Workplace suffers from muddled thinking. Not from me, but from pundits, the media and too many people believing they grasp a concept and then taking it and mashing it to fit their organisation without properly considering the consequences of their actions.

We need to stop, pause, take a moment - maybe have a coffee - and analyse the ideas and see what works best, where it might fit and when and with whom.

Take fishing. Salmon fishing to be precise. Apparently, one of the rivers near Manchester is one of the the worst in the world for levels of microplastics. Yet there was news announced in the same week about salmon returning within its city centre rivers. It feels like a mixed message amidst some murky waters - but it clearly depends on precise conditions for the fish.

These conditions are spelled out by Neil Usher. He is 100% that everyone deserves a fantastic workplace. But what might be a great idea for one organisation isn’t going to work for another. Think rivers, salmon and water quality. Not horses for courses, but fish.

The Elemental Workplace goes a very long way to cutting through the murk and misinformation in the workplace. But there’s an argument that we could go beyond twelve elements and included ‘people’ within the equation. Not necessarily the people within the workplace but those within the industry. Where as everyone deserves a fantastic workplace, I feel that these murky waters as a result of others may be what prevents it from ever happening.

Unregulated as this industry is and not knowing where to start, any company out there unless guided on their journey (and thanks to Neil’s book for this) could up in a dry riverbed with some very unhappy fish!

So where as salmon fishing in Manchester may well return (I hope it does, I’m just about old enough to have experienced the Hacienda) the mixed messages companies are getting when offered design and consultants work for free may well result in working in a workplace with the highest levels of dissatisfaction due to the high levels of microplastics.

What do I mean by microplastics? In workplace these plastic fragments represent the bits and pieces of great ideas broken off to meet the expectation of not very well informed decision makers looking to appease senior management. These are the guys grasping at the trends they identify championed by the early adopters of new ways of working, be it open plan or hot desking did it for the right reasons.

Followers latch on to these ideas for the wrong reasons. Worse than that, they don’t want to invest in the R&D and ask the CEO’s PA (with all due respect to that job function) to undertake this themselves along with, being the CEO’s PA. What we then see is the marzipan layer of companies who try to emulate the leaders and then cracks start to appear (this is how microplastic forms); resulting in general negativity to what started out as a great workplace idea.

That is how dissatisfaction affects the workplace due high levels of microplastics. It’s not good for the workplace, people or fish.