From the former Workplace Director of the multi-award winning Sky Central offices, we learn about The Elemental Workplace from Neil Usher’s new book:
The simplest of questions often prompt those moments in which we freeze in time, having progressed along a path only to look around and find our first steps being eroded. Why anyone needs to have a fantastic workplace is just such a question.
Away from the co-working start-up comfort of many of today’s fledgling businesses, a number of challenger organisations who became mighty were born under considerable adversity. They created their success despite the space in which they operated, not because of it (be careful, however, with the legend of Apple starting in a garage). In some instances, a collective fear of losing that dogged spirit and defiance relegates workplace to a negligible consideration.
Hence the question, and the doubt. There is a chapter of the book Parkinson’s Law dedicated to the workplace, in which it is observed that “a perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse”14 while dynamic firms are likely to make do and improvise.
Nevertheless, there remains a compelling case for a fantastic workplace that needs to find its voice. To help explain this I have used an enhanced and updated version of the long-standing framework created by Frank Du y15 of the architectural practice DEGW (1971-2009), the three ‘e’s (efficiency, effectiveness, and expression), and made it six (adding environment, ether, and energy). These all add up to creating a workplace that enables the wellbeing, performance and productivity of the occupants, thereby in turn making a significant contribution to the wellbeing, performance and productivity of the organisation.
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