Episode 7 | Calming the Open Concept Office – Nook’s David O’Coimin
Meet Director of Nook, David O'Coimin, a product designer or as he says, "a conductor of experts" who are committed to creating work environments that support employee well-being and performance, for the two go hand-in-hand. Listen to find out all the ways Nook can support you and your workforce to be comfortably productive.
As the open-concept office proliferated, people took work away from the office to find a quieter place where they could think. It's no surprise to me that millions of people have fallen in love with working from home. But, if we need to be in the office, shouldn't we have the option of neurologically safe spaces. You will have heard a lot about that with HoK design principals in episode 2. In this episode, I am thrilled to have Nook Director, David O'Coimin joining me to bring the Nook furniture experience to life.
David is the founder & CEO of The DO Company, a product innovation organization delivering bold solutions to better integrate work and life.
Enjoy our conversation as we explore:
00:03:16 Meet David O'Coimin
00:07:14 What is Nook?
00:10:25 What does Nook look like?
00:14:40 Different brains work in different ways
00:19:00 The importance of lighting
00:23:32 Productivity is personal
00:25:02 Hackability is they key
00:28:35 Fear of investing in workspaces
00:31:20 Implementation in hospitals
00:32:54 Citi Field New York
00:35:42 One size doesn’t fit all
00:37:21 Total cost of ownership
The British Standards Institute
Trauma-Informed Design Society
Episode 2 – How to Design with Sensitivity in Mind – HoK’s Kay Sargent and Mary Kate Cassidy
Learn more about and connect with David and Nook:
This podcast is hosted by Clare Kumar. As a productivity catalyst, highly sensitive executive coach, and speaker, Clare cultivates sustainable performance in busy professionals so they can keep making rich contributions in all areas of life and achieve greater fulfillment. She inspires leaders, professionals, employees, and entrepreneurs to respect humanity and boost performance through marrying productivity and pleasure. After all, why shouldn’t you have fun while getting things done? If you're a visual learner, please watch this episode on YouTube.
Ready to learn more? Contact Clare here!
Clare invites you to leave a review and a rating (5 stars would be appreciated!!) wherever you listen to this podcast. Don't forget to tell your friends to listen as well.
Want to learn more about Clare? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a happy space.
Song Credit: Cali by Wataboi from Pixabay
Production: Judith George - To Be Reel
Podcast Art Design: Sharoline Galva
Episode 7: Calming the Open Concept Office with Nook's Director David O'Coimin
Clare Kumar: I am just so happy to have your insights and expertise to bring this nook pod and the nook line of furniture to life. You describe it as a hackable. Solution it's, this sensory sanctuary - it's mindful mobile, modular hackable, pods, and shelters for work learning and event space.
Can you bring this all to life for our listeners and viewers out there?
David O'Coimin: It's a mouthful, isn't it? There's a whole bunch of sort of pillars behind it. And I must admit, I do pick and choose which ones to bring forward depending on the conversation, because sometimes it's a little bit too much, but the whole idea basically fundamentally boils down to the world can be a toxic place for introverted brains for neuro divergent brains, for brains that are particularly sensitive to, stimuli from the environment.
And so what I wanted to create, what I set out to create six years ago was a space that would be psychologically safe, a sanctuary somewhere to recharge both your body and your mind and then to sort of prepare yourself and ready yourself to jump back in. If you would imagine, the world is white water rushing by and it can be a battle to navigate it.
And sometimes it's good to sit on the bank and just take a moment. And so now it is about sitting on the bank and about focus and about calm and about mindfulness. So, it's creating these little intimate spaces where people can step out and breathe and recharge before stepping back into the world. Again, be that world in workspace, in healthcare healing spaces, in education, and more recently in hospitality, even in sports stadia.
Clare Kumar: Oh, we'll have to get to that. I wanna hear more about that, but just coming back to this concept of psychological safety, there is a lot in design that we need to think about to keep us feeling that we're not under threat. And that we can also know what's coming. Nook successfully does that. I wanna talk more about that, but also just bring up this concept that I've been building called neurological safety, where, we need to feel safe, but our nervous systems need to stop being under this attack from that rushing white water or from intrusive noise, visual stimulation, all of these things. And we have such different sensitivities to it that this is to me, a real example of creating a neurologically safe environment, which is somewhat part of physiological safety, but we don't think in our world a lot about protecting safety.
