By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Design
Why does your workplace suck? LUNAR's John Edson offers three traits that no company can afford to exclude when it comes to office design.
Telecommuters aside, we spend at least eight hours a day at work. So why is the office so unbearable?
(And no, your micromanaging boss isn't the only reason.)
Your company's office costs it an awful lot of money -- especially if it's located in a major metropolitan area, like most companies' are -- yet for some reason it's often not optimized for the work being done inside it.
LUNAR's John Edson writes at Co.Design that it doesn't have to be that way. When his company moved locations three years ago from a makeshift hub to a proper studio in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood, he realized that there were essential elements that couldn't be short-changed in an office: the space for employees to express themselves ("voice"), the office as a stand-in for company values ("culture") and the guidelines that nothing's permanent ("flexibility").
Does no one sit in the common areas? Is the kitchen merely a room for the refrigerator? Does the lighting evoke a prison environment? Does anyone really know your name?
Because companies can't draw a direct line between profits and workspace, it's often difficult for established companies to bring a facilities manager on board with the idea. But in the 21st century, corporate executives are going to need to find ways to stay a step ahead of the fully customized home office.
Nov 29, 2011
I currently work in a cubical farm...It's perfect for me! I don't need to see the other people in my office...I have them on IM and email and phone if necessary... We are transitioning to a new office and as an intermediary space, we are all sharing a common area with tables and no real partitioning...This is gonna suck! I like being able to hunker down in my cubicle and concentrate on stuff without being bothered. I don't need line of sight with anybody.
Sorry to be critical, but this piece was disappointing. Actual RESEARCH has been done in this area. I thought you were going to report on some. So this executive is proud that everyone "shares the same sight line"? Yeah, right. The higher-ups look out from the windows of their closed-off private offices. RESEARCH shows that cubicles and other kinds of "open offices" are horrible for morale and productivity, because worker bees are forced to share the same SOUNDS, ODORS, and TEMPERATURE, all day long. In laboratory tests, the vast majority of people found it much more difficult to perform well on concentration-intensive tasks under simulated open office conditions than under private office conditions. Meanwhile, the managers pat themselves on the back for sharing the same sight line with the hoi-polloi (except when they draw the blinds so they can concentrate).