Human beings are, by nature, territorial. In the workplace, employees express this trait by personalizing their desks and offices. Furry gonks, family photographs and potted plants are all symbols of an employee’s need to define her territory. Employees often find relocation of their work desks unsettling, particularly if the move is seen to undermine status in the workplace hierarchy.
The location of an employee’s workstation can denote status and power. Traditionally, promotions at work were linked to a move away from group working environments to individual offices or from small offices to larger offices. Even in modern companies that prefer to treat everyone equally, employees will infer status through proximity to the boss or who sits nearest to the windows. A move from individual office space to a cubicle can be seen as a loss of status, even if the employee’s job description does not change.