So can you, maybe for people that haven't seen nook before, tell us what it looks like. Give us a, give us a description of the products that you have and how they would look and feel.
David O'Coimin: Absolutely. And so physically, when you look at a nook straight on, and there's a couple of different models, but the kind of, the main sort of workhorse of the range, if you will, is the huddle pod.
So we've got a solo for one person, a huddle for multiple people and a shelter, which is this hyper accessible, literally what it says, a shelter that you can use with existing furniture, with medical equipment, with wheelchair. Whatever you want.
So if you take the workhorse, you take the huddle and you look at it straight on. It's not an accidental metaphor. It looks like a house. I mean, it looks like a little house, plenty of room for two people to sit inside without feeling claustrophobic, without feeling on top of each other good ergonomic space for two laptops and people to sit at a distance without feeling like, you're right in each other's personal zones, but oddly enough to remove, to give that feeling of intimacy, and to remove the sense of spotlight. The world puts us in a spotlight. The world doesn't care about spotlight because it's mostly designed by people who are somewhat immune to the feeling of being in a spotlight. Extroverts typically, right, go around the world, not really caring so much about the sense that everyone can see what I'm doing.
Everyone can see me when I'm on my phone call or can look over my shoulder, on my zoom call or can just look at me whenever they want or call me in the middle of whatever I'm doing. Right. Mm-hmm so it's a creating this little physical sanctuary space that is like, when you were a child, maybe if you had two stories, you perhaps had stairs that you could go under. Or puppies, they like to be in a room full of people, they will often go under the table. They still wanna be there. Yeah. But they wanna be somewhere that feels like, that they're not being bombarded and that they're safe and they can observe the world in. In biophilia, they call it refuge and prospect. So being in your refuge, like a cave, overlooking the Serengeti, for example, and being able to prospect over that environment. And like you said, feel like you, you are able to observe what's happening in the space. I don't wanna leave it. I know there's meeting rooms, but that's not what this is.
This is something in between. This is like this little physical space. That's big enough for me to feel like it's roomy but small enough for it to give me kind of like, almost like a physical hug. Yeah. To make me feel psychologically and awesome. My nervous system feels less attacked in the space.
Clare Kumar: You know, I was observing my cats this morning and the two of them. I have a small, small chair in the bedroom and there are clothes piled on it coming over the chair like a waterfall of clothes. One of the cats was under that chair because of the safety we're talking about. The other one was sitting under one of the plants with all the leaves over it.
And the cats will look for times. At times in the day they'll be on the bed, no problem, or are lying out. And other times they want that feeling of being, less exposed. And even extroverts…I'm extroverted. And when you're highly sensitive, we've got 30% of sensitive people who are highly sensitive extroverts.
We still want that. So we know I, and we've talked before, about designing, and how we design for the mean, or, or the extreme, sorry we design for the extreme and it will fit the mean it will take care of everybody. And I think so, even if we've got people that are feeling like, oh, just put me in the center of the room all the time with high sensitivity and with temperament, there are times where everybody wants to go into a safer space.
David O'Coimin: Yeah. Yeah. Now a hundred percent. And I use extrovert as an example because it's a gross generalization, but it gets a point across. But to your point, I think we talk about this type or this type and the world is built by this type, right? Yeah. But in actual fact, it's more like a three-dimensional matrix, different types of brains.
Hmm, depending on the environment and depending on whatever you're working on like my brain completely changes. If I have a creative task in front of me compared to an administrative task in front of me, one, I, I absolutely open up like a flower and I become open to all possibilities and alive and excited.
And the other one I physically, I can feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck. Now I manage it obviously, well, differently. And I consider myself too, an extreme extrovert, who bounces around stealing energy from everybody. But then I need to, I almost like fly, like acre is too close to the sun.
Clare Kumar: and then need to come cool down?
David O'Coimin: Yeah. absolutely. Yeah. And. You know what I need to tuck myself away. So it's not a, this type and a that type. Yeah. It's really that, depending on what you're working on, depending on what the environment is doing to you, depending on when your brain type, all of these things are practice that come into play.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, I love this cause I was thinking about myself and my own temperament. I like a lot of silence, especially if I'm creating or if I'm doing analytical comparative work. Most of the time, I like a fairly quiet environment. And so I've looked at coworking spaces and I've sort of cringed because I thought, oh gosh, yes, wonderful social connection, but where are the quiet spaces? And I think now you can find nook in some of the coworking spaces, is that right?
