Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Work Spaces

I've written about the technologies I use personally, but I've not written about the places I use them.

I have three primary workspaces - my Harvard office, my BIDMC office, and my home. Since being a CIO is a 24x7x365 lifestyle, I do not store paper, supplies or technologies in any of my offices. I can work equally well wherever I am. Here's the overview of where I work:

Harvard office - I'm in Vanderbilt Hall, built by George and Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1927. Everything in my office is from that era. In my twenties I collected Arts and Crafts/Mission furniture from flea markets and estate sales. Back in the 80's no one really wanted old dark oak pieces, so everything was inexpensive. My desk is a deposition table from the Milwaukee County Courthouse. You can image Clarence Darrow pounding his fist on its well worn oak top. There's a supply of green tea and a whiteboard. Otherwise, there is no paper, no technology and no phone. I use this office for meetings with Harvard faculty and staff from the Longwood medical area, since it's centrally located near BIDMC, Joslin, Dana Faber and Brigham and Women's.

BIDMC office
- I'm in the Renaissance Center, a 9 story office building next to the Boston Police Station. Because Renaissance has a large conference room, this is the office I generally use to host visiting groups and foreign dignitaries. It's typical for international visitors to bring some momento from their country, so my office is a shrine to dozens of countries - Japan, China, the UK, Scandinavia, Dubai, Switzerland, and even sub-saharan Africa. As with my other offices, there is no paper or technology specific to the office.

Home office
- At home, I do not have a separate office, but work from the family room. All of my blogs and articles are written in my Morris Chair, which I've used for the past 15 years. I also have a small writing desk, an incense burner, and a fragment of a tree that's hundreds of years old. While climbing, I found the tree at 13,000 feet and noticed something remarkable about it. As a seedling, the tree grew from under a rock, eventually surrounded the rock, and split the rock in half. To me, that's a great metaphor for perseverance. You'll find a cup of green tea but no papers, files, or clutter in my home office space.

It's taken years for me to create workspaces that foster creativity, productivity, and peace of mind. As you'll see from all the photos, less stuff can bring more efficiency.

8 comments:

Brian Ahier said...

Love the pics! Seems you have done a very good job at minimizing clutter :-)

fractals said...

i find it surprising that there's so little IT equipment. would it be helpful to have a large monitor for improved ergonomics and collaboration when you want to show another colleague some info? and don't cio's like to have dashboards on large lcd to monitor operations?

Jan said...

Do you just carry a laptop to everywhere then? Fractals comments on ergonomics is also true, what's the screensize on your laptop?

Overall, like the post! Agree that less stuff leads to more efficiency..

Helen said...

Hi John. It is definitely time to unclutter my desk! Your comment about "creating workspaces that foster creativity" reminded me of a wonderful book I just finished - Journal of a Novel by Steinbeck. He describes how he writes his masterpiece East of Eden and waxes eloquent about his writing workspace - even down to the needed length of the perfect lead pencils!

Best,
Helen

John Halamka said...

The only technology I use is my Macbook Air and my Blackberry Bold. You'll see the Air in each one of the pictures. I have not found a need for a larger monitor or docking station.

Shirazi said...

Neat. Very neat. And I like this work style.

two tuppence said...

Looks really neat - thanks for showing that it really can be done!!

But what exactly do you do with all the mails, invites, memos and magazines that you must be recieving? How do you deal with them and do you store for future reference?

Football Matches said...

Do you just carry a laptop to everywhere then? Fractals comments on ergonomics is also true, what's the screensize on your laptop?

Overall, like the post! Agree that less stuff leads to more efficiency..

Recep Deniz MD

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