The pandemic office job needs flexibility

Rory Sutherland:

I was influenced in this by the work of Nassim Taleb, who argues that a high degree of variation may be better than monotonous pursuit of a supposedly optimal average. This led me to think it might be better to partition work into periods of high sociability interspersed with days of self--seclusion, as an alternative to the neither-fish-nor-fowl halfway-house of the open-plan office.

I think this would both address some of the problems with offices during this pandemic period, and quite possibly lead to a more productive information worker workforce.

There’s a lot of pre-existing work on more variable workplace structures, most of which has been soundly ignored for decades. To give some context, I was writing about some of these issues for Estates Gazette 20-odd years ago. But everything remained trapped in the homogenous open-plan office approach.

There’s some real work do be done here around new ways of working, and new ways to use office space.

Adam Tinworth @adders