Work presents many problems for workers -- among them is sharing space with some people you'd probably prefer to avoid. There may be a solution. A new product called the "bubble desk," designed by the French firm of Christian Pottgiesser, allows office workers to enclose themselves at their workstations, reports Britain's Daily Mail.

The design is basically a plexiglass dome that envelops a desk. The bubble desks are meant to reduce workers' exposure to two of the worst things floating around them -- germs and office banter. The bubble desk already has established itself in the French capital, according to the British newspaper, and the offices of Pons, the publisher, and Huot, the tool storage firm, are among its early adopters.

Just what is driving the need for bubble desks? A post on MSN ascribed this new workplace trend as particular to French culture. "It's been firmly established that the French are, well, haters," the post reads. "So it makes perfect sense that they'd be the ones to invent the bizarrely ingenious 'bubble desk.' "

But simply writing off the trend as just the latest in a line of French fads like wine, cheese and escargots may be too easy. Social disorders are found in workplaces far beyond the Pyrenees Mountains. As has been reported by AOL Jobs, the incidence of psychopathy among CEOs may be be four times that of the population at large, according to research by British journalist Jon Ronson.

Still, the Daily Mail notes that the desks are intended as a compromise between the drive for isolation and the need for collaboration in the workplace. The cubicles that became popular in offices of the 1980s "offered privacy but no visibility or sense of connection." But the bubble desk provides the same privacy while also allowing office employees to put in a day's work in a communal space.

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