that follow the motivation. This employee should first of all evaluate how much recognition he received from is work. It would be the answer for his concerns about his colleague’s bigger office.
    Thank you professor for the sharing.

  55. Christian Walker

    Office politics is crucial in today’s work environment and can turn to be either very beneficial or very disruptive for a company. Bob didn’t like the appearance that Frank was above him because Frank had a better office. When you start allowing your ego to influence your decisions, you can become blinded by your emotions and this can potentially harm your work performance. Now that Bob can confirm that Frank has a larger office, he’ll start to grow animosity towards Frank and disrupt what could a pleasant work environment. I did find the way that management went about handling this type of situation very interesting. Even though they were of the same level, they awarded those who show exemplary performance and go above and beyond within their work duties. Even though you may be the same level on an organization chart, that doesn’t mean that you too are equal or comparable in all things. I think that Bob should be happy that he has an office because that didn’t necessarily have to happen.

  56. This is a really interesting article and showcases a minor detail that can go a long way in representing the importance an individual may be to a specific workplace and company or organization. Although it is petty to be paying attention to a small detail that is so minuscule in the thick of things but in essence, there is a deeper meaning. As a manager or boss, it is important to value your employees so they can put forth and feel empowered to perform and give their absolute best effort. I think seeing someone pay attention to this kind of aspect says a lot about the person even if I somewhat agree with them that a smaller office may have a deeper meaning and represent how you’re perceived by upper management. If I’m a hiring manager or boss and I see someone mentioning or paying attention to a ceiling tile that to me would say a lot about the individual in a way that is toxic down the road for my business. Ultimately I think this is a really interesting article that addresses a common theme and battle within the workplace as there is always competition between employees to be better than one another.

  57. Thank you, Professor Yoest! Relevant article as usual. An office’s size seems to not be a big deal particularly when there is not a big difference in size. However, it is interesting to notice through this experience how that could be important for people’s perception of authority and power in a company. Also, a big office can be considered as a form of reward for performer workers. Therefore, it can be set as personal goal for some people. Hence, offices’ attribution should be undertaken carefully to avoid some frustration (e.g., in the article). If a simple size of an office can motivate the staff so its attribution should follow some requirements. However, there is still some upper managers or CEO who do not care about
    In my opinion, the size of the office should not be a big deal as long as everybody is doing his/her job correctly.

  58. Darnell Albert El

    Office space and Office politics shows how placement of an office effects and employee. I would had thought very little about this matter until it actually happened to me. I had been an substance abuse counselor at Federal City recovery fir about 5 months I was given the office between the Director and COO. One morning I was told that I had to move out of my office to downstairs to another office because this guy was a LPC I felt humiliated and I did not like it at all. However it was found the guy did not have the proper license and he left and I got my office back.

  59. The idea here is that appearances count. They express perceived power to influence and lead. (Except when they can’t and don’t). So…they do and they don’t? The real question is: are external signs of authority necessary in order to exercise power? There is a difference in meaning between power and authority. Power can be exercised without authority (think horizontal relationships or the influence of a long-term employee vs a newly-arrived manager). Authority is the right to make the calls – this is bestowed by title or rank. Is this difference always applicable? Looking at the examples in the article – Julius Caesar had authority by title, but eventually not enough power/influence. Augustus meanwhile had power and influence and used external appearances to get it – he didn’t use ostentation, he used humility. But he still used appearances. They do count. They are necessary. You just need to know how to use them differently depending on what you need to achieve and from whom. One CEO needs “cosmetic help”? – then he/she may need an imposing office to cement the impression of power; another CEO may need “cosmetic help” using an open plan hotdesking space that he/she shares with the staffers. It’s all about flexibility.

  60. This was an interesting article read. While I think office size and desk placement in an organization is something that is maybe thought privately, I do not think that they are topics that are discussed very freely among colleagues and supervisors. Power is certainly perceived by size – the bigger the better, right? But I think it is important to think realistically. Not everyone who is powerful in an organization needs or gets a big office. There are many individuals who have impact over their colleagues that are not sitting in a big office overlooking the city. These people are important in an organization as well. Yes, there will be individuals that work harder than others, but I do not think saying to an employee, “Hey if you work harder, you’ll get to sit in a room with more space.” I think that might work for some people, but not everyone is motivated by office size status. I truly believe intrinsic motivators are what get people where they need to be. Sure a salary increase can’t hurt, but at the end of it all, everyone should be treated the same regardless of their office size or where they sit in an org chart.

  61. Office size and location is always a hot topic for organizations. Even if perceived to be a non-issue, it is always the underlying elephant in the room among employees. Office moves and relocations really show the true colors of an individual, sometimes bringing out some less than desirable traits in employees. I agree with the author’s idea of using office space as a reward and incentive, especially when resources for bonuses are low or unavailable. The drawback to this mentality is that eventually you run out of space, and appropriate offices become few and far between. For the individual that receives the better space, it can help increase their job satisfaction and potentially increase their overall happiness; however, it may not bode well for general office morale.

    I’d be interested to learn more about what feedback and studies have shown around the open office environment concept. I’ve personally worked for an organization that implemented this idea and it seemed to work. All employees at the Vice President level and up received offices, while everyone else was assigned cubicles. When the idea was first introduced, it was not popular; however, with time, employees realized that the open concept encouraged more collaboration among teams and removed the element of office space comparison. I know that some companies have gone as far as eliminating physical offices for all levels of an organization, including top leaders, to help break down barriers within the company. This would negate the idea that bigger offices equals more power, since that element has been eliminated. It would force leaders to think of new ways to reward exceptional employees and exercise their power.

  62. This article is relatable because it shows how unprofessional and unpleasant individuals can be in the workplace. Bob would have found something else wrong with his office even if he had the same office with a similar view. The fact that Bob actually counted the ceiling tiles in Franks office shows his character and the human resources department should be aware. Bob definitely did not deserve the bigger office because of his attitude and his satisfactory work evaluations. If Frank Exceeds expectations, goes above and beyond for the company; he deserves the office. Individuals tend to treat their work station or area like it is their home and the work place is completely separate. Everything in the office belongs to the organization not to the employees. You can never satisfy anyone in the workplace. If an employee does not surpass expectations, they should not be rewarded

  63. Roger S. Blackburn

    It is obvious here that psychology will always play a role in the power subordinate scenario, no matter what we as a society try to do. This is human nature, and human nature cannot, and will not, ever be changed. That’s just the way it is, whether we like it or not. The only alternative to this psychological slavery is to concentrate our efforts as managers and leaders on educating those we interconnect with … our colleagues. There is no other way to change the psychological slavery, other than to embark on a massive education program. We have to be aware of our environment, and therefore know that our environment as managers and leaders in the business arena, cannot succeed through greed. It is all based on simple awareness and knowledge of this very scenario. Knowing what the end can bring if we fail to conform.

