Introducing Living Office, a high-performing workplace that delivers an elevated experience of work for people, and helps us achieve our strategic goals. The Living Office emphasizes the people, places and technology when designing corporate environments.
A Living Office for the Modern Knowledge Worker
It’s been said that the average person in the developed world will spend between 15 and 30 percent of their life at work. That sounds like… a lot, when you consider how work fits into your life! There are so many things you want to do and see and experience, other than what you do, see and experience at work. So wouldn’t it be wonderfully amazing if you found a place to work that gave you the flexibility to do, see and experience both work and life…?
Modes of Work
Organizations must consider and support the different ways people work. At Voices.com, we’ve worked with the experts at Herman Miller to identify and support nearly a dozen of modes of work. Take a read and you’ll likely identify with more than a few of them.
Chat is an incidental and impromptu interaction with a colleague. It offers a chance to catch up, ask a quick question, or seek out an opinion. Chat often begins with a social focus that then sparks an idea or touches on an issue.
Converse is a purposeful interaction between two to three colleagues who address a defined topic. The activity varies in formality and privacy in accordance with the subject matter being addressed and the familiarity of the participants. One or more of the parties may participate through a digital device.
Process and Respond is the work generated by work. It occurs in response to (and generates) the feedback loop of emails, phone calls, texts, and messages that drive work forward. An individual may choose to set aside a specified time to do this work, or fill in the gaps of their day with it. It generally does not require extreme attention or deep thinking.
Contemplate is an opportunity for an individual to pause and consider the best way forward in their work, or ignore it momentarily and provide respite. The activity consists of whatever calms, inspires, and recharges the individual: enjoying a view of nature, reading a book or magazine, or sketching in a notepad. It also provides an opportunity to digest complex information with the necessary degree of focus.
Create occurs when a person engages with the specific content associated with their role, solves problems, and develops deliverables. This activity is not limited to traditionally creative fields, but rather reflects the mix of concentrative, individual tasks that help move all work forward.
Huddle occurs when a team needs to address an urgent issue, or discuss and receive instructions for a plan of action. The goal is shared resolution and accountability, with only a brief disruption to the flow of work.
Warm Up / Cool Down occurs in the time leading up to and immediately following more formally scheduled engagements. The “warm up” may consist of last-minute adjustments to a presentation, or productive conversation with colleagues. The “cool down” offers an opportunity to discuss the content of the meeting, set next steps, and ensure alignment.
Show & Tell is a planned gathering at which information is shared among teams, with clients and colleagues, or more broadly to the organization. The key focus is always the presenter or information being presented. These gatherings range from informal status updates and project reviews, to regimented and rehearsed speeches. The level of audience participation varies accordingly.
Co-Create is the generation of new ideas and content among groups. The activity may range in scale and formality from a quick problem-solving exercise at a whiteboard, to a multi-day retreat with an elaborate agenda. A variety of digital and physical tools assist people in sharing and generating ideas. Active engagement, conversation, content sharing, and creation are the key behaviors.
Divide & Conquer happens when a team with a common goal finds it valuable to work on individual components of a project while maintaining close proximity to one another. Working in parallel helps to resolve issues quickly and enables spontaneous collaboration as the need arises. Developments and content are shared among the group as the goal is reached.
Voices.com’s Living Office provides people with a variety of settings—spaces optimized to support work and interaction. Each of the 10 settings are distinct in purpose, scale, and sociability. The right mix can foster an office landscape where people can immediately grasp where they can go and what they can do to achieve their goals.
A Haven is a small shelter where focused work can be done without distraction—or alternatively, a place to unwind. It can be an enclosed room, such as a private office, or a semi-sheltered or screened-in space out in the open. Depending on its intended use, the Setting may offer a work surface and ergonomic seating or take on a more relaxed feel. It should also easily accommodate the use of personal technology and other tools. A shared Haven must be easily locatable in the landscape. Modes of Work: Create, Contemplate, Converse.
A Jump Space consists of highly usable work points that facilitate temporary work between other activities. For this reason they tend to be located along highly trafficked routes, or adjacent to busy intersections within the landscape. A Jump Space may help connect people from disparate locations or teams who otherwise would not meet. It can be configured with comfortable seating and with bar- or table-height surfaces. Modes of Work: Process & Respond, Chat.
A Clubhouse is a working neighborhood that generally belongs to a team assigned to a specific, long-term project. A variety of individual and group work points with ergonomic seating enable people to freely and intuitively cycle between tasks and activities as they use a variety of fixed, mobile, personal, and remote technology. Maintaining proximity and the identity of the team within the Clubhouse helps drive the work that occurs there. A Clubhouse should offer ample surfaces to display and share in-process work. This Setting has defined edges with porosity for visual access. Modes of Work: Co-create, Divide & Conquer, Huddle.
A Cove is a compact space within proximity to individual work points or common areas that enables people to assemble and engage with each other for a short period of time. A Cove may also accommodate remote participants with provisions for fixed and personal technology. Enough boundary to avoid disrupting others is essential—especially with the addition of technology. Territorial by nature, Coves are used more readily by the people working nearest to them. Modes of Work: Huddle, Co-create, Converse.
A Meeting Space is designed to support information sharing—whether it’s a single speaker at the head of the room, or a group of peers conversing among themselves. For this reason, a Meeting Space requires great lines of sight for everyone, including remote participants. Vertical display surfaces encourage ideation and interaction. Adequate perimeter space enables circulation and frees movement in this enclosed Setting. Modes of Work: Show & Tell.
A Landing is an open perching spot adjacent to Meeting Spaces or Forums. Prior to a meeting it provides a gathering space for attendees. After, it takes advantage of the visual continuity between the landing and its contiguous meeting space as an aid to contextual memory, and helps drive the work that happens in this Setting. Accommodations that welcome a brief gathering drive the utility of each Landing. Modes of Work: Warm-up, Cool-down.
A Workshop is the ideal Setting for people to work together to generate new ideas and drive their work forward. It offers easy access to analog and digital tools and surfaces to display and create work. People should always be able to see and hear each other easily—even when not physically present. A variety of postures and distinct groupings of mobile furniture allow people to choose and arrange how the space best suits their work in the moment. Adequate circulation space encourages movement. Modes of Work: Co-create, Divide & Conquer.
A Forum is designed to support the presentation of content. This is enabled by a clearly defined point of focus in the space, which tends to be architecturally enclosed. Critical elements include a good line of sight for everyone in the audience, excellent sound and lighting, and the capacity to engage remote participants. A variety of furniture selections may be provided, and it should be repositionable to best suit each presentation and audience. Modes of Work: Show & Tell.
A Plaza acts as the vibrant and dynamic heart of the landscape—a place where people can intuitively take the pulse of the organization. They are open, welcoming, public spaces situated at major intersections and highly trafficked areas of the work environment. They support a diverse range of experiences and populations. A Plaza encourages mixing and mingling, enables multiple work activities simultaneously, helps broadcast information, and provides amenities as a point of attraction. Modes of Work: Chat, Converse, Process & Respond.