When I left academia in 2002 I also left the trappings of an office. When I switched organizations in late 2008, I also gave up a singular desk space. I'm like PacMan careening through a corporate game board collecting points at the desks, tables and rooms I occupy. I am a floater. I'm on a quest for the corporate floater high score. There are no ghosts in this game. Wherever the wind takes me -- be it the road, various offices, home or coffee shops -- I am working. I float. I'm like those bubbles we blew as a kid except I don't pop when I crash into a wall. Too many childhood childish metaphors? With no office and armed with my laptop, tablet, mobile phone/headset, USB polycom and trusty whiteboard markers, I am good to go. Put me in coach. I'll work from the moon.
  • Filing cabinet? Please.
  • Stapler? Staple what?
  • Pictures of my family? Ummm, hello cloud?
The Globe and Mail recently surfaced an excellent article entitled, "Even in hidebound offices, cubicle walls are falling". In it they profiled several organizations who are making the shift to mobile work environments. One line caught my attention from an example detailing efforts at the TD Bank:

Thousands of other TD employees will be working in unassigned workstations in the future, too, as the bank joins a growing number of employers who are deciding that the traditional office – with a desk for every employee and an expectation that everyone will be in their place throughout the work day – is as outdated as teller’s cages and dusty ledger books.

For you, the organization that continues to succumb to the false pretense that work only occurs if you physically see your employees, I abhor your archaic if not disengaging methodology of workforce culture. You do not float; you continue to control your culture by your own myopia and fears. There is cement in your shoes. Are you afraid of those ghosts in this game of corporate PacMan? Maybe you believe your bubble may in fact crash into the walls of your assigned cubicle seating plan. Whatever your demons, you'd be wise to wake up to the 21st century and realize work does occur without 'official' desks. Other than at a wedding, who does a seating plan these days anyway?


Find out if you’re currently blooming, budding, stunted or in need of renewal through the Work-Life Bloom Personal Assessment.



  • Dan is a conference organizer’s ideal speaker. Not only did he inspire and energize our group, but he also masterfully adapted his content so it resonated with the audience and our conference theme. As a bonus, Dan is able to nimbly navigate to adjust to a reduced time slot when other speakers went over time without sacrificing the impact of his session.

    Director and General Counsel
  • Dan accomplished what we set out to do, which was not only to be inspirational, but also to leave everyone with tools and food for thought / self-reflection to improve their personal and professional lives.

    Hermann Handa, FCT
  • Dan challenged us to have clarity of purpose, both as individuals and as an organization. He related inspiring stories drawing on his experience in business, technology and academia. As he said, ‘There is no ownership without belonging.’

    Christian Pantel, D2L
  • Dan Pontefract suggests leaders must be transformational and transactional, collaborative and considerate, daring and decisive, inclusive and insistent, playful and formal, harmonious, and humble, encouraging and results-driven. In a word, Flat.

    Robert Morris
    “How to strengthen engagement, empowerment, and execution, then leverage them for a decisive competitive advantage”

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