Creating best fit workplace

Mike Abelson and Yuri Shimizu’s Research is inspiring.  Their ability to capture the spirit of things is amazing.  I am stingy when it comes to spending my own money, but they make things so well, I end up buying them despite their price.

I was inspired by their booklet , AT Work.  I have found in this booklet many things I discovered as a workplace researcher for 12 years.  “Energy = Capacity to do work. “   “Office is tool for thinking.”   “A craftsman thinks with their tools.”  Work tool make work efficient.  Why, if we would follow these simple but true guidelines, even the big business would stay human and the products be more human centered and perhaps be more environmentally considerate.

I’ve always loved to work, and I still do.  Helping people work better resonated deeply with my philosophy of work.  That is probably why I kept on asking the big question after each project, if people are working better than they were before the change, and if not, why.  It was deeply disturbing to face the answer to my question, in long terms, they were not working better.   After I have poured myself into those project, working hard with the client team and design team, the result was discouraging.

It made no sense for me to continue with workplace consulting work when I was not producing the kind of result I sought, and I gradually stopped doing workplace consulting.  But that did not erase the knowledge and experience I gained, and by the time I stopped doing the workplace consulting, my ideas about how the workplace should be has evolved into lifelong research work.  Through this research, over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the most effective way administration office of a company can function for creation of best workplaces for the workers is to support the workers in create their own space most efficient and effective for their work.  The journey to this point has been documented on this blog.

The essence of the conclusion of my workplace research at this point which has been running for 13 years now is as follows:  Especially for large companies, streamlining procurement, selecting strategic locations for workplace in business management are critical.  However, these tasks developed into tangled mess when management consulting emerged with false notion that if people with average intelligence like me are educated properly, we can offer business solutions like some genius level people did before the 1970’s.  It is like the Frankenstein operation of living things called organizations.  In workplace of business, such concept and task were performed through the creation of facility management,  unfortunately in majority of case by people who did not have the understanding of the total view of their business let alone the market economy.   Because of this situation, for many years, it has been very difficult for people within an organization to be able to perform their task in efficient and enjoyable way, which is devastating given that people’s love and enjoyment of performing their tasks at work is important in the health of business.

The work process and tools presented in Mike and Yuri’s book show us that people and tools and work are inseparable, and they look very different from the photographs of what are often called “future of work”, or “high performance workplace”.  Mike Abelson told me that the booklets are out of print, and that he did not have the intention of doing additional runs.  I am going to try to convince him to do another run of print, and also to produce it into e-book.  The research they have done would most likely be relevant for many years to come, and it would benefit many people who have the desire to create the meaningful and satisfying workplace for the workers.

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