Sunday's Boston Globe Magazine section had a feature on "best places to work" and many smaller articles on the modern workplace. I thought a few of these had bearing on knowledge workers.
Taming the Meeting discusses some of the efforts companies are taking to make their meetings better. Mostly this talks about cutting down the number of meetings or the meeting duration, which is a fine goal. I liked the idea of having shorter, focused meetings - the idea of standing or walking meetings was mentioned as gaining some currency. The funny thing to me is that there is nothing in the article about actually making the meetings themselves better: clear agenda, correct attendees, review materials provided before the meeting, etc.
There were several pieces on making the workplace happier or more "fun", ranging from providing quiet spaces and prepared meals to a story about a fun czar. Most of the emphasis is around attracting and retaining good employees. I also liked Building a Joyful Office describing ways to make "the office" a better place to be by bringing joy (back) to work. Make the place and the work more engaging, and people tend to stick around longer and get more useful work done. This article made me think of Euan Semple's A word or two on love which includes this great thought.
Maybe love does have a place in business after all. Maybe more and more of us will start to have the courage to begin to talk about what really matters to us about work and our relationships with each other and to push back the sterile language of business that we have been trained to accept. Maybe we will realise that accepting love into the workplace reminds us of the original purpose of work - not to maximise shareholder value but to come together to do good things, to help each other and hopefully to make the world a better place.
And, finally, amongst the other articles is one on Building Better Commutes, describing the many ways companies are making it easier for people to bike or take public transit into work.