  64. This an interesting perspective on ego and jealously in the workplace. Employees must let go of their inflated ego in order to continually grow. Jealously is a very ego-based concept that can affect anyone. In Bob’s case, his ego possibly undermined his performance. Bob spent so much time trying to point out the difference in treatment that he likely left important work projects to flail until his issue was resolved. When employees are obsessed with someone else’s success or treatments, their career may suffer. The best resolution for jealousy is self-confidence. I am sure managing jealous staff can be complicated. However, there are a few things I believe the manager could have done to deescalate Bob’s envy. The manager should have encouraged Bob to focus on his own success rather Frank’s. Also, he could have engaged with Bob about his goals. That could have increased Bob’s confidence and inspired him to think about what he would like to achieve. The manager has the power to help Bob succeed. Helping employees like Bob set and reach goals is a significant part of all manager’s jobs. When employees see how their work contributes to organizational goals, their self-confidence will boost. If employees trust in their abilities, they can appreciate their growth/success and become less envious of others accomplishments.

  65. Michael A. Harris

    Transitioning from a cubicle to an office that I can mount my television in to use a monitor has been quite a lifestyle change. Personally, I appreciate the ability to close my door and pace on a phone during a meeting. If I were to be in an office with less room, I would not have this affordability. Therefore I am very much so grateful for the space I have. However, there a few of my co-workers who share a space in a room that is approximately smaller than mine but functional for their job duties. As I consider the ‘appropriateness” of office space, I am struck with a pondering thought centered around how I would feel about office space if I were to transition back to a less massive space with the perks of free move-ability.

  66. Bigger isn’t necessarily always better – said no one ever. Office space can be a touchy subject to many individuals when it comes to size, amenities, and proximity to those in charge. The first thing one looks at is the size of the office and the second thing is the view. It’s easy to fall victim to jealousy when making comparisons to your counterparts in the office. Typically, a larger office with a pleasant view would be offered to someone with a high position in the company. This can be difficult to explain if two employees have the same position. In this article, the author noted that Frank was a higher performer than Bob, which might justify him having a larger office with more amenities. However, this might not be a fair situation to dispute for the human resources team when attempting to defend their reasonings for offering Frank the larger office. Despite the size difference, even if it’s slight, Bob still has the opportunity to make the best of it instead of dwelling on something he can’t change.

  67. There’s a lot about this article that is really interesting and is alignment with what I’ve encountered through my years of working in a corporate environment. “Appearances” are very important to some and can potentially signify to others, a persons importance or proximity to control or power. I will say that in my opinion and I believe supported by the example in this article, that from a business perspective, it is oftentimes those who do not deserve the special perks of a job (larger office, spending accounts, company vehicle, etc.) are often times the least humble and most vocal of any situations of perceived fairness. The key here is to have structured process for awarding team members perks or access that is based on performance, that way no one can claim bias or personal preference, when they do get “exactly” what someone else has. Or at least if they try to complain, there is a documented process for how these decisions are made.

  68. The reward system at an organization is complicated. Employees have different perspectives on what is an appropriate reward. Some employees prefer monetary awards or benefits, others might like a better office or promotion. Bob’s concern about the size of his office space demonstrates that extrinsic rewards are important to him. He is a high performer and believes his office should be the same size as his coworker. Hopefully, he will not look for a new job because of it. Organization have to try and retain their employees. If it is possible, he should ask for a new space. His manager should consider giving it to him. Extrinsic rewards also have intrinsic rewards. If, the manager thinks Bob deserves it, they should make Bob happy. Employee job satisfaction is important.

    Employees can be competitive with their coworkers. Especially, if it appears the organization favors them. However, it is not good to compare yourself to others. Usually, there is a reason why management made a certain decision.

  69. Interesting and meaningful story! A thumb up to the manager, who found a way to reward his good employees even though he didn’t have much margin in his budget. A good lesson to the marginal performers. I remember my father used to tell me, when I was very young, that do not complain about what you didn’t get, focus on improving yourself, then you will find you get more than you expected.

    As followers, we need to pay more attention on how to make our work perfect and signature ready for the complete staff work, and trust our leader who can take care of other things, such as the rewards, bonus, and reputation of our group. As a leader, he should be aware of his followers’ needs and reward the good ones as much as possible. The different office size and window-view as well as the desk location (if it is in a shared office) can mean something to the followers.

  70. The size and location of your office reflects status. The more spacious and the better the view, the more status one has. I didn’t realize this until our office did a move. We were asked to look at the blueprint of the new office and choose the one we wanted. We didn’t get what we wanted, however. We got what our title afforded us. Although there were enough office spaces for everyone to have a window, those of lower rank got window-less offices. The offices with windows were smaller and didn’t have a table for meetings, but it had a view. That’s when I realized what offices communicated not only to the employees but also the guest visiting. This person is important.

    I try not to let the size of my office bother me. I’m very fortunate to have an office with a door that closes. I’m very fortunate to have a job at all but I’m not ignorant to what these things communicate and how much they mean to people.

  71. Elizabeth Cabral

    Overall, the article was interesting and brought up important points about the perceptions of space and power. I loved how you brought the reader in with an intriguing story about two different people at the same level with differently sized offices, and how the size of the office related to power or control. Many people want to be rewarded for performing well at their workplace. Typically, people who genuinely care about the company will perform better than those who do not care about the cause or company. Although these two people had the same role, one person did their job a lot better. Therefore, the employee who when above and beyond got the larger office. This caused the subpar employee to feel jealous. Small things like office size make a huge difference to an employee and impact their productivity and opinion. If we give two people who perform the same different incentives, one might resent the company and believe that the system is not fair. We should create an incentives plan to keep the employees above average and keep the incentives fair compared to each person’s performance level. An incentive could be giving them a bigger office or a more powerful position. I learned that the perception of being powerful is just as important as being in a powerful position.

  72. Christopher Beckman

    This article really resonated with me. When I was in the Army and a newly arrived soldier in my first unit, my team sergeant (Tony) who was just like Bob tasked a few of us newbies to move his furniture into another office and put the other guy’s furniture in the hallway. The size of the office meant everything to him, and he found out that he outranked the other guy by time in grade…this usually doesn’t mean anything but to Tony it meant everything! I can absolutely appreciate that idea that higher performers should have a nice space with a decent view, it showcases the person in charge’s thanks and most importantly acknowledges the performer’s success. I have seen on a number of occasions where positions rather than people are given this elevation to showcase this position’s authority. For example, I have worked in organizations where Directors would receive the large corner offices and their deputies would line the wall to the left of their corner. Meanwhile, the workforce would reside in the cubicle farm or “bullpen” directly in front of the offices. I can very much understand where Emperor Augustus was coming from with his idea of keeping things simple and be a leader of and for the people with his straw hat. Although, every citizen knew he was at one of the wealthiest citizens of the empire and of his ruthless campaign again the once-beloved Mark Anthony…Augustus was not a man to be crossed. I believe that he knew he could have an office he wanted and was happy just knowing that fact.

