The Future Outer Look

window-woman

Although located on the 536th floor, the view from my private office window is identical to those located on the lower and upper levels where I look straight into a neighbouring building situated just a few centimetres away, the only separation being a sound proof block of thick, perfectly transparent glass. Modern city building regulations stipulate that all walls of construction need to allow the unhindered transmission of light to conform with the strict environmental conditions of work as decreed by the World Office Worker Organisation (WOWO), year of issue 2056.

For those of you unfamiliar with the architectural designs for those of us fortunate enough to be working for a maximum of 2 hours a day, office layouts have definitely changed from the good old days of our grandparents.  Yes, no longer do workers have to reside in the primitive conditions associated with the open planned corporate office. Now, each employee has his, or her, very own dedicated floor space in the building that ensures complete sound solitude, together with the ability to creatively think without any unwelcome, or untimely interruption.

Most corporate office buildings, particularly those located in the CBD, are over 5,000 floors high, lined up side-by-side with military precision along the street frontage, and are constructed entirely from toughened glass blocks as per the WOWO building legislation. However, by the standards of yesteryear, these buildings are not very wide, in fact only 5 metres which matches the WOWO allocated floor width for each employee.

Through an innovative design pioneered by a charitable private Australian research establishment, these impressive tall buildings no longer require an elevator for vertical transportation. Instead, there are two hollow chimney chutes that transcend the entire height of the building located at each end of the floor. The key to this invention was to have the corporate Finance Team located in the upper floors, and the Marketing Department situated in the basement. As hot air rises, it quickly creates an upward wind gust that increases in velocity until it reaches the upper heights of the building where it interacts with the strong negative drag, and then rapidly condenses to form a downward airflow. The result is the formation of an employee transportation system that effortlessly moves people, or objects, up and down the building in a consistent clockwise rotation.

Now should you work in an earthquake location, have no fear as each tall building is linked via a simple locking block designed by Lego Constructions. This company also specialises in amazingly fast building construction techniques, and their corresponding destruction, should it be required.

Occasionally the employee of the corporate office may want to have a meeting with other coworkers not via the traditional video conference, but one involving a real person interaction. The answer is again quite simple utilising the construction techniques developed by Lego Constructions. If a larger meeting room is required, each employee floor is equipped with a block extraction tong which enables a simple person sized hole to be developed in the adjacent building. However, when using the extraction tong, it is important not to remove any blocks located in the hollow chimney chutes as this may result in a large influx of transported employees quickly filling up your allocated floor.

For those employees that have the occasional need for visual privacy from all potential onlookers within and outside the building, Lego Constructions have a simple solution. In each transparent glass building block there is a small sensor that measures the first onset of any employee blush or embarrassment. Should this sensor be triggered, a rapid temperature reduction is initiated within the block that frosts the outer surface that quickly distorts any light transition so a person’s concealment is ensured when required.

Yes, the view from my office window is quite impressive, but like all employees, I wonder what the view is like from other side of the transparent wall adjourning my building? A thought to ponder as I tirelessly works my requisite 2 hours.

The Scenic Desk

Mobile-Office-1961

You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

My Esteemed Fellow Mischief Makers

The 39 Steps - Metro - Man 1 & 2

I paused at the top of the escalator and took a deep breath as I read the poorly illuminated conference sign that would direct me downwards to the basement of this 2 star hotel in the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

I dusted “on” my black suit, with matching black scruffy shirt; at least I didn’t have to worry about my black shoes as they were already quite dirty and had a few prominent scratches that looked most imposing and disrespectful.

There were no issues with my hair being uncombed, mainly because I was fortunate not to have any, so I decided to mess up my long eyebrows, just for added visual effect.

Perfect I thought, I was now ready to head downstairs to the Awards Ceremony, at which I was tipped to receive the most prestigious award, that being for “Disservice to Innovation in the Corporate Office”. I had been working on this achievement for the past twenty years, had successfully infiltrated many global architectural firms in Europe, North America and Australasia, and more importantly, no one had yet realized what I had been doing!

What still surprises me the most was that senior business leaders and managers all applauded my efforts, all happily accepted my designs without fully understanding the consequences, and; they eagerly paid me a massive fortune in the process, to which I am indeed most personally grateful. To top it all off, they unashamedly made my office concepts a blueprint standard of excellence which was adopted, without any intellectual thought, by all organisations that considered themselves leaders in creativity! I still laugh when I think about that last comment!

