Monday, 22 July 2013

Pursuing the Perfect Office

Last Friday Claudia Hammond presented her Radio 4 programme on The Search for the Perfect Office. It’s such a big subject and I was surprised to not find any on-line discussion on the programme. So I will attempt to start a debate here.

Like my previous blog on lawyer’s offices the programme soon focussed in on the open plan versus private office debate. On first listening I went away thinking that the programme was heavily biased against the open plan office. It started by suggesting that whilst open plan offices are cheaper they are a false economy as they do not support our work activities. I went away with the impression that only half of the research (that against open plan) was presented. The architects received a severe bashing for ignoring the research on noise distraction and designing buildings with their favourite materials, steel and glass, that reflect rather than absorb sounds. But a second listening revealed some well-balanced points hidden amongst the upbeat fluff typical of presenters following Radio 4s Woman’s Hour.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

You’re a what? A workplace consultant? WTF is that?

Last Tuesday was the summer social of the Workplace Consulting Organisation (WCO). As the night progressed, fuelled by free ale, we succumbed to alcoholic existentialism: "what is workplace consulting ... what do we actually do ... how do we differ from management consultants ... are we needed" basically "why am I here?” and much later “who am I?”. My thoughts here are born out of a hazy conversation with WCO members Conrad Wildsmith, Farrol Goldblatt and Sonny Hasan – who can either claim credit or distance themselves from my ramblings as they see fit.
I have blogged previously on how I became a workplace consultant, but the £64M+VAT question remains "what actually is workplace consulting?". When I co-founded the WCO several years ago we spent much time discussing how to define workplace consulting:
"Workplace Consulting is the professional activity that supports and enables the optimal design and implementation of working environments, ensuring that they are as efficient, effective, expressive and flexible as they need to be”