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robertogreco : officedesign   14

Nerf guns, beds and beanbag areas: what makes a productive office? | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
[via: https://workfutures.io/message-ansel-on-overwork-jenkin-on-the-workplace-cortese-on-stocksy-mohdin-on-project-3cb6502c79a8 ]

"Leaving aside debates about open plan offices, do we even need offices anymore? Advances in technology and remote working mean many staff can choose to work elsewhere.

For Chopovsky, this does not mean the end of the office. If staff can choose to work elsewhere, the office could become a place where workers can have important social encounters and build professional relationships rather than simply knuckle down and work. That means a combination of open plan offices and private rooms. He believes companies should facilitate that by creating areas where staff can come together either for informal chats or company-wide meetings.

This may already be happening in the UK. A survey of 1,100 British office workers, published in June, shows that most workplaces (70%) now also include a communal environment – break out spaces such as a shared kitchen or beanbag area – to work from or have meetings in, providing a space for more dynamic working. This is key to meeting workers’ needs, with almost a third (29%) deeming the ability to work from a variety of different locations in the office to be important, and almost half (48%) considering access to collaboration space with colleagues an imperative.

Better designed offices are not the end of the matter, however. John Ridd, councillor of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (CIEHF), says that while getting the design of the office right for your business and worker needs, it cannot be used as a panacea for improving employee wellbeing.

“To me the major thing is looking at the design of a person’s job in terms of workload and responsibilities. That is going to be far more important in terms of increasing productivity and indeed the wellbeing of the individual – because it is the happy worker who works more efficiently.”"
offices  officedesign  openoffices  2016  work  labor  health  well-being  culture  management  leadership  administration 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Power Positions | Dirty Furniture
"When it comes to taking a seat at the table, not all sides are created equal. Architecture and design critic Alexandra Lange considers an underexplored mechanism of control.

From 1959 architect Philip Johnson would lunch at a corner table in the Grill Room, part of the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building he designed. Contemporaries Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Dreyfuss held court at the Oak Room in New York’s Plaza Hotel. How can Johnson’s decision to make his own Oak Room be interpreted as anything other than a power play? Here everyone had to sit, literally, at his table. Clients, colleagues, supplicants, artists: on his own turf, the architect trumped them all. And the table itself laid bare an unspoken hierarchy, depending on where you sat.

All tables do: choose a seat close to or far away from the seat of power and you reveal your sense of place. Take the seat you’ve been allocated and you find out where others place you. If you don’t like your position you can move, or, if an Arthurian knight, fight. It is more subtle, though, to change the rules of engagement by changing the shape of the board."



"The Boardroom Table"



"The Kitchen Table"



"The Schoolroom Table"



"In some offices, homes and schoolrooms, the table is now in decline. Meetings today might be held in break-out areas defined by soft furniture, stadium-style steps, or even foam mountains. With low-slung sofas and side tables, such landscaped interior spaces may come closer to Saarinen’s floor-level Katsura ideal, albeit without the elaborate manners and tatami mats. In today’s suburban kitchens, meanwhile, meals are as likely eaten at the counter or on the sofa as at a table. Family dinners have become nothing but a fetish for food writers. As schools embrace technology, communal writing surfaces become less necessary – the laptop is table, pen and pad in one. In each of these new scenarios some freedoms are gained, but chances for conversation are lost. The table gives and it takes away: it can harden hierarchies but also create the space for speech.

The idea of an architect as a fixed physical presence in a city seems quaint today; one imagines them instead in transit, on the phone, or on site. I hardly want architects to return to public life patronising from the corner table, but wouldn’t there be some benefit to watching their design work at work, to staking a claim for architecture’s importance to cities through their physical presence? The history of the table proves its versatility as a symbol for how people are connected to one another. Its disappearance suggests a retreat into individual architectures for eating, working, learning that can’t bode well for diplomats, housewives, students or business."
alexandralange  tables  power  hierarchy  education  harknesstables  harkness  harknessmethod  2015  architecture  furniture  relationships  teaching  learning  pedagogy  business  boardrooms  modernmen  kitchens  families  homes  offices  officedesign  schooldesign  kingarthur 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Redesigning The Office — David McKinney
"I think most things around us can be designed to be better for people. Here’s my take on the modern office — a better place to do good work.

