Lightning Talk: Things People Do On “The Bench”

Lightning Talks are an opportunity for Roundarch Isobar employees in the Chicago office to give a 5-minute talk on any topic of their choice once a month.?The format gives participants a chance to practice their presentation skills in a stress free setting and for the audience to learn from and about their colleagues.

Though it doesn?t happen often there is usually a week or two every year when we consultants are “on the bench.”? A couple of weeks ago I got to be on the bench after almost 3 years of back-to-back projects.? It was nice to have some time off to gather my thoughts and take it easy. But one can take it easy for only so long (about 3 days for me) and I was soon getting fidgety and looking for things to do.

That is when we received the email about the new Lightning Talk series for the Roundarch Isobar Chicago office meeting.? Since I had some free time on my hands, I decided to sign up and present a topic that was, at that time, very close to my heart: What is it that we do/ should do while we are ?on the bench??

I asked around.? Turns out people really take advantage of the free time and do some really interesting stuff. So here?s a list of the Good, the Ok and the downright Ugly things that folks do in between projects. The activities listed below are the result of a random survey plus my opinions.


The Good

5. Complete expense reports.

4. Read articles, books and take a class on to expand your discipline knowledge.

3. Be a Test Subject for folks running user tests.

2. Contribute to Roundarch Isobar Labs.

1. Fix problems in your last project that you didn?t have time to fix while you were on the project.


The OK

5. Try to recruit people.

4. Plan your next vacation.

3. Clean, reorganize and redecorate your workspace.

2. Create Spotify Playlists in anticipation of the next project.

1. Endorse people on LinkedIn.


The Ugly

5. Shop online.

4. Return the stuff you shopped for online.

3. Analyze the ice patterns on Lake Michigan (I am not kidding, this has happened).

2. Set up complex experiments in the kitchen to analyze people?s coffee and snack consumption habits.

1. Plan every little detail of an imaginary vacation.