Design Prose

Sub-cultural Adaptation in Workplace Environment

Posted in Built Environment by designprose on February 17, 2012

Workplace environment is going through an interesting transformation and it is being accelerated more than ever due to changing fabric of work itself. There is an evident paradigm shift from knowledge workers of Industrial age model to insight workers of Information age model. This is changing and will continue to change the way we work and perceive our work model and effectively leading to how it will affect our physical workplace environment.

Global recession has triggered this change and pushed people out of their comfort zone to look at their business model more critically and technology is enabling them to explore alternative different ways to do business. We are connected in so many ways and information flow and access is not hierarchical anymore instead it is multi-layered, multi-directional and more accessible. Moreover, in a heavily globalized environment, access to expertise and skills has become easier. With those kind of dynamic forces, it is critical to look at workplace strategies which consider predictability and unpredictability and build them into the very fabric of corporate culture. And at a minimum keep a leeway for businesses to transform and flourish with changing scenarios to address and accommodate its needs. Needs not just that are most visible, direct and current but also take into account factors of uncertainty, bundled altogether with the original vision of their business.

In a hetero-cultural work conditions, it is essential that it is one that takes into account the various value system, the work force might come with. Values by its very nature are dynamic, eroding, erasing and many a times modified subconsciously with exposure. With that taken in account, how does work environment provide conditions that will optimize capabilities of workers?

In Indian context, there is a first wave of physically highly upgraded workplaces being provided which are more or less a replica of offices and solutions being provided elsewhere in the world. So, office in China and London of the same global corp is being repeated in India as well. Although, conditions and local forces of each location cannot be more different. Indians are just about getting ready to embrace a heavy corporate work culture while the same has shown visible cracks in it already in the West. It could be a sincere intentional mistake to repeat the same model to only realize that it will fumble in Indian conditions as well like it did elsewhere. The notion of India Inc. is a fabricated, make-belief concept by handful few. The race to imitate nations and societies that are considered more wealthy and successful could be a devised Indian folly well underway. Symbolic successes achieved through gleaming buildings and advanced infrastructure may mean not more than creating a sense of temporal false euphoria. Enduring spaces and built environment are hard to come by and its almost never a product of cookie-cutter industrial output model or by merely replicating entity out of context.

Change is messy and transformation non-linear. It almost never falls into a neat linear timeline and the process sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone, thrashes you, flogs you in several directions before you can define and redefine identity of an entity, self, place, people, cluster and societal aspiration.