David O'Coimin: More and more. Absolutely. And we're working really, really hard to help co-working because co-working isn't often the most flush with cash environment that you'll find right. They're often quite independent.
They're very sort of social minded, sometimes nonprofit or at least, balance profit with purpose. So, we're working really hard to come to tie up co-working with brands that wish to be more visible. So the nook can be brought to you by brand X or with county councils and grant money from government or various funds.
So, it could be. The nook becomes a place where students can study and then it's free to everybody else the rest of the time. So, there's great, really innovative ways to make product available and it doesn't have to be just straight sales and things like that. There's more ways to know the world than that right?
Clare Kumar: Are you finding brands want to be associated with this gift of peace in the day? This gift of this haven. Is that, is that something that's resonating?
David O'Coimin: Usually the goodwill around wellness is kind of the buzzword, isn't it, you know? Yeah. Mental health and physical well-being and psychological safety and, gender equity and all of those things are all fitting kind of underneath the, the banner of wellness now really more than anything.
So if we can take that and use the fact that, wellness is at the top table in these brands and these organizations to go look, this really fits. This in so many different, important ways it's inclusive, it's wellness, it's mental health, it's equity. It's, it's all about elements, absolutely taking all the boxes for those organizations then to be associated with I'm finding there's a lot of hunger for that.
Clare Kumar: Yeah. Oh, that's brilliant. Now coming back to wellness and thinking a little bit more about the individuals that will really thrive in a nook environment. I know there are numerous attributes that you've designed into the furniture. Can you elaborate a little bit on that to bring that to life for us?
David O'Coimin: Sure. So fundamentally, before we add any real special sensory features in its raw form, nook has a scientifically different sound pressure inside than it does outside. We focus a lot on removing high frequency noise. We focus a lot on creating a sort of a low frequency hum within the space, almost audible.
You put your head inside and you can see people go, okay, how is that happening? I mean, I'm in one now, which has a door on, which is the solo booth. And it's the only one we put a door on. The rest of the products are all open for the reason of inclusivity and feeling connected to the environment.
So when there's no door and it sounds different in inside, people can be startled and quite taken aback by that. But after that first, sort of shock what you get is this, you see this relaxing that occurs, this calm that almost washes over people. So that calm is an important first element of the product.
But what we also do then is we take lessons that we've learned and we're standing on the shoulders of other giants. I mean, I'm a product designer, so I know that I'm not the expert. I'm the conductor of the experts, if you will. So, we bring experts together and we've worked with experts in sensory spaces for schools.
So, some of the things we do is like the light's really important. Just lighting in the space for your individual needs in that moment can have a fundamentally important effect, not just on your brain's ability to process information, which can be very important if you have dyslexia or if you're in a particular mood and that's resulting in challenging behavior. You want to be able to settle, but it can be really important just to feel like the space is yours, even if you're only there for half an hour.
Adjusting lighting locally and not affecting other people, the zone is very important too, because if I was in an office and I was to tune the lighting for myself and everybody else was like, “Hey, what's the guy doing with the lighting?” Mm-hmm , you're not gonna do it.
So, it has to be local. And then doing some really special things. Like, for example, putting vibration, in to help people who are fidgeters. Someone with ADHD might identify with this lot of movement, a lot of activity, feet always tapping, hands always going,
Clare Kumar: Right. I'm thinking of the Jubilee and looking at the Royals and the little one.
The little guy, he needed a little, he needed a little place for his energy to go other than to to his mom,
David O'Coimin: I think. And you said it perfectly, you need somewhere for your energy to go because part of the challenge that can occur with that is that if you're trying to work, you’re focusing, you're in a meeting, whatever, you're in a zoom call and all your energy is going into your movement.
It's less focused in on what's actually in front of you. So, if you can, either put vibration in the seat - and it has to be adjustable because you're not gonna find one level of vibration that's gonna work for everybody. So, you have to make it so that people can personalize it. Yeah. Or put sort of things like, for example, fidget sticks, surreptitiously into the underside of the table.
