Office environments aren't always the most peaceful. In fact, they can be pure chaos with phones ringing, conversations, people making lunch, and the overall hustle and bustle of a work environment. So, it made perfect sense to Minnie Katzen Mayer to adopt a strategy to manage the high level of stimulation when working in the office. However, her strategy has gotten more than a few eyebrow raises because — she sits under her standing desk. Her post on LinkedIn explaining why she does this went viral and now everyone has something to say.
Employee Sparks Conversation Online By Sitting Under Her Desk To Work
Mayer knows that sitting under her desk looks silly.
Mayer began her LinkedIn post by acknowledging that she knows it's not the most ordinary thing for people to sit under their desks in an office workplace. She wrote, "Whenever I do this at work, I get weird looks. I mean, I get it: I’m 36, a fully grown adult, with a perfectly adequate ergonomic desk chair, sitting under my standing desk." As far as odd things to do at an office go, we think this is pretty reasonable.
She explained that it helps with stress.
Some confused looks are probably nothing compared to the stress that Mayer feels when she's overwhelmed at her desk. She listed all of the things that people can't see when it looks like she's randomly sitting under her desk. Those things include: "Stress, noise, bright ceiling lights, a meeting that didn’t go so well, a project that feels overwhelming, and constant movement around me." It's never fun to be inundated by so many stressors.
Mayer summed up the experience as overstimulation.
Sitting under her desk helps her to feel a sense of calm when too much is going on. Mayer explained, "In a word, overstimulation. When I need to drown everything out, I take my laptop and sit under the desk; I enjoy the relative peace and physical boundaries it provides." In many ways, being under a desk can provide a feeling of protection. Plus, we're pretty sure it's a good spot to hide your favorite office snacks away from prying eyes.
However, sitting on the floor hurts her back.
While sitting under her desk helps with overstimulation, it doesn't do anything nice for her back after sitting awhile. She shared, "I sit under my standing desk until my lower back reminds me I’m 36, a fully grown adult, with a perfectly adequate ergonomic desk chair." She understands the practicality of her desk, but also leans on what helps her cope, which looks like it means going back and forth between her chair and floor.
Mayer's post has sparked debate.
With over 122,000 likes, over 4,000 comments and over 1,000 shares, people feel like Mayer's coping mechanism is a hot topic. Some people feel seen by her post, having experienced similar overstimulation in the office. Others, feel as if her post is a sign of laziness and irresponsibility. There are even some suggesting that Mayer may be neurodivergent in both caring and slightly rude ways. Speaking of overwhelming situations, there's sure a lot going on with this post.
People relate to Mayer's situation.
It's pretty special to see that people resonate with Mayer's experience. Whether they have loved ones with similar hypersensitivities or have experienced them personally, people relate to Mayer and have shared their own accounts that include unusual ways that they deal with things.
Others have been critical of Mayer's way of coping.
Some people aren't too pleased to hear that Mayer copes with office life by sitting under her desk. They've pegged it to her being a person that's too "sensitive" to everything. However, others have stepped up to defend both Mayer and others that have unconventional ways of managing excessive stimuli. This led to a conversation about how businesses can support employees better, not how they can pressure employees to change.
People also commented on how uncomfortable offices can be.
For many people, it really comes down to feeling vulnerable in an office space. They've voiced that it's hard to get work done with so many distractions. Especially, with open-concept offices where everyone can see each other and there's nonstop activity. This point hits home, it's hard to file a report or whatever office work needs to be done while you're forced to watch your office neighbor eat their burrito for lunch.
Some people are all-in on Mayer's desk set-up.
Several people in the comments were loving this strategy and eager to see how Mayer can take it to the next level. One person suggested that she get some blankets and build a blanket fort and then someone else suggested adding curtains. We think considering her back pain from sitting on the floor, Mayer may want to invest in a good pillow for her back, and under-desk snacks.
Let us know what you think of Mayer's unconventional coping mechanism for overstimulation in the office space and if you've done something similar.