I glanced at the chipped hands on my tired looking watch and saw that it was now time to make my tardy entrance to the ceremony. As I slowly descended down the escalator, I reached into my suit pocket and had another brief look at my hastily written acceptance speech, just in case it was required.

Written in my messy black inked scribble, I reread the words….”Thank you for this great dishonor! Yes, it’s still hard to believe that my once crazy thought and so fantastically disruptive idea, which I initially developed so many years ago as a joke, is still being used in the corporate office! And to make it even more remarkable, this superbly dysfunctional concept is still cited by experts as being one of the strategic keys to innovation! I smiled, as I imagined the thunderous applause that I would receive from my fellow mischief makers on doing a job so well, for so long, and I was still fooling those that should know better!

I was so looking forward to making the celebratory champagne drinking toast, which would be; “My Esteemed Fellow Mischief Makers, I give you the “Open Planned Office!”

The Office Revolution

Boldly Masculine Design

The alarm bell screeched with maximum volume! The Manager’s heartbeat immediately started to pound loudly as this was the first time that she had heard the sound, after all, it had never actually gone off before….ever! Other Managers around her also started to run around in a panic as they too had no idea what to do. The worried Managers huddled together as they quickly searched through their book of corporate policies and procedures. Finally, on page 272, there they found the answer. It was a “non-conformity” alarm! But how was it activated, and how do they stop this continual noise permeating through their normally quiet office floor?

Unbeknownst to the Managers, one of their employees had decided to mount a personal revolt!

Let’s go back to 8:30 AM that morning to understand the origin of this mystery!

Employee number 468136, aka Bernard Smith, arrived at his allocated work station. His desk was the same as every other desk on his office floor. It was white, immaculately tidy, a computer placed centrally, 4 piles of primary coloured folders on the left side, and had a standard black chair with his name branded on the back. Bernard was dressed in his black suit, white shirt and company embellished logo tie, just like all his fellow male workers.

At precisely 8:31 AM, each employee started to type on their computer and the day commenced just like every other day. However, at 8:32 AM, Bernard stopped work. He looked up and down the line of desks, each positioned in a perfectly straight line so as to not break the red laser beam, and thought…..”enough”, as a bead of sweat slowly rolled down his forehead.

To the amazement of those sitting around him, he took off his tie and undid the top button of his business shirt. Silence and an uneasy feeling quickly started to prevail. Bernard had taken the first step to his creative freedom and it felt good! As his confidence increased, he messed up his 4 folder piles. Then he did something completely radical, he moved his desk over the laser line and turned it by a full 180 degrees. He was now facing into the office, rather than a wall!

Little did Bernard know that once his newly re-positioned desk broke the red laser beam, an alarm would be triggered……

The Managers now knew the cause of the alarm and initiated an immediate and successful remedy. They decided to quickly reconfigure all work desks with Bernard’s new alignment so each and every desk now faced inwards. Once again quietness was instilled in the office as all desks now looked precisely the same as all the others. As the week progressed, the bewildered employees slowly got used to their new desk view until normality once again was achieved.

But not for Bernard, he still had no tie around his neck and there was no way he was going back to that form of corporate fashion control. He liked his messy folder pile and the air movement around his uncollared neck. It was time for revolution……!!

Room Service With A Difference

CE003

I was sitting at my hotel room desk when the doorbell rang. “Brilliant”, I said, my room service meal had finally arrived and I was famished! I bounded up from my desk, opened the door, and was greeted by an attractive young woman called Adriana and immediately signalled for her to come into my room.

Now the odd thing about hotel doorways is that they are quite narrow, and the meal tray that Adriana was carrying was quite wide. On seeing this conundrum, two possible solutions could eventuate. The first being that the door needed to be widened, but as I couldn’t see a sledge hammer neatly dangling from Adriana’s immaculate hotel uniform, I knew that this wasn’t going to be the chosen remedy. So option two prevailed.

Option two involved a contortionist yoga movement in which Adriana swung the meal tray around, utilising an impressive single slow pirouette action, which succeeded in the tray entering through the doorway with possibly one millimetre to spare on each side. What surprised me more was that the food, drink and cutlery, all remained firmly in position without experiencing an undignified free-fall onto the carpet in the room entrance hall.

I applauded Adriana on her room service skill and suggested that this innovative and creative food delivery move should be listed in bold italic font in her CV, and, that I would be happy to attest to this unique hotel qualification as an official referee should ever it be required!

But what if other hotel staff members saw Adriana’s meal tray delivery technique and tried it for themselves without any pre-training? Yes, I’m afraid the result could be catastrophic for the individual concerned, the food, and more importantly, the hungry hotel guest.

