'Queer Eye' for the Workplace Gone Awry

Wednesday Mar 17th 2004 by SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff
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Xerox wants to transform the nation's most obsolete small office into a model workplace. With a little help from one-fifth of the 'Fab Five,' your small office could be rehabilitated into the very model of modern-day efficiency.

Is your office drab, uninspiring and outdated? Have you ever wished that you could have a small office do-over? Well wish and wait no more, designer Thom Filicia of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" could come knocking on your door to help make-over your small office.

Xerox and Entrepreneur Magazine have teamed up to kickoff the new "Help! My Office is Obsolete!" makeover contest. One lucky winner will be able to turn a humdrum, out-of-date small office into a high-tech, high-impact workplace before the year is through.

The contest winner will receive a complete office makeover, including a splash of state-of-the-art technology and a dash of office adornment, to create a functional workspace that drives productivity and fosters creativity.

The office makeover, aimed at small- to mid-sized businesses, will receive Xerox office products, services, and other prizes to transform the winner's workplace from obsolete and dated to avant-garde and edgy — quicker than Filicia can pick up the phone and say "It's 1984. They want their decorations back."

Xerox will assess the business practices at the winning workplace and identify ways that office workers can simplify daily tasks, such as communicating with customers and sharing information among workgroups. New office technology — including advanced Xerox multifunction systems, software and network color printers — will be incorporated into the workplace based on the winning office's needs.

Diane McGarry, Xerox chief marketing officer, said Xerox technologies and assessment services would bring the winning workplace to a whole new level of efficiency and productivity.

"For those small businesses whose top 10 expenses still include carbon paper — the blue fingerprints give it away — typewriter ribbons, and white-out, this is your opportunity to shout 'Stop!'" McGarry exclaimed. "We'll give one deserving businesses a colorful new look and great new technology to spark a revolution in the way they get work done. "

Xerox will not only add color to the winner's documents — think Xerox Phaser color printer — but also spring for an up-to-date suite of new office furniture, and maybe even a fresh coat of paint.

As if all these prizes aren't colorful enough, one grand prizewinner will receive consulting and design services from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's" Thom Filicia. Known as the "design doctor" on the hit show, and recently named one of House Beautiful's top 100 American designers, Filicia said it's time to toss traditional office settings aside and reveal a more stimulating workplace.

"Many offices need help escaping the conventional setup — they're restricting, dull and impair out-of-the-box thinking," Filicia said. "We'll create an invigorating place where people will want to come to work and will feel more focused, productive and creative."

Filicia and McGarry will judge the contest entries, along with Robert Luchetti, an architect and work transformation expert, and Rieva Lesonsky, senior vice president and editorial director of Entrepreneur Media. These judges will select the contest winner and two runners-up.

The first runner-up will receive a Xerox Phaser 8400DP solid ink color printer, and the second runner-up will receive a Xerox WorkCentre M15i multifunction device. Contestants can enter the contest online through June 30. Of course, for those working in exceptionally outdated offices, you can have a friend print the entry form and mail it in with a few black-and-white Polaroids.

Entries must be submitted by a full-time employee age 18 or older of a continental U.S.-based company that has an office environment of 10- to 50-employees, and has been in business for at least one year. Only one entry can be submitted per company. Home offices are ineligible for the contest. Winners will be announced sometime in November.

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