/ Karen Pickering / Creative Workspace

There is much discussion on how we should work, both as individuals and more broadly, collectively as a nation. Conflicting and confusing messages abound. At one extreme, should we follow the so called all hours work ethic of some cultures, a kind of cover all bases approach? Or on the other hand adopt an ever shorter time guillotine to promote the idea of efficient and effective use of work time? You would think the answer maybe lies in between.

Irrespective we need to create environments which support the work activity. What is emerging as a discussion point is the the desirability of individual control over it. Historically the workplace, conceived as individual rooms as opposed to the current tendency for open plan space, was an easier element to self control - you only had yourself to disagree with! With popular more open settings, the scenario is made all the more challenging when the density of users is higher.

So how do we meet these two objectives, the creation of environments conducive to working efficiently, and on the other maximise self control of these open ended workspaces and environments?

One strategy is to think laterally, and question what we accept as our idea of work. Is work (a) a process or (b) a task? Is work (a) an activity or (b) about a work place? Is work (a) about performance or (b) attendance? Is work (a) about relationships as opposed to (b) hierarchy? Or is work about (a) innovation or about (b) applying set procedures?.

If you have answered (b) to most of them then we may be doomed to adopting a 'work all hours' culture, if on the other hand you answered (a) then it is effectiveness and efficiency that matters not the hours spent. One of our colleagues shared that she had recently had a meeting on a bench in George Square in the sun – now that’s the way to work.

Collegelands, Glasgow