The problem has been looming for some time. But what is even more of an issue is that the solution is not immediately apparent. There are many factors to take into account when creating a solution to a pressing problem and, there is a time when we need all the creative power that a staff team can muster. For many companies, finding creative solutions to problems and issues is something that they do every day. If this is the case, you will know how important it is to create the right environment. An environment that is not pressured but full of opportunities to explore. ut, we hear you ask, how can water coolers and boilers possibly be linked with creating the right environment so people can think and experiment? When you see how the office has changed over recent decades, you will understand how a workplace is now the hub of creativity…
Your desk is an important piece of equipment in your daily work. Everyone keeps their desk in very different ways. Some people are minimalist; they have their PC on the show, maybe a pen and that is it.
For others, it is a writing platform that is akin to organised chaos. They know where everything is, so that’s OK…
However, all desks have changed. Once full of paper, notepads, pens, telephone, fax machine and anything else you could squeeze on, they were full platforms. Today, the Internet has revolutionised the office desk.
Today, a desk can be a PC or laptop, a smart phone and… well… that’s it, with a mug being the only other piece of equipment that has stayed the same over the years. The modern desk may have a water bottle or cup on it, as we all feel and know that we perform better when we drink water.
PCs are networked to one central printer and so, on the way to the water cooler, people collect their printing.
Perhaps the biggest change in the last 20 years in the world of work has been the office hours. The accepted norm, without deviation, was an eight hour day, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
Laws, rules, regulations and attitudes changed and thus, many modern-day offices are now far more flexible in their work patterns. In fact, it has long been recognised that we sometimes work better at different times of the day. So, if Bill in accountants is better at pouring over the figures at 6.30 in the morning, why not allow that? Likewise, other people feel they perform better in the afternoon into the early evening.
As long as there is work/life balance, all is well and providing that within any given shift of time, there is also plenty of breaks away from screens and other technology, all is well.
You see, that 5 minutes at the water cooler is so important…
There are some roles that are now obsolete, but there are some office duties that have morphed into something else entirely.
There are many influences on how we work, and when as well as why we do what we do, in the way that we do it.
It cannot be emphasised enough how much change has taken place as a result of technology, and it is not just the internet…
- Typing – the cumbersome typewriter of old may look like a fun thing to use for a few minutes, but it was heavy and for some people, the manual typewriter was the machine they used day in and day out. The addition of electricity made touch typing far easier but still a little cumbersome.
- Copiers – want more than one copy? Back in the day, duplicates were created with carbon copies ad while this was quick; it did mean that the copy was slightly less in quality than the original copy. And, it produced only one copy. The photocopier, of course, meant that this problem was solved, but early copiers were big (huge, in fact!) and dusty.
- The tea urn and trolley – as much as we may lament the passing of the tea urn and trolley, there is something far more creative about the freedom of being able to not only get a drink when you want it, but choose the drink you wish to have. Hot chocolate mid-morning, or even an instant soup, would have been frowned upon in the 1950s office by the all-mighty tea lady. Seeing and hearing everything, the tea lady with her urn, biscuits and trolley was only slightly more powerful than the mail room employees and one step down from the boss in influence.
Not all things that have passed are bad, and not all replacements are good but, for an office to be a creative place, it needs to be free within its accepted boundaries and realms. And so, the gathering at the water cooler is doing your business a whole world of good…