Should I Speak Up?

Regular readers of Atomic Spin probably already know that Crucial Conversations is required reading for all new Atoms. The authors—Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler—didn’t stop there, however. They’ve written several books, including the one I’ve been reading lately, Crucial Accountability.

While reading one of the earlier chapters, I was struck by four simple questions to determine whether or not you should speak up at work. Imagine the very plausible situation where a manager walks into a meeting and presents the “plan” that he or she developed in isolation and expects everyone to follow. You may have some reservations, but should you say anything? The following questions can help you decide.
Read more on Should I Speak Up?…

Introducing ENIAC Six: Atomic’s Room Named for the Women who Programmed the ENIAC

The various meeting spaces in Atomic’s new building will be named after designers and developers we value for their contributions to their fields, and to our history as a company. As renovation on our building continued, we realized we had an additional room to name. Atomic’s last meeting room is named after the little-known group of women who programmed the ENIAC—the world’s first all-digital, Turing-complete, general-purpose computer. Read more on Introducing ENIAC Six: Atomic’s Room Named for the Women who Programmed the ENIAC…

The Grad’s Dilemma: How I Found a Software Job that Fits

As a student about to graduate from a large, highly competitive Computer Science program, I felt a great deal of pressure from the university and from my peers to follow one of two career paths: Join a start-up and become one of its heroic, high-risk/high-reward founders; or snag one of those coveted, high-paying positions at a Silicon Valley tech behemoth. 
Read more on The Grad’s Dilemma: How I Found a Software Job that Fits…

Atomic Onboarding – What Works in 9 Guidelines

We care deeply about our onboarding process at Atomic. We recognize that work relationships are human relationships and that it’s crucial to demonstrate respect for our new employees, show that we really value them, and that we’re excited to have them joining us. We want to do everything we can to set them up for success. Read more on Atomic Onboarding – What Works in 9 Guidelines…

Improving on the Open Office Environment with Slack

At Atomic Object, we’ve always been big fans of the open office floor plan. Our offices consist of wide-open rooms with table groups where team members can easily work together. This environment allows spontaneous brainstorming sessions and problem-solving discussions to occur naturally throughout the day.

One thing that I really love about the open office setup is being able to hear bits and pieces of what other teams are doing throughout the day. When working on an application, it’s not at all uncommon to run across a problem that someone else has already addressed. If you know the right person to ask, sometimes you can save yourself a great deal of time and headaches just by having a discussion with a coworker. The open office environment helps make this possible. Read more on Improving on the Open Office Environment with Slack…

Better Environment, Better Team – 5 Ways Changing Conditions Can Solve Problems

Fish discover water last. — Anonymous

When Atomic Object was searching for a new office space, it made me think about what makes a good work environment and if there were any research studies that supported my personal experiences. I did some research, and what I found changed the way I view how people work together.

I realized an “environment” is composed of much more than just the obvious physical objects—though they are important too. Things like the layout of your office space, the people you are interacting with, the information you are exposed to, and even the processes you engage in—they’re all parts that make up the larger picture of your unique work environment. Read more on Better Environment, Better Team – 5 Ways Changing Conditions Can Solve Problems…

Nature Matters – Insights on Biomimicry

Image courtesy GreenWizard.

Biomimicry, biophic design, nature-based design — these are all terms that describe how natural systems offer powerful models that influence the built world (including architecture, workplace design, and technology). It’s all about finding design inspiration from nature to solve human problems.

Here are some insights on biomimicry and the potential it holds for long term sustainability in architecture, workplace design and software development. Read more on Nature Matters – Insights on Biomimicry…

Space Matters – Workplace Design Insights

Space matters. And Atomic Object Grand Rapids is at the front end of an exciting workplace redesign to enable the human activity in our old building.

Recently, my colleague Matt Fletcher pointed me to a great book: Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft. This book is a wealth of creative workplace design ideas and is organized around “Tools,” “Situations,” “Design Template,” “Space Studies,” and “Insights.”

Along with lots of nuts-and-bolts, DIY design ideas, the book offers excellent perspectives on some of the important lessons of workplace design. Here are the “Insights” that most resonated with me as I head into the redesign of AO Grand Rapids: Read more on Space Matters – Workplace Design Insights…

Is There a Case to Be Made for Sitting?

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?…