Design News You Can Use—Best of 2016 Edition

Looking for a major dose of news you can use? In this edition of Design News You Can Use, Workplace Strategist Joelle Jach explores some of the most newsworthy articles and trends from the past year.

  1. The kids are alright: These days, it’s not hard to find critics of millennials. The largest (and maybe the weirdest) generation in the workplace has gained plenty of disdain. But, as Farhad Manjoo writes, millennials aren’t all bad and the typical millennial might be as mythical as a unicorn.
  2. More than desk yoga: Wellness enthusiasts often encourage desk exercises, but few folks really do them. Staff at The Washington Post did some workplace wellness research to find realistic ways to incorporate movement into the workday. Bonus: moving graphics!
  3. Co-working is cool: Once thought of as a strictly millennial phenomenon, co-working is picking up steam. A CBRE study found that global companies (even traditional or large firms) are increasingly embracing co-working as a way to offset real estate costs, accommodate personnel and increase flexibility for growth.
  4. Very virtual: We’ve seen the recent rise of virtual reality as a part of everyday life, including TEG Architects’ use of virtual reality renderings. But how will virtual reality impact regular reality? Here’s what to expect, including virtual reality’s impact on building systems, services and design.
  5. Stand tall: Earlier this year, we talked about a Texas A&M study on standing desks and productivity. Does standing up at work really make you more productive? The answer might be a little more complicated than you think.
  6. Focus up: Most of us are guilty of multitasking pretty much all the time. From email to social media to keeping track of our families, there’s rarely a time when we don’t have multiple things going on. Lydia Dishman was right there with us—until she decided to cut out multitasking for one week.
  7. Sit up: Most of us are familiar with ergonomics in the workplace. How you sit, where you place your keyboard and how many monitors you have can all have an effect on your physical well-being. But, as Haworth argues, traditional ergonomics does not address the needs of a changing workplace.
  8. Balancing act: In the newest push for “work/life sanity,” select teams at Amazon have rolled out 30-hour workweeks. The shortened workweeks are designed to boost Amazon’s corporate culture, promote work/life balance for employees and attract new talent, but will it work?
  9. Work it out: In the working world, there will always be those who get up earlier and work longer than anyone else. While there’s nothing wrong with a little elbow grease, working excessive hours may not be that good for you, and it’s not helping your productivity either. Here’s why you should cut back on those crazy hours.
  10. Now hear this: Critics of the open office often cite acoustic disturbance as the number one problem with working without walls. When we’re surrounded by our coworkers, the noises they make can be the biggest threat to our concentration. NPR investigates just how distracting our coworkers can be and offers some solutions for working peacefully in the open environment.
Joelle Jach

Joelle Jach

Joelle Jach LEED GA, AEP, Prosci Certified Change Practioner, is a workplace strategist in CallisonRTKL's Washington, DC, office. She helps clients reach their strategic goals through solutions that enhance functionality, sustainability and efficiency.