Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Leave me alone......................

     Is there any evidence that neat environments really help?  The longer T George Harris chased credible research into the impact of "good design" on employee productivity, the more elusive that research seemed.  "People suddenly put into 'good design' did not seem to wake up and love it," he wrote.  What they loved instead was control over the space in which they had to work.

     And that control typically leads to mess.  The psychologist Craig Knight admits that s space that workers design for themselves will almost always look rather ugly.  "It doesn't look as good as something a designer would have chosen, and it never will."

     The management theorist A. K. Korman vividly recalls visiting one factory where the mess had been embraced:

          I was assaulted with a kaleidoscope of orange, blue, pink,
          yellow, red and multi-colored machines.  My host laughed
          at the expression on my face and then went on to tell me
          that the management of the company had told the workers
          they could paint the machines any color they wanted and the
          company would furnish the paint if they furnished the man-
          power.  The result was a very unusual looking factory to me,
          although it was a pleasing work environment to those who
          worked their every day.

     From the vantage point of a nice corner office, someone else's messy desk is an eyesore.  The clutter is visible, but the resulting sense of empowerment is not.  For the senior manager, the lesson is simple:  Resist the urge to tidy up.  Leave the mess - and your workers - alone.

-Tim Harford,  Messy:  The Power of Disorder To Transform Our Lives

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