Monday, 14 February 2022

A World of Music and Workplace

In my time out from workplace consulting I prepare and present a weekly show on my local community radio station. It got me thinking about the similarities between music and the workplace.

Firstly, I like different music depending on my activity, my mood and the time of day. Music of a higher beats per minute undoubtedly suits me better when I’m on my spin bike or flagging, but I prefer slower-paced instrumentals when I am focussing or writing. Different work-settings are better suited to different activities and mood.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Beyond the Workplace Zoo

I can’t believe my last blog post was around Xmas time last year, where has the time gone? But it doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, just through a different media. My own lockdown baby came in the form of a new book: Beyond the Workplace Zoo: Humanising the Office. It was published two weeks ago with a cosy book launch last week and its official airing at Workplace Trends yesterday.

It has been over 20 years since my last “proper” book, Improving Office Productivity. A book I co-authored with Paul Bartlett, who sadly passed away last year. Paul’s views on office economics and productivity paved the way for much of my thinking in the new book – his humour and candour are deeply missed.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Seasons Greetings 2020


I have been quite fortunate, but Covid-19 is undeniably terrible and this year has been devastating for some with loss of loved ones and income. Apparently our fight and flight response means we dwell on the negative rather than the positive and five pieces of good news are needed to balance one negative. 

Monday, 11 May 2020

Post Covid-19 Workplace: Recollection not Revolution

Boris made his rather ambiguous announcement yesterday on his Covid-19 exit strategy and there have been plenty of previous posts from the workplace industry anticipating the announcement and how redesigning the office is the solution. But I firmly believe that we already have the answers, and have had them for some time, but have repeatedly chosen to ignore them. I recommend we start by recollecting and (re)introducing tried and tested best practice in the workplace before we push a design revolution. 

Monday, 4 May 2020

Working from Home – A Psychological and Personality Perspective

I always find it interesting when classic psychological theory can help inform current situations. It has become apparent that working from home (WFH), and social isolation, like many things follows the Yerkes-DodsonLaw, with its inverted U-shape relationship. 

The Yerkes-Dodson Law is traditionally used to describe the relationship between levels of mental and physiological arousal and performance, see Figure 1. When we are at our optimum level of arousal, we perform to our maximum (the top of the curve). However, when the level of arousal is low, for example, when we are tired, demotivated, lethargic or bored our performance drops. Furthermore, when our level of arousal is high, for example when excited or stressed, performance also drops. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Virtual Meeting Etiquette

When it comes to virtual meetings at work, I’ve always been in two minds. On the one hand face-to-face is more dynamic, more engaging and more responsive. We pick up on non-verbal communication – facial expressions and other body languages revealing engagement and understanding. We use body language to emphasise messages and refer to previous shared experiences – see my collaboration report for more detail. I often joke that I want to smell others in the room not just hear or see them. 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Workstyle #2: I prefer to work locally, so what am I?

My previous blog explained the subtilties between the different type of modern workplace strategy. This sibling blog focuses on the modern office worker types or workstyles.

Presumably, those who work according to a specific workplace strategy are deemed a particular style of worker. For example, ‘home-worker’ is a common phrase to refer to those who regularly or occasionally work from home. ‘Remote worker’ is often used describe those who work outside of the office either at home, in other places (cafés, library) or travelling on business. Myself and others who work in garden cabins refer to ourselves as ‘shed workers’, a sub-group of ‘home-worker’. The latest workstyle, ‘co-worker’, refers to a person who has set up their office base at a co-working hub. The phrases ‘agile worker’, ‘smart worker’ or ‘activity-based worker’ are less commonly used – maybe because they are less popular choices.