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Posted on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

Menlo Innovations CEO Rich Sheridan discussing 'workplace flexibility' at White House

By Nathan Bomey

Rich Sheridan, CEO of Ann Arbor-based software firm Menlo Innovations, is participating right now in a forum on "workplace flexibility" at the White House. The discussion is streaming live on the White House's Web site.

Sheridan's participation in the event came after Menlo won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for the fourth straight year. Sheridan told that he expected that he might meet President Barack Obama at the event.

Menlo regularly receives accolades for its innovative work environment. Two programmers share one computer, nobody has an office or permanent desk, and employees get new work partners on a weekly basis.

"The workforce has changed from the way it was when I grew up and I was going into the workforce," Sheridan told "Today’s workforce requires some very creative solutions to make sure you’re keeping the talented people on your team."

During a breakout discussion visible right now, Sheridan was discussing the importance of encouraging employees to take vacation.

"We actually tell employees you’re not taking enough time off," he said. "This is healthy for you because this translates to energy, productivity and (work) quality."

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or or follow him on Twitter. You can also subscribe to Business Review's weekly e-newsletter or the upcoming breaking business news e-newsletter.



Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 8:17 p.m.

I have the utmost respect for Rich Sheridan and the workplace at Menlo. It really is a great space and I've visited it on multiple occassions. However, I think the related link "innovative work environment" in this piece that points the finger at Robert Propst and Herman Miller for creating the "cubicle" as its disparaginly referred to and their inherent "dehumanizing" quality misses the point. Propst never ever intended them to be that way. If you were to tour Herman Miller offices in West MI you would see a workplace that is rated in the top 5 in the world. As a matter of fact in 2008, only six companies in the U.S. (Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, Google, Whole Foods, and Herman Miller) made three top lists: FORTUNEs 100 Best Companies to Work For and Most Admired Companies, and FastCompanys Most Innovative Companies. In 2010, four of those six made all three lists againMicrosoft, Cisco, Google, and Herman Miller. The working environment at Herman Miller is one that thrives on collaboration and innovation. Its a wonderful balance of areas that provide privacy, as they are just as needed and essential as are the many open spaces also there. Human beings need both "We" Spaces and "Me" spaces. Herman Miller was the only company in the State of Michigan named in Fast Companies top 50 most innovative companies in the world in 2010. It's simply not possible to achieve such a lofty distinction as a company with people who work sequestered away in little cubes that are cut off from each other. Visit Herman Miller today and you will see spaces that look and feel like the some of the most comfortable, casual and engaging spaces you might find in your own home where people are working in groups, teams and when needed, heads down private spaces in a nice balance. Your blood pressure may start to lower when you walk in the door. So, unless you have been there and have experienced for yourself how we apply and use our own products in our spaces, then yes, you might think there are large groups of office slaves cocooned away in a 6 x 6 prison cells (cublicles) working away on the next "cubicle concept". Ask Fortune Magazine or Fast Company if that is what they see there. True, I work for Herman Miller so I feel some obligation to provide another perspective to the cube bashers out there because cubes is far from what we do. The walls have come down in corporate America and the most innovative organizations understand that and thrive on a healthy balance of both WE and ME spaces. Over 500 groups per year visit Herman Miller from around the world seeking to learn more about collaborative spaces and ideas. Collaboration usually ranks among the top three things that companies seek to learn from us and achieve within their own spaces. I wish them well at the conference in DC. Its important to keep thinking about ideas that transform how the best work gets done. It's too bad they didn't invite someone from Herman Miller. They probably thought we'd be afraid of being exposed, outside of our cubicle.


Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.