We have published the latest Work&Place issue for Spring 2019. As always, it offers a diverse compilation of timely and provocative perspectives focused on the intersections between and among work, the workplace, technology, culture, and business strategy. You might start with Rob Harris’s call for shooting the messengers in his (highly responsible) rant on the dearth of meaningful research about the business value of open offices and the all-too-frequent unfounded claims about how wonderful open plan is.
If you find Rob’s insights compelling, you might want to turn next to Anthony Brown’s “Brief history of workplace disruption”, which provides a marvellous review of how the workplace has evolved over the past several centuries, introducing one powerful disruption after another into the way we now work.
Then, for a glimpse at a very plausible workplace future, dig into David Karpook’s article about how AI and sensing tech will change the way we experience our workplaces (and the way they experience us). Follow that up with Jan Johnson’s call for a people-powered approach to workplace design. Jan shares her own experiences as a long-time workplace designer who believes in actively engaging the people who will use the workplace.
That kind of engagement in workplace design is critical, because as Peter Ankerstjerne points out, the most important source of wealth in the information economy is the experience of the people who do the work. While much attention is paid these days to Big Data, Peter makes a convincing case that data only has meaning when it is used, processed, and interpreted – and it is their own experience that influences that interpretation.
Then, for a wholly different perspective, think outside your workplace (and your entire facility) for a moment to learn about how large urban areas are beginning to design economies and physical facilities for “life after carbon.” Peter Plastrik and John Cleveland have just published an incredibly important book called Life After Carbon: The next global transformation of cities. We are proud to bring you both an excerpt and a thoughtful review of the book by Nancy Johnson Sanquist.
And there is one more article, on bringing the outside in – Kelly Taylor’s overview of the latest thinking about biophilia – the introduction of living things and their images into the workplace, to restore workers’ connections with nature and enhance their productivity and satisfaction.
We are also debuting a new theme, Conference Reports, in which we provide you with summaries of major events from participants. Work&Place is now an active media partner for many conferences around the world, and we use that role to provide you with insider looks at the major themes, presenters, and conversations that make them so important.You need to engage with these ideas and spend some time sorting through their implications for your own work. But don’t stop there.
Engage with us and the authors too; use the website to extend the conversation, raise new questions, and tell us what you want to read about, and hear about, going forward. We view Work&Place not as a dusty library, but as a continuing and lively global conversation.