  73. This article gives great insight into how diversified the role and definition of “power” is, and just how far it spans across time. Power can be seen in every aspect of life, and is something the business world in particular is revolved around. There is a structure and chain of command in nearly every organization in existence, which allows employees to have a physical representation of where they currently are, or where they wish to go. As mentioned in the article, there are often issues of who is more deserving of a particular title, space, or overall representation of the brand. Along with this, the article examines the concept of recognition and how that factors into how people go about their work. Recognition serves as fuel to produce and go above and beyond what is asked of them to produce. Personally, I believe I would be able to get work done in any environment, but a larger space and nicer equipment would make life easier for some people. However, although these amenities make a work setting more appealing, they do have the power to distract one from performing their job to the best of their ability if not used correctly.

  74. This article gives a great tour from Human resource functions to equal employment opportunity and can easily resonate with us. But what made Bob look for signs to justify the management’s favoritism and unequal treatment in the workplace. Will Bob be relieved if Frank’s office was less in size and crappy like his? Will Bob be feeling satisfied and appreciate the company’s treatment if Frank’s breathtaking view of the city is covered? Can Bob be more productive and a proactive person if granted a bigger office with a better view? It is not a guarantee. His evaluations were “satisfactory.” His office was satisfactory…does it mean he was transferred to this office after performance appraisal? If so, the company’s performance management system should have been properly designed and implemented to communicate with Bob how well he is presently performing and clarify what needs to be done to improve his performance. Or during the company’s recruitment and selection process, he was not communicated effectively on what the company provides and expects from its employees. We all like to compete and compare with those we are working with or associate with, in one way or another. Still, when jealousy and ego get in the way of the process, we start seeing all management approaches in doubt, lose appreciation, and work motivation. When we start to measure our value and importance in the organization solely by what we occupy, like Bob did, rather than focusing on our performance and contribution, despair and dissatisfaction take place.

  75. Often we all see some people fighting for the wrong prizes at corporations. Some of us will want the bigger office, others the title. It is interesting to see how we all operate in different ways. The achievers can be divided into two groups, the ones that want recognitions, the corner offices, trips, etc., and the ones who want to do more of what they like to do, no matter where, no matter what, or even if they are being well compensated for it. If they are passionate about it, they will do it all. Until they burn out and find something else. What is intriguing to me is that the first group, the ones who count tiles are usually the mediocre ones. It does not matter your efforts; they will never be able to produce as much as the second group will.

  76. Often, we all see some people fighting for the wrong prizes at corporations. Some of us will want the bigger office, others the title. It is interesting to see how we all operate in different ways. The achievers can be divided into two groups, the ones that want recognitions, the corner offices, trips, etc., and the ones who want to do more of what they like to do, no matter where, no matter what, or even if they are being well compensated for it. If they are passionate about it, they will do it all. Until they burn out and find something else. What is intriguing to me is that the first group, the ones who count tiles are usually the mediocre ones. It does not matter your efforts; they will never be able to produce as much as the second group will.

  77. I see this article posing more of a managerial question than a space question. This comes down to an organizational reward system. Frank was the better employee and therefore got the more rewarding space. I wonder if Bob knew there was room for improvement? Did it come up in his performance appraisal? Could this have been an opportunity to motivate Bob with desired rewards? Obviously, you can’t make an office space bigger. At some point, there are physical limitations when using space as a reward – even if all your employees are superstars. What are other ways to reward or motivate employees? Our textbook says it requires discipline to relate rewards to performance. It requires accountability and transparency on the manager’s part, which is not easy, but perhaps could create a less aggrieved team.

  78. There is a large notion that space equals power. This can be in regards to real estate or a business setting. We have always been told those higher up in the company have the top floor, larger, better view offices – but why? Is it because they are more productive than their coworkers? Did they earn those offices based on previous performance? It is interesting to see how some employees, like Bob, set their own standards of importance within a company, such as office size. Someone like Bob who has been determined by his manager as an “always-angry subpar performer” will not perform better with a larger office. Instead, he will continue to compare himself to others around him and questioning his managers trust. It’s unfortunate that this stuff holds as much importance as it does, which is why open office settings seem to be the most functional and fair way to work. It regains the focus on employee productivity and reaching company goals rather than wasting the work day counting ceiling tiles.

  79. The distinction between fairness and equality is an important thing to point out. In my opinion, they have two different meanings that apply to the situation in this article. Fairness (in a business setting) is the idea of impartiality or being assessed/evaluated on the same scale as a colleague and making sure people within an organization are being given the same opportunities. Equality is the idea that a person within an organization is being given what they deserve based on performance or merit, assuming employees within the organization all have the same opportunity to achieve their individual goals. However, I think people tend to compare themselves to others within an organization without looking at their own performance and work ethic as seen in the example in this article. If everyone in an organization is being treated fairly (which I know isn’t always the case) then it is the responsibility of an employee to perform better and add value to that company if they want to see a pay raise, bigger office, increased role, etc. I feel as if many people get caught up on their title, current situation, and find excuses as to why they are where they are instead of working a little smarter, harder, and finding ways to add value without sacrificing their character and integrity.

  80. I think that it is an interesting concept how much importance people place on small differences across jobs. In the example, Bob places so much focus on figuring out if everything is “fair” between himself and Frank because they have the same job title. Asking questions such as “do we have the same view?” “do we have the same size office?” “how many ceiling tiles do I have?” proves that Bob’s priorities are not in the right place. He puts more focus on what he thinks he deserves, rather than earning rewards for his hard work, and a better office won’t change this attitude; especially because the boss has already figured out the type of worker that he is- angry and satisfactory. It is difficult for a boss to make everyone happy, especially when offices are not always exactly the same within a building. And while it should not be the focus of the boss to make sure every single person is happy and satisfied with the exact size of their office, it is inevitable that some employees make it a problem. I think that something managers need to keep in mind is that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be fair and have an accurate reward system, some people will ALWAYS find something to complain about.

  81. Antonia Hawkins-Johnson

    This article is a good read, it shows how jealousy can make a person only think of themselves, yet they signed up to me as a team player. In my opinion there will always be a few people that put their jealous ways and ego first foot forward, but need to stop and think to themselves..hmmmm what could I have done better to receive the bigger office, better evaluation, or maximum pay increase. In the article the sentence, “Jealousy and an ego also affect how we gauge our perceived importance in daily organizational life.” Instead of Bob taking accountability for his satisfactory evaluations and applying himself to be more than a subpar employee, he uses all his negative energy to complain about what someone else has instead of applying himself appropriately. Seemingly Bob is only striving for “Power” rather than being a team player, seeking pertinent information/advice from Frank who is obviously doing well in his role to receive the “bigger office” instead of feeling slighted, being angry, and mumbling under his breath as if he is a child, wasting a day’s work counting office tiles.

