Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Response to @zaana's post on designing workspaces conducive to work
Like many libraries at the moment we are gathering ideas for a new library building and part of that is thinking about work styles and how that translates as staff workspaces. The google offices have been thrown into the mix and of course we all go why can't we have that? @zaana's post Designing workspaces conducive to work got me thinking. Do we really want that? I certainly like to make my workspace feel like mine by putting up pictures and having tea paraphernalia strewn everywhere but that's it and I think my space is conducive to work. Could it be more conducive? Seeing those google offices I think, what if we had a 'break out area', gym, chef, wii games, espresso machine, ball pit and fairy floss machine? What next? I want a pony! Don't stake me but I think I'd get really distracted by all those things and be a bit less conducive. I guess my work style is 'block out distractions cause you're easily distracted by flashing lights and a ball pit'. What's yours?
While the google example is a little bit overwhelming for me, I find the Macquarie scenario @zaana describes terrifying! Always competing for a space, not feeling like you belong anywhere. I understand the desire to be mobile but that's ridiculous! @zaana didn't seem too against it and I noticed in the comments that someone had tried it in their workplace and thought it really encouraged collaboration so I guess it suits some work styles?
Can we find a balance? I believe we need a flexible, creative workspace that is conducive to work without distracting us. Just like a library, our workspaces need to facilitate noisy group work and quiet individual work, encourage collaboration, innovation and lifelong learning. Just like a library it needs to feel like 'our' space where we feel comfortable and at home. It needs to inspire and motivate us to work and efficiency will follow. We need multi-media editing suites to be expert content creators and comfy places to contemplate new ideas. Recently the librarians here said they want space to 'play'... I guess the problem is finding a way to translate these things into physical space and not just by having colourful walls and funky furniture. I would really like to work in a tree house though...