It has all the usual office things like Wi-Fi, AC power, and a desk for working. It also has a couch for thinking, and a view and fresh air. And it’s always near the ocean or a place for exploring.

This has been my main office for the last year or so, and it’s my favorite place for intense, focused work. But what about working together with your colleagues? That's easy — just drive over… I love it."



"FAQ

I received a heap of questions after this post. Here are some answers to the most common questions.

How do you get power?

I have two batteries in the van: a 12v “Start” battery which starts the engine, and a 12v “House” battery which runs everything else. The House battery is connected to an inverter which converts 12v DC to 240v AC (I’m in Australia). From there I just plug all of my devices into the inverter, as if it were normal office power.

What about charging?

The Start battery and House battery both get charged whenever the van is running. The start battery is also isolated from the inverter system and House battery, so it’s not possible for the Start battery to get run down accidentally when using normal 240v devices.

How long do the batteries last?

Just running off the House battery I can do a full day’s work with no problems at all. All of the batteries are constantly getting charged up as you drive around, and you can obviously charge your devices and laptop battery while driving as well. Running out of juice hasn’t been an issue so far, except for extended camping trips in which case a quick drive charges everything up again.

What about a window at the back?

I like being super focused when I’m working at the monitor workstation, which is why I didn’t install a window there. If I need a view I sit on the couch with my laptop with both side doors open and work like that.

How much did it cost?

I spent a couple of hundred bucks on hardware supplies (timber, plywood, paint etc). The couch was $300, the inverter was $100, the 4G Wifi Hub was $100.

How does network connectivity work?

I have a Telstra 4G Wi-Fi Hub which is connected to a booster aerial (used for 4wd CD radios). You can see this aerial on the front left of the van. This gives me great network coverage everywhere I need to go."
office  officedesign  via:maxfenton  mobility  nomads  nomadism  mobile  2014  davidmckinney  design  vans 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Secluded innovation — Medium
"When work is fragmented and spread across multiple places, the ease of connections becomes more valuable than free coffee. Public transportation becomes critically important (as if it weren’t already). The maintenance of our sidewalks becomes as essential as their initial design. Parks and other urban punctuation move from being amenities to being productive assets. And all of this changes the equation for deciding what to do within one company’s own little fiefdom. If someone can walk a few blocks down for a break on a bench, or up the street for coffee, why recreate anemic versions of those options indoors? Why pass up moments of transition between spaces, between conversations, between peer groups, between moods? Those are the moments when serendipity is most active. If you value creativity, there is little incentive to recreate the city internally. The walls of the amenity fortress become more of a burden than a benefit.

One peace dividend of the intense competition and talent wars between consumer technology companies is massive effort being dumped into all the things that make a company. The staid pillars of human resources, operations, facilities, management hierarchies, and others are being consciously redesigned from scratch. If these approaches are affordable in slower industries where investors are more cautious, and they spread outside of the enclave of technology companies, this will be as important as the apps and websites those companies have built. Yet, for all of the attention — the hype, I think it’s fair to say — that the new tech-driven culture of work is attracting, it still feels cloistered behind the collective mass of security badges, clubby language and NDAs. These trappings of seclusion make it feel fresh and exciting if you’re on the inside of the bubble, but cultish if you’re on the outside.

Moving from cult to culture rarely happens by fiat; it’s a slow process that will be painful for the true believers and awkward for the rest of us. Yet luring all of us forward should be the potential that doing so means we change things on a fundamental level by redesigning the assumptions we’ve inherited from the industrial era. The city itself remains an under-loved ally in this. For a community that understands the essential value of open source, there’s a distinct lack of respect for openness in the way they relate to the city. Re-engaging with the public realm is the most fundamental tool that companies (and groups of companies) have to connect with the public, to understand needs more holistically, and to convert that understanding into longterm public and private value. Doing so will require many companies to go back to first principles and find a way to internalize the value of the outside world rather than literally importing it. Seclusion may make it easier to develop technology, but it’s a barrier to deeper innovations in how we live together as a society. Pop the bubble, come out of that garage; the weather’s great."

