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Can the perfect workplace be crowdsourced?

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Can the perfect workplace be crowdsourced?

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There are many groups currently exploring the modern workplace and how it can be improved to better provide what both employees and employers are looking for.  A bunch of Romanian entrepreneurs are taking one of the more interesting approaches towards achieving this however.

The team of Bucharest based entrepreneurs were struggling for a workplace that summed up their way of working, and so they decided to club together and crowdsource the whole thing.  The project is going by the name of Synergy Hub, and the hope is that the crowd will provide the inspiration required to craft a perfect workplace for the 4 entrepreneurial teams.

Now, it should be said that the group are not just relying upon the crowd for insights and ideas, they’re also looking to them for more tangible aspects of a perfect workplace.  They are proposing a barter like system whereby people donate furniture, equipment, even broadband access to the facility.

It’s at this point that the proposition begins to break down.  The group offer donors things such as social media exposure in return, but it’s a pretty flimsy proposition in my opinion.  That none of the endeavours created by the 4 teams focuses on workplace design, it’s also doubtful how much thought is going into the creation of a perfect workplace vs a free workplace.

Whilst it’s an interesting, not to mention bold, approach, I’m not convinced that it will produce a workplace of note. You can find out a bit more about the project via the slide deck at the end of the post.

A slightly better approach was taken a few years ago by a company called Visible Measures.  They too were moving offices back in 2010 and decided to open up the entire process to their 40 or so employees.  Employees could submit proposals for the design of the new workplace, with the only constraint being the fixed budget for the project.

The entries were suitably zany, including:

  • A replica of Seinfeld’s Monk’s cafe
  • A physical history of video from the 1800s – present
  • A room fashioned entirely out of cardboard, to symbolize innovation, resilience, and resourcefulness
  • A zen like retreat, including a fountain made by hand

Whilst it could, of course, be debated as to whether the suggestions made are backed with the latest thinking on the area and all that, it does at least provide employees with a strong input into the workplace they’ll be inhabiting.  The project is also much more appropriate than the Synergy Hub one.

It does kinda make me think however that the mere notion of designing a single workplace will never make it perfect for everyone.  As your employees are all unique individuals, maybe the perfect workplace is one that allows employees the freedom and ability to craft things the way they want it, including of course when and where they work.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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