I’ve been thinking about desk accessories. When it comes to things like picture frames, pencil holders, and plants, employees and managers alike gravitate to different desk decor. This brings me to the desk lamp. When I think back to every job I’ve ever had, I never worked for a company that provided a lamp for my desk. Whether in a cubicle earlier in my career, or an office as my foray into management arrived, I had to endure the same harsh glare of the fluorescent bulbs that everyone else did. Until, I didn’t.
One day, I read somewhere that employees were more productive and less stressed when they worked using softer lighting. I went out and bought my first desk lamp. I don’t think I put much thought into it at the time, it was just some inexpensive metal stem with a thin paper shade, but the warm glow the bulb produced made a huge difference in my mood while at my desk. It was all about the function. As the years flew by and the offices changed, I bought other lamps. Still, I never thought much about how the lamp base looked, whether it was constructed of wood or metal and the shade didn’t seem to matter either as long as it remained nondescript.
Then I read The Mr. Porter Paperback and an article called The Gear: Desk Lamps. Now I work from home, so my desk lamp is one that is just any old lamp you’d find in a normal, suburban house. It likely came from Pier 1 or some similar store. But, according to this article, the thought you put into lamp selection is well worth time and precision. The article shares great detail of lamps such as the AJ, designed by the legend Mr. Arne Jacobsen, to the Kelvin, “Mr. Antonio Citterio’s high-tech, energy-efficient and impossibly elegant take on the post-Anglepoise typology.” As you can see, there is great care that goes into the design as well as the description.
All this lamp talk brings me to the point of today’s post. We often make purchases of products or solutions based on almost no planning or thought. As long as the functions needed are met, we make the purchase. As leaders, we’re still not doing all we can to plan and select the best products and solutions for our organizations. By looking beyond the mere function, we can determine which people put the effort into their product and service. Those are the people we want to work with.
With each interaction you have with your analyst, your vendor, or your employees, know that great care went into some of the details of the product or solution they sell that you may never fully appreciate. When it comes to desk lamps, I was always just looking for minimal function to get the job done. As I’ve learned to appreciate, there is far more that goes into product selection than mere function. There is the design behind those functions. There are the ideas of how function leads way to a more desirable form. There is excitement and pride in going into a solution that is well made and well used.
So, as you embark on your day, think about this. Do you have a desk lamp? Did you think much about it when you purchased it? If not, approach your interactions today with new eyes…with a sense of appreciation and wonder as you really look at all the tools you use throughout the day. Whether they are technology driven or not, consider the design and thought behind them.