1st Edition

Beyond the Workplace Zoo Humanising the Office

By Nigel Oseland Copyright 2022
    232 Pages 57 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 57 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book begins by outlining the common design mistakes with the modern open plan office and the industry focus on cost that has resulted in the ill-fated Workplace Zoo. The requirements of office-based workers according to psychological theory and research are then explained. Dr Oseland references historical studies in psychophysics to describe how to design environmental conditions (acoustics, lighting, temperature, indoor air quality) that enhance performance by supporting basic physiological needs. More contemporary research in environmental psychology investigates how cognition affects our interpretation and response to physical stimuli depending on personality, context, attitude and other personal factors. This in turn informs individual requirements for the environmental conditions as well as group needs. Studies in evolutionary psychology and biophilia are also referenced.

    The latter part of the book turns to workplace solutions and focuses on how to plan, design and manage offices to accommodate our innate human needs now and in the future. The importance of designing for inclusivity is also recognised, including accommodating cultural, gender and generational differences along with designing spaces for neurodiversity. Dr Oseland’s proposed workplace solution the Landscaped Office is a revived and revised version of Bürolandschaft with a contemporary twist. The impact of workplace trends, such as agile working and hot-desking, is also explored and found to complement the workplace solution, resulting in the Agile Landscaped Office.

    This book is key reading for professionals, and post-graduate students, in business, interior design, architecture, surveying, facilities management, building services engineering, HR and organisational or environmental psychology.

    Introduction  1. Introducing the Workplace Zoo  Part 1: Situation  2. Fascination with cost  3. Psycho-what?  4. The rise and failure of open plan  Part 2: Solution  5. Introducing the Landscaped Office  6. It’s a jungle in there  7. A plan comes together  8. Choice, sharing and agile working  9. The great indoors  Epilogue  10. Concluding remarks on the Landscaped Office


    Dr Nigel Oseland is an environmental psychologist, workplace strategist, change manager, researcher, international speaker, lecturer and published author with 11 years research and 23 years consulting experience. In his consulting business, he draws on his psychology background and his own research to advise occupiers on how to redefine their workstyles and rethink their workplace to create working environments that enhance individual and organisational performance and deliver maximum value. Nigel lectures on two masters' degrees at The Bartlett, UCL, one on space management and the other on wellbeing in buildings. He is the programme advisor and a regular speaker at the Workplace Trends series of international conferences. Nigel regularly presents at international (academic and corporate) conferences on designing workplaces that enhance performance and wellbeing. He made a TEDx talk in 2018 on How We Can Create Unique Workspaces and introduced the concept of the Workplace Zoo.

    "Read this book and you will get a deep understanding of what workplace design is all about. In clear and concise prose, Nigel explains how the physical work environment can affect the well-being, satisfaction, social behaviour and productivity of office workers. The book is an excellent blend of academic insight and practical relevance." - Dr Juriaan van Meel, Co-founder BriefBuilder

    "Beyond The Workplace Zoo is a timely reminder of the need to revise modern organizational practices. Using a mix of applied research and business experience, Nigel Oseland provides adroit lessons in how to build more meaningful working lives. The result is a readable, knowledgeable and useable book that will add to the armoury of the intelligent manager." - Dr Craig Knight, Founding Director, Identity Realization Ltd

    "Understanding the impact that buildings have on people is becoming more important as organisations look to invest intelligently in people and place. The Workplace Zoo comprehensively equips all interested parties to navigate the sometimes arduous journey towards an effective environment. If you have any interest in what lies behind creating a great workplace experience, then this is the book for you." - Mark Catchlove, Director, Insight Group – EMEA, Herman Miller

    "Nigel takes us on a journey Beyond the Workplace Zoo. It already sounds very intriguing but is getting more exciting when you began to turn the pages. He elegantly uses his psychological background and practical experience to explain different theories and how office design can affect our satisfaction and work performance, and what solutions do work and what do not. It is not an academic telling but given by a person with long practice. He tells us how to create an office design that you want to and must return to - socially welcoming, promoting innovation and interaction, and creating spaces for concentrated work, creativity and relaxation, and more. As per the title, Nigel tells you how to create an office Beyond the Workplace Zoo. It is a must-read for the designers, architects, and creators of office space and any manager that wants to ensure that his workforce is effective and satisfied - full of tips and knowledge that you must not miss." - Associate Professor Pawel Wargocki, International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy, Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark

    "Nigel Oseland has that rare quality of combining academic rigour with an ability to communicate well on complex subjects. And what could be more complex and timely - and more in need of genuine insight - than the changing nature of work? Nigel's studies over many years make him the ideal person to explore the ways in which people function and interact as animals and the effects on them of the rapidly evolving world of work." - Mark Eltringham, publisher of IN Magazine and workplaceinsight.net

    "A long-time supporter of our conferences, in Beyond the Workplace Zoo Nigel demonstrates one of his key strengths, which is researching and gathering technical information, then distilling and explaining it in a way that we can all understand and apply. The results are key to creating the most modern of workplaces, fit for inhabitation by employees for generations to come." - Maggie Procopi, Workplace Trends

    "Nigel Oseland is the Denis Diderot of the office. His history is fascinating; his barbs against architectural determinism and psychobabble, laudable; his solutions, and his accounts of open plan and agile working, commendably balanced; his writing style, terminology and taxonomies, unrivalled in their clarity. In office design, he will persuade many to vote NO – to false claims and false prophets alike. Recommended." - James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Design, London South Bank University

    "The title of this book (Beyond the Workplace Zoo: Humanising the Office) inspires a look under the cover. For those who have often thought of their office as a zoo, this book will illuminate a future that focuses on the fusion of human needs and workplace design. It generates a more innovative approach, focused on value created, rather than the typical emphasis on costs per square foot. The book draws on an extensive body of research in environmental psychology and effectively translates the data and insights into workplace solutions that are better suited to this moment in history that calls for more flexibility and imagination. The proposed new workplaces do not destroy previous efforts, but rather integrate the best features of the of the past with new approaches to technology-aided mobility and the capability to work in multiple places including home. Beyond the Workplace Zoo is a valuable and thoughtful look at how learning from the past can illuminate the future." - Dr Judith Heerwagen, Affiliate, Faculty of Architecture, University of Washington

    "Nigel’s Beyond the Workplace Zoo is concise, comprehensive and charming, rich in resource and ideas, a thoroughly worthy addition to the growing body of workplace literature. The particular focus on the need to cater for the subtle yet vital differences between us is timely and important." - Neil Usher, Chief Workplace & Change Strategist @ GoSpace AI, Author of The Elemental Workplace and Elemental Change

    "Finally! A book that really explains what is happening in the world of workplace. It covers everything from the true value of space to personality profiles, the read is a journey worth taking. It's written in conversation style and addresses the more complicated, academic subjects with practical interpretations that can be used in the real world. Possibly the best book on the workplace I've ever read." - Paige Hodsman, Concept Development, Workplace Specialist, Saint-Gobain Ecophon

    "Nigel manages to ram the seventy-year evolution of the contemporary corporate office into a new practical and essential guide for all students of the future of workplace. Presented with typical academic rigour, this is a new must read for anyone trying to navigate the complexities of the post-pandemic people + place debate." - Tim Oldman, Founder & CEO, Leesman

    "Nigel has written a truly original and insightful book that brings together his academic knowledge in psychology and his vast practical experience in workplace strategy. In this sense the book takes a humanistic perspective on the workplace, explaining how workplaces needs to be designed with peoples’ mental and physical wellbeing on mind rather than, as is mostly the case, design aesthetics. This book is a ‘must have’ for anyone concerned with the role of the workplace in supporting individual and organisational performance." - Dr Rob Harris, Principal, Ramidus Consulting

    "For too long organisations have been looking down the wrong end of the telescope when it comes to the spaces they provide employees to do their best work. Nigel’s experience and expertise are an antidote to that. There hasn’t been a conversation on this topic worth having in the last decade that Nigel hasn’t been front and centre of so any business would benefit from the thoughts in this work on how evidence backed insights can make a real difference in creating amazing spaces for people to do amazing work." - Chris Moriarty, Director of Insight & Engagement, IWFM Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management

    "This is a timely publication. Nigel eloquently brings together the best practice of workplace design and management, validated by his own and others’ industry-recognised research, and leads us to his own version of the evidence-based human-centric office space. His views reflect a vision of the post-pandemic world of work but, perhaps more importantly, this book sets out his agenda for modern day office design." - Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive Officer, British Council for Offices