  82. I found this article to pose a difficult decision that managers must evaluate when it involves employees and egos. It could be challenging to accommodate and consider everyone’s perception of equal as it relates a physical office space. This aspect can also be expanded to professional relationships within an organization; for example, a manager that has a close relationship with two of his subordinates as they go out to lunch often. Jealously is definitely a driving force and can cause an individual to compare themselves to someone else, who they perceived to be in “better” position. This type of feeling could subsequently cause the person to feel unappreciated if they are not recognized, affecting their productivity and performance. It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that there is an open and honest communication with each staff to prevent what occurred in the article. Although the office space was minimum, there was different avenues that could be taken to recognize Bob’s for his contribution to the organization. During the performance appraisal review, recommendations could be rendered to help Bob to go beyond his usual performance, although it was satisfactory. I am a sole believer that employer not only have a promise to their organization goals, but to the growth of their staff.

  83. Marybeth Osazuwa

    I absolutely enjoyed reading this article as it provided much perspective and insight throughout the entire post. After reading this post, I firmly believe that jealously plays a major factor within individuals. This is shown in life when individuals get jealous of what others have or may receive in life. However, jealousy within the workplace can have a negative impact on individuals as well as the fact, that it can create a rift between coworkers in the workplace. This is due to the fact that it can negatively impact workforce performance. Individuals and employees need to focus on themselves and what they are contributing to the company/organization.

  84. Intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards for employees is a balance the organization must constantly manage to meet and exceed production. The decision to give a high-producing employee a bigger office is a chance for leadership to recognize someone who is extrinsically motivated to continue to exceed expectations in the contributions made to the organization. However, the same person rewarded with a bigger office may be intrinsically motivated to perform well without special recognition. The organization may determined the projected savings in giving the higher-producing employee a bigger office over increasing that employee’s salary or giving a bonus as a strategy to offer a form of nonmonetary compensation to a valued employee.

  85. I enjoyed reading this article and thought that the story about Bob was a good one. I have a couple of thoughts that I want to share. First, by dwelling on the negative, Bob is only reinforcing his manager’s perspective of him. Instead of wasting time measuring the size of his office against Frank’s, he should be focused on improving his performance and becoming a better employee. He needs to reframe his thoughts as perspective is everything. Second, I completely agree with the author when he writes, “The bigger the office, the greater the perceived power to influence and to lead — even across my modest organizational structure.” I have experienced this both as a manager and as an assistant. After I graduated from college, I joined a start-up with four employees as a business development associate. I was eventually promoted as a human resources manager, and the company grew to over 200 employees; the key players with the most power always had the biggest and best offices. It was always one of the best perks. In another job, I was an administrative assistant and worked at the front desk in an open office space. I hated it because it was too distracting, lacked privacy, and created anxiety and stress. Only the executives had their own private offices, and I often felt they would walk down the hall just to look over our shoulders and remind us who was in charge. It could be intimidating and thus counterproductive.

  86. This article poses a unique challenge that managers must face. The issue of whose office is bigger will always continue within an organization, especially with people who are the same level and have the same pay grade. The fact that Bob would only do what was asked of him, and nothing beyond that shows why he was assigned the smaller office without a great view. However, the other challenge becomes creating a solid reason to explain why he was given that office. It is interesting to look at and try to understand why people put so much value in such a small aspect of work life. As a boss or a manager, one of the goals should be to make all the employees happy with their position. Although, this is a big challenge because after all, we can’t make everyone happy. The main lesson from this article is your value to the company isn’t just the results, but also the dedication you have to the company.

  87. In Bob’s case, I think his jealousy is a projection of his insecurities. Bob is most likely aware that he underperforms – or at least doesn’t perform to the same caliber as Frank. His office represents that and every time someone stops by, his insecurities rise.

    It’s fairly normal for people to have different-sized offices. Seniority plays a role many times, even if the roles are similar. For example, if a coach has a corner office and leaves their position, then the person hired to replace them may not get that office. They may get an office with no windows.

    As positions and jobs evolve, then it’s likely there will be some disparity amongst office spaces. Transparency is the best way to prevent petty arguments or passive-aggressive attitudes.

  88. Having a big office is nice to have, but it shuts you out from the rest of the other operations that are happening in an office environment. This article speaks to me because my manager made a big decision to move all of the sales team out into one open area. This was a big switch up for us because we all had our office space and were comfortable with what we each had for space. When the time came to implement the change, we kept an optimistic mindset to the move because we knew we would get along better as a team. This was one of the best decisions made because we were able to communicate and spar ideas easier. When we each had our own office, we were very autonomous and did not bounce ideas off of each other which did not make us as efficient and productive. After we were moved into an open and “equal” space, our productivity and results were in an upward trajectory. Being able to communicate so easily with the rest of the team, created a better bond and relationship from peer to peer. Overall, having an office might be beneficial for top executives like the CEO, but it limits the ability for other co-workers to share and express their ideas.

  89. Although, on paper Bob and Frank were at the same grade, there certainly was a non-verbal cue that Frank was of greater value. Office size in a professional setting tends to tell others the organizational structure and “value” of the individual within the organization. As a leader it’s important to make all team members feel as though they are valued and that their work matters. When leaders fail to know their employees and what motivates them, not only does it lower productivity but it can also cause potential good employees to leave the organization. Individuals can find work elsewhere, in a sense there is nothing that ties them to a specific organization and working only for them. However, the benefits in keeping the same employees who become loyal to the organization far outweigh having an organization who has a high turnover rate. From the article, it was evident that Bob felt as though he was lesser than Frank. While the solution is not to get Bob a bigger office because as stated that’s not possible, a good leader will find a different solution that makes Bob feel as though he is just as important and valuable as Frank is.

  90. Richelle A Torres

    As the saying goes, ‘it is your own shadow, your own insecurities, that will kill you’. No matter how large or how grandiose your office or even title is if you keep on comparing yourself to others and finding fault to everything, you will never be happy and contented with what you have.

    In my honest opinion, I do not find office politics as doing any good to any business even if they say that it serves as a healthy competition between employees or teams. Some will say that office politics can bring out the best in the organization. I beg to disagree on that, because in the long run this will just create chaos and division throughout the company. One will always seek the approval of their senior leaders in order to be noticed while the other will likely try to overpower and destroy the other.

    As the author stated, ‘the work office is a seat of power to get things done’. We have our own office spot to serve as a place to do our job. Therefore, focus on your work productivity, form relationships with your colleagues and not the kind of relationship that stems into office intrigues and gossips. I believe these attitudes will take you far, that you do not need bad office politics to get you the advancement or the promotion that you are seeking.

