In defence of the office

Over the years I’ve written countless articles about new ways of working and they’ve all focused on the practical, tangible stuff – the buildings, the furniture and how the workplace itself has adapted to support people in their shiny new flexible world. I touched on culture change a fair bit, particularly looking at how the ‘management by presenteeism’ culture tended to be eschewed in favour of measuring people by their actual performance.

But what I hadn’t fully appreciated is the internal journey someone goes on when they learn to work intelligently, flexibily or whatever the latest buzzword becomes. We ask people to give up their desk stuffed with memorabilia, pedestals full of even more ‘stuff’ –their history – and give them a laptop and a range of ‘flexible working solutions’ and then tell them to get on with it.

Some organisations recognise what we’re asking of staff and do provide training in new ways of working, but many don’t  –  the budget’s all gone on the funky furniture and the workplace consultants.

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