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Our minds are being turned to custard the longer we stare at our computers. I’m not the slightest bit surprised by this, but that’s more or less the takeaway from Nikil Saval’s book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace. Saval’s theory is that biologically, we think better when in nature. When we’re moving and active. The outdoors reduces stress and refreshes us creatively. The theory is backed up by Stanford University research that shows walking boosts creativity.

Profiteering off people is the norm. But as Saval says, humans aren’t suited to just sitting at a desk, destined to repeat the same tasks. We yearn for more. It is in our nature to want to explore, communicate and collaborate – and not through a screen.

Some revolutionary workplaces are looking to bring nature into the office. They’re focusing on design solutions. Improving the feel of the building. In some cases even trying to develop full ecosystems. But really what most of us want is more time away out of the office. Saval argues that design can only go so far. When it comes to the crunch, if you want happy employees delivering quality, creative and inspiring work, then we need to embrace flexibility. Empower people to get outside more on their own terms during the day. It could be a walk, lunch outside, or just time out. The longer we cling to the office cubicle, the worse off we’ll be.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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