Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

How 80 Years of Office Design Has Shaped Employee Wellbeing


Jakkii says: As digital workplace designers, one aspect of the workplace we sometimes work with, often in terms of technology needs, access and implementation, is the physical workspace. Recently I shared pieces about how the sound of buildings affects our mood and the psychology of Japanese train stations. This week, a piece on how office design has shaped employee wellbeing. The piece discusses a number of trends and movements in workplace design over the years:

  • Taylorism
  • Bürolandschaft
  • The Cubicle Farm
  • The Digital Workplace
  • The Future Workplace

The author posits that “Utopianism” is driving the digital workplace and that ‘The Future Workplace’ is well-placed to deliver on this ideal. Future workplaces will be more flexible, offer facilities for exercise, socialising, and child-minding, they will be greeners, and they will be better designed to support accessibility, diversity and inclusion. 

I think we see these trends already, and it’s less ‘The Future Workplace’ and more the current way many organisations are trying to move forward. Activity-based working (ABW) has had a huge uptake in Australia, but it can’t be forgotten that often the organisational drivers have been more aligned with cost savings than with improving the employee experience, let alone concern for how design impacts employee wellbeing. ABW is most effective when implemented based on an understanding of your employees, their work, and the environments they need available in order for them to make useful decisions about where they can be most effective. They need supporting technologies, cultural willingness (and likely some cultural change to get there), community management, and policies such as flexibility for all that support choice and allow employees to work when and where best suits their tasks whenever possible.

How do you find your workplace environment? What sort of impact do you think it has on your wellbeing? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Uber for kids?


Helen says: I wasn’t aware an age limit existed that restricts children from using ride sharing companies such as Uber – I guess it stands to reason that additional considerations need to be taken into account when offering services to children and it’s not surprising that several companies are moving into this space.

Still in its infancy, the benefits being promoted for such a service include: having cost effective (cheaper than a nanny) transportation that is child friendly and safer than current services, reducing school and extracurricular commute times for children (who use public transport), and providing an alternative to the parent taxi service, relieving some of the time pressures placed on parents (whilst still being able to monitor their children).

For schools, there is also a cost benefit. Ride sharing company Zum has raised $40 million and is partnering with schools, giving them access to technology which allows them to optimise ride sharing routes and monitor vehicles in real time. These schools have been able to streamline services and reduce some of the costs that accompany bus services. However, even with a safer, efficient, more cost effective and personalised service, I can’t help thinking losing healthy interactions on buses and in the car with Mum or Dad might be an unintended consequence.


‘World’s first space hotel’: Von Braun Space Station to be ‘cruise ship in the stars’

Joel says: I like to when I can, have my pieces for the Friday Fave’s series loop back on certain articles I’ve selected and showcase updates or additional points of view to that piece. I didn’t think that within a week of selecting last week’s article I’d be back talking about commercialised space travel again. 

After writing last week about space crimes and whether existing legislations would be able to cover people’s actions while travelling in space or if new sets of laws may need to be invented, it seems we may now have a window for when that will need to be decided upon. Doing the rounds this week is a news update unveiling the designs for the Von Braun Space Station. A project that plans to be the first commercial space hotel and be ready by 2025. 

The station is planned to provide a luxurious getaway destination, including things like fully functioning kitchens, bars, cinemas and will also come equipped with artificial gravity thanks to its controllable rotating design that can provide space-like gravity as well as mimic what we’re used to on Earth. It’s expected to be pretty pricey when it first opens but eventually, prices should decrease, opening up the Space Station to be a viable tourism destination.

Tim Alatorre, the senior design architect on the project said:

“Eventually, going to space will just be another option people will pick for their vacation, just like going on a cruise, or going to Disney World.” 

What do you think about the idea of holidaying in space? Would you be keen on a little rest and relaxation off-planet? 


Want to Improve Your Next Meeting? Remove the Table


Jakkii says: The headline of this one immediately piqued my attention – first of all, who doesn’t want to improve meetings? And secondly, remove the table? What? Why??

This is a quick read in which the author argues in favour of removing the table – at the time of the meeting, in which you are effectively all participating in a physical, problem-solving activity – how do you get the table out of the room, and where do you put it? That idea of forcing people to work together immediately is a very intriguing one to me, and I like the elegance of something that has very concrete parameters and shouldn’t take very long being involved. There surely must be a task that doesn’t involve giving both your facilities and WHS teams a coronary that can be done in 5 minutes or so to get everyone working together before you meet on a specific topic and, presumably, work together.

The rest of this short piece focuses on something quite commonly argued for – putting devices away and focusing on the room and the people in it. Is it actually necessary? If people aren’t using their devices to take notes (though they should really be taking handwritten notes for maximum effectiveness and recall) and simply aren’t paying attention to you, perhaps they didn’t really need to be in the meeting in the first place. Even if it is essential that devices are ‘put away’, whether it’s necessary to physically remove the table to achieve this is debatable (or not) – but I’m still curious about the impact of trying it out. Anyone game to give it a go at their next meeting? if you do, please let me know how it went and what you thought of it!


This Week in Social Media

Politics, democracy and regulation

Privacy and data

Cybersecurity and safety

Society and culture

Extremism and hate speech

Moderation and misinformation

Marketing, media, advertising and PR


Facebook’s Libra and Calibra

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: preserving our digital heritage, and the national identity crisis caused by consumerism. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

03:02 – The social and historical implications of a botched data breach

17:48 – New spiritual consumerism and national identity crisis

Other stories we bring up

MySpace deletes videos in server migration

OiNK users recall value of defunct site

More background on OiNK

How Music Got Free, the book

The American Economy is Creating a National Identity Crisis


DISRUPT.SYDNEY™ 2019: Rethinking Success

DISRUPT.SYDNEY, in its seventh year, is Australia’s first and oldest disruption conference.

This year we’re looking at what it means to be successful in a world increasingly concerned with disruption, sustainability, inequality and changing notions of work.

With two Q&A panels, parallel workshops after lunch, and an interactive futures session on deep fakes in the afternoon DISRUPT.SYDNEY 2019 will have plenty of discussion and ideas with which to engage and challenge. Join the discussion on 20 September at the University of Sydney Castlereagh St campus.

For more information and to register Ask us for our discount code to save on the early bird price – hurry, early bird registrations close today, 6 September!

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