Seating Chart

I’d like to say that this recent comment on my blog had motivated me to start blogging again:

I should publish a really excellent content on the market and that i actually feel your post Meets greatest in it.

But no, it was a recent post by FSP about arrangement of furniture in faculty offices. Granted that to most of you this is a “First World problem”, but what the hell, I live in the First World and thus get to worry about such things. The question at hand is, how do you organize seating for visitors so that they feel most welcome. Do you sit them across a desk, next to you in a comfy chair? Do you arrange it so that they are encouraged to stay? I personally have a simple strategy. I keep two possible seats for visitors, a far seat in the corner opposite my desk, and a close seat right next to my desk. I usually keep my book bag on the near chair. When the visitor walks in, I ask myself “Does this person have bad personal hygiene and is shedding large amounts of viruses (likely an undergrad)?” or “is this someone I would like to share data on my screen with or explain something using a pad of paper and pencil (likely a lab member or visiting seminar speaker)?” If it’s the former I wait for them to take the far and uncomfortable seat, which is conveniently located next to the chicken. If it’s the latter I remove my book bag and offer them the near chair. That way I keep the riff-raff away and discourage them from staying longer, while allowing more intimate visits when needed.

What about you? How do you manage your workday visitors?

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6 Responses to Seating Chart

  1. DJMH says:

    God, just being a postdoc I don’t have this problem yet, but now you’ve given me a gnawing feeling of terror about my social error when i’ve deposited my PI’s bag on the floor so I can pull up a chair. THAT BAG WAS A CODE!

    • Hermitage says:

      Werd. I done been fucking up all this time. Who knows how many demerits I’ve racked up over the course of my Ph.D.?

  2. Odyssey says:

    I have a similar seating set up. It works well.

    DJMH and Hermi’s comments have made me realize I could really mess with my trainees with this arrangement. 🙂

  3. yosnowden says:

    That seems like it would be an excellent set-up. I share an office, so I can’t quite replicate it, but we have a semi-comfortable visitor chair that’s convenient for both desks and a nice big table with many chairs for groups or student (whom I don’t generally want looking at my computer, etc.)

  4. brooksphd says:

    I have a little round table with two moderately comfy chairs in the corner of my office opposite my desk. Informal meetings are held there if paper work is involved. For computer sharing stuff I can have people around my desk but also have large external monitor that I can swivel and wireless mouse to share.

    But, if I’m negotiating, for example, then I stay behind my desk (and raise the height of my big black swivel chair) and my guest(s) sits opposite me on the other side of the wide desk, and I loom imposingly. I usually also keep a pile of papers to shuffle and glance at meaningfully.


  5. Namnezia says:

    Wow, if someone pulled that “Lemme just move your bag so I can sit…” crap on me, they’d be out the door in about 3 seconds. But the table does sound like a good idea. I actually have one, but it currently is set up more as an extension of my desk than it’s own little thing.

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