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Featuring posts that relate to different apects of the psychology of work.  You are welcome to join and make your voice heard.



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3 minute video outlining how to develop an effective (or an appalling) office


Identity Realization: Psychology at work

Managers, architects and interior designers have been reinventing office space for over 100 years.  The picture (left) dates from 1906 (reproduced by kind permission of The origins of lean are not Japanese; the concepts behind Six Sigma were not born in Motorola, New Ways of Working are anything but. 


IDR was established at the University of Exeter in 2003 to explore and develop office space. We found it amazing that while technology has changed enormously, office management and design has changed hardly at all.  For example, the concepts underlying today's new business environments are clearly explained in FW Taylor’s 1911 book The Principles of Scientific Management.  The first 'clean desk' designed for purpose was developed by Steelcase in 1915.  The open plan office was widely employed when Queen Victoria was hale and hearty.


So IDR initially addressed well-being, job satisfaction and productivity, hypothesizing ― given the continual reintroduction of ideas well over a century old ― that these measures must be close to being maximized. Yet on every single occasion during over a decade of applied research and consultancy, the modern lean, flexible office has consistently returned the worst results across all these variables.


IDR's evidence shows that a psychological, identity centred approach to business space management and design will produce positive and consistent increases in these crucial variables of between 30 and 50 per cent over and above those achieved in a lean space. Our impartial research is emphatic and supports other scientific evidence.  The inescapable conclusion is that standard office management and design practises continually produce suboptimal, even damaging, business results.


IDR only operates from a base of researched published science that has been applied to business. White papers, heuristic and instinct are not good enough for us and certainly not good enough for our clients. Management of most modern business environments rests on foundations of inexpert advice, an endless round of case studies and a severe shortage of impartial evidence.  We believe strongly that this should stop.


We would love to help your business improve. This for its own sake and for the sake of your employees.  Many workspaces are psychologically impoverished.  It is very likely that significant, measurable improvements in happiness and output will be achieved. Please make contact




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Photo gallery: virtual office tour