“Walk into a Starbucks and it is not surprising to see more laptops than coffee mugs on the table,” writes Parthajeet Sarma in the introduction to his new book about the changing nature of workspaces. Most of us are so involved in the routines of our daily work-life that we fail to see the changes that are taking place all around us. The radically changing nature of work, workers and workplaces highlights the future of work and how workplaces need to change to remain relevant in the future. Parthajeet Sarma’s book is thus about using space as a starting point for innovation.
Work has, today, become more fluid than ever before. With a smartphone in the hand or a laptop by your side, you can virtually work from anywhere. What does this mean for the traditional office then?
Sarma points out in this book, the signs of a paradigm shift that is taking place in the world of work. Informal observations suggest that people are slowly but surely changing their very basic and fundamental conceptions about work. Unlike the era of industrial revolution where the concept of ‘going to work’ was introduced, today, It is not unrealistic to ask “Why do I need to go to my workplace?”
The book analyses the obvious reasons such as evolution of new technologies and so on as factors that spear a series of other changes.
The book is also futuristic in a sense. It reflects the notion of a new workspace – the blended workspace of the future. “A radically new concept of workplaces will play a significant role in shaping the changing nature of work and workers. Thinking workers will need to welcome innovation as an inherent part of their work. The new mix of talents and skills at the diverse workplace includes regular workers, freelancers, crowd-sourced talent, working harmoniously with robots and AI applications,” writes Sarma.
The book is divided into three sections. The first describes what blended workspaces actually entail. These are what the author believes to be the future of workspaces. They are a far cry from the cubicle style offices of the past. These workspaces offer the modern worker what he needs. To put it in the words of the author, “workplaces of today need to have a wide variety of spaces, which allow workers to work in isolation at times, collaborate when necessary and recharge as well,”.
The second section discusses the importance of a workplace. The changes in the nature of work, must also mean that there needs to be changes in the nature of workplaces. Sarma describes in detail how the modern workplace should be physically. How does it look and feel different from the workplaces of yesteryears? This section is particularly important for leaders and business people. I would go on to say that it should be of great relevance also to people who are involved in designing workplaces and offices. One of my favourite parts within this section was the discussion of how play and exercise contributed to creative thinking and how organizations can foster creativity.
The third section discusses the practicalities of using space as the starting point for innovation. Here as well, he presents strands of thought that are crucial in understanding the relationship between the workspace and productivity in context of the times we live in. I found the section on co-working spaces especially insightful.
Sarma draws from various experiments in the realm of psychology and social sciences in order to support and explain some of the concepts that he purports. This abundance of experimental studies and their applications and implications for work productivity and workspace design holds important inputs for the modern workforce.
What’s in it for the reader?
Anyone who works in today’s environment has sensed the changes that are slowly but surely creeping into our lives. This book will give an insight to established businesses about how work and working are changing and what this means for workspaces and organisations.
Sarma writes that “a future imagined on past and current human expectations is not exactly reflective of what will work on the future. One needs to step back a little from this perspective and take a macro view,”. This book does just that.
This book review is a part of The Readers Comsos Book Review Program and Blog Tours, for details log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in
Title: The radically changing nature of work, workers and workplaces
Author: Parthajeet Sarma
Publisher: Become Shakespeare
Genre: Non-Fiction, Business, Self-help