So someone could be fidgeting, but you wouldn't know what they were doing. They're just able to run their fingers or stimming, run their fingers over different materials, feel the tactile element of those materials or be turning or twisting something. Those things can have a profound effect then on a person's ability, then just focus on a conversation, you know?
Clare Kumar: Totally. Right. So, we'd look at the Johnny Dep and Amber Heard trial, right? And Johnny was drawing and doodling. And I think the there's a lot of people out there who would think he's dismissing what's going on when in fact that might be his focus tool.
There was that equally video of Amber writing in her pen, not touching the paper. So, I don't know what was going on there.
David O'Coimin: Yeah. That's performative perhaps. About sketching…if I visit I use myself as an example, we do that, don’t we? We use ourselves as an example. So, if I go to a talk and/or a meeting even, and there's stuff being discussed and I might not necessarily be directly involved in the conversation, but I'm just processing, I'll be sketching. And they might be drawings rather than words. They might be words, they might be a combination. It could just be a doodle. It might not look directly related. Right?
But actually, that's helping me process. Exactly. And it's totally to establish the thoughts in my head in a more concrete way, so we should absolutely not…quite the opposite to dismissing, we should be encouraging. You should want that information to go in. You should be telling people do what works for you. And in real meetings, if that means turning off the screen or the video so that you can do whatever and not feel self-conscious or whatever. If that'll help you engage, then that's what you should be doing.
Clare Kumar: And that's what we should be encouraging people to do. That's the conversation I have at the beginning of the workshops and things that I lead. “You need to know what you need in this moment. And if you're speaking to us, I would love your camera to be on, but otherwise, please do what you need to do.”
And yeah, this understanding that productivity is personal and it looks different. I think that might help people like Elon Musk, perhaps, be a little more generous in his, “you must work 40 hours in the office and then you get the right to work home.” Some blind spots I think still exist.
David O'Coimin: He's doing what management do, what most people do is looking at the world through a prism of their own experience. Right? And so it's when you step outside of that experience and you start to empathize with different types of brains and research and understand it a little bit, you start to realize that an actual fact I'm curtailing those around me and the potential of the world and the civilization.
Even if you wanna take it bigger by applying my metrics onto what my team should do, “hey, here are the lessons that I've learned” and by all means impart the lessons that you've learned. But if you're gonna dictate that people need to follow the path that you've followed, then you're gonna end up with, I don't know. Like, how many people are exactly like you.
Well, that's how many people are gonna benefit from that.
Clare Kumar: That's right. So thank you for echoing that because that came up recently and I was just like, oh, come on. And so, I think through getting nook out there and people understanding the features and the elegance in the design and all that research that built that's built in, I'm hoping it's going to further the understanding of all these different work, natures and experiences that people really need to benefit from.
David O'Coimin: So, that's what I hope to, and, and I honestly think, it doesn't have to be complicated. There's a fear about getting involved in this area of messy human nature. Leave it to the HR people, let the designers do the design thing. But in actual fact, prior to the reason you mentioned hackable right at the start, and it's a little bit of what does that even mean?
But the whole idea of hackable is all around this concept. We can't even pretend that we know what a space has to be until it starts being used. You can use all of your experience and you can design a space to be what you think it needs to be, and you can make it beautiful and it'll take gorgeous photographs and be very happy with how it looks in your portfolio.
But the moment it starts getting used is the moment you really understand that it probably needs to change. And what parts of it work and what parts of it. Don't. Yeah. And if it isn't hackable, if it isn't modular, if it isn't changeable, if there isn't flexibility in it, and if you can't empower the people, using it to make those changes, it won't succeed in the way that it could.
And that's what I'm about. I'm about the way that it could not just be a little bit better, but maximizing its potential. And so if you can build in elements where people can take and chop and change and do things and evolve and give, empower people to do that, they start to own the space and feel responsible for it. And, they'll help develop the space and to help other people use the space. You can do simple things, Clare, it doesn't have to be expensive. Like you talked about co-working and people being anxious about growing in and it being noisy. And where's my quiet space.
Mm-hmm , the best advice I can give to, for example, co-working or anyone thinking about setting up a space like that is, think about two things. One, get a piece of paper and create a Library area or quiet zone. It costs cents on the dollar to print a piece of paper. And obviously perhaps you should do it in a better way than a piece of paper, but all you’ve got to do is put up a sign that says “quiet zone”. Right, right. that's all you have to do.
