Use Natural Conversation Locales to Build a Happier Office
Redesigning your office space can measurably improve morale as well as the flow of creative ideas, but it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Redesigning your office space can measurably improve morale as well as the flow of creative ideas, but it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Take it from Elliot Felix, founder of the office-space consultancy Brightspot, who worked on Google's $1.9 billion renovation project in New York City, but also advises smaller companies on how to foster creative collaboration on a shoestring budget.
Step one is to observe where conversation gathers naturally in the office space. Where is the proverbial water cooler? Is it by a window that overlooks a natural landscape, or by the kitchen, or by some plants? Wherever it is, concentrate some office furniture around the location, e.g., a big table with some chairs, loosely strewn. The point is to allow for natural gatherings, not require etiquette-centered conversation.
"Instead of meeting with a coworker 10 days from now and putting half an hour on the calendar, people would just talk for five minutes at the big table. If a person saw someone taking a coffee break, they might take one, too, and quickly ask questions about a project they are both working on."
The open-plan office space, which has become nearly standard, was originally innovative for the way it allowed conversations to take place without scheduling a meeting. The danger, however, is that it excuses interruptions, which are deadly for employees trying to make progress on specific projects.
Jason Fried, co-founder and president of Basecamp, the Chicago-based web-application company, shared with Big Think how his company, whose main product is workplace innovation, designs their corporate offices. It's a delicate balance of having the freedom to create spontaneous interaction while being free from interruption:
"We choose very acoustically friendly materials. Lots of felt, some foam, cork, materials stacked at different levels, so the sound reflects instead of bouncing around. We get rid of the echoes. We have sound-insulated rooms that we do use when we do need to talk to other people. We do have an open workspace; everyone has an open desk, but we also have these things called 'team rooms' that are sound-isolated. So they can have a conversation, loud if they want, but not bother everyone else who is working."
Read more at Fast Company.
Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
- Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
- Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
- It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
Ready your Schrödinger's Cat Jokes.
- For a time, quantum computing was more theory than fact.
- That's starting to change.
- New quantum computer designs look like they might be scalable.
Quantum computing has existed in theory since the 1980's. It's slowly making its way into fact, the latest of which can be seen in a paper published in Nature called, "Deterministic teleportation of a quantum gate between two logical qubits."
To ensure that we're all familiar with a few basic terms: in electronics, a 'logic gate' is something that takes in one or more than one binary inputs and produces a single binary output. To put it in reductive terms: if you produce information that goes into a chip in your computer as a '0,' the logic gate is what sends it out the other side as a '1.'
A quantum gate means that the '1' in question here can — roughly speaking — go back through the gate and become a '0' once again. But that's not quite the whole of it.
A qubit is a single unit of quantum information. To continue with our simple analogy: you don't have to think about computers producing a string of information that is either a zero or a one. A quantum computer can do both, simultaneously. But that can only happen if you build a functional quantum gate.
That's why the results of the study from the folks at The Yale Quantum Institute saying that they were able to create a quantum gate with a "process fidelity" of 79% is so striking. It could very well spell the beginning of the pathway towards realistic quantum computing.
The team went about doing this through using a superconducting microwave cavity to create a data qubit — that is, they used a device that operates a bit like a organ pipe or a music box but for microwave frequencies. They paired that data qubit with a transmon — that is, a superconducting qubit that isn't as sensitive to quantum noise as it otherwise could be, which is a good thing, because noise can destroy information stored in a quantum state. The two are then connected through a process called a 'quantum bus.'
That process translates into a quantum property being able to be sent from one location to the other without any interaction between the two through something called a teleported CNOT gate, which is the 'official' name for a quantum gate. Single qubits made the leap from one side of the gate to the other with a high degree of accuracy.
Above: encoded qubits and 'CNOT Truth table,' i.e., the read-out.
The team then entangled these bits of information as a way of further proving that they were literally transporting the qubit from one place to somewhere else. They then analyzed the space between the quantum points to determine that something that doesn't follow the classical definition of physics occurred.
They conclude by noting that "... the teleported gate … uses relatively modest elements, all of which are part of the standard toolbox for quantum computation in general. Therefore ... progress to improve any of the elements will directly increase gate performance."
In other words: they did something simple and did it well. And that the only forward here is up. And down. At the same time.
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
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