    But then, who does not want a larger (bonus if it is a corner) office with a large window and a good view?

  91. While it is common for people to want the “corner office with a view”, I have often found that those employees are typically looking for an excuse to be unhappy in their current role. Yoest tells us that Frank has a bigger office with a better view because Frank is a better employee. Bob was a “subpar performer”. The mistake here was in not telling Bob exactly why he had a smaller office overlooking the parking lot. High performing employees deserve to be compensated – whether that is through a monetary bonus, further development opportunities, or a nicer office. Bob’s concern should have been acknowledged and the office used as incentive to encourage him to contribute at a higher level. Bob’s performance would either improve or solidify the need for Bob to move on.

    As an HR Executive at a big box retailer, I was given an office with a computer. This was necessary as I needed to be able to have private meetings with employees and access to employee records, performance appraisals, etc. My peers who were executives in other departments had offices, but no computers. They were expected to share 2 computers between the three of them in our team “training room”. The trade off was that their offices were behind locked areas and employees could not easily get to them when they were working. My office was next to the time clock, making it easier for employees to access me (and suck up my time). I constantly felt as if I had to schedule every second of my day to get work done and envied their ability to work in relative peace. I would have given anything to share a computer and have an office hidden away. My peers would have given anything to have my office, because somehow that computer represented power to them. Sometimes, power is all about perception.

  92. Danielle Waldschmidt

    The battles for office space from the outside seem petty, but it matters to some. To those it matters it really matters. Part of the job of a manager is to provide awards. Space certainly is a benefit that should be used appropriately. Are there other ways to make Bob feel rewarded for his work? A tough job of a supervisor is to know his employees and provide them the things that make their job satisfying. Everyone is going to be different, but things like verbal praise, public recognition or training can go a long way. Open space offices have been a big trend in recent years. I’ve seen offices where it worked well and very poor set ups. One of the best open space set ups I saw, everyone was equal in terms of space. Everyone else had the same space to work in, they didn’t have an assigned desk but everyone had a locker. I’m familiar with an office where the manager has an office, but works in the open space among his employees. Due to this decision, he has a great working relationship with his employees. He is able to interact better with his employees and the customers. He is able to better solve problems and everyone works together well. As a person who works best with some privacy, I would suggest to move cautiously in the direction of open space.

  93. Likith sai srinivas yella

    In my opinion, the article shows the influence of how perks like office space. I think Bob’s anger replaced his embarrassment is natural feeling because he realized that he has smaller office. Many companies treat their employees equally if they are at the same pay grade, but unfortunately they are not equal in square footage. I feel that companies should be equal for square footage with their employees who are at the same position, in order to treat them equally treated. The article mentioned how we perceive the looks of thing with value so we can use this as motivation to do better in our work place. I believe that all employees want to be more successful because the feel of success comes from raises and praise. For example, if your manager telling you that you did a good job, that can brighten up a day. However, the feel of success is very important.

  94. Watch any tv drama series that involves a lawyer or a big shot corporate type, when they are promoted they are seeking the large corner office with the view of the city. For those that are promoted and have an increase in pay but do not receive an increase in “status” they are highly dissatisfied. To many, the office, the signage, the announcement and the ambiance all mean that they have made it. Some do this as a means of confirmation to others that they are doing what they need and to others they do not gives a rates — about any of the accolades. Changing systems in which I work recently, I went from a small office space to a very large office space and there were many at my place of business that said, “He is the least experienced, why does he get the big office?” Unbeknownst to them, I needed the space to fit more people in for meeting purposes. But those that did not know this just assumed that I wanted the large office because it had a bathroom in it and I was taking away the “sanctuary” that they had. For many having a career reward that is seen by others is important and confirms their status, while others need not and could care not. I think finding out those personalities and working with them to manage expectations and frustrations is key.

  95. Geraldinne Sanchez

    Even though we can learn how to be successful managers, some situations cannot be avoidable. As the article says, “how many of us have also done the same thing mentally (if not with a tape measure)?” (Yoest, 2015) Unfortunately, humans will never be 100% satisfied or happy. There will always be perks such as a difference in office sizes, a few cents less, a better view, or just a cubicle. Small things like these can affect our ego, letting jealousy overcome our feelings to think with are not worth it and the organization is unfair. Yet does it matter if we have a bigger office? Delyar Abed is the best sales representative at Presidential Exteriors. Even though the company offer him his own office, he thought that it was useless and now, he has a cubicle. He has taught me that sometimes we look into little things that do not matter in business life. We even let bad thoughts cloud our judgment and performance. We need to stop comparing ourselves in business and life.

  96. I think it is extremely easy to look at people and compare what they have and you do not have. The office size is a great way to talk about how people of the same pay grade can be shown that they are working in a different way. Bob for example had the same job as Frank but never went above and beyond to seperate himself to his bosses. The boss chose to use different methods to show thaqt Frank is working harder in a different way and they saw and appreciated that. I think even if the offices were the same size employees will find ways to complain if they feel they are not getting everything other employees are

  97. I think there are two ideas that can be taken away from this article that are important, but somewhat contradictory; 1) The perception of power matters and 2) The best workers ignore this power perception. While it is important to manage a staff by giving the bigger office, the proximity to the boss, and all of these other things to the best workers, those that are the best workers will not care about these small details.

    In my current role, I do not have an office or office space even close to the size of some of my equals, and until reading this article I hadn’t really given it much thought.
    While people will inevitably notice, I think the best organizations view those concerns culturally as “petty”.

  98. At times, managing staff can be difficult but especially when there is jealousy, favoritism or ego clashes involved. All can be triggered by pay raises, promotions, as well as bigger or better office space. Focusing more attention on particular employees can prevent growth opportunities. This can lead to losing good employees who feel their talents are being overlooked. It’s always best to address these issues before they become unbearable. Also, it’s best to focus on the work and remain professional in the workplace, even when there are others who don’t do the same. Employees are happier and produce quality work when everyone looks out for each other, thus fostering a healthy and productive workplace.

  99. I find this article interesting. Yes! Having an office with enough space is a good thing. However, the most important is to focus to get the job done. Jealousy can rise in the workplace if the management is favorites some of the employees. When employees are being evaluated based on the relationship with the management that’s when things can go off the track because those who are being looked down will react to it and it would affect the organization. In this situation, the organization wanted to show appreciation to Frank by giving him a bigger office since he worked hard compared to his coworker Bob. I think that Bob shouldn’t have taken this as negative instead he should have saw it as motivation to push himself to his best and avoid complaining about it or he could have talk to his manager. I believe that even employees have the same pay rate but if one of them is working hard than the others to help the organization on short and long-term goals, that employee deserves some sort of promotion to encourage the other employees to do the same.