And the second is make sure there's places where people can sit with their back to the wall. Yeah, because there is this tendency to make these common spaces with long tables and common and interaction, and we wanna drive creativity and we wanna drive collaboration, but by taking away safety and taking away people's walls, you actually drive collaboration down.
Mm-hmm so give people somewhere where they can sit with their back of the wall, they will then be able to observe and decide when to engage. And then they're more likely to engage, rather than just put their headphones on and say, okay, this is it.
Clare Kumar: …and email the person directly beside you. Yeah, yeah. You're right. There is a study that shows collaboration actually goes down in that open concept environment. And the pressure on women actually went up to be seen in the office. I have a hashtag now #speakersinsneakers because I'm all about ditching the heels and being comfortable and getting things done.
So, it's challenging. It's allowing for the challenging of social norms and, taking out microaggressions and just this design concept of safety is so paramount, but you mentioned fear. And you mentioned there's a lot of fear. Is that the biggest challenge for organizations in coming to a understand what's required here and then move with confidence into this discovery and fluidity of design to really find out what their workforce needs?
David O'Coimin: Yeah, fear is an absolutely huge factor, but it's huge factor in everything we do, isn’t it? We're usually anxious about being judged. We're anxious about shortened long term judgment and that comes with investment in space. And right now, there's never been more fear than ever. If I make changes now, are those changes gonna be applicable in six months time?
Because we had to close our offices. We had to put plastic between everybody. We had to limit the amount of people that were in. All these changes. There's a lot of risk aversion right now for the investment in making those changes in workspace. And at the same time, there's a lot of urgency about making change because the workplace really does recognize that it needs to change.
So, there's a real tension sort of happening between those two. I've gotta change. I've gotta make this place more hybrid is the buzz phrase, isn't it? And, oh, but if I make those changes and those changes don't work out, that's lost revenue, that's lost budget. That's my reputation, it be at risk.
So, there's a lot, there's a lot riding on it, but I think the way out of it is to show two things. One is that it's easier than you think. And two that if you don't make those changes, you're leaving so much on the table. Like your organization's intellectual property, your productivity, the engagement building friendships. Turnover of staff is all shown to be predicated on friendships in workplace.
And if the workplace is creating anxiety, people are being less open, not making those connections between each other, not staying longer, so you'll train them and then they'll leave. So, it feeds into all of that really positive stuff. And if we can open with that, show that with these small changes, you can make big improvements, then I think that's, that's our path forward.
Clare Kumar: Oh, I think it is. And I think you lay it out really well. So, I'm hoping that anyone listening who has the opportunity to influence a conversation about the space, invite those people that you can influence to listen to this interview because it hopefully will plant the seed that productivity is personal and we need these options.
And that nook has some of these options which are just so thoughtfully designed. There's so much gold in the way this has been developed and can be implemented. I'm wondering if you can share some examples of implementations now in the world that, you're really excited about.
David O'Coimin: Oh, for sure, absolutely. And I have to say the last, six months or so have been sort of extraordinary in terms of the development that we've seen both in workplace, in education, and I mentioned briefly there, in hospitality and in stadia. There’s a couple of things that jump into my mind.
The first one is we put, we put some nook into a hospital recently in, Scotland, and I reached out to find out how things were going. The feedback I received was something along these lines: one of our nurses reached out to me recently and said they had someone who was having a really challenging time and the nooks had just been installed. So, they brought the person to the nook for 15 minutes and it resulted in them leaving a much calmer state. It resolved at least the worst of the situation, which was occurring. It allowed them to sort of recenter themselves to feel calm, to feel like, all was not at a loss as they were feeling at that moment.
And so they were able to then reengage in their work and go back to providing care, for others. That was a staff member. And when I received that, I have to admit, I had, kind of hair standing up on the arm. When I read that from a healthcare professional to say this thing came in, we recognized that it had the potential to be an intervention, a mental health intervention.
We brought someone to it and in a very short space of time, we saw the impact that it had and it had a really positive outcome. I was like, that is phenomenal.
