21 May 2005

Office culture [Financial Times]

Be the first to share

 
“So how do you feel about e-mail?” asks Simon Roberts, a social anthropologist. “How has it changed your workload?”

This is not what social anthropologists are usually expected to ask: they observe courtship rituals, try to interpret ancient chants, analyse gift-giving or tribal cosmology.

Simon Roberts, however, is searching for meanings in the daily life of Peter Quest, a senior auditor, who works for the global accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, in a featureless tower block in central London. Quest, who has spent 32 years at the firm, manifests unease. “I call my e-mails the triffids,” he says, referring to the killer plants in John Wyndham’s 1950s novel. “You can spend all day killing them, then you turn your back for a second and those red things, those triffids, have taken over your screen again! It eats up your day. When I started my career we used to spend lots of time talking to clients and colleagues. Now it’s harder.”

Roberts is patient. “But I have noticed that people here don’t seem to classify e-mail as ‘real’ work. They sit at their desk doing e- mails and then say, ‘Right, now let’s do some work’ – but e-mail is taking up work time. Perhaps that is the problem?”

Read full story

Be the first to share
15 August 2015
What is the ‘sharing economy’? A perspective from Seoul
As a Fulbright grantee, Emily Hong spent part of the last year researching the sharing economy in Seoul. One of her main findings? Korea actually has two. The first is small-scale, hyper local and socialist in …
14 August 2015
Jon Kolko: Design thinking comes of age
How should companies think about design centricity? For Jon Kolko, vice president of design at Blackboard, an education software company, design thinking can define the way an organization functions at the most basic levels—how it …
11 August 2015
Thingclash: putting human values in the IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is forecast to be one of the most far reaching and fundamental shifts in how people interact with technology and their environment since the advent of the Internet. But, the rush …
11 August 2015
[Book] Aging and the Digital Life Course
Aging and the Digital Life Course Edited by David Prendergast and Chiara Garattini Series: Life Course, Culture and Aging: Global Transformations Publisher: Berghahn Books (June 30, 2015) Hardcover, 289 pages Abstract Across the life course, new forms of community, ways of …
1 August 2015
Nissan’s place-based design process
Megan Neese is a senior manager in the Future Lab at Nissan Motor Ltd., a cross-functional team tasked with uncovering new business opportunities for the future of automotive. In an article for EPIC, she explains how …
27 July 2015
New qualitative research on video consumption by UK youth
TV viewing (live, playback and Broadcaster VOD services) dominates the video viewing of all ages; however 16-24s have a more varied video diet, with TV accounting for two thirds of their total video viewing compared …
22 July 2015
How ethnographic research helped transform a US paint company
Almost all business leaders now acknowledge that they would love to engage in the deep learning that long-term customer observation can foster, but in practice such endeavors are methodically undermined in the fast paced corporate …
22 July 2015
The student experience and the future of the library
Libraries have moved from being the location for search, access and advice to playing a much smaller role within a much larger information landscape, writes a researcher of JISC, the UK charity that champion the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

See all articles