Leading Light: Lock those doors


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Fundamental Human Needs

Thanks to Mark C Crowley for taking the time to write up this excellent summary of Herman Miller’s thoughts around our fundamental human needs.

Herman Miller continues to explore these  in more detail and we have produced 3 papers focusing on the following Fundamental Human Needs

  • Achievement -We strive for excellence and to feel a sense of mastery in our accomplishments. CLICK HERE for the white paper
  • Belonging – We are tribal, social beings who require meaningful connection with other people. CLICK HERE for the white paper
  • Purpose – We want to make a meaningful difference and to know our work matters. CLICK HERE for the white paper
  • Autonomy –  People want the freedom to choose where and how they accomplish their goals.   CLICK HERE the white paper

Look out for the publication of the other  papers.

If you are interested in a member of Herman Miller’s EMEA Knowledge and Insight Group speaking at your event about this subject, or sharing the research with your company then please contact us by CLICKING HERE


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A guest blog by A C Nia

Who am I – sometimes I’m not too sure

I am easily overlooked and constantly undervalued

I am sometimes viewed as a burden, but I don’t ask for much

My counsel is still valid but it is rarely sought

I can still make decisions, yet they are often made for me

I am still a part of society, but society can’t seem to find me a place

I have many stories to tell, but nobody wants to listen

I have given much, but it never seems quite enough

My experiences have given me wisdom, but everyone seems to know better

I am easily overlooked and constantly undervalued

Who am I – sometimes I’m not too sure

Sierra Exif JPEG

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Sky Central – a visit report

Syon Lane. The most unassuming of train stations. A station which can’t take a full length train. This is the place where I disembarked along with what appeared to be every other person on the train. So big is the crowd disgorging from train, that everyone has to queue to leave the station and get up to road level. Then everyone starts to head north in unison. Just follow the crowd of the casually attired masses. Some walking purposefully. Some unable to give up using the addictive beast that is their smartphone as they amble along. Others having already ready started the days face to face business discussions with colleagues they met on the way out of the station.

These masses walk past the iconic Gillette building on the old A4 and into Grant Way. The home of Sky, and the place where Neil Usher plies his trade as the Workplace Director. As you walk around the corner the scale of the campus starts to hit you. A campus that houses over 7000 people, and everything else that goes along with delivering the services offered by this leading broadcaster.

I am on my way to meet my colleagues from the Herman Miller Knowledge and Insight Group to be given a tour of the latest addition on the campus to be occupied, Sky Central. We are fortunate enough to be getting a tour guided by the aforementioned Mr Usher, alongside the directors of HASSELL, the company responsible for designing the interiors of this new building. As we get to the end of Grant Way, I can’t help noticing the scrap yard right at the bottom of the road, and I think to myself that the owner must be be sitting on a gold mine as he watches the Sky Campus expand and expand.

I am early as is my wont, and I join my colleague Bertie for coffee and breakfast in the Gather and Gather managed coffee bar in the reception area having seamlessly electronically signed in using the QR code that had been sent to me in advance. Good well priced (subsidised) food and drink, served by friendly staff. That’s a great start right there.Then I spot Neil walking through the revolving doors and through reception. The pride on his face is in evidence as he makes his way to the elegant security turnstiles. He quickly came back after dropping his bag off in his electronic locker and the tour began.

The striking new Sky News studio is the first thing that hits you as you walk through to the secure side – seemingly suspended in mid air. This is where the news will be broadcast from – overlooking the working heart of Sky Central. It’s a space where 2 people sit and I am guessing they are the 2 most expensive workstations in the entire building, if not the campus.

Then the full tour begins. A tour which I am not actually going to share in detail. Why? Because I don’t want to give too much away because I really think this is a space that deserves visiting by anyone who has an interest in the world of work.

I will however give you a few thoughts about the space.

