This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 18/08/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.
A LESSON FROM THE OLYMPICS
Enhancing performance with training and equipment
After an amazing London 2012, I thought the Rio Olympics would be disappointing. On the contrary, many events – and especially the cycling – have held me spellbound. Whilst it may take several more four-year-periods before I finally understand the rules of the Omnium, the various cycling events have illustrated the importance of co-ordinated planning, preparation, training and equipment. The big contrast between the Olympics and the workplace is that employers try to optimise the performance of their people on a constant and ongoing basis, rather than for a few minutes every four years. Plus this optimisation must be achieved without access to millions of pounds of lottery funding! We know more about the workplace and its people than ever before but, in a constantly changing landscape, integrating the knowledge and maximising the contribution of different disciplines can be difficult. If you’re planning a move or refit or starting an Agile Working programme, we would be delighted to discuss the issues you are facing. Even if we don’t know all the answers, we will know someone who does!
Defining your criteria
Recent refresher training at Camira Fabrics reminded me how many different ways there are to choose fabrics. Whilst most of us probably start with colour, pattern and texture, others will be in roles demanding a more pragmatic approach that considers durability or flame resistance. For many employers, sustainability is essential so the use of recycled materials or bast (plant) fibre will be a priority (although wool is, of course, the ultimate renewable). Add to the mix the business of farming government-licensed hemp or addressing the idiosyncrasies of buying jute bags from multi-national coffee companies and the back story to the fabric is almost as fascinating as its impact on space in which it is deployed!
When the way it looks is not enough
For over twenty years, much of my business has been about finding specific chairs for individuals with musculo-skeletal problems, where comfort and support are crucial. As the workplace changes, we are being asked to provide all manner of seating for a variety of applications and modes of use. We score all our products in the ergonomics sector and we are now looking at a parallel system for other seating, considering the type of use and for how long. Whilst seating for a reception area may only be used for a few minutes, what about the canteen chairs where people use their tablet for a couple of hours at a time or the soft seating where people use their laptop all morning? Is this a concern for you or is appearance more important? Please let me know what you think.
VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY
Is this the next big tech change in the workplace?
Virtual and augmented reality tools are already used in envisaging design and simulating environments as well as in gaming. As Pokemon Go takes the gaming world by storm, our good friends at Bakker Elkhuizen have been thinking about whether these technologies could actually become part of our daily working lives. Would you be happy to wear a VR Headset at home, for example, and meet your work colleagues in a ‘virtual office’? Whilst the idea may be abhorrent to some, there will be others who regard it as ‘the next best thing to being there’. After all, many of us now willingly attend webinars rather than events in person. Please contact me if you want to explore this further.