March 19, 2019
Flexible working has developed a reputation as something of a silver bullet for a range of workplace challenges. It is the perceived solution to almost any of the major workplace problems you care to mention, including the gender pay gap, work life balance, churn, property costs, staff engagement, personal autonomy, stress, physical wellbeing, productivity and – of course – as a way of meeting the needs of those alien beings we refer to as Millennials. There is some truth in all of this, as we have known for some time, but things are far more complicated than often presented.
March 18, 2019
Pressing self-destruct, a final solution to workplace noise, a broken psychological contract and some other stuff
I’ve never really wanted to go to MIPIM. I’m suspicious of it all for a number of reasons I won’t go into although you might reasonably guess what they are. So, I enjoyed this piece from Polly Plunket-Checkemian about her own misgivings. I understand that the testosterone level has been dialled down recently, but like Polly I’d like to see a re-examination of its format and intent, especially given that the real estate sector is having to rethink where it fits into the new era of work and meets the challenge of coworking.
March 15, 2019
If a robot received a signal that you had entered the building, it might bring you a fresh cup of coffee just as you reach your desk. If the front door recognised your face, it might unlock itself for you without requiring you to use a fob to gain access. If your desk knew you had left for the day, it might offer itself to a colleague who is looking for a quiet workspace. Throughout history, the interaction of humans with technology has been pretty much one-sided. We turn our technologies on and off, operate and guide them in their tasks, and use our senses to monitor their functioning and detect anomalies.
March 12, 2019
A great deal of current research and anecdotal evidence suggests that engaged employees are much less likely to leave their current organisation, are more productive and take less sick days that their disengaged colleagues. But according to a recent survey by Deloitte while 87 percent of organisations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, almost two-thirds of executives do not feel they are effectively driving this desired culture within their business. More →
March 11, 2019
We are often told that one of the main objectives of workplace design these days is to help people become more creative. Now, there are all sorts of complications bound up in this, not least the assumption that you can help or even will people to become more creative, especially in an environment that still wants, in some way at least, to supervise what they do and when and where they do it. A working environment designed for creativity only works in the context of a culture that facilitates it. And here’s where the problem lies. More →
March 11, 2019
Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest. Moving up the ladder, Maslow mentions safety, love, and self-esteem and accomplishment. But after all those have been satisfied, the motivating factor at the top of the pyramid involves striving to achieve our full potential and satisfy creative goals. As one of the founders of humanistic psychology, Maslow proposed that the path to self-transcendence and, ultimately, greater compassion for all of humanity requires the ‘self-actualisation’ at the top of his pyramid – fulfilling your true potential, and becoming your authentic self. More →
March 4, 2019
We might think that an inability to absorb the vast amount of information generated by our fellow humans and their machines is something of a modern phenomenon, but we’ve always known we can have too much of this particular good thing. Distringit librorum multitude, wrote Seneca in the First Century. An abundance of books is a distraction.
February 25, 2019
While the recent Finnish pilot of universal basic income had mixed results, a trial of the other most talked about solution to our problem with work – the four day week – has been reported as far more promising. A New Zealand financial services firm called Perpetual Guardian switched its 240 staff from a five-day to a four-day week last November and maintained their pay. The results (registration) included a 20 percent rise in productivity and improved staff wellbeing and engagement.
February 22, 2019
Would an investor plow millions of dollars into a stock and never bother to track how the investment does? Of course not. Nor would they confuse the expected return on investment (ROI) with the actual results. We don’t guess about financial investments. We don’t base investment decisions on what some stranger does or how they say they’ve done. So why then, do many of the largest companies in the world invest millions of dollars in buildings or renovating their workplaces and never even bother to measure results. Why are they so willing to copy the unproven workplace strategy of others? Why are they satisfied with projected results, rather than measuring how their investments actually perform? More →
February 15, 2019
Amazon drops plans for HQ, judging others in the open plan, why people would rather electrocute themselves than sit and think and some other stuff
Why is it so hard to design a decent office space? demands this article in Quartz. It’s a fair enough question but probably the wrong one. It’s perfectly possible to design a decent (or adequate) office with a pen, paper and bag of presuppositions and many people have done exactly that. The real question is why it is so hard to design a good or excellent office.
February 8, 2019
If there’s just one thing that makes my heart sink more precipitously than the word ‘trends’, it’s when it’s preceded by the words Top and Ten. So it’s nice to have been surprised by this list of workplace trends that displays the wherewithal and insight to call on those people in the sector who might have something informed and interesting to say about where it all might be headed this year. Don’t be put off by the headline, even if you’re as jaded as I am.
February 6, 2019