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Issue #13 - Workplace Design: Looking busy vs. doing best work?

"The physical environment is constantly giving messages that influence behaviour, and you can either

Transforming Talent Insights

August 7 · Issue #13 · View online
Feeding the Passion for Transformation: Be it Talent, Culture, Work or HR

“The physical environment is constantly giving messages that influence behaviour, and you can either use that as an organization or ignore it. Sadly, the majority of organizations ignore it” - Despina Katsikakis
Despina goes on to say “We know now that open-plan offices tend to be the antithesis of collaboration, sometimes actually promoting isolation. But if you begin to layer the work environment with places that support connection, places that allow people to be open and spontaneous and accessible to one another, you can actually create the opportunity for innovation through collaboration.”
Most of us have worked in spaces where it was “design-first, people second” (whereby sometimes for aesthetic reasons, but often times out of efficiency, e.g. cost per m2 per employee), often to the detriment of productivity, employee engagement and well-being.
For fun, tick-off if any of the following applies to your work experience:
  • loud open-office spaces where employees would IM rather than get up to talk,
  • earphones are considered a survival tool,
  • high-heels cause ear- (not only toe-) cringing reactions,
  • meeting rooms are blocked by folks trying to concentrate,
  • “do not disturb” signs or “in another meeting” aren’t deterrants,
  • not getting a mobile desk or trolly in time results in Desk for the Day being a corner near a power outlet,
  • virtual teams have more insight than the people in the same building,
  • work fundamentals and updates are “somewhere on the intranet”
  • the office Fußball table is used for spare-parts or as storage space,
  • web meetings are 3 people talking through a power-point presentation and the other attendees are listening (aka. multi-tasking)
  • installed glass walls get retrofitted with milk-glass stickers for privacy
Dilbert there is hope - it can be different! This week’s issue focuses on workplace design for collaboration, care and control are expressed in the social and individual spaces people work in - both physically and virtually. There is some great work being done in this space to transform from spaces originally designed for efficient paper flow to designing for information and collaboration flow. It is the designing difference between “looking busy” and doing your best work.

Your Work Environment and You
Open office plans have a surprising effect on communication at work — Quartz at Work
Open offices can lead to closed minds - Bartleby
Psychology Of The Office Space
Cubicles don't work. How architectural design affects your brain | Scott Wyatt | TEDxSeattle -
Designing for the Future@work
A future landscape of flexibility and choice | Despina Katsikakis
How we can create unique workspaces | Nigel Oseland | TEDxSurreyUniversity
How To Design An Office That Actually Makes You Better At Work
Question of the Week
What changes in workplace design have really helped you be better able to do your best work?
A special shout out to my friend, Patrycja-Jadwiga Sankowska, who is taking office design quite a bit further to urban layouts (smart cities, responsive cities) being the change we wish to see in the world.
Thanks everyone - and have a great week!
Best regards,

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Elizabeth Lembke, Transforming Talent Consulting: and