You 2.0 – Documentary on Life Hacking

For those that stumble on this site, the action is hapening at where I’m working on my next documentary, a film on life hacking.

You can also check out my main blog at Coffee and Celluloid.

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Cafes in the Workplace – Cubicles Survival Guide

How do cafes in offices encourage collaboration and impromptu meetings?

Reception Area – Cubicle Survival Guide

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Drawing parallels from the kitchen area, find out how to make your reception area more welcoming.

(If you do not see a video above, or you are reading this in a feed reader, you may have to view the post here.)

Organization – Cubicles Survival Guide

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Are you a piler of filer? Find out how one workspace can accommodate three different types of organizing methods.

(If you do not see a video above, or you are reading this in a feed reader, you may have to view the post here.)

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Green – Episode Notes

While the Green Episode focused more on ideas and less on products, I’d like to share where I got some of the numbers and links to some of the certifications mentioned.

Buildings have a profound effect on the environment, which is why green building practices are so important to reduce and perhaps one day eliminate those impacts.

In the United States alone, buildings account for:

  • 39% of total energy use
  • 12% of total water consumption
  • 68% of total electricity consumption
  • 38% of total carbon dioxide emissions

However, the environmental impact of buildings is often underestimated, while the perceived costs of building green are overestimated. A recent survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development finds that green costs are overestimated by 300%, as key players in real estate and construction estimate the additional cost at 17% above conventional construction, more than triple the true average cost difference of about 5%.

These statistics are from the Wikipedia Green Building article.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED was created to accomplish the following:

  • Define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement
  • Promote integrated, whole-building design practices
  • Recognize environmental leadership in the building industry
  • Stimulate green competition
  • Raise consumer awareness of green building benefits
  • Transform the building market

Green Building Council members, representing every sector of the building industry, developed and continue to refine LEED. The rating system addresses six major areas:

  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Innovation and design process

This is from Wikipedia’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design article. You can also view their website for more information, including registering a project for certification.

Platinum Certified Buildings

LEED Platinum at UCSB

This photo shows the entryway through the courtyard.

Sidwell Friends Middle School


Adobe Achieves LEED Platinum

Complete list of Platinum Certified buildings.

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Workspaces and Chairs Now on YouTube and Current TV

I’m slowly rolling out each episode on YouTube to make it easier to watch and share. If you prefer to get the episodes this way, you can subscribe to the Cubicles Channel.

I’m also putting the episodes on Current TV for the chance they might get greenlit for broadcast.

Workspaces on YouTube and Current TV

Chairs on YouTube and Current TV

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How to Make Your E-mail Greener

Yesterday I received an e-mail and found this great line (in green font) in the signature:

Please consider the environment before printing my email

It’s a simple reminder that makes people think twice before clicking print.

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Green – Cubicles Survival Guide

icon for podpress  Green - Cubicles Survival Guide [3:55m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

In the United States alone, buildings account for 38% of CO2 emissions, making them one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases. This comes from energy to heat and cool, power for the many electronics, power to light the interior, and many other factors.

This episode explores what is being done to make buildings, and the designs that go into them, more green.

(If you do not see a video above, or you are reading this in a feed reader, you may have to view the post here or download the episode here.)

Meetings – Links Memo

I couldn’t find any of the exact products mentioned in Meetings, so there won’t be show notes. Instead here are some links that expand on some of the ideas in Meetings.

Cisco TelePresence

This is the next generation of videoconferencing. I first saw this featured in some episodes of 24. As you can see from the picture, a dedicated video room gives the illusion of a full round table when in fact it’s just being mirrored from similar rooms in different locations. This product seems to cross a lot of video conferencing boundaries and create a virtual meeting room. People are life-size, eye lines match, and voices come from the direction of the person who spoke.

Stand Up Meetings – One tip featured in Meetings is to stand up to lower meeting time. This post details one office that implemented the rule and cut meeting times in half. This probably won’t work for every type of meeting, such as planning, but it’s worth a shot.

Stop Long Meetings! – Nice list of tips from Productivity Cafe to shorten meetings and make them more effective.

If someone arrives late, carry on. Do NOT make everyone else wait while you bring the newcomer up-to-date. By avoiding backtracking attendees will learn that they want to be on time in order to participate fully.

Meeting Ice Breakers – 26 tips/exercises to change things up. Some are a bit tacky, but others are quite good.

7. Give It A Chance!
Have soft kids’ toys in the room (foam balls, squish toys, etc.)

Any time someone crushes another person’s idea (e.g., “that won’t work…we tried that before…it’ll cost too much…” etc.), group members are invited to pick up the near toy and bombard the offender, shouting “Give It A Chance!”

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Groups – Links Memo

Here are some articles and examples expanding upon how we mostly work in groups.

The State of the Cubicle

Covering factors that create a fluid workspace, two of them are:

Adaptability for teams: Steelcase researchers use the term “huddling around content” to convey the idea that teams typically meet for very specific purposes and may need access to tools (large computer monitors, whiteboards, etc.) that allow them to share content as a group.

Adaptability for the “twos and threes”: The largest percentage of interaction happens in groups of only two or three persons. Does the layout of individual cubicles or groups of cubicles support and also encourage that interaction?

Google: Ten Golden Rules

Pack them in. Almost every project at Google is a team project, and teams have to communicate. The best way to make communication easy is to put team members within a few feet of each other. The result is that virtually everyone at Google shares an office. This way, when a programmer needs to confer with a colleague, there is immediate access: no telephone tag, no e-mail delay, no waiting for a reply. Of course, there are many conference rooms that people can use for detailed discussion so that they don’t disturb their office mates. Even the CEO shared an office at Google for several months after he arrived. Sitting next to a knowledgeable employee was an incredibly effective educational experience.
Make coordination easy. Because all members of a team are within a few feet of one another, it is relatively easy to coordinate projects. In addition to physical proximity, each Googler e-mails a snippet once a week to his work group describing what he has done in the last week. This gives everyone an easy way to track what everyone else is up to, making it much easier to monitor progress and synchronize work flow.

Other good tips in the article include communicate effectively, encourage creativity, and data drive decisions.

Where the Cubicle is Dead

A NY Times article covering Apple’s redesign in the early 90s.

Instead of open cubicles, the building is defined by clusters of private offices for teams of 10 to 12 workers. Apple’s planners tried to provide for individual team identities by creating numerous common areas planned and furnished by the teams themselves. In typical Apple-speak, the areas are called U.D.A.’s, or “user definable areas.” They can function as places for meeting, eating — or even, in the round-the-clock world of Silicon Valley, sleeping.

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