17 February 2017

Office Space and Creativity - What Makes the Perfect Office

Fascinating post about how office space affects creativity and productivity. by Tim Harford

The bottom line is that there is no evidence that fancy architecture and design help. What does helo is letting people have control over their environment.


  1. "Of course nobody cares what the people who actually do the work might want or need" is unfortunately all too true.
    Speaking as a senior mechanical engineer at a behemoth aerospace company that built a large, new office building in the mid-80's in the Bay Area, nobody asked the workers what they wanted. Regarding a remodel of the 5th floor a few years ago, nobody asked the engineers what they wanted in the refurbished floor, and no one bothered to ask them afterwards if the remodel improved or deteriorated their work environment. Nobody cared about the workers' needs or desires!
    The result of the refurbished 5th floor: huge empty spaces with "game" tables that are only used for puzzles, which spaces could accommodate desks; separate, huge, empty spaces set aside for visitors who somehow almost never appear; replacing two 500 ft. hallways along the length of the building with eight hallways, thereby successfully removing more usable space from the floor; carpeting the heavy use areas with a light color, thus maximizing the appearance of dirt and food spills and in the low-use areas installing dark carpet, tending to hide the dirt; increased use of hard surfaces on walls, thus maximizing the noise and the travel distances for voices of loud talkers; lower cubicle walls, thus reducing privacy and increasing noise; installation of a white noise system that is effective at increasing background noise but totally ineffective in reducing the audio interference from those who speak loudly; a ventilation system that produces so much air movement that an air temperature of 75 deg-F feels like 67 deg; etc.
    So, so, sad.

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for the comments. Very sad. Big companies sometimes stay in business despite the idiocy.

    Regards, e4e

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