Creating the Productive Workplace

By Derek Clements-Croome | Go to book overview

Chapter 2

Creativity in the workplace

Jackie Townsend

This is a book about well-being; the well-being of any building and of the people working inside it and how the combination of the building and the occupants can be enhanced to produce an environment which encourages creative, productive work and pleasure: pleasure in the environment and pleasure in the work.

It occurs to me that this desire to create an environment which is conducive to creative and productive work indicates quite a radical shift in the whole philosophy of work and the workplace. I would suggest that work and the workplace, for the great majority of people, have not been instigated, designed, begun and built with the workers themselves in mind. Most office buildings are lumps of grey concrete with bits of glass in, not particularly beautiful or inviting to any of the senses, but purely functional. They speak of power and money rather than creativity and pleasure.

It is entirely possible to build buildings which enhance the environment and make us feel good. Most cathedrals do this, especially the great ones such as St Paul's and Chartres. Because people visit them with a feeling of respect, religious or not, and mostly treat them in a respectful way, this energy builds up so that the building performs its function in a more and more fulfilling way. It gets better and better. Of course, the Church speaks of a different kind of power: its own, which is also not entirely altruistic or benevolent except sometimes on an individual level, and that of the Other, the Divine, whatever you might perceive that to be. So it can be done and it has been done.

Therapists who work with the body talk about function and form. Form implies the function, and function guides the form. For instance, your two feet are not particularly big but they can carry the weight of your whole body, without you falling over when you stand still. They do this because the bone in your lower leg goes down into your heel, so that it is the bones which are supporting your weight, but then you have maybe around nine inches of progressively smaller bones with tendons, muscles and skin, blood vessels and nerves, which spread out from your heel and then become five toes. They are ideally designed for their purpose. Function and form.

-18-

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