Hate your open office?

first_img A call for a kinder capitalism Changes in Harvard Management Company investment strategy refocuses duties of panels that oversee the University’s positions on shareholder resolutions Former New York mayor and philanthropist urges grads toward ethical business practices In the new piece, the authors turn to a French philosopher from the 18th century for answers. Denis Diderot was the first to write about the fourth wall — the idea in theater that there is a kind of invisible, imaginary barrier that lets an audience observe the action in the fictional world onstage with the actors seeming unaware they are being watched. “The larger the audience, the more important the fourth wall” to the actors who must remain in character, the article notes.Bernstein and Waber suggest that office workers in open settings need to have the discipline of performers in a musical or play in order to drown out distractions and get their work done, and that they get creative with how they go about it.“It can be my really big headphones, or I don’t look at you when you pass by, or I have a red light on my desk that signals I am unavailable, or I shush my colleagues,” said Bernstein. “And because those norms are happening in open spaces — because everyone can see and hear them — they spread faster than they do in more modular spaces.“I think that’s the fourth wall, only playing out in a different way.”Open offices also ramp up digital engagement. Instead of talking directly, workers tend to send colleagues electronic messages if they appear busy or engaged in a conversation with someone else, said Bernstein, even though they may be just a few feet away.When it comes to solutions, Bernstein and Waber encourage experimentation and collaboration. Letting employees simply choose their preference isn’t optimal, they note, because some will opt for closed offices, others open spaces, and still others will work from home — meaning staffers will be even less likely to collide and collaborate than before. Instead, they urge managers to consider getting together with employees to test — rigorously, using the scientific method or A/B testing — different office configurations.As an example, they cite the efforts of the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (a Humanyze client), which is currently overhauling its London headquarters. The company has developed a pilot space and rotated through teams of employees, tracking everything from their steps, heart rate, and blood pressure to their well-being, collaboration, and performance. Using the results, the company is fine-tuning “all aspects of the space — lighting, temperature, aroma, air quality, acoustic masking, ergonomics, and design — to help its people do (and interact) more by making the space respond to the employees’ needs, whether professional of physiological,” notes the piece. Bloomberg extols ‘moral leadership’ at Business School Taking corporate social responsibility seriously The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Last year Ethan Bernstein’s research hit a deep cultural nerve.“I never would have imagined I’d be a person to get hate mail,” said the Harvard Business School associate professor in organizational behavior, whose offending paper, authored with Harvard graduate Stephen Turban ’17 threw a bucket of cold water on the hot trend of open office layouts. The study, “The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration,” concluded that the new configurations actually reduced interaction, contrary to the intended result. It became one of the most-mentioned scholarly articles of 2018.“It was respectful, but it was still hate mail,” said Bernstein.The strong response, which also included a significant amount of fan mail, reflects how important work environment is to job satisfaction. It also mirrors an ongoing societal debate about the value of open-office environments ­— wide, exposed rooms with long tables instead of desks, or clusters of cubes or workspaces with few or no barriers in between. Once hailed as the office of the future — with the added benefit of potential cost savings for employers who could fit more workers into less space — the open concept has met with mixed reviews in recent years: driving collaboration for some but driving others crazy.In light of all that, Bernstein decided he needed to take a second look. His new piece, “The Truth About Open Offices,” explores why open offices seem to discourage interaction and how companies can create designs that best fit the needs of their employees. The article was written with Ben Waber, CEO and co-founder of Humanyze, an analytics software provider, and it appears in the new issue of the Harvard Business Review.“The first paper did methodology well, and it did rigor well, and it helped answer a longstanding debate between sociologists who argue that removing spatial boundaries will increase collaboration and social psychologists have argued the opposite is true,” said Bernstein. “What we didn’t do was tell people the reason their employees stop collaborating face-to-face.” “Because those norms are happening in open spaces — because everyone can see and hear them — they spread faster than they do in more modular spaces. I think that’s the fourth wall, only playing out in a different way.” Rep. Kennedy advocates a new economic agenda that addresses the needs of embattled workers And while large studies and pilot programs designed for office overhauls are effective, even small tweaks in an open office can make a big difference. One company, the article notes, added whiteboards after finding that open meeting areas with moveable whiteboards generated 50 percent more interactions than open meeting areas without them.“We can actually build buildings that respond to people rather than the other way around,” said Bernstein. “Let the experiments proliferate, and let the people who are working in the spaces feel ownership over them, because without that collective and rapid experimentation—more design thinking and less design—we are not going to get better workspaces.”The ultimate goal, the article states, “should be to get the right people interacting with the right richness at the right times.” Relatedlast_img read more

Klopp wants Liverpool to do more than preserve unbeaten run

first_img“We changed a lot of positions through the year and only with the goalkeeper it looks like we have to stick to our opinion for 20 years if we’ve made a decision one time! So I changed not my opinion, but I changed the situation now, that’s all.”– ‘David v Goliath’ –Liverpool expect to have winger Mohamed Salah and centre-backs Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren available after the trio suffered a bout of illness.Record signing Virgil van Dijk has resumed training having missed the win over Manchester City with a hamstring problem.Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal claims the match at the Liberty Stadium will be a meeting of “David versus Goliath”.Carvalhal’s side are bottom of the Premier League but there has been in a slight upturn in form with just one defeat in five games since the Portuguese took charge.“It’s not just the three attackers Liverpool have,” Carvalhal said. “They have a good midfield, good defence, a good goalkeeper and good substitutes.“If we just care about our opponents we will not play, so we must block them and the main attributes that they have and we will try to make it difficult for them.“But like other big teams they also have some weak points, very few, but we must try to fight against the strong points they have.“It’s David v Goliath, but surprises do happen and we will be ready to prepare a surprise.”Swansea striker Tammy Abraham remains a doubt with an abdominal injury but midfielder Renato Sanches is set to be in contention following a hamstring problem.Share on: WhatsApp Liverpool, United Kingdom | AFP | Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he has not given a second thought to his team’s 18-match unbeaten run ahead of their trip to Swansea City on Monday.Klopp’s side have been in imperious form recently, and ended Premier League leaders Manchester City’s hopes of going through the season without losing following a thrilling 4-3 win at Anfield last time out.The Reds also eased to a 5-0 thrashing of Swansea on Boxing Day, however Klopp has told his players to forget about the statistics and focus on the task in hand ahead of the league match in south Wales.“If nobody told me how often we didn’t lose, I’d have no idea about it,” he said.“That’s all the past and I’m not really interested. You can look back on a season after the season, not during. It’s not important.”The German added: “We feel in a good moment. I see the boys training every day and it looks good, that’s the truth, that’s why we can play like we played so far.– ‘No easy games’ –“But we have to do it again. As a Liverpool player you cannot perform one week and then two weeks not –- we need to deliver consistently, every day and each game.“It’s only the next game and I can’t imagine any easy games in the Premier League. And Swansea is for sure not an easy game.“They are bottom of the table but they are in a good way. What you have seen since the new manager has come in is a big improvement.”Klopp revealed that Loris Karius will continue in goal ahead of Simon Mignolet and the German will get the opportunity to establish himself in the position.“Of course Loris has to deliver, he knows that, but now he is the No.1,” Klopp explained.last_img read more