Here's a glimpse of Paris corporate life, from the Facebook and Google offices and beyond. Chauncey Hare would go nuts if he saw it. As far as I know, there's no French equivalent to the word corporation. They use the word société, which (I guess) denotes socialization. The offices I've visited place high importance on art, communal areas, and contemporary furniture. Couches, open space, and shared extended desks replace formulaic cubicles. They might frequently run out of copier paper or toilet rolls, but never wine, with cases upon cases of reds, whites, and rosé in every supply closet.
Apéro is an important part of the workday, arguably more important than the Ticket Resto-subsidized lunch. Office hours begin later than the US, sometimes ending around 10 o'clock. Ostensibly, the French workweek is 35 hours. This is rarely enforced. A minimum five to eleven weeks vacation, plus bank holidays, sweetens the deal. Contrary to what I've read online, casual Friday does exist in France, at least in Paris, the sneaker-loving capital.
If you're considering working here, read Michel Houellebecq's Extension du domaine de la lutte. If you're already a proud member of the French workforce, here are some zero-waste desk essentials:Zero-waste desk drawer essentials
To stay streamlined and organized at work, try clearing everything from your workspace. Put it all in a box, and take out what you need, as you need it. Place the items you use on your desk. After a month, if there are items you haven't used, get rid of them. My friend Sandra, a civil engineer, makes it a point to clean every day, both when she arrives at work, and before leaving, so messes don't pile up. Take a cue from reader Amber, a soon-to-be mechanical engineer, who manages to keep reference material and school papers organized in her beautiful workspace:
Far left and left, Amber's desk before. Right, in progress.
P.S. Put unused items and office supplies on Freecycle or offer to other co-workers and companies like Terracycle instead of sending them to the trash!