Work and the NextGen Office

The Architect magazine this month has a feature on work –  you can learn more at their website – it’s an important topic, because we mostly do too much of it.

On the front page of the article is a drawing that lists some of the activities we enjoy (endure?) in the workplace:

  • focus
  • nurture
  • nourish
  • meet
  • research
  • grow.

It’s a good list, but I think it misses something really important. In my experience there are two very different kinds of focus work.

The first is the really difficult creative work – looking at a problem carefully, trying to understand, to innovate, to discover. This is intense, playful, and can be done alone or with others. It’s often the most rewarding part of work.

The second is what I would call “production” – generating drawings, writing papers, documenting accounts, writing marketing plans and the like. This is a very different kind of focus, and it requires a different kind of environment, and different tools.

Creative, problem-solving focus work is for me best done in an environment away from the normal distractions of life: in a cafe, walking, sitting in a quiet corner with a notebook (paper or plastic) in which to collect my thoughts. On the other hand, production work is best for me in the office or in my home office, with a good computer, big screen, lots of desk space, and all the tools of my trade.

So if you’re designing the office of the future, how about considering the nuances of how intense, focused work is done?

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