Dualism is out
I write this post well aware that an ergonomic desk and chair importer writing about the impact of dualism on the modern workplace is approaching an unbearable level of pretentiousness.
I'll push on regardless....:-)
The idea of dualism - the separation of body and mind comes from old boy philosopher Rene Descartes and it has formed the philosophical basis for how we live our lives influencing all facets of our lives including medicine, religion and art.
It has also had a huge impact on work. I often think that many workplaces make it very clear that they are hiring the mind of their staff not their bodies. It is like the old thought experiment of putting a brain in a tank and questioning whether you still have a person ? Descartes would perhaps answer "Yes" if he really believes his famous maxim - " I think therefore I am" ?
The idea of a "knowledge" worker is exactly that. I'm hiring you for your mind. If your body has to come along with it - well so be it - but as an employer we have no interest or benefit from it attending :-)))
I refuse to get too "new agey" here but dualism is out. Biology and neuro-science tells us clearly that body and mind are inextricably linked in ways that we simply don't understand yet. Put simply, a healthy body makes a healthy mind and vice-versa.
So it seems to me to be completely uncontroversial to create a workspace where people can move freely and where they exist as physical entities and not just mental entities.
There is a certain type of company that takes this challenge on and that understands this concept. They tend to be young (er). They are more often women than men ( not always) and they tend to be people that lead active lives outside the workplace ( not surprisingly).
The challenge is to find innovative new ways to achieve this. It DOES NOT mean turning a workspace into a weight room. It does mean - walking meetings, sitting cross legged on a mat , quiet areas and different types of work area.
What it really means is applying creative energy to creating a creative workspace :-))
There will always be a group of employers and work influencers that want to go back to the good old days of staff working in a cubicle from 9 to 5 ( read tank) but these people are slowly retiring themselves back to their own little cardboard cubicles in the suburbs where they will live happily ever after in their tired neglected skins.