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. 
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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.

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Technology Trends, Use Patterns & Place

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:

Smart Devices
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.”

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