[See also: http://aeon.co/magazine/altered-states/what-tech-offices-tell-us-about-the-future-of-work ]
bryanboyer  architecture  cities  culture  technology  startups  cults  2014  officedesign  seclusion  isolation  offices 
july 2014 by robertogreco
What tech offices tell us about the future work – Kate Losse – Aeon
"Of course, the remaking of the contemporary tech office into a mixed work-cum-leisure space is not actually meant to promote leisure. Instead, the work/leisure mixing that takes place in the office mirrors what happens across digital, social and professional spaces. Work has seeped into our leisure hours, making the two tough to distinguish. And so, the white-collar work-life blend reaches its logical conclusion with the transformation of modern luxury spaces such as airport lounges into spaces that look much like the offices from which the technocrat has arrived. Perhaps to secure the business of the new moneyed tech class, the design of the new Centurion Lounge for American Express card members draws from the same design palette as today’s tech office: reclaimed-wood panels, tree-stump stools, copious couches and a cafeteria serving kale salad on bespoke ceramic plates. In these lounges, the blurring of recreation and work becomes doubly disconcerting for the tech employee. Is one headed out on vacation or still at the office – and is there a difference?

If the reward for participation in the highly lucrative tech economy is not increasing leisure but a kind of highly decorated, almost Disneyland vision of perpetual labour, what will be its endgame? As work continues to consume workers’ lives, tech offices might compete for increasingly unique and obscure toys and luxury perks to inhibit their employees’ awareness that they are always working. Once the rustic pioneer look has gone stale, one could imagine a turn to an even more ornate luxury aesthetic, heavy on materials such as gold and marble that evoke the wealthy tech class’s divergence from the 99 per cent. Or we might see a return to a vintage business aesthetic, a brushed-up version of a 1980s Hilton business hotel, refreshing and newly cool in its squareness.

Or maybe the office itself might become obsolete, if the work-from-home revolution ever takes off in earnest. One can imagine a trajectory where design stops trying to blur work and leisure, and instead works to strenuously demarcate the two for workers who have forgotten how to leave work behind. Maybe then the workspace of the future will come full circle, by transforming into a deluxe version of the Action Office cubicle. But instead of being a module on the office floor, it will be a module in a home, networked virtually and, except for its location, indistinguishable from all of the others. The utilitarian floor plan will have returned, only this time it will be atomised and dispersed across billions of homes spread across the planet."

[See also: https://medium.com/@bryan/secluded-innovation-412159d2f78b ]
work  leisure  offices  officedesign  labor  2014  katelosse  history  future 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Mind Does Not Belong in a Cubicle - Laura Smith - The Atlantic Cities
"Stephen Kellert, a social ecologist at Yale, told me that our poor office design is a sign that we don’t see ourselves as animals, as having biological needs. “The measure of progress in our civilization,” he said, “is not embracing nature, but moving away from nature and transcending nature and becoming independent of our biology.” Kellert told me that he finds zoos ironic. We consider it “inhumane” to keep a gorilla in an indoor, concrete environment with no exposure to greenery or anything resembling its natural habitat, and yet we put ourselves in these environments all the time."
stephenkellert  laurasmith  workspace  offices  officedesign  2014  nikilsaval  schooldesign  nature  light  workspaces 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Open-Office Trap : The New Yorker
"The open office was originally conceived by a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the nineteen-fifties, to facilitate communication and idea flow. But a growing body of evidence suggests that the open office undermines the very things that it was designed to achieve. In June, 1997, a large oil and gas company in western Canada asked a group of psychologists at the University of Calgary to monitor workers as they transitioned from a traditional office arrangement to an open one. The psychologists assessed the employees’ satisfaction with their surroundings, as well as their stress level, job performance, and interpersonal relationships before the transition, four weeks after the transition, and, finally, six months afterward. The employees suffered according to every measure: the new space was disruptive, stressful, and cumbersome, and, instead of feeling closer, coworkers felt distant, dissatisfied, and resentful. Productivity fell.

