When Workplace Design Has A Fonz Moment


In 1977 that post-ironic icon, The Fonz, jumped over a shark on waterskis and to the vernacular was added a phrase that is (to quote Wikipedia) “used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery.” To wit, “Jumping The Shark”.

The appearance of a ping pong table, or any other “fun” addition to the workplace, has to be the point at which your workplace design project jumps the shark. The decision making process has degenerated to the point at which it resembles what happens when a well-meaning teacher puts the students in charge of decorating the junior common room.

I know a number of people who were given ping pong tables when they were children and most of those ended up doing double duty as wallpapering tables or propping up Dad’s homebrew kit. Those that are given a home in office space will more often than not have a similarly folorn future ahead of them.

I have spoken to people who have worked in an office with a ping pong table in it. It was seen as an unnecessary frivolity, a frequent source of frustration for those who worked nearby, ultimately left unused and finally consigned to the basement, replaced by a print and coffee point.

So, next time some bright spark suggests a ping pong table (or any other inappropriate workplace accoutrement) during a project brainstorming session tell them if they ever mention it again they’ll be swimming with the sharks.



One comment

  1. There is such a difference between what is naturally fun for the team and forced, trying-too-hard YOU WILL HAVE FUN NOW!!!! But, the good news is that ping pong tables are a great way to add extra desk space…

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