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The Life of Work

Mark Bridgman, Senior Design Consultant for Haworth Europe, recently led an audience in Singapore through an animated discussion on business effectiveness. Here’s what went down.

The Life of Work


August 21st, 2013

On 25 July, the audience who had come to Haworth’s Singapore showroom to hear a talk on ‘The Life of Work’ was kept riveted for a good hour. Using sound, movement and colourful illustrations, Mark Bridgman gave a highly entertaining presentation on nine key factors that he says, can dramatically affect the outcome of business effectiveness. We highlight some of them:

Mark Bridgman Haworth


Mark Bridgman: In the 21st century, there are all sorts of products that [can be used to support change within] the office environment. If you’ve the right specifiers and they’ve designed intelligent, thoughtful design proposals within a set criteria that have been very well researched, [such change] is more straightforward. What is more difficult is to change process, strategies, values and beliefs [because] people are more involved in [these things]. Process gets to people’s emotions. Introducing change in people is most difficult.

Mark Bridgman Haworth


MB: The top 50 of the Fortune 500 companies surveyed have said that innovation is critically important for a business’ growth and survival. [And] it’s the most influential [means by which] they get themselves out from the circumstances that they find themselves in. But that’s not enough. What has to be in place is a vehicle to control that innovation.

Mark Bridgman Haworth


MB: Culture is the emotive heart that will determine, from the catalyst to the innovativeness, whether that innovativeness has been a worthwhile investment.

There is organisational culture – which can be divided into Create, Control, Compete and Collaborative cultures – and there is ‘self-culture’.

Mark Bridgman Haworth

Think, See, Do, Connect – activities in the workplace

MB: Think is about sharing ideas, discussing and brainstorming; See is where people transfer information to one another; Do is about performing specific tasks either in physical isolation or with people; and Connect is the need to have face to face conversations with people, often on a social basis.

In terms of design implications, the Do collaborative space [as preferred within the Compete-type workplace culture] for example, is often a hive of energy, with [elements such as] mix media to help share ideas, while Connect [as preferred within the Collaborate-type workplace culture] is very much a family, homey environment. It’s more personal.

Mark Bridgman Haworth

Who I Is

MB: I do some fantastic work, simply because they [Haworth] allow me to be ‘Who I is’. I firmly believe that each one of our self-cultures is more important than the culture of the organisation that we work for. Business effectiveness will never happen without our full engagement, and by that I mean doing our fantastic work. That is why the [organisations] need us more than we need them. Do they look after our interests? Does your organisation make you feel like you can be yourself? Do they know ‘Who you is’?

Mark Bridgman Haworth

A Place to Be

MB: Why do you go to your favourite cafe? What do you feel when you’re spending time in your favourite places? Do you ever feel anything remotely like that in your office? Are you doing your very best in the [space allocated to you in the workplace], or do you go somewhere else in the office to do your best thinking?

If you’re in the places that resonate with ‘Who you is’, you’re going to get some great new work done.

Mark Bridgman Haworth

Mark Bridgman has spent the last 30 years as a Space Planner and Workplace Design Strategist within the contract office furniture industry. He has leveraged his design skills across product development, graphic design, marketing communications, learning and development, as well as numerous workplace projects throughout the UK and Europe.

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