About Nigel Oseland

Nigel Oseland is an environmental psychologist, workplace strategist, change manager, author, and founder of the Workplace Consulting Organisation and Workplace Unlimited and one of Europe’s leading writers on workplace issues.

Posts by Nigel Oseland:

The open plan debate should never be seen as a zero sum game

The open plan debate should never be seen as a zero sum game

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Personalisation of space is one of the defining features of the open plan debateThe debate on open plan versus enclosed offices rages on, but workplace design is not a such a simple dichotomy. Furthermore, office occupants clearly have different workplace preferences depending on factors like personality, personalisation, flexibility and sense of belonging etc. Herman Miller and Workplace Trends sponsored Workplace Unlimited to conduct a short on-line survey to help unravel some of the more personal factors underlying preferences in the modern office that are often forgotten or ignored. More →

Why loneliness is a workplace issue

Why loneliness is a workplace issue

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Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a serious issue in modern society. In the UK, the Office of National Statistics reported that 5 percent of adults feel lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’, with further 16 percent of adults reporting feeling lonely ‘sometimes’, equivalent to approximately 9 million adults suffering from loneliness to some degree. As a consequence, the UK Government has set up the Jo Cox Commission for Loneliness, appointed Tracey Crouch as Minister for Loneliness and invested £20M for charities and community groups to help isolated people and those suffering in other ways. More →

We should not be quite so quick to demonise the open plan office

We should not be quite so quick to demonise the open plan office

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There is a witch hunt on in the workplace. “Open plan” has become a dirty word and the national press are leading the mob in vilifying this so-called scourge. The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and Business Week have all reported that “we can’t get anything done in an open-plan office” as it affects our concentration, our performance and our health. These news items are all damning, but perhaps not as damming as the Wikipedia entry on open plan which states: “A systematic survey of research upon the effects of open plan offices found frequent negative effects in some traditional workplaces: high levels of noise, stress, conflict, high blood pressure and a high staff turnover… Most people prefer closed offices… there is a dearth of studies confirming positive impacts on productivity from open plan office designs”.

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An environmental psychology perspective on workplace design

An environmental psychology perspective on workplace design

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I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Cape Town to present a keynote address at the Dare to Lead conference organised by Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). I had just 20 minutes to speak on a psychologist’s view of health, wellbeing and performance; that’s a huge subject area and pretty much my whole career condensed down to the typical time it takes to boil a pan of potatoes. So, I focused on just three psychological theories: motivation, personality and evolutionary psychology.

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Help us to investigate the psychological components of workplace noise

Help us to investigate the psychological components of workplace noise

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Publication1I recently reviewed over one hundred papers on the impact of noise on workplace satisfaction and found that on average sound level only accounts for 25 percent of effects. By contrast, more than half of the effect is due to psychological factors such as context and attitude, perceived control and predictability and personality type. Noise is a psychophysical phenomenon and as long as we continue to focus on physical metrics and disregard the psychological component, we will never resolve the biggest and often ignored problem of noise in the workplace. The review (available to download for free here) was the first step in revisiting how we tackle the issue. The second step is an on-line survey to explore the relationship between personality and noise distraction. I’d like to invite you to contribute to this research and participate in this survey by clicking here.

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