  100. If I am being honest, I think everything that has been explained about Bob in comparing himself and how he is viewed to others is what is wrong with many people today. There is something to be said for being rewarded for your hardwork and successes, but rewards and representation of status don’t need to be visual. We all know the saying that life isn’t unfair and people always have something they are unhappy about. Someone like Bob could get the bigger office with a better view and then would complain that the office is too hot because the sun shines on his office too much. A good employee or rather person is someone who wants to succeed for the group and not worried about just themself. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others around you and especially those ‘equal’ to you, but Bob is comparing and becoming more jealous and defensive because his work ethic and performance is equivalent to his smaller office. He skates by and does just enough. Bob should continue to work and prove his boss wrong that he deserves a bigger office. This needs to be shown through actions and his work rather than his words.

  101. I think most of us have had a number of Bobs in our lives. Actually counting ceiling tiles seems petty, but after determining the office was smaller, it also should have been a wake-up call for Bob – and while it is certainly easier and quicker to blame the assignment on a lack of availability or resources, Bob should have been informed that excellent offices go to outstanding performers. That would not belittle or bely his efforts, as such, but it would point out that he has a lot of room (pun intended) for improvement. One would hope Bob took this comparison and made more effort to up his contributions, although if he operated under the misperception of always being slighted, this would be one more check in the box. It was convenient in this scenario there were offices that could be divvied up as a standard space and as a reward – that may not always be the case – but I admire that the author sought alternatives to reward those who exceeded expectations when he didn’t have the budget to reward them monetarily.

  102. ngoltoingar Chantal bayor

    Our view of thing can differ from one person to another someone may put his focus or priorities on things or objects and another person’s may do I on subject. But the most crucial is to be able to differentiates what is urgent from the important one and less. That will help to focus our energy on task that need attention rather than in short term futility’s. By doing so we will save time, money and be efficient. The bigger the office, the greater the received power to influence and lead. As it is well mentioned, this is a perception not a reality. I thing as long as they have office, desk and computer they should focus on how to deliver and help their company to achieve his goal. They must canalize their energy on results, but not waste it on jealousy or size of office.

  103. If someone that was working for me started counting tiles of other employees’ offices to determine their status, that would be a gigantic red flag. It would also be a gigantic red flag to me as an owner or manager of the culture that I am trying to cultivate. The natural reaction of a manager would to find it petty and beneath someone to be measuring themselves not by the work they have done and the results they have produced. This idea goes back to the idea of “completed staff work.” We see in the book that the incentive for a manager is to empower their subordinates to do the best work possible and to solve problems before they become too big. This should always be the priority and the measurement of the employee to see if they carrying their weight. If there is an employee who is not abiding by this then me, as a manager, need to rethink what it is I’m conveying to my subordinates what is important and how I want to conduct business. It understandable that someone might look at a “smaller” office, as in Bob’s case, as a slight to their ability but being transparent and understanding that value does not equal office size then a company can get closer to the culture that is completed staff work.

  104. This article was very intriguing. I liked the choice of topic because it posed a great thought provoking question of how managers evaluate employees and their self-esteem throughout their work performance. From my personal experience, I know it can be difficult to equally distribute the same rewards when the work ethic varies from employee to employee. However, I found that as a manager, if you focus on the outcomes one helps to maintain the business then they should be rewarded or acknowledged as such.
    When it comes to actual office space, it may be challenging to reward employees with the same size office due to limited availability. No matter how a member or employee may feel, there will always be some inequalities that lie within a business. Furthermore, some individuals have to understand that businesses have their own structured hierarchy which may include seniority or certain requirements, such as bachelor or master degree.
    In conclusion, as businesses continue to evolve so does mankind. And in order to keep up with the evolution, it is important to establish transparency amongst everyone from the top executives to the newest employee. Transparency helps prevent miscommunications between individuals and maintain a healthy work environment.

  105. Appearances matter, they give an impression of who a person is and what they might be about. That goes the same for an office space and facility. In my own case, when recruiting a player to potentially join our program, we attempt to pull all the stops out in order to show them why our program is the right choice. In order to so do we must show off our facilities like our offices, weight room, meeting rooms, our athletic fields, etc. the appearance of these things matter to recruits and to potential hires as well. Do you have a nice stadium? How are the uniforms? Is the weight room nice? Are all questions that can be potentially asked and we have to be prepared to show it off to these potential new additions to our program. When recruiting a new player, for some it can be all about how the facilities are. As the saying goes “first impressions matter” and its important to put your best foot forward.

  106. Colleen McLaughlin

    Even though Bob and Frank are on the same playing field job wise, each person has a different work ethic. Whether we like it or not, someone who is out performing another will always be treated differently than someone who is just going through the motions. They could be given a better office or be treated differently. Even if you were to give them an equal space, someone who finds something else to complain about. The employees that usually complain are the ones who are underperforming and not focused on their work.

  107. Berhanu Sinamo DEBOCH

    I am fascinated by the article. In this dramatic approach, the dialogue has worked in different sizes of offices, are good examples which reflect the jealousy and egoism that are real even today in a colleagueship. I think in today`s business world, something such as a high ego can be the difference between surviving the job and not being a part of the community. When a worker has an ego that is contagious in the office situation, it can play a big part in bringing down the morale. It is important that a manger do their best to try to manage the egos and attitudes of subordinates in an office situation. In the article, the manager tried his best to control it. For example, when we become jealous and egotistic if our co-worker gets closer to the organizational power than we are, this in turn affects one’s dedication, efficiency and satisfaction of work and one’s internal peace as well. On top of this, I thought that what matters the most is not the broader and the brighter office we are working in: rather, just carrying out one’s job with power, potential, and full blown efforts is the main goal., For sure, the good looks and the appearance of things surrounding us matters to some degree according to the ancient Roman understanding mentioned in the article, but, what so ever it is, the work office is a base and a power to get things done.

    I agree with the idea Bob mentioned – that “Jealousy and ego also affect how we gauge our perceived importance in daily organizational life”. Jealousy can be a very dangerous thing. It defines how we see things and how we act in our everyday life. From this article, I have learned that open office space can determine the effectiveness and the employee growth as well as their engagement. The owner of a certain small business must attempt to be fair among the employers even when things are not perfect.This in turn ensures everyone is equal in one’s work place. Inappropriately, aspects of a team environment can be lost with egos. I believe that effective communication can reduce the chances of egos taking over the office environment. In the article, bob wanted a bigger office, but did not want to perform at the level that he is expected to perform at. In situations like this, the manager will need to do their best to diffuse the ego, or it can pose a problem for the office environment. Bob was a subpar performer who delivered all that was asked and nothing more.

