Beyond branding – how workplace design can express a firm’s culture

ODD-05-highres-sRGBWhen it comes to the incorporation of branding and identity into a workplace, there is a simple option, which is to produce a design that faithfully incorporates the firm’s logos, colours and straplines in the interior. There’s nothing wrong with this, except for the fact that it is literally superficial and so may miss the opportunity to create an office design that scratches beneath the surface to reveal what lies beneath. When you get past the layers of branding and identity, you uncover something that we call culture. This can take things to a whole new level because the challenge becomes how to create an office design that communicates and fosters both the identity and the culture of the organisation. The benefits to the organisation can be enormous, not least because this approach bridges a number of disciplines such as human resources and office design and so drives a number of strategic objectives.

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Social technology has the power to make the workplace more humane

Coloured-Social-Media-Icons-RoundSocial technology can, and should, make the workplace more humane. That’s because it has the potential and ability to shift the power dynamic from the few to the many. It gives more people a voice: one that they’re not afraid to use. You’ve only got to look at the uprisings, and the overthrowing of governments, in Egypt and Tunisia, to see the power of greater connectivity enabled by platforms such as Facebook. What was dubbed the Arab Spring was change on a grand scale. But, as Seth Godin points out in his book Tribes, it’s “tribes, not money, not factories,” that will change the world. The consequences of this are not lost on the people and cultural practices within organisations. The functions of how we recruit, how we learn, and how we communicate are all under pressure to bring greater humanity into the approach.

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Government urges employers to recruit untapped disabled talent

Employers urged to recruit untapped disabled talent The number of disabled people in employment has experienced a growth equivalent to around 650 people every day, according to new figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They’ve been published to mark the first two years of Disability Confident; launched in 2013 to work with employers to remove barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfill their potential in the workplace. The campaign has been backed by 376 firms so far and seen the number of disabled people in work increase by 238,000. With research this week from the Centre for Economic and Business Research and Averline, revealing that small employers still had 520,000 vacancies that they were unable to fill because of a lack of relevant skills; Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, challenged businesses to consider the boost untapped disabled talent could bring to their workforce.

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Millennial ‘job hopping’ is the new normal according to US research

Millennial 'job hopping'Following a recent survey claiming that Millennials comprise more than one-in-three US workers, comes new evidence on the impact this could have on recruitment and retention. Over 1,000 US full-time Millennials who were questioned on their careers by RecruitiFi confirmed that ‘job hopping’ had become the norm. During the course of their careers, 53 percent have held three or more jobs. And while many have plans to stay in their current jobs for 3-5 years (33 percent), many respondents plan to leave after 1-2 years (20 percent). 34 percent acknowledged falling levels of employee morale in the office and 22 percent explained that their clients/customers have taken notice. While 83 percent of millennials acknowledge that job hopping on their CV could be negatively perceived by employers, 86 percent say that it would not prevent them from pursuing their professional or personal passions.

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Fifth of new mothers claim to experience workplace discrimination

Fifth of new mothers experience workplace discriminationOne in five new mothers experienced harassment or negative comments from their colleagues, employer or manager when pregnant or returning from maternity leave, a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission claims. It also found disturbing evidence that around 54,000 new mothers may be forced out of their jobs in Britain each year. The findings are based on a survey of over 3,200 women, in which 11 percent of the women interviewed reported having been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant where others in their workplace were not, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their jobs. If replicated across the population as a whole, this could mean as many as 54,000 women losing their jobs each year. Despite this perception, the majority of employers claimed they were firm supporters of female staff during and after their pregnancies and find it easy to comply with the law.

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Coworking juggernaut WeWork announces plans to dominate London

wework-soho-london-1Earlier this month, US based coworking juggernaut WeWork announced that it had opened the UK’s largest space of its kind in Moorgate in East London. Now, according to a report in the journal CoStar, the firm is looking to become a major tenant in the commercial property market in London in the same way that it has come to dominate Manhattan. According to the report, WeWork is looking to acquire over 1 million sq. ft. of space in the capital over the next 18 months as it seeks to provide coworking space for its growing customer base of young creative and technology businesses and other start ups. If it succeeds in finding the space it wants, the firm will have quadrupled the commercial property it occupies in London to 1.5 million sq. ft. WeWork is already Manhattan’s largest tenant and is now valued at $10 billion, having started in 2010.

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It’s not particularly easy to change human behaviour by design

behaviour by designMany of the techniques employed by modern illusionists rely on a thorough grounding in the research of psychologists. They’re not alone in standing on the shoulders of academics to bend people to their will; many of our beliefs and the workings of our society and workplaces are based on this sort of manipulation. It’s telling that the growth of consumerism in the 20th Century, especially after the War when we first began to move from a needs based economy to one fuelled by desire, was driven by the ideas of Sigmund Freud’s nephew. Edward Bernays became the ‘father of PR’ by popularising his uncle’s theories in the US then applying them to mould the subconscious desires of the American masses. He did this not just in the name of commerce but also in that of politics because he believed that society was becoming increasingly irrational, immoral and dangerous.

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Insight Weekly on robots at work, agile working, workplace trends and more

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; how the majority of managers are more than happy to welcome robots into the workplace; a survey reveals how much extra work autonomous workers put in each week; Mark Eltringham argues we need to keep a sense of perspective about how important our work is; a groundbreaking UK public sector estate scheme is rolled out nationwide; a recent series of events draws out the key workplace trends from this year’s NeoCon exhibition; a new OECD report calls for more action on the emerging digital workplace; Sara Bean reports on the calls for the Government not to abandon its pledges on zero carbon buildings; and a survey reveals that the vast majority of women don’t feel they are discriminated against at work. Subscribe for free quarterly issues of Work&Place and weekly news herefollow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

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Groundbreaking public sector estate scheme rolled out nationwide

public sector estateWe’ve reported previously on the Government’s One Public Sector Estate scheme, which encourages local authorities to find ways to share office space and find other ways of divesting buildings as well as freeing up land for development. Over the past two years there has been a phased rollout of the scheme to 32 councils. Now the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association claim they have gauged the success of the first two phases and are confident the scheme can be expanded nationwide. Their announcement suggests that the 32 councils who are currently on the programme own 28 percent of council land and property assets in England and have applied the ideas of the One Public Sector Estate Initiative to free up land for around 9,000 homes and create some 20,000 new jobs. The councils involved are also expected to raise £129 million in capital receipts from land sales and cut running costs by £77 million over 5 years.

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Growth in demand for scarce office space will lead to rents rise

Growth in demand for commercial property as availability dropsDemand from business for commercial property rose for the eleventh consecutive quarter, while available space fell for the ninth successive period, according to the latest RICS Commercial Market Survey. As a result, rents are expected to rise at the fastest pace since the survey began in 1998 with 46 percent more respondents forecasting higher, rather than lower, rent rates going forward. Offices remain the segment of the market where rental expectations remain most buoyant, while retail continues to lag, although even in this area, momentum is picking up. Across the whole of the UK, but excluding the capital, 95 percent of respondents believe that current commercial market valuations are either at or below fair value (roughly unchanged since Q1 2015). However, in London 50 percent of contributors now feel that commercial office space valuations are ‘expensive’ – an increase from 45 percent in the first quarter of this year.

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