And then a couple of weeks back, one of our sort of recent successes and very pleased to see the sort of feedback that we're getting from City Field, in New York where the Mets play baseball and incorporated a, nook sensory pod in there for people visiting. On match day and the flood of positive PR that got not just in the first instance, people saying, this is great. Finally, to have spaces like this for neuro divergent people, but for everybody as well, to be able to bring people to the game that they might not otherwise have.
But then also in the weeks afterwards to say “We tried. This worked.” I would've had to go home because my child or my sibling or whatever. “My partner had this neurological event during the game where it all became too much. We went and sat in the nook and they were able to rejoin and, and enjoy the rest of the game instead of otherwise having to go home.
And that's what I want. I don't want people to have to go home and I don't want people to think I don't wanna go there because there's nowhere safe for me. I wanna be able to, enable these spaces, shopping mall, workplaces, education, whatever it is, [00:27:00] where people can feel like I can go there because if I need it.
Yeah. There's a real curse.
Clare Kumar: Oh my gosh. So twice this week I went out for dinner and the restaurant got so loud after two hours being there I had to leave while my partner was still paying the bill. Yeah. I had to leave because of the noise levels. And because the chair was so uncomfortable, it was one of those low profile chairs that hits the upper back and the lower back has nothing.
And I'm like, the ergonomics are bad. And the sound was just building and building and building. And I just reached the point where, I said, “I'm really tired. I need to go out.” And then last night there was a speaking meeting and it's the first time we're getting together in two years.
And I didn't have enough information about the venue to know that it was going to be safe for me to go. So I didn't go. Then when I saw the images…it was a quieter room. It was we were told it was at a restaurant. Well, they have meeting rooms as well. So I think there's something too. Perhaps there's a neurological or psychological safety rating for spaces that people can know.
Oh, there's a, a huddle zone here, or there's a calming center or something because yeah, somebody having a panic attack there, there, that's where you go and that's where you can, restore. Yeah. And there's one.
David O'Coimin: nook isn't maybe necessarily gonna work in these instances.
And I wanna be clear, like, I don't think nook is the solution to all things whatsoever. It's an ingredient. But part of the solution is to look at the sound profile of the space, look at where are the options, look at is there choice in the apartment because of one size does not fit all. One size fits the average.
And the average is very few. So if you give people choice, and the choice could just be where you sit. Right. So you, there could be areas that [00:29:00] are clearly quieter or the whole area could be treated in such a way that if there were more curtains or more soft materials of soft furnishings, or if there was some treatment on the roof, or if there was some white noise, or if areas were slightly divided, open into noisy and less noisy, all of these things and, and there could be nooks or there could be built in.
And, by the way, if you ever walk into a space that has those kind of little alcoves, they're the first things to book. So why don't we have more of those types of things, right? And eventually I think spaces may hopefully be built with these things included. Well, until we get there. There's a, there's still a long way to go.
So the idea with nook is that it's a very retrofitable thing that you can easily add to a space, but ultimately I'd like to see them on the blueprint
Clare Kumar: Well, there's an awareness job here. Right? And that's part of what I'm hoping to be part of is spreading the understanding that we need to create these different choices and options. And this is an element to, do it affordably now without having to take a hammer to everything, right? But to instill this concept of designing for the diversity that's there, the nook to me is a real inclusivity tool.
David O'Coimin: as indeed as it's meant. And I think as well, you think about designing, with those things in mind and you talk about the cost. This is also a, what do they call it? A return on investment or total cost of ownership play? Because these things save money in the long term, better experiences, lower turnover of staff, increased engagement, higher IP in the organization.
These are investments. Yeah. The costs are low and they're returning, 10 X, 20, 50, a hundred X down the road. Yeah. Because your environment, your organization is more successful. Whatever that organization is, whatever its purpose is.
Clare Kumar: Well, let, let's talk practically for a second. Where, where your understanding of where the market is right now.
If somebody senses that, oh my gosh, this is what we need. They've got facilities to talk to HR, to talk to . Who is listening and what arguments. Or valid points should someone go in with, to have the most success? I imagine it's going to differ very much so, depending on the organization organization, I don't think Elon might be listening so well right now to this, but,
David O'Coimin: and the size of the organization will have an impact too, because if it's a big organization, there may be an employee committee.