  108. This article is a great overview of office politics and how even an office space can show an employee’s true colors. There are those who sit in beautiful office spaces with beautiful views who don’t get the work done but are favored by senior leadership and can get away with it. The unfortunate thing is that I have been in environments where it is seen by employees across the organization. Yet, you have those who have less desirable spaces, no windows, or perhaps a small cube who never complain and are probably some of the organization’s hardest-working employees. Who works with their head down just to get the job done. For me, I have seen the ones who complain and show jealously are the ones who are trying to hide their performance.

    I have seen it both ways. The article is right, appearances count. But when is that just enough? I feel that there are employees who take advantage of that power structure. It is disappointing but that has been part of the challenging office politics.

  109. I thought this was an interesting read. I do think this article relates to individuals ego’s within the workplace. As mentioned in the article, someone with a bigger ego may complain more and have a sense of jealousy within the work environment. I do see both sides of this argument, of someone arguing that it is not equal getting a smaller office or one in the corner, but how can you get rid of these employees from complaining? I think it is the job of a manager to choose who they want in this situation because someone is going to disagree or not like whatever decision the manager makes. I think you should reward individuals who take the job more seriously, or who may be more productive within their time being at the office. Hopefully this could motivate both the people who get the bigger office, and the person who may have been thrown in the corner office. I really like the part of the article about Augustus. If a leader within the organization shows that they are a servant type of leader, and do not care about their appearance, that may be a great way to show other employees that they shouldn’t either. This is another way of creating a culture that eliminates big egos, and complaining.

  110. The article is relevant to how unprofessional and unpleasant personalities can be in the office. Bob would have eventually discovered that something was wrong with his office even if he had a different or similar view. Bob counting the ceiling tiles in his coworker’s office demonstrates his character and the department leader had to be aware. In my opinion Bob was not deserving of a much larger office because of his mannerisms and job satisfactory assessments. On the other hand, Frank’s work attitude towards his job and the organization surpasses expectations, he goes above and beyond; he is deserving of the larger office. I really do believe that we take care of our workspace as if it is our home and therefore it is hard to entirely separate the two. Leaders do their best to satisfy associates while they are on duty. anyone in the workplace. It is a professional manner that employees who do not expectations, will not be rewarded as the ones who do.

  111. I enjoyed this article’s approach to effective leadership presence. Being a leader is like walking a tight rope and everyone is watching. You want to be sociable and approachable so your subordinates like you and not fear you. You also want to be respected as an authority figure so that deadlines are met, rules are followed, and your orders aren’t challenged. A good leader constantly plays the balancing act between these two leadership styles. I like how you emphasize leadership by action and outcome rather than how a leader looks or sounds. Former Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Daily had a list of top ten leadership tips for Sergeants Major that I really find inspiring. The third tip is “If you find yourself having to remind everyone all the time that you’re the sergeant major and you’re in charge, you’re probably not”. My opinion is that if you are effectively leading a successful team, company, etc. it shouldn’t matter if you “look” like a leader. The goal is being met. Put your ego aside and see the forest for the trees. If you have time to count ceiling tiles and chit chat about office sizes, you have too much time on your hands.

  112. Sophie Maccarone

    Is bigger better? It is true, employees have stereotypes of bigger being better. Usually in an office, the higher up managers have the biggest offices with the best views. It is almost like a luxury because when people stay in hotels on vacation, the suites are usually on the top floor with the best views. This is known as a luxury for the managers who do so much for the company. But, I do not think it is something to hold a grudge against someone else for. If two managers have similar offices and one is slightly smaller than the other and they are on the same level, they should not feel threatened by each other. An office is just a material object. What really matters is what the manager does within the business and the impact he/she makes on the company. A bigger office could be an extra perk, but the impact that the manager makes on the company is more important. The manager should focus on impacting others and the success of the company rather than how big their office is compared to others.

  113. At the start of this article, I actually felt bad for Bob. It would be very frustrating to work in the same position as a colleague and yet you get stuck with the smaller office with a poor view while your colleague gets the larger office with the city skyline view. However, my sympathy after reading that Bob is a supbar employee who always found something to complain about. Yoest did the logical thing in assigning Bob the worse office. It certainly would have made no sense to assign Frank, the hardworking, positive employee to a smaller, uglier office. This scenario brings up an interesting aspect of “rewards” in the workplace. Office space is certainly an effective way to reward stellar employees. Everyone would love a corner office, after all! If Bob were an effective employee, his hard work would no doubt have benefitted him when it comes to office space. In order to combat “real estate jealousy”, a friend of mine works at a company that shifts offices every six months. This ensures that everyone gets to enjoy the nice spaces and also has to put up with the less-than-desirable. However, it sees impractical to me and disruptive to work flow to move desks every six months.

  114. At the start of this article, I actually felt bad for Bob. It would be very frustrating to work in the same position as a colleague and yet you get stuck with the smaller office with a poor view while your colleague gets the larger office with the city skyline view. However, my sympathy dissolved after reading that Bob is a supbar employee who always found something to complain about. Yoest did the logical thing in assigning Bob the worse office. It certainly would have made no sense to assign Frank, the hardworking, positive employee to a smaller, uglier office. This scenario brings up an interesting aspect of “rewards” in the workplace. Office space is certainly an effective way to reward stellar employees. Everyone would love a corner office, after all! If Bob were an effective employee, his hard work would no doubt have benefitted him when it comes to office space. In order to combat “real estate jealousy”, a friend of mine works at a company that has employees shift.offices every six months. This ensures that everyone gets to enjoy the nice spaces and also has to put up with the less-than-desirable offices. However, it sees impractical to me and disruptive to work flow to move desks every six months. It seems more realistic to act as Yoest did and use good office space as a reward for productivity and attitude.

  115. I thought this article was very interesting. After reading I am drawn to quote my dad said to me, “someone needs to be the boss.” I think this applies to this article for a few reasons. Of course, people will feel slighted in any organization. In this case it is about office size. If someone chooses to make a problem over this then it is the bosses job to listen, but it is not the bosses job to care. The or manager needs to show that they are in fact in charge and they cannot give up this power just because someone is unhappy with where they sit in comparison to someone else. In this case, that office was earned and everything was done fairly. It is the managers job to reward those who best serve the company, and not pay attention to those who want something without earning it. If this were the case then we may as well not have managers or bosses, but then nothing would get done. Any successful business will have employees who want what’s best for the company, and they will work to make sure that it’s done. It is the managers job to make sure that those are the people who are celebrated and rewarded.

