BLUF

Contrasting views are emerging about where and how spontaneous collaboration and innovation is likely to occur.

Summary

The open office has been around since the 1930s based on an underlying notion that spontaneous interactions spur creative thinking and innovation. However, Claire Miller from Channel News Asia debunks that traditional notion and makes the following points:
  • The office environment can lead to long hours and possible burnout.
  • The idea of the open office resulting in more random meetings leading to increased innovation and productivity might not be accurate.
  • Office culture was never a great fit, especially for many women, racial minorities and people with caregiving responsibilities or disabilities.
Miller found a consensus among experts that the office needs to be reimagined. One possible solution is for the office to become somewhere for people to go on an occasional basis, to meet or socialise. It is probably possible for most people to do their desk work from home. However, most people who work-from-home still want to connect and collaborate in personhow to organise the office to meet people's needs is something leaders and managers now need to work out.