Taking Care of Business

Tuesday’s New York Times featured an article about how hotel rooms are becoming sleepaway offices. Seems business travelers are less interested in the sports bar downstairs and more into big desks, accessible technology and back-supportive office chairs upstairs.  Gone are the days when a business trip meant a good night’s sleep and a mini bar treat. Now, it’s all work, work, work. (Unfortunately, this story dovetailed with the news that the CEO of Pfizer was leaving due to burnout…hmmm. )

On one hand, I was glad to see some of the in-room improvements. Niki Leondakis, President and COO of Kimpton Hotels, which has a track record of intuitively catering to women, said that they’ve upgraded electrical sockets to reachable power strips–welcome news to any woman who’s ever crawled on all fours to plug in a recharger. (And it’s a great solution for those times when you’ve been forced to unplug the lamp to power up your laptop and then can’t see the keyboard?)  Kudos to the Hilton Garden Inns who junked all those local travel brochures clogging the desk surface.  Type A travelers swept them all onto the floor anyway to get down to business. (No cave tubing trips when you’re on a deadline!)

But the innovation that made me kind of sad was the new Marriott Spring Hill Suites redesign that reset the desk into an “alcove” (AKA cubicle) within the room. They even installed a tiny sliding window panel where truant workers can allow a bit of sunlight to shine as long as it didn’t break their concentration. We are a nation of over-worked, over-whelmed, highly productive people who brag we don’t take our entire vacations (or spend them on our iPhones.) I worry that this economy only tightens the noose and squeezes the precious shut eye out of our nights.

It’s great that hotel rooms are becoming more work-friendly. But once the door is shut, I hope that some road warriors just pull up the covers on their heavenly beds and grab a well-deserved nap.

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September 29, 2020
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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