  • There is an amazing use of plants – probably the most I have seen inside a building since the LendLease project in London. More importantly they are real plants.
  • The finishes chosen are an eclectic mixture of soft and hard materials…. and there’s wood….lots of wood… lots of beautiful real wood.
  • There is an amazing array of settings in which people can work, some where I would love to work, and others I didn’t find as appealing – but that’s the point. It’s designed to give people choice and we don’t all have the same tastes.
  • The selection of meeting spaces is vast. I would love to come back in 6 months time to find which spaces are really popular and whether some are just too big or too small or too open.
  • It’s a space with the inevitable and oft sought after buzz, but not overwhelmingly noisy.
  • It feels good. “We feel before we think” is a provocation from Herman Miller’s Living Office concept. Sometimes you don’t have to measure stuff or run surveys (although both have their place) you can just get a sense of what feels good. Sky Central feels good.

The team that joined me on the tour felt good

Herman Miller Knowledge and Insight Group

I am sure that you will have the opportunity to visit Sky Central and I would love to hear your views and whether it makes you feel good.

Thank you Neil for your time and I look forward to visiting again very soon with more of my colleagues and maybe the odd prospect or 2.

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It’s not you …. it’s me

Oh Technology – we became so close. We were inseparable. We just couldn’t let each other go. We needed each other. We fulfilled each other.

Then, it all went wrong. I’m sure it’s not you … it’s me.

30 minutes I waited until guests from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, the US and the UK could eventually see my screen. Just when we’d weaved our weary way through the tough bits, you threw them all out again. Why? Why did you have to do that?

I’m sure it’s not you …. it’s me. I trusted you too much. I just expected higher standards from you. You promised me so much.

We will work our way through this together – but that trust we had will take a while to rebuild. That closeness we treasured will take a long while to restore.

I’m sure it’s not you …. it’s me.


Posted in Collaboration, Flexible Working, Leadership, Learning, Mobility, Technology, Wellbeing, Workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For I have seen the future….

For I have seen the future of the workplace – are you prepared?

It is about:

  • Being together and being alone
  • Being connected and staying out of reach
  • Working where there is a buzz and working in silence
  • Working with analogue tools and working digitally
  • Tidy spaces and spaces that are a beautiful mess
  • Working anywhere and working in the same place
  • Sitting and standing and walking and leaning
  • Working in a 1st place, a 2nd place, a 3rd place and a 4th place
  • Agreeing and disagreeing
  • Working in an introvert way and collaborating in an extrovert way
  • Cultural deserts and vibrant spaces
  • Being authentic and trying to be someone you’re not
  • The death of the old office and the birth of the new office
  • Beautiful spaces and ugly spaces
  • Being productive and being non-productive
  • Staying the same and embracing change
  • Working everywhere and not working at all
  • A new landscape of work and one that stays the same
  • Using email effectively and being controlled by emails

For I have seen the future of the workplace – are you prepared?


Posted in BYOD, Collaboration, Design, Flexible Working, Interaction, Wellbeing, Workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Workplace design wisdom – from 1968”

Published in 1968, this book is full of incredible insights that are as valid today as they were then. I am giving away 20 copies of the book – if you would like a copy then send me a tweet to @markcatchlove -or complete the form below.


If I receive more than 20 requests in the next 2 weeks I will draw the names out of a hat

To give you a preview of the rich content here are some quotes :

“Fifty years has brought little change to the functional format of offices. Office work has undergone a revolution; the physical environment lags behind”

“The business of people talking to each other in offices is a very serious consideration. It is by far the most expensive achievement of offices: the grouping of people that allows conversational exchange”

“Face to face involvement is the premier communication tool. Unmatched for subtlety and efficiency but also a present wasteland of mysterious inhibitions and limitation, it requires revitalization”

“Because we can now generate, project and multiply information with ease, we are facing a crisis in quality. We have more but is it worth investing our involvement?”

“As status orientation is converted to goal orientation, the use of space and hierarchical furnishings will undergo major readjustment.”

“Proportioning some of our work to stand-up work stations would do more than anything else to overcome sedentary decline. The office can be a kinetic, active, alert, vigorous environment.”

“Every office has a climate of social expression that can either be destructive or constructive and, to a large degree, this is effected by the physical expression we give it. One of the great assets of a more frankly interactive and open office expression is the improved social structure that it offers”

“Pause or byway areas for brief conference interchange can be a highly functional part of traffic design. This is particularly useful if it also is  utilized as a general display center focusing on matters that help keep goals and objectives on a current awareness basis.”

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