There may be a DEI department. There usually will be HR, there'll be facilities. So you're either talking to, The small to medium enterprise, you're talking to the owner, you're talking to the office manager. You're talking to, I think the future role we're gonna see an explosion in is, something called community manager.
It comes from co-working. Yeah. So it's less about pens and stationery and more about interactions and community. Right? keeping the people happy. Yeah, exactly, exactly that. So I think you're talking to community manager, you're talking to HR, you're talking wellness and you're talking sustainability. So the big ones that we talk about are flexibility, wellness and sustainability, because everyone is interested in those points at the moment, right.
Depending on who they are, they'll be more interested in different points. Right. So HR will be more interested. Then they will, perhaps in sustainability, of course they're interested in sustainability, but it just mean in terms of strengths of interest facilities will be interested in flexibility.
They'll be interested in repairability, interested in, greater use of space. they'll be interested in all the elements that make their job easier, basically that help them to achieve the outcomes that they're striving for. So it's a little, it'll be a little bit of a horses for courses, depending on whether it's a HR wellness, mental health inclusivity ear, or whether it's a.
Practical space, flexibility, risk aversion. all of those kinds of things. Those are almost under the two categories. I'd say if I was to make it as simple as they could, that they fall into. Yeah. Yeah.
Clare Kumar: I think it's, that's wonderful. You've given people who are listening a set of parameters and, and support.
To maybe, excite that first conversation about having a safe place to be at work and really, the reason I didn't wanna go into the office, it was too overwhelming. So having that safe place and also, I just wanna make the point that it's. For the huddle, for sure. It's not a safe place in the dark because you are allowing all this natural light in there.
A lot of phone booth type applications I saw maybe 10 years ago were, oh, you wanna think we're gonna put you in a tiny space with no light and, Come back, come back out of your solitary confinement when you're ready. Right. So, absolutely.
David O'Coimin: Yeah. Yeah. And I think there's more help on the way, right?
I mean, in the us, you've got, the trauma informed design society who are working hard to create guidelines, to help organizations starting with schools, but building towards workplace, give a set of not guidelines than not, tips and tricks, but more. A process for how to figure out how to make your space more, neuro inclusive.
and then here in, on this side of the pond in the UK, the British standards organization have brought out a new guideline called design for the mind making space more neuro inclusive. And so that really goes through, I mean, it's incredibly detailed. I was delighted to see that it. HSP, highly sensitive people.
Something that you're hearing more about was sort of one in four, said to be HSP. So I think these guidelines are coming. HK architects have been banging this drum for a long time and created amazing guidelines and research. So there's stuff out there that you can reach for, that you can, that gives you some, some tips.
Think about this, think about this, think about this. You're not alone. whoever's listening now and think. How do I take steps forward? There's lots of us thinking, along these lines and there's lots of guidelines coming out to help.
Clare Kumar: So what an optimistic note to finish on. And I just have to harken back to the episode two with HoK, Mary Kate Cassidy, and Kay Sergeant who are pioneers in this space and doing great work as you are David and I, yeah.
I invite everybody to dig in a little bit, stay tuned to the future episodes of the podcast. Well, be. I'll be exploring that British standards, designed for the mind that includes HSP, because I will say that a lot of the forays I've made into understanding how people are talking about the nerd Virgin population, HSP is missing from the, the equation.
They're saying, it's largely drawn driven from the autism community, expanded into ADHD, dyslexia, and then other challenges. And they're saying it's one in seven and I'm like, no, it's way more than one in seven. the numbers are yeah, one in four, one in five, somewhere in there, but then we have all this situational challenge that's causing sensitivity.
We're all in, there's a little PTSD. After the past couple of years, there's traumatic brain injuries. There's at levels of anxiety and all of that. Whether you are highly sensitive by nature or not. Are all modes of being sensitive that we need to really make room for in our world. So, so David, thank you again for joining me.
And I encourage all listeners to check David out. We'll put links to nook, nook, pod, on, in the show notes and please check David out and his work. And if you think this is something that your organization needs to hear about, then please, share.
David O'Coimin: Yeah, let's move the needle because I think the time, the change moment is now and we need to grab it while we can.
There's never been a time where employees are more empowered than they are now. So we need to use this moment. We really do
Clare Kumar: that's right. All right. Thanks so much, David.
David O'Coimin: Thanks Clare. Take care.