Lift Off

For some firms, burning the midnight oil is the norm. But for the Amsterdam, Netherlands-based design studio Heldergroen, working past normal hours in the office is literally impossible.

That’s because every day at precisely 6 p.m., employees’ workstations disappear. And no, it’s not magic. The desks lift into the ceiling, thanks to steel cables.

With computers and paperwork out of mind and sight, workers use the new space in the office for nonwork-related activities, like yoga or networking receptions. Fast Companyfirst reported the work-life balance practice in late 2014. 

In an era where work happens at all hours of the day, Heldergroen’s effort is certainly eye-popping. But experts say the approach isn’t likely to work for every company.

“I think it’s an interesting concept,” said Jeff Tritt,organizational design expert and chief talent officer at digital marketing firm Resource Interactive. “It’s likely not applicable for a lot of work environments, but I commend them. I think it sends a really clear signal to their people.”

Not all employees may be keen to the idea. What if someone hits a productivity groove near the end of the day?

“If I’m in the groove, if I’m hitting that creative note, and I’m ready to buckle in and have a productiveperiod, to have my desk lifted above and not be able to do it would be like taking away what I really want to be cruising on,” Tritt said.