May 23, 2016

P-Watch #9: Wearables, Office Furniture of the Future, and Zombies

This week we present ideas to a possible future world of work. Our topics are as follow: what insights can be gained through communicating with wearables in team situations, how small spaces can be transformed with flexible office furniture, and why managers and middle managers should be particularly prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

In JoAnn Corley’s article, “Can Wearable Tech Transform Your Team?” we learn about an exciting study, “The New Science of Building Great Teams,” examining 2,500 employees who wore wearables’- the communication technology where one is equipped with minicomputer sensors. The wearables tracked subtle nuances of human interaction like tone of voice, volume, empathy, the amount of gesturing, the relationship between speaking and listening with colleagues and other measures.This study shows amazingly accurate and reliable results that have come to light according to what impacts communication practices and effects the dynamics of teams and their effectiveness and productivity (ultimately affecting the entire company). Results show that decision factors for the success of a team is determined, among other things by how much personal interaction takes place, and how efficient and committed communication is between team members. Ten call centers reacted to this study, and the change was so immediate and vivid that it forecasted a productivity increase of $15 million a year (collectively). Find out more about this study here.

In her article, “12 Brilliant Design Ideas for Small Offices (And Small budget),” Diana Budd’s reviews a modern design for small businesses and start-ups.  Stefan Diez, a Munich-based industrial designe, noticed a design gap in the furniture industry for businesses with limited resources and space. Together with students from the Lund University in Sweden, Diaz has developed a line of smart and flexible office furniture for innovative solutions to small and temporary office spaces. Get an impression yourself of the versatile, sound-absorbing furniture in Budd’s slideshow here.

In an entertaining article, “A Survival Guide for Middle Managers (and the Zombie Apocalypse),” Chris Cancialosi writes about skills you need in order to survive a Zombie Apocalypse that are ones that can help you survive the middle management position. Middle managers undoubtedly have a difficult place between following management and motivating and leading their team (with limited information as to for example why decisions were made). Cancialosi identifies chaos, panic, and self-preservation instincts and hazards that Middle Management and a Zombie Apocalypse have in common.

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