Friday, March 23, 2007

Cool (and well designed) workplaces

Those close to me know that I seriously hate most workplaces that I've seen. They are boxy and boring, and absolutely contrary to producing creative thought. I guess either there are not many cool and creative environments in Atlanta, or I'm just not cool enough for them. I spent my twenties living in the Bay Area in California, and even in the 80's there had emerged creative approaches to designing work environments (if not a bit goofy as well). The parent company to the Star printers had an office with a pond in the center; the cafeteria and lunch area was on an island in the middle of it. All through the office area was trees, the roof could open to allow natural cooling and circulation, and none of the cubicles were aligned perpendicular to the building; most were at 45degree angles (which did make navigation tricky for newbies).

Here in the Atlanta area stuffy and conventional appear are enthroned. There are the random exceptions but mostly corporate boxes reign. Alexander Kjerulf has drafted a blog posting he calls "10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces". Flip over to his post 12 Ways to Pimp Your Office for some interesting approaches to styling your working environment. I actually really liked the flexible walls. All this reminds me of the graphic designers we had in a previous life at a dotcom portal company (RIP). These guys went so far as to create doors and roofs for their cubicles. Least you think this was silly schoolboy attempts at "pimping" their ride to impress the ladies, I believe it was a serious attempt to control the light and the noise and to deal with the difficulties of sharing the maze with the noisy software developer mice. (Oh how we loved to put slobbery thumb-prints on their monitors...just drives those graphics guys crazy!)

Speaking of software developers, I also like Alex's post How NOT to lead geeks. He's definitely got insight.

No comments: