This month’s issue of Dwell Magazine is about live/work spaces. The first article proclaims “The Office is Dead. Long Live Work.”
It goes on to say that because of the way we conduct business today, we will no longer need normal cube farm offices in the near future.
Herman Miller’s Jack Schreuer says gone in 15 years, and HM is planning on it. If there is a company that should know what’s going on in the world of offices, it’s Herman Miller right?
He talks about the SAYL chair by Yves Behar fitting into this new world. Something that will fit in better at home, and yet still be better than sitting in a kitchen chair all day.
But especially in our professions, working together seems like something that can never be replaced. Looking at product in person, together is invaluable, as is team working during the development process.
So is the office dying, or are we jumping the gun? Also, when am I getting my flying car I was promised?
Wasn’t it back in the eighties that they predicted we would all be working at home by the year 2000? I’ve noticed a definite change towards increased flexibility on where, and when, you work, but I am a firm believer that the central work environment will always have its place. I think that this is especially true in a design environment. The studio is where the real productivity happens, where you generate the clash of ideas that hopefully leads to the next great thing. And digital interaction just doesn’t cut it in the same way as a face to face meeting. Plus there is nothing more frustrating than the time-wasting that happens when technical issues delay a meeting starting, or cut it short, or even prevent it happening all together.
Above all, humans are social creatures, and there are a lot of people that I know that would go insane from the lack of human interaction if they sat at home all day everyday.
I guess the Yves Behar chair still has its place though, as I guess most of us will still do the odd day of work from home, and so need that kind of home office environment despite the continuing existence of the main office.
I’m also waiting on my flying car… And my first trip up to visit the human colony on the moon…
Look at the way Michael Bloomberg sets up his mayoral office in NYC, much more like a collaborative studio. I’ve gone from having a decent sized office with view and a glass door, to having a cubicle in with my team’s cubicles, to now just having desks all together, and closed project play rooms… I like the last the best. More flexibility and focused on the work and not the titles of people.
There is not a chance that my office will EVER get rid of cubes. In fact, when my division had the opportunity to configure their own workplaces, everyone but my design dept chose the standard full cubicle walls. Privacy is big, especially when these people are on phones with vendors all day. I would get extremely annoyed by listening to that. Luckily, my design dept opted to go for an ‘open’ area, and we are the only group to do this in the entire company. There is also no way that my company would survive with working form home. Even after being here for a while, I am amazed at how much collaboration between different groups/categories goes on. Without physical presence, there is no way that this would happen.
Pffttt… I love coming to the office. I worked from home for 4-5 years and it became a real drag. Nothing like feeling you should put on a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher to kill your creativity. I love the hustle and bustle of working in an office… bouncing ideas, chatting about shit or even having a quick lunch of coffee with someone without having to arrange a time and a place to meet is more appealing to me.