  116. Office size certainly is seen as a status symbol in most office environments. Sometimes there is the business need to close the door and isolate yourself from the daily office interactions that take place. An office space for a manager is a place for privacy in order to conduct business that may be sensitive or on a need-to-know basis. While Bob and Frank may be equal on the organizational chart and at the same pay grade, they may not be working on the same thing and certainly have different employees reporting to them. One could consistently be working on secretive material and a comfortable private office would be deemed necessary. Furthermore, one could have more employees reporting to them, thus a need for a larger office space, to accommodate more employees on meetings or discussions. Although these two may be seen at the same level within an organizational chart, their productivity, years of experience, and background certainly takes precedent over something as simple as a job title. I believe professor Yoest did the right thing in rewarding the employee that seems to be more productive and an overachiever as compared to somebody who is doing the bare minimum to get by.

  117. Excellent article! There are a few lessons in this article that I love, but coming from the staffing industry there is one that really sticks with me, and that is making sure that you are placing the right people into jobs, based on learning what they are good at and what makes them love what they do. Office politics and HR need to be agile now more than ever, to take on hybrid workplaces, remote work in order to cater to all of the different situations that can be thrown at employees now. Even within the office, should you be in one, I think you will certainly see a new open concept theme within them to promote teamwork and good work culture.

  118. Office space seems to be a tricky game but I think it is more like whatever is available. If someone gets promoted whatever nicer office is available is most likely what they will get. I guess it could be frustrating for someone to be in a smaller office if they think the other person is equal. To that I would say be transparent about successes during quarterly team meetings and address the top performers based on value so others will not be as jealous. I do think it is something hard to avoid as you give someone a hand and they except the arm. However if desks are given first come then employees should see it is not a big deal and at least they have their own privacy. As a manager, I am not sure how I would go about handling this. Especially because the employee is in someone else’s office measuring.

  119. Offices are a rather sensitive subject whenever someone gets promoted or switched from a bigger office to a “smaller” one even if they’re the same size. It seems to show a status symbol, a bigger office means that you are more successful at the company. I’ve seen people at my work fight for one office space even though to some of us it’s just an office, others see it as a symbol of becoming greater and more appreciated.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to look and feel successful however at the end of the day you’re going to be comparing yourself to others forever such as Bob is doing. Status doesn’t always mean the office, even if its hard not to compare yourself to those around you. I’ve noticed that those people that have gotten a “bigger” office at work, they are usually not there unless its strictly necessary. The doctors that I work with also have their offices but they do walk around the hospital, interact with patients, the office is just a perk. (I do understand that its an amazing perk) Bob needs to work and prove his worth of a bigger office with an even better view. At the end of the day actions speak louder than words.

  120. Dionisius Aditya

    I get the sense that even if Bob were provided with an equally spacious or even larger room than Frank, he would still discover something else to express dissatisfaction with. Maybe this is what sets apart average and exceptional employees. Average employees maintain satisfactory performance but express complaints about numerous matters. Exceptional employees consistently deliver outstanding performance and rarely voice grievances.
    As a leader or manager, in the case of an employee experiencing jealousy, it is vital to engage in a sincere conversation with them. Inquire about their concerns, limitations, and insights. This approach not only addresses biases but also fosters employee motivation. Having diverse personalities within a company is common and conflicts are likely to emerge. This is particularly true when teams comprise individuals from different age groups. Conducting training sessions or employee forums can bridge the generational gap among employees. However, if the complaints are considered baseless and consistently raised by the same worker, opting for indifference is a viable option.

  121. In this intriguing article, the author sheds light on the significance of appearances and power dynamics in the workplace, using an amusing encounter between two employees, Bob and Frank. While the story may seem lighthearted, it delves into the deeper issue of how employees perceive their worth and how organizations often inadvertently contribute to such feelings.

    Bob’s reaction to discovering his smaller office compared to Frank’s highlights the very human tendency to compare ourselves to others, especially in the context of work. It becomes evident that physical aspects like office size can be linked to feelings of importance and influence within an organization. However, the author also acknowledges that such external factors can’t solely determine an individual’s true worth and contribution to the team.

    The article touches on the delicate balance between providing fair treatment to employees and acknowledging high-performers who go above and beyond. The author admits the challenge of managing the emotions of employees who feel slighted and emphasizes the importance of effective leadership in dealing with such situations.

    Drawing inspiration from historical figures like Augustus, the Roman emperor, and Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, the article presents different leadership styles. It highlights that leadership can be exhibited through both humble and modest approaches, as well as by projecting power and presence.

    Ultimately, the article leaves readers with the notion that the physical office space can indeed influence perceptions of power, but true leadership goes beyond external appearances. The article serves as a thought-provoking reminder that leadership comes in many forms and that appearances, while influential, should not be the sole measure of an individual’s worth or their contributions to an organization.

  122. This is a well-written, concise, and engaging article. It provided a new perspective on how jealousy and ego affect and how it extends to expressing it in daily organizational life. I have never worked in an office-type environment where employees compare each other’s workspace with their colleagues. However, I have experienced jealousy, ego, and negativity within the workplace. I wouldn’t say I like to indulge in these conversations with employees who share their concerns with me regarding topics such as. I enjoyed the leadership approach from Roman emporer, Augustus. His illustration of the reluctant “caretaker” role within his empire speaks value. I also liked Yoest’s insight that regardless of taking on the “caretaker” approach in a leadership position, you do not necessarily need to give up your seat of power in the corner office. Overall, great article.

  123. I have experienced twice the effects of working with others close to senior-level leaders. I have seen how these relationships cause discord in the unit. The staffers’ response to the peer who has a closer connection to the power in our department has been filled with jealousy and feelings of defeat. The staff with the closest relationship to power was confident in upward mobility in the department based on their hard work and relationship with the senior leader. This staffer had in-depth knowledge of how the unit is run based on observed coffee breaks with leadership. The other staffers worked hard but felt slighted because they knew the leaders always saw what the closest staffer produced. Still, everyone else must do exceedingly great at a project to get the senior leaders’ attention. This caused tension, depression, and even defeat for the other staffers in the department. Things got so bad in the department that character assassination was present for the staffer closest to the senior leader. Things got as bad as statements of intimate relationships were happening.
    There is no room for jealousy in the workplace. Yet it does exist. Confidence is something all leaders or potential leaders should display. Leaders should try not to show favoritism to their low-level staffers. The goal is to get the work completed with minimal distractions.

  124. In your article, I believe that bigger is not always better. In this situation, one employee is angry because of the size of his office compared to another employee of equal pay status. However, there is a reason to this. The smaller office employee received the smaller office due to performance. His performance is satisfactory, so he deserved a satisfactory office, while his counterpart is exceptional and received the office with exceptional views and larger space. Although this is the case, this must be communicated to the employee on why his office is smaller. Even though it is not a big deal and the size of an office is more egotistic, he deserves to hear the truth, which could motivate him to perform better. Authenticity is just as important as performance. It is interesting how the size of real estate is relatable to the Romans to where the size of the office correlated to the amount of power one has. These days, I believe we are moving further away from that and most people may even prefer to telework rather than have a larger office.

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