In 2011, the organizational psychologist Matthew Davis reviewed more than a hundred studies about office environments. He found that, though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation. When David Craig surveyed some thirty-eight thousand workers, he found that interruptions by colleagues were detrimental to productivity, and that the more senior the employee, the worse she fared."
business  environment  productivity  work  2014  officedesign  openoffices  openclassrooms  noise  matthewdavis  privacy  quiet  psychology  nickperham  garyevans  danajohnson  heidirasila  peggierothe  alenamaher  courtneyvonhippel  distraction  attention  multitasking  anthonywagner  schooldesign 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Collaborative Workspaces: Not All They're Cracked Up to Be - Design - The Atlantic Cities
"Being a part of group is awesome (go team!) but so is individual effort. The uncritical embrace of collaboration above all else can lead, as a social scientist at the SPUR panel remarked, to the reverse of what was intended: group-think, conformity, consensus for the sake of peace-making. Further, the suburban corporate campus, even when it attempts, as Facebook and Google are, to approximate urban environment, can often serve to exacerbate the type of self-reinforcing behaviors Bill Bishop explored a few years ago in his book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart. Forest City’s Alexa Arena, another participant in the SPUR panel, says that her company’s anthropological research while working on the more iterative workspace model seen in its 5M Project revealed that employees working in these environments found that their best ideas came not while in that bustling, lively office but more likely when they were in their own neighborhoods hanging…"
schooldesign  classroomdesign  2012  variety  adaptability  flexibility  work  attention  furniture  openstudioproject  openstudio  lcproject  tcsnmy  allornothing  unintendedconsequences  brainstorming  collaboration  susancain  extroverts  introverts  howwework  officedesign  architecture  design  workplace  workspace  allisonarieff  groupthink  solitude  productivity  workspaces 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Rise of the New Groupthink - NYTimes.com
"But even if the problems are different, human nature remains the same. And most humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.

To harness the energy that fuels both these drives, we need to move beyond the New Groupthink and embrace a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning. Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone. Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time. And we must recognize that introverts like Steve Wozniak need extra quiet and privacy to do their best work."
committees  susancain  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  online  web  internet  communication  proust  efficiency  howwelearn  learning  interruption  freedom  privacy  schooldesign  lcproject  officedesign  tranquility  distraction  meetings  thinking  quiet  brainstorming  teamwork  introverts  stevewozniak  innovation  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  flow  cv  collaboration  howwework  groupthink  solitude  productivity  creativity  marcelproust 
january 2012 by robertogreco
New Ways of Designing the Modern Workspace - NYTimes.com
"Adjustable desks, foldout benches & louvered shades have their place but…furniture is not the problem…But in the same way that bamboo floors, hybrid SUVs and eco-couture haven’t done much to curb carbon emissions, designing (& buying) more stuff for offices, no matter how sleek or sustainable it is, likely won’t help reset the culture of work.

Design itself is the problem because it is being used to solve the wrong ones…has to expand beyond noodling with the cubicle. I’m willing to bet that almost any office worker would happily swap Webcam lighting…for solutions to more pressing work issues like…burnout or fear of losing health coverage…

Two other factors often undervalued (and often ignored) in the workplace? Family and time…

We shouldn’t be rethinking the cubicle or corner office but rather rethinking all aspects of work…"
psychology  work  design  officedesign  allisonarieff  cubicles  classrooms  schooldesign  sustainability  productivity  life  families  parenting  time  workplace  workspace  nathanshedroff  furniture  homes  housing  babysitting  childcare  flexibility  coworking  efficiency  yiconglu  serbanionescu  jimdreilein  justinsmith  theminerandmajorproject  architecture  interiors  interiordesign  environmentaldesign  environment  broodwork  florianidenburg  jingliu  commonground  eames  froebel  kindergarten  andrewberardini  larrysummers  rachelbotsman  creativity  innovation  2011  autonomy  learning  workspaces  classroom  friedrichfroebel 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Bionic Office - Joel on Software
"There's a lot of evidence that the right kind of office space can improve programmer productivity, especially private offices...Private offices with doors that close were absolutely required and not open to negotiation."
officedesign  offices  psychology  workplace  workspace  work  coworking  architecture  interiors  productivity  programming  furniture  management  workspaces 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Hivelogic: Offices and The Creativity Zone
"surprises me that so many managers & operations officers have such a misconception about exactly productivity in relation to how people actually work...corporate world rewards based on perceived productivity rather than accomplishment"
productivity  officedesign  coworking  offices  privacy  organization  workspace  attention  creativity  design  spaces  layout  management  leadership  administration  workspaces 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Getting Real: Alone Time (by 37signals)
"Many people prefer to work either early in the morning or late at night — times when they're not being bothered. When you have a long stretch when you aren't bothered, you can get in the zone. The zone is when you are most productive."
productivity  gtd  attention  cv  work  flow  37signals  interruptions  time  offices  officedesign  psychology 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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