Monday, 1 January 2018

Make a list and have a productive New Year

It is the time of the year when we sit down, bloated from Christmas excesses, reflect on the past and plan the year ahead. Undoubtedly this will involve a list (of resolutions) which will gradually be forgotten over the next few months. But “to do” lists (or “action plans” if you are reliant on others) are a good and simple aid to productivity. Crossing off a completed item offers a warm feeling of satisfaction, positive reinforcement and does the world of good for our psychological wellbeing.

But don’t just write a list, prioritise the items – which is easier said than done. How many of us go into the office in the morning with our mental “to do” list but the day pans out more like this:

Friday, 20 October 2017

Designing Workplaces that Promote Health, Wellbeing & Performance: An Environmental Psychologist’s Perspective

I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Cape Town to present a keynote address at the Dare to Lead conference organised by Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). I had just 20 minutes to speak on a psychologist’s view of health, wellbeing and performance; that’s a huge subject area and pretty much my whole career condensed down to the typical time it takes to boil a pan of potatoes. So, I focussed on just three psychological theories: motivation, personality and evolutionary psychology.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Workplace Standards: Over-rated or Under-appreciated?

Why standards?
If we all lived in beautiful log cabins in the mountains, then we probably wouldn’t need regulations and standards. But if we are part of a community or society then we need standards to protect us from others and protect others from us. The focus of regulations is usually on health and safety but they may offer protection of a society’s future, for example consider planning regulations. Standards also apply to products and services such as improving their quality of products and consistency. Regulations and standards shows that a society has matured and is responsible. 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Can Workplace Design Enhance Creativity?

This blog is based on the presentation I gave at the Workplace Trends conference last week, which in turn was based on a presentation I gave at an Innovation Exchange in Lisbon. The room was full of scientists presenting their latest inventions and chemical formulas, and they asked me to present on how the workplace design could assist them. Well I’m always up for a challenge and an all-expenses paid trip to Portugal.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Bloke down the pub told me … we can learn from pub design

Some of you may know that, as well as my keen interest in workplace design, I have a passion for beer – I’m training to be a beer sommelier and also part-own Haresfoot Brewery. As a consequence, I receive regular updates on the beer industry’s activities from the Morning Advertiser – “pub trade news from the industry's oldest and most-respected magazine”. 

I was particularly interested in the recent article “top pub interior design trends for 2017”. Whilst the article focuses mostly on the décor (e.g. masculine versus feminine, eclectic furniture, rawness and honesty), I have always thought that the pub offers so much more that can influence office design. Let me explain further.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Here's to a Prosperous and Productive New Year

I hope you all had a good break and have retuned to work re-energised and looking for a new challenge. As usual my thoughts turn to new ways in which we can improve workplace wellbeing and productivity.

In the recently published Stoddart Review, my research from 2012 was reported as showing that a 1% to 3.5% increase in productivity could be gained through improved workplace design. The reported figures actually refer to single design factors and the research shows an improvement of 5% to 7% is more likely if several factors (temperature, acoustics, air quality, lighting, space and furniture etc.) are addressed in a well-designed workplace. If you don’t have time to read the full Stoddart Review then take a look at the summary published in the Sunday Times, both downloadable for free.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Till desk do us part

This blog first appeared on the WCO website on 21st September.

“Desk: A piece of furniture with a flat or sloping surface and typically with drawers, at which one can read, write, or do other work”.

Is the traditional office desk obsolete? The desk, the workstation, that slab of “wood” that the majority of office workers sit at is getting smaller. Gone are the days of the 1800 x 1800 mm corner core, and my 2 m wide and 1 m deep bench desk at an architect’s practice; the 1600 mm wide homogenous bench has become a 1400 mm and recently I worked with an NHS Trust where the standard workstation was a mere 1200 mm but the facilities team were actually rolling out 1 m “back to school” style desks. So by logic and statistical extrapolation alone the traditional office desk is disappearing. Add to the mix the increasing use of tablets, laser keyboards, dictation software like Dragon and virtual reality goggles and it’s not too difficult to imagine a world without people gathering to sit in rows at a flat surface.