Understanding organisations at the intersection of
From X-ray machines to the hybrid workplace
How would people's interaction with their environment change with the introduction of a digital X-ray machine?
That is what I wondered while working on the design of a hospital and the client changed the x-ray machine from analogue to digital (yes, it was a long time ago!). A lot of work went into accommodating the new machine and replacing the many backlit viewing boxes with monitors to view the, now digital, x-rays. All of which kept us too busy to think about what such a change actually meant for the organisation - in my opinion the most important question. And that's when I decided to pursue a PhD on the evolution of workplace design as a consequence of technology development.
It didn't take long to come across the many models representing the ecology of organisations, most of which can be reduced to a combination of People, Space and Technology. As good as these models were, I thought they didn't capture the dynamic nature of organisations. So I added an extra axis: time.
Understanding the context under which the organisation operates helps us answer questions which tend to fall through the cracks of disciplines searching for solutions with a specialised, but narrow focus. As the saying goes “if you have a hammer, everything looks like nail”. But operating at the intersection of People, Space and Technology allows us to find answers for the organisation which are useful to their respective HR, IT and FM departments. Answers found here go beyond the impact of an x-ray machine in a hospital and can assist organisations in maximising the advantages and minimising the challenges of a hybrid workplace.
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