A workplace paradise?
You need to find a quiet place to finish some urgent work, where do you go? A library (where the man next to you sniffs, coughs and turns the page rhythmically)? A cafe (with the play group mums gossiping over screaming children to one side and the “chink chink chink psssshhhhhhhttt” coffee making on another)? You do it late at night, early in the morning, on the commute?
Think about it, we take our workers put them in cubicles in a tall building and expect them to do great work. Or at least hope for good work. But the interruptions are constant. We can’t expect people to sleep well if they are persistently interrupted. How is it any different to the office? How can we expect people to work effectively and efficiently with only short bursts of uninterrupted time?
The worst of these are managers and meetings (confirmed in Remote: office not required). Management is essential, however over-managing can be detrimental to productivity. Control-freak managers who are unable to delegate and must have a handle on every aspect of every employee’s activities are intervening and diminishing productivity. Managers call meetings which are a major distraction. About 10% of meetings are productive and the remaining 90% are unnecessarily boring. How many of us have found ourselves nodding off in meetings where orders are barked around the room between senior management and everyone else is invisible? Meetings should be “treated as a rare delicacy” and only for those few individuals to whom the meeting is relevant.
Reality is that managers and meetings are an evil necessity and that will not change any time soon. So looking ahead to the future of the office, how can we combat these unavoidable interruptions?…
The answers lie ahead
Social media as the modern day smoke break – most projections emphasise the use of social media in employment by integrating treadmill desks, cafe days, managers re-framed as mentors, trees in offices.. the future looks bright.
The Desk Of The Future…
Could be mobile, might be standing and could even be moving. The worker of the future may enjoy:
- standing desks
- treadmill desks
- open plan desks with sound proofing bubbles
- outdoor desks
- talking interactive desks
Imagine if one day a week was allocated to a change of environment, a flexi-work environment, be it in a cafe, a library, on your deck in the sun. Sometimes a change of scenery is good, sometimes motivation and willingness runs out in a certain spot. As Aristotle said, “change in all things is sweet”. As long as the work gets done it shouldn’t matter where it’s getting done. For those who subscribe to the “if I cant see the person how do I know they’re working?” school of though.. get with the programme. These days with technology you can monitor what someone is doing on their computer, require them to log in regularly with updates… there are ways and means.
Out of this world office spaces…
Google has already hit the mark and other businesses shouldn’t be far off the trail. A vibrant, unique and exciting workspace is a happy & productive workplace. Google’s corporate headquarters “Googleplex” in California is state of the art, housing slides, indoor gardens,
themed social spaces and free onsite coloured bicycles for getting around the complex. The perks of a Google employee include free onsite haircuts, gym facilities, laundry facilities and onsite medical access. Even us New Zealander’s dream of one day being employed by this magical “tend to all of our needs” employer (click here). Give it time, more and more major businesses will click on to the trend and soon our offices will resemble Disneyland. Here’s hoping.