Saturday, January 10, 2009
Interior Design: Virtually Speaking
I'm sitting at my desk in Attic World. In front of me is a large computer screen, speakers, wireless keyboard, lamp, some reference books, and a clutter of papers. On a desk extension to my left is the rest of my desktop, and a combined fax/copier/scanner. The room is full of books, more piles of papers, and filing cabinets (the piles of papers should be in the filing cabinets, but they're not). This - you could say - is my virtual workplace; the place in which I work virtually with others around the world. It's not too bad as far as Attic Worlds go, although a coat of paint and an intense cleaning wouldn't hurt.
The fact is, however, this room isn't really my virtual workplace at all. Actually, I rarely use the term 'workplace' any more prefering instead to talk about my virtual 'workspace'. That workspace only comes into existence when I interact with colleagues via the technologies available to me. It is constructed everytime I interact with them collectively or individually, and is deconstructed when the interaction ends - although, very importantly, the spirit of that space can linger and even influence future virtual workspaces.
Here's one way to think about our virtual workspaces - mindsets are the rooms we work in and move between, communications are the windows, and behaviors are the furnishings.
Ideally, the rooms will be light and well-ventilated, and stimulating to the senses. The windows should be crystal clear,and enable you to see what you want and need to see. And the furnishings should be both comfortable and flexible. Something to think about when you next interact with your virtual colleagues. We are all designers of our virtual workspaces.