Working together in a Living Office

There continues to be lots of talk, debate and broadcasting about silos in the workplace arena. (Calling it an arena makes it sound like a battlefield already).

There was an interesting conversation between David D’Souza and Neil Usher on the subject, which can be seen here .

I was intrigued to read that in addition to the agricultural use of the word silo, it also has a military use – an underground installation constructed of concrete and steel, designed to house a ballistic missile and the equipment for firing it.

Now, all kinds of observations can be made from this use of the word, and sadly there are some individuals or teams that appear to work in this kind of silo. People hidden away that nobody can see, and their presence is only realised when the missile is fired. Do you know any teams like that?

In my years of saying in seminars that a successful project is where all the teams work together, I have never advocated that they should be merged – as we will continually need specialists as well as generalists. I see one of the barriers to working together is a lack of knowledge of what each team does and this has to change. Maybe we need to see secondments from one team to another which will increase the understanding of the challenges and opportunities that each team has.

Another challenge is how budget is allocated and prioritised. it is no good throwing the money at the front end of an office move and not having having enough to manage the people and the place after the move in date.

One way of connecting is social media – and it would be great to see some of the teams involved in work and place connecting even more. It is encouraging to see people from different disciplines being asked to contribute to the workplace related conferences (love them, or hate them!)

Herman Miller’s initiative called the Living Office is all about people, place, profit and prosperity for all. Maybe people from the different silos could get together and have a debate around that subject sometime – it would be great to see people from the different silos at least talking together. If you are interested in joining one of our 2 upcoming workshops, there is more information HERE

Living Office


About Mark Catchlove

All views are my own
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4 Responses to Working together in a Living Office

  1. I’m in. Looking forward to it

  2. Chris Kane says:

    Another insightful piece – I like your take on underground bunkers, for me it means that those that inhabit them can’t see outside of their silo?
    The key for me however is the barrier of not only knowledge but of understanding…
    Hence the Beyond the Workplace conversation where the aim is to start the process of building understanding.

  3. Thanks Chris – looking forward to the developments

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