Truly global markets, seamless connectivity to people and machines, instantaneous access to information and ideas, a merging of life inside and outside the office, and the increasing creative and production capabilities of individuals—these are just a few of the trends coming together to define a new landscape of work.
Written by: The Editors
Artwork by: Daniel Carlsten
It is clear that many of the management methods, tools and technology, and places that have defined work to date are no longer sufficient in this new era. At Herman Miller, we’re building what’s next: a more natural and desirable way of working that fosters greater performance, engagement, well-being, and ultimately greater prosperity for all. Consider the following provocative ideas.
WORKERS ARE SHOPPERS
Treat your employee as you would a customer by offering unprecedented value and compelling choices that meet the demands of their work, and help them achieve something greater. Workers should be empowered to shop for the space that best suits them in the moment, and freely and intuitively cycle through these spaces over the course of their day. Workspaces and settings must stay attuned to the “market demands” of the workers using them. For an office to thrive, the customer must always be satisfied.
MAKE A BEAUTIFUL MESS
Once guideposts and purpose are set, enabling individuals to do their best work means relinquishing control—of the work process, the work environment, and sometimes of the work itself. There is no such thing as a perfect office, so don’t try to create one. Rather, a managerial and physical environment that anticipates, enables, embraces, and to some extent contains this chaos is one which people will naturally occupy—and succeed in.
WE FEEL BEFORE WE THINK
The human brain is constantly reacting to and processing a bandwidth of inputs and information far beyond our conscious perception. Cues from the environment and each other powerfully drive how we feel and what we do. Purposeful designs can accommodate and harness this “human operating system.” In such a workplace people will immediately grasp what they can do, where they can go, what things are for, and why they are the way they are. Productivity and pleasure will come naturally. It will just feel right.
YOU PLUS ME EQUALS THREE
A successful office plays a role in facilitating and maintaining a symbiotic balance between individuals and their groups. It connects people to their work and to each other. Workplaces must emphasize that which can’t be accomplished on a screen or through a device. They must proliferate an atmosphere of trust and fellowship. For workers to reach their potential, the office must always feel like a community worth belonging to.
THE NEXT BIG THING ISN’T FOR YOU
The design and management of the office has to begin with a careful consideration of people and their work. There is no one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf solution for an optimal workplace. The solution for each organization must necessarily be different based on the aspirations and needs of the organization and the organization’s workers. Achieving a Living Office requires perpetual inquiry, solid intuition, and decisive action.