June 26, 2013 Blog

Dean Gallo for LOTH here.  I wanted to share some of what has our attention this month in addition to NeoCon (with Steelcase winning multiple categories with VIA and Gesture).  A sinister theory on “Kewl Office” perks and the Snowden dilemma on honesty in leadership for your reading pleasure.  Also, the Steelcase Innovation Center is featured in the June 2013 issue of Contract Design magazine (pp. 80-86).

The Myth of the Cool Office

As initiatives to attract, develop, and engage the best talent continue, this somewhat cynical article from  The Atlantic Wire sees a sinister side to some perks.  The author asserts that unlimited vacation time could eliminate employee’s ability to assert their rights for time off, free catered meals could mean there is a social stigma against leaving the office to decompress or run errands over lunch, and that the open plan office is really about 100% visibility for leadership.

While it is true there is a potential downside to any initiative designed to enhance employee engagement most companies have a realistic policy and expectations surrounding their use.  As companies work to gain the best, brightest, and most innovative employee’s these strides towards a more casual and free-thinking environment are viewed by most as steps in the right direction, i.e. work/life balance that strives to makes employee “work hours” closer to their “play hours” from a behavioral standpoint.  Please read the article and share for yourself.


Should Leaders Ever Lie?

Edward Snowden revealed classified information to The Guardian and the Washington Post that the National Security Agency has a program that collects and analyzes the phone records of millions of Americans after NSA Director of Intelligence James Clapper denied this when questioned by Senator Ron Wyden.  Is there an appropriate instance for leaders to lie?  Fortunately most of us don’t have to take an oath and deal with life and death issues like National Security but this article from the Eblin Group raises an interesting question.

We all recognize the need for leaders to be strategic in how much information they share with vendors, customers, and others but being caught in an outright lie can cost credibility and employee trust.


Rebalancing the Workplace:  A preview of the Gensler 2013 Workplace Survey