Now this got me thinking about a methodology for those potentially not as skilled as Adriana. One that provides an efficient, and reliable meal delivery service, together with the added benefit of improved health and safety for all concerned, including the food.

Why not expand the hotel’s limousine fleet to include a number of Segways (two wheeled, self-balancing, battery powered), each branded in the hotel’s colours to ensure that consistent professional appearance? The Segway could be modified to include a number of shelves into which the meal tray would snuggly fit, together with a Wi-Fi transmitter so the rider can communicate easily with the hotel kitchen. But the most important design feature from the hotel’s perspective of the Segway is its width. The Segway can be easily driven straight into the hotel guest’s room, without impacting the doorframe, thereby eliminating the need for any complicated and dangerous meal tray manipulations that were required in the past.

So, should any hotel management be reading this blog post, may I suggest that you explore this Segway idea as it might just be useful in the future. I would also be keen to know how it goes?

The Vertical Room of Study

The Americans in Canada

It is 8:28 AM and there are a mass of people all waiting rather impatiently for the sky rise elevator doors to open. Finally, the elevator arrives at the Ground Floor Level and the doors slowly open. I quickly enter with purpose and strategically position myself in the back corner of the elevator after appearing to nonchalantly press the illuminated number 39 button. After disguising my external and gleeful anticipation, I then surreptitiously prepare myself mentally for the long ride to my lofty office floor destination.

Some people could be rather bored with the time taken for their vertical ride to tediously meander up to the 39th Floor after continually stopping at many interim floors along the way, but not me! This time is precious as it allows all elevator participants some brilliant people observation and study opportunities! If you haven’t seized the chance to really look at your fellow elevator incumbents, then you really haven’t lived as it contains a microcosm of creativity!

This creativity is quite personal and exhibits itself in many public and rather clandestine forms. The joy for the watcher is in the identification and discovery process which may be rather transparent to those who do not appreciate the visual and sensory clues that are being portrayed within this closed people transportation cubicle.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me provide some additional information so you too can ponder this creative and informative elevator experience.

Firstly, let’s talk woft. Yes, woft. First thing in the morning, your fellow workers will apply a variety of personal fragrances, with fluctuating levels of intensity, to all parts of their body. These fragrant wofts go under the common names of perfumes, aftershaves, moisturisers, hair gels, deodorants and other secret body embellishments. To add to the mix, there are also those people that don’t believe in fragrance enhancement in any form, shape or application. The result is a composite array of woft that frequently changes in line with the differing elevator assortment of occupants.

Then there are the clothes. There will be a jumble of suits, skirts, dresses, shorts, jeans, ties, scarves, socks, shoes and even the occasional sporty look. The colours embedded into these fabrics will generally cover the full spectrum range of the PMS colour palette (except for some strange reason in Melbourne where the colour dark grey or black seems to dominate). Once again, each elevator ride up and down the building will have its own unique colour and clothing dominance.

And yes, the elevator also provides a fool-proof tool for evaluating whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert. Your classic introvert will typically stand up against the elevator wall, look down at the floor and say absolutely nothing. Whereas, your flamboyant extrovert will tend to position themselves within the central people mix and their eyes will be continually darting around looking for a fellow extrovert to initiate a meaningful, typically loud and engaging conversation. Now should you encounter a whistler in the elevator, this usually signifies a frustrated extrovert who just can’t refrain from communication any longer and is about to socially and verbally explode!

I know what you are now about to ask! What about the mobile phone user? Well, there is no benefit achieved by studying these elevator travellers, yes, none at all. Why? Because these people are fundamentally rude and are therefore insignificant and irrelevant from a creative and academic perspective. However, there is a solution. One option is to construct an elevator that is impervious to mobile phone reception (which is quite a common occurrence with the mobile network my company uses). The other, and more economically acceptable option, is to have an inbuilt sensor within the elevator that initiates a torrent of polite verbal abuse telling the person to desist immediately. I was going to suggest some choice descriptive expletives, but as all elevators carry a “G Rating”, this idea just wouldn’t pass the globally accepted standards of elevator etiquette.

So, if you are in the business of corporate change management, HR or team building, an inexpensive and unique “room of study” awaits you, that being your elevator. Next time you take a vertical ride with your colleagues, may I suggest you ponder the woft, the clothes and observe any introvert or extrovert tendencies. I’m sure that many innovative learnings will be presented for your benefit!