In a previous post, I explored the question: Is your chair your enemy?, based in part on the many recent articles, research reports, and infographics claiming that the simple act of sitting is killing you.
But I recently read David Zax’s FastCompany article, In Defense of Sitting, a humorous counter argument (“Sitting may kill you. But at least you’ll die doing something you love.”) to the widely-published judgement that standing while at task is surely the key to eternal life.
What the summer of 1975 did for sharks, what the fall of 2001 did for anthrax, the last few years have been doing for that seemingly innocuous object: the chair.
Read more on Is There a Case to Be Made for Sitting?…
New Technologies, New Behaviors is a research summary recently published by Herman Miller. I found it to be an interesting review of three specific tech trends and the impact they are having on our use patterns and workplaces:
In early 2011, for the first time in history, smart phones outsold personal computers. In fact, by February of 2012, 88 percent of the U.S. population carried a mobile phone. Between December of 2011 and January of 2012, the number of adults who owned a tablet computer nearly doubled, and tablets will likely outsell laptops within the next five years.
Unified Communication Channels
The proliferation of technological devices and applications in the workplace has had the paradoxical effect of actually creating more barriers to communication, at least in the short-term. With tablets, smartphones, laptops, email, instant messaging, video, and social networks, people have many ways to get in touch with each other. But not all the devices, apps, and services are able to talk with each other.
Natural Forms of Interface
Natural user interfaces (NUI), allow people to interact with technology in many of the same ways they interact with people: through speech, gesture, and touch.
New user interfaces are not only transforming the way we interact with our devices, but also the ways in which we interact with each other. Researchers are finding that “the increased ability for natural expressions of behavior, such as gesture and posture, extend the possibilities for communication and collaboration.”
Read more on Technology Trends, Use Patterns & Place…
Steelcase’s recent issue of 360° Magazine, titled Culture Code, shares a big body of research on workplace culture across eleven countries. The following is a sampling of three interesting workplace culture perspectives (by country) from this research.
Read more on A Sampling: Workplace Cultures Around the World…
A few years ago, I bought a height adjustable work table so we could experiment with standing work postures versus sitting working postures. A few people tried the stand up table, but it took awhile for anyone to really stick with daily use.
Read more on Is Your Chair Your Enemy?…
As any friend of Atomic knows, we have a great open office environment and matching open culture. But not all open offices are created equal. My previous employer had the layout of an open office, but not a truly open environment.
A fully open environment means new ideas are shared, problems can be globally solved, and a sense of camaraderie can be built among coworkers.
Read more on Headphones Are Dangerous…
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I’m a workplace designer by professional experience and education. As Atomic Object’s multi-tasking business manager, one of the many hats I wear is as its workplace planner and designer. Before joining Atomic Object, I researched and designed leading edge workplaces for Herman Miller.
The Harvard Business Review is not my typical go-to source for insights into matters of physical work space, but this article landed squarely at the intersection of my interests in workplace culture and workplace design:
Who Moved My Cube? by Anne-Laure Fayard and John Weeks.
At Atomic, we research and test usability as we design software. This article made me ponder usability from a workplace design perspective.
Read more on Workplaces: Designing for Interaction…
After last week’s Not Your Average Speaker Series: Cycling City at the Wealthy Theatre, Carl and I were talking about how much Atomic Object has invested in support of our bike commuters and what the return on investment has been.
Read more on Bike-Friendly Workplaces Can Be Cost Effective…
Recently I gave a talk at the 2011 Grand Rapids Bicycle Summit. My goal was to illustrate what one bike-friendly employer looks like. Easy enough, as Atomic has cultivated a strong bike culture at our headquarters in Uptown. A fun story to tell.
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Right after we bought our office in 2003, we started down a multi-year, reductionist path of tearing out lots of unnecessary walls from within the shell our our historic building. Consistent with Atomic’s collaborative approach to work, we wanted a very open workspace. A minimum viable set of walls remained or was added to define our bathroom and a conference room.
The architectural design of our building gives us generous fenestration along the north and south walls. We love our daylight and views, but they leave us with less usable vertical space to support some of our important, shared work processes.
Our software developers and designers needed more writing and sketching space, more and different kinds of display space. We all needed broad, multi-functional surface areas for capturing stand up discussions, capacity planning, ideation sessions and the display of important project process tools like story maps and burndown charts. The ideal surface needed to be writable, large-scale, magnetic and easily cleaned.
Read more on The Writing Is on the Walls…