August 20, 2019
The 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…
August 16, 2019
In recent years, we have seen a growing civil rights movement focused on change in the workplace and in terms of office design, revolving around differences in brain function. Advocates for neurodiversity say that it’s just as critical to business success as gender or racial diversity in the labour force. more…
August 15, 2019
The Agile Manifesto, published in 2001, signalled a shift in approach to workplace design as well as technology. Though the document was conceived as a guide to speeding up software development, its contents have gone on to inform how organisations think and operate in ways that extend far beyond IT. “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.” That’s the fifth of 12 ‘principles’ in the manifesto. more…
August 14, 2019
Lewis Carroll’s second best known work The Hunting of the Snark is a long nonsense poem that describes the pursuit by a group of adventurers of an elusive creature called a Snark. This turns out to be a much more dangerous Boojum when it is finally seen, causing one of the crew members to vanish. The poem may or may not be an allegory for the pursuit of happiness but it could easily be about our pursuit of anything elusive, imaginary or ephemeral.
August 13, 2019
You would not believe the number of firms that ask us to publish a list of workplace trends each week. Or maybe you would, given the number that have appeared elsewhere. Each firm perhaps convinced they are saying something original, unique or interesting, or maybe simply convinced they stand out in some way, while pushing the same timid, stale narratives about the workplace. It goes without saying that the commercialised messages often do little to shine a light on complex realities. In the words of the Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang, they use information ‘like a drunk uses lamp-posts—for support rather than illumination’.
August 9, 2019
There is or was a running joke within IBM that their buildings don’t have windows, they have outside awareness ports. It’s an idea that not only reflects the culture of long hours spent staring at computer screens – something you don’t have to work for Big Blue to be aware of – but also one that acknowledges our need to be aware of the wider world when we are at work. Our gut instinct tells us that we are better off either outdoors or looking at it. more…
August 7, 2019
The problem with the modish idea of fake news is that we’re not very good at spotting it. As with our driving, each of us possesses an unwarranted faith in our own abilities coupled with dismay at those of other people, unaware of just how much our own biases and fixed opinions distort the way we perceive information. It’s one of those things we need to be on the lookout for, especially if we are pronouncing on complex issues.
August 5, 2019
Derren Brown is clearly on to something. And if you’ve read his books you’ll know that what he’s on to is finding ways to tap in to our fascination with how our thoughts and actions can be manipulated using some well-defined and researched techniques and principles. Add in some showmanship and what you have is something that is indistinguishable from magic. It also gas something to say about some of the ways we think about workplace design and management.
August 1, 2019
The debate about open plan versus enclosed offices rages on. But the real debate is not quite so binary, it’s not black or white, and it’s not a dichotomy as it is so often presented. Office occupants clearly have different workplace preferences from the wide range of design solutions that are now available. The alternative to the open plan is not necessarily the cellular office. So, we need to understand what drives individual preferences. Is it factors like personality, personalisation, flexibility, sense of belonging and familiarity that affect where people prefer to work? Or is there more to it? more…
August 1, 2019
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…
July 30, 2019
Following our recent attempts to create a rudimentary playlist of songs that tell us something or perhaps nothing about office design, office life and office furniture, here’s another look at how the parochial world of the workplace can brush up against popular culture. It does this unnoticed for most people, I suppose, but not for those of us bound up in this world. We can’t ignore the brief glimpse of an Aeron chair’s ubiquitous mesh without a synapse firing up. So, here is a brief rundown of nine movies that use office design to make a plot point or set up a character development.
July 29, 2019
Although people have been talking about flexible working in one way or another for decades – the economist John Maynard Keynes declared in 1930 that technological advances would lead to a 15-hour working week – we may now be at the tipping point where work takes on an entirely different character. more…
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