"Why should we put up with uncomfortable, outdated, impractical and downright ugly stuff at work, when we wouldn't dream of it at home?" Abrahamson and Freeman for example spend quite a bit of ink on making a case for the untidy desk. They argue that the stacks of paper and other stuff that tend to pile up on people's desks actually constitute one of the most efficient filing systems available. The occupier of the desk, they maintain, usually knows quite precisely, where a certain document can be found on the desk. It would take much more time to store the document in a filing cabinet or desk drawer and then later spend time wondering where it has been filed. The point is that people are not very organised beings by nature. Our logic is fuzzy, and we make instant connections in our minds in ways that computers cannot. Sometimes we work more efficiently when we don't have to conform to demands of orderliness that are imposed on us. The new wave of office design has a lot in common with Abrahamson and Freeman's theory. Indeed, Martela's prototype desk with a lock-down lid taps into the exact same idea it allows people with messy desks to carry on being messy without having to worry about confidential documents ending up in the wrong hands. IFS's Enterprise Explorer, on the other hand, allows users to select from a variety of available tools and create paths that best suit their natural practices. People no longer need to familiarise themselves with the inner logic and vast structure of the system in order to be able to use it. So, in essence, the new breed of office design provides tools that allow us to be more human at work. a netWorKed evolution If one had to pick a single innovation that has had a dramatic effect on work in the past decades, a strong candidate is the internet. It is used by all generations, and particularly people under the age of 35 have adopted it as part of their daily life to such an extent that there is no point in making distinctions between physical and virtual reality. "The Net is commonly used to assist with matters to do with the physical world for example finding information before buying a new car but also for the sake of the medium itself," says managing director Markus Keränen from 15/30 Research, a company that specialises in examining the lifestyles, consumer behaviours and attitudes of young adults. According to Keränen, the internet has had a profound effect on how under-35s form social relationships they tend to be extremely wellnetworked and quickly adopt new ways of colMAY 2009 blue Wings 65
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