Nigel Oseland:
An Introduction to Spacecraft - 
the Workplace Design Podcast

This week on the SpaceCraft podcast, Dan Moscrop interviews Nigel Oseland, an environmental psychologist, workplace strategist, researcher, and speaker. They discuss Nigel's recent research for Herman Miller examining what people want from their office spaces and workspace design, looking at factors like personalization needs, privacy preferences, and differences across job roles. Nigel raises concerns about potential biases in much of the research criticizing open plan offices and workplace design.

A major focus is Nigel's work on the concept of workplace loneliness and its impact on branding and workspace design. He explains what loneliness is, the staggering scale of the problem and costs to businesses, and his research exploring how good office design and architecture could potentially help alleviate employee loneliness. Nigel saw trends years ago pointing towards smaller, more distributed workplaces which he believes may help provide a more human-scale environment for workspace design.

They discuss the importance of nature and biophilic design in architecture to tap into human needs, as well as the role of changing environments and stimuli in promoting creativity in the workplace. Nigel highlights the challenges managers face transitioning from being top performers to leadership roles they may not be equipped for in terms of workplace design and branding. He references the Dunbar's number theory about cognitive limits on human group sizes, with implications for office layouts, architecture, and the rise of coworking spaces.

Finally, they explore the wellbeing agenda driving many workplace design strategies, while noting the need for more rigorous research directly linking design interventions to improved wellbeing metrics in workspace design. Overall, the conversation covers Nigel's research interests, insights from studies, and emerging workplace concepts around issues like loneliness, biophilia, creativity, and branding in office architecture and workspace design.