Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dave, Where's The Formula? ; Changing office design boosts productivity, Too much ambition & Evolution in the way we tweet.

Up to four days a week, I'm in an office space. This means that my surroundings will have an effect on me, wether consciously or subliminally.

Having spent a large portion of my working life in all kinds of working environments, I have a preference for well lit, more airier spaces. I'm not a small, cubicle-type person, which is an environment I've seen in many large corporations over the years. Thankfully, that style of working is being phased out, with a more natural or even homely ambience encouraged in the environment.

Ultimately, it's all in the name of getting the best out of the working day, from a morale and productivity perspective :-

The perfect workspace: How to design an office that boosts productivity

I'm all for a splash of colour, and a comfortable seat. I also like to have a window to the world and people to have the odd chinwag and..you get the idea.

In effect, a warm, well lit room with provisions for seating and some form of technological connectivity are enough these days to create an office environment. I'm leaving out essentials such as ventilation provision and restroom ( toilet) facilities, as these are de rigeur. Having a kitchenette or breakout area is also a boon, and can provide that NLP ( neuro linguistic programming) flavoured 'stop-break', to walk into , away from the confined feeling of frustration your natural environment can bring, when feeling stuck with a problem. Even going for a walk can help you break away from the issue, as you've changed your physiological state as well as your surroundings. But more of that, at a later date.

Having a great office is conducive to helping you reach your goals, wether they be projects that need starting / finishing or even launching into a new business plan.

But sometimes our own ambitions can get in the way of attaining success :-

Is Your Ambition Holding You Back?

The irony of all this isn't lost on me. I've always been ambitious, but I was relentlessly ambitious for a decade, if not more. A few years ago, I made a decision to pull back and do less, which wasn't easy for someone who was so driven. But as this article states, I was too driven and the resultant feeling was one of 'not doing enough', even when I was working 14 hours a day. Sometimes it was even more than that. Not the best state of affairs; especially when it goes beyond a handful of months.

Everyone is different, but my own barometer for overkill, was that work was becoming everything in my life; both metaphorically and literally speaking. All my successes and failiures were hinged on results, so even a night out or a short break away were an ( I'm embarrased to admit this) unwelcome distraction from my goals and ambitions.  As already mentioned, I made changes, which were mostly lifestyle based and thankfully the transition went smoothly over a period of a few years.

If you're in a similar boat, with all the usual signs of perpetual tiredness, irritability and so on always within a few inches of your psyche, I'd recommend a 'time-out' short break at the very least. There really is no point hammering yourself into oblivion, and ending up with the blues even when you've done more than you should have. It takes courage to step back and stop when in the thick of it, but it can save your sanity, your health and ultimately your life. Especially if you then decide to make the changes necessary for better work/life balance.

With regards to change, social media useage has increased dramatically in the last five years. That's about a year less than I've been on twitter :-

Twitter changes: 20 hits and misses from the social network's history 

Looking at all the changes since 2009, twitter has made leaps and bounds in popularity as a networking platform. When I first opened an account on there in 2008, I was an avid ( and heavy) user of facebook. How times change, and it's to twitter's credit that it not only hung in there, but became an easier and smoother social media experience over time. At least for me, but then I prefer the quicker ( quirkier?) and shorter communicative style that it propagates. Hashtags, favourites and retweets are all part of the fun.

More importantly, It's allowed me to reach more people than I would have via some of the other networking platforms for these posts.This has allowed me to come into contact with helpful, vibey and intelligent people, who are on the same wavelength. The rest of it is, as already mentioned, a load of fun.

And it's fun that is the keyword when I think of work. From the general recounting of stories from days gone by, our parents' generation had a more sobering experience in the world of work. In essence then, we should be grateful that we can do anything from switching our chairs around, to a complete 'make it homely as possible' makeover in our working environments. That level of flexibility is there not just to make us work harder, but also to help us work smarter.

After all, if you're having a better time than before, whilst figuring out a multitude of problems and delivering the goods ( or services), then you're more likely to offer some added value to the solution(s), and the end product.

Think about it.

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