Neil Usher:
The elements of a successful workplace

This week on the SpaceCraft podcast, Dan Moscrop interviews Neil Usher, author of the book "The Elemental Workplace" and expert in innovative workplace design.

They discuss Neil's early days of blogging on his "Work Essence" site, where he first started testing out ideas and concepts related to the workplace - a way of "writing himself into existence" by publishing his thoughts and perspectives on office design and architecture.

The conversation turns to Neil's book, which outlines his framework of 12 key elements for creating effective workplace designs. A core idea is designing around how people actually work rather than trying to change behaviors through rules and training. Neil provides examples of cutting-edge projects he worked on, like the agile software engineering center at Sky designed specifically for the work methodologies of the engineering teams through innovative office architecture.

They explore trends in workplace design, both positive like fostering more collaboration spaces, and questionable fads like installing slides and beer taps more as shallow symbols rather than functional amenities for workplace branding. Neil distinguishes between true community-fostering "co-working" spaces versus flexible office offerings branded as co-working.

Neil shares insights from his recent travels looking at exemplary workplaces in Australia and New Zealand, which he sees as producing some global leaders in innovative workplace thinking and execution through office design, even if challenges remain. Finally, they discuss Neil's plans for potentially writing a second book that dives deeper into researching new workplace concepts and frameworks.

Throughout, the conversation covers Neil's perspectives from years of experience in pioneering design approaches that create workplaces enabling people and organizational cultures to thrive through thoughtful office architecture and workspace branding.