May 14, 2013
THEME: Workplace

Lights. Camera. Action!: What’s New in Workplace?

They say everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame.
I recently had mine. 

I was interviewed on a local television program called Greater MSP Business, a show featuring local businesses and their leaders from the Minneapolis Saint Paul region. The focus on the weekend’s program—which aired Sunday morning on the local ABC affiliate—was about the big changes occurring in the workplace. In addition to me, the guests included Cali Ressler Co-founder of Culture Rx and co-author of the ROWE program made famous by Best Buy, and Kyle Coolbroth, Co-founder of CoCo, a very successful local co-working site.

Aside from my butterflies at the prospect of appearing on TV and being interviewed by seasoned news anchor Cyndy Brucato, I was excited and enthused by how relevant and mainstream this topic has become in recent years, particularly in recent months after Yahoo and Best Buy announced retractions of their work from home policies. Even Ms. Brucato was enthused about the topic and thought it was one of their best shows.

As workplace designers, my colleagues and I have been researching, theorizing and talking about concepts and strategies promoting a more collaborative open and progressive workplace for years. Many workplaces are simply not designed to respond to how people are really working today.

We also have long promoted the value that space has on supporting our clients’ strategic business objectives; it can become a tool in accomplishing their business goals rather than an overhead cost on their balance sheet. The conversation around workplace is now resonating with many of our clients—and the public. Portable technology has rapidly untethered us from our desks; we really are working here, there and everywhere. This is a very exciting time to work in this business as we help companies make meaningful changes to their workplace that enhance their organizations.

Even though I’ve done my research about workplace over the years, my time under the bright studio lights was informed by some new observations:

Managing work – Be Your Own Boss for Maximum Results

Cali from Culture Rx was first to be interviewed and she spoke about the importance of employers setting clear expectations for results and for employees to be accountable for their results.

Empowering employees to be accountable for their own results isn’t much different than how college students manage their lives and responsibilities during their studies. Why wouldn’t they be successful continuing to work this way in their professional life? The culture of checking in and being told how, when and where an employee should do something is a step backward in personal accountability and growth. II had never thought about it like this before, shouldn’t the workplace reflect this natural way of working for recent graduates?

Capturing innovation – The Magic of Inspiration Manifested Through Co-working

Before the show’s taping, Kyle from CoCo was telling Cali and me about the many local corporations that visit CoCo to learn more about co-workings spaces. These companies are trying to capture some of that magic of collaboration and innovative workspace for their own offices; Kyle also shared that many corporate executives come to CoCo on a somewhat regular basis for what he calls a “workcation.” By spending a day at CoCo, the executives are able to get away from the daily grind and connect with a new community, perhaps even finding some nugget of inspiration or new perspective they can take back to the office and to their work.

A Workplace for all Generations – Recognizing a Common Ground

All three of us spoke about Generation Y and its influence in the workplace. While each of us recognized the effect Gen Y is exerting via emphasis on enhanced technology and an expected freedom to choose, we all recognized that, at the end of the day, all generations are enjoying and responding to new ways of working, improved work-life balance and energizing workplaces.

We agreed that our jobs as workplace designers and consultants are more rewarding and invigorating than they’ve ever been, and more essential than ever.


  1. Beth Latto
    11:48 am on May 15, 2013 | Reply

    Wow, Lisa–what a fantastic interview!!! Great article, too!

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