As an office developer, I was interested to see that he ventured into our arena with his assessment of office layouts and their impact on creativity. He writes that one of the great mistakes has been the open-plan office. He writes, “If I were starting a business – and this is a great time to invent the workplace – I would give everyone an office. It’s essential you’re not interrupted when you are working. And you must have lots of rooms for people to meet and play”.
Interestingly Cleese is a big fan of Albert Einstein because of Einstein’s unabashed commitment to “putting feet on the desk and thinking”, regardless of the situation. He comments, “Just because you don’t look busy doesn’t mean that you’re not doing anything worthwhile. If your boss is unimaginative, you’re sunk.”
Cleese’s ideas are particularly interesting as businesses across the country start to get back to the office given the soon to be fast arriving COVID vaccines. Although remote work will continue for some, at least on a part time basis, there is a significant pent up demand to get back to the office and to resume “normal life”. If Cleese had his way, businesses would build out more private offices to replace the open plans and most importantly would incorporate large social spaces for the purpose of social interaction and play!