Workplace design

Design Team Preferences

At an exhibition showing the latest in workplace design furnishings and fittings, I was able to take some pictures of interesting desk arrangements for the future. This is a cubical that, apparently, all will love because it provides employees with a seclusion zone that is free of office noise and chatter. But for some reason it seems lonely and grey. It was a remote looking fixture in the exhibition. Indeed hardly any show goers seemed interested in this sole cubicle exhibit.
wpid-dsc_0518.jpgThen walking around the 100% design exhibition I was to be told that these collaborative making benches (below) reminiscent of park furniture was what most architects and designer firms were clamouring to order for their own offices and workspaces. Interestingly these collaborative work benches were not part of the exhibit. These bits of furniture were for show goers to have somewhere to rest their legs, reflect and work on the craft based break out activities. I was interested because they were making lampshades.

wpid-img_20140920_080449.jpgIsn’t it interesting how we find workable office solutions by accident. I wonder if the designers and architects ordering these from the lovely to chat to Nelson, at the Bath based firm MetteCreates will learn from their own office fit out shopping choices. I reckon that picture B is also the preferred style of desk and collaborative work space that would suit all kinds of employees in the future. I hope office architects and corporate interior designers take note of the unsaid unconscious messages coming through in their design briefs. If you want to know more about tapping into unconscious processes in organisation life, please contact me.

Leadership and Management Development

Happy Birthday Blog!

to April cake 014

Today I received a note from word-press that this blog has been operating for four years now. Who would have thought I’d be able to keep it up for that long. I realise my posts have morphed into various themes. Thanks for sticking with me. Here’s a picture of the kind of soft centred celebration cake I’d choose if we were together celebrating. It’s a tart rather than a cake.  I took this image when visiting Paris a while back. They really are the best bakery. Best Croissants I’ve ever tasted and they’re all made on the premises

Le Grenier à Pain  38 rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris France


Wellbeing Audits Culture
365 Business (Entrepreneurship), 365 Mindfulness at Work Business - Management - Leadership Insights, Employee well-being, Leadership and Management Development

How Mindfulness Helped Me Re-treat: Video Post

A before and after video when I use mindfulness and meditation to pause from business stress-ors and the learnings I took from the practice on the day


Techniques to Dissolve Silos
Teamwork, Work and careers

Techniques to Dissolve Silos

I came across this wonderful case of dissolving silos written by Hanna Hall of The Sunflower Corporation  Hanna kindly gave permission for me to reblog this version which was originally posted as a guest blog post on the  Merrill Consultants Site HERE http://www.merrillconsultants.com/valeries-blog/guest-articles/tackling-disruptive-cliques-in-the-workplace/

Hanna Says…

” Tackling disruptive cliques in the workplace

Clique: A small close-knit group of people who do not readily allow others to join them.

A clique may seem harmless, it can form naturally, whether it’s a few people bonding whilst working on a project or the crowd who sit on the left of the office. As creatures of habit, it’s natural for us to group with others who are like-minded or share common interests.

Cliques can however foster a culture of exclusivity, leaving others feeling isolated which can in turn effect morale and productivity. After all, no one wants to feel like an outsider, do they?

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 43% of workers say their office is populated by cliques. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, these groups create tension, pollute the work environment, destroy trust, and sometimes even drive good workers out of the job.So, how can we tackle this issue?

Client Case Study:
One client’s team were physically split across a number of locations so they naturally formed cliques. The team leader recognised that the efficiency of the team as a whole was being affected as each clique was working in isolation.

A team building day was scheduled and we ran a Team Challenge Toolkit session using a series of short, sharp, interactive exercises that are designed to explore various aspects of effective team behaviour.

We started the day with some ice breakers with everyone acting independently to break down the natural silos. We then split the group into pairs, then small teams, increasing the team size on each exercise until they were ready to tackle a task as one overall team.Tasks included:

Tower of Eggcellence – a table top construction task undertaken in teams of 4. It created a natural competition between teams, required them to make decisions, work under time pressure and to strict specification.

Giant Marble Run – a physical time based task undertaken in teams of 8. This required planning, decision-making, agreement on a plan of action before carrying out the task.

Number Cruncher – a memory based task undertaken in 2 teams of 15. This required planning, negotiation and agreement on how to reach the common goal. This task often exposes blame culture which is then addressed in debrief. The task was then repeated later in the day with everyone working together as one team to show how they had bonded throughout the day.The end result was one unified team ready to take on their next challenge!

“The team building tasks really helped us bond and it’s amazing what we can actually do when we all work together!”  NHS Client

Call Hannah if you want to chat through your team challenges on 020 8798 3218″


Visit Hanna’s site for more of her case studies here: http://www.sunflowercorporation.com/blog/

After reading about how Hannah’s event went, I can see why it was so effective. I notice that the exercises were planned for getting to the unconscious processes of organisation life. They seem to get to grips with issues on the surface such as the blame culture while providing interesting practical tasks for helping individuals in groups to try out new behaviours while working closely together. It sounds like the process helped them to start experimenting with working more closely together. You get the feeling from the case study that delegates grew confident in being able to take back what they’d learned into their workplace. These are all good signs of an excellent set of techniques for dissolving silos in an away day event.


Mindful Managment Practice 365-Spring
365 Business (Entrepreneurship), 365 Mindfulness at Work Business - Management - Leadership Insights

Being Mindful of My Spring into Summer

I’ve been mindful of not posting since February in the theme of my 365 mindfulness challenge. To some this might seem that my mindfulness practice has diminished and that I would meet the Dec 31st 2014 slightly embarrassed for not keeping it up.

But part of my recent practice has changed and helped me to see that to be mindful 365 does not require a daily meditation. It changed after watching an interview with John Kabot Zinn at Wisdom 2.0 conference and confirmed the daily meditation quandary for me. I agree with JKZ that meditation helps to sharpen the skills required for mindfulness.
Here is a link to video of Zinn speaking to Google Staff on Mindfulness in general. Perhaps you can have it running while you do your other chores today.

Instead the mindfulness practice I’ve been conducting has been around paying attention to mundane everyday tasks and relational activities. For instance really noticing what I do at given daily tasks. In practice mindful mundane tasks around preparing food has enabled me to easily switch my frame of thoughts and make healthy food and meal choices

My Business Benefits

Mindful interpersonal and intra-personal has helped build my resilience and be more authentic in the kinds of work I take on. I’ve also found that my mindfulness practice this spring proved to be great for recovery and rest. Indeed the video has Kabot Zinn reminding us that non doing is non doing and this is why I deem it useful for coping with work efforts too.

How to do it (or not do anything)

I’d recommend trying out a season of mixed mindfulness practices for anyone who feels they have mastery of the basic techniques and wanting to mix things up a bit and make their practice relevant to what is going on with them at the time. To practice mindful everyday tasks it is good to remember that it is about sharpening your paying attention to… skills.

Key message: Beginner’s Mind

Cultivate Beginner’s Mind Moment By Moment

To see how to do the mindfulness in mundane tasks see my blog post HERE paying attention to…