Redesigning Workplace


Thanks to technology, the workplace has changed dramatically. A decade ago, you probably carried a huge brick of a cellphone and a heavy laptop. Today, you probably carry some combination of a smartphone, an MP3 player, a tablet and a laptop — and all the accessories and chargers. While that may seem like a lot of devices to lug around, the fact is that they free us up to work and play anytime, anywhere.

One of the technologies that interests me most — videoconferencing — was a solution 10 years ago that only big businesses could have afforded, with room systems costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, smartphones and tablets now offer video chat capabilities.

As people become accustomed to videoconferencing at work, businesses need to redesign cubicles to enhance videoconference experience for those on the other side of the videoconference. For people who work next to a window, outside glare can cause people to squint, for example. Or, because of current office lighting, people may appear to be either lurking in the shadows or checking in from a desert. In the Aug. issue, Fast Company ran an illustration of an updated cubicle (Redesigning: Cubicles). Some of it was tongue-in-cheek, like Dilbert creator Doug Adams’ suggestion of “adding a foldout seat [that as] soon as it’s down, ‘a timer starts that makes your phone ring after a few minutes, so you can excuse an unwelcome guest.”

But at least one suggestion makes a lot of sense: “Webcam lighting: To streamline digital meetings, [a} switch instantly adjusts cubicle lighting to offset the brightness of the computer screen.”

That makes a lot of sense to us. Check out Redesigning: Cubicles for other tips.

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