Office taxonomy and an increasingly diverse workplace ecosystem

Office taxonomy and an increasingly diverse workplace ecosystem

It is perhaps the most common misconception of evolutionary theory that all animals are somehow evolving towards something perfect. This notion is perhaps best summed up when a sceptic asks: “If we have evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” The lesser of the two problems with this is its solipsistic assumption that humans are […]

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Problems with noise at work? A lot of it is in our heads

Problems with noise at work? A lot of it is in our heads

When it comes to working in an office, hell really can be other people. Many staff can have enormous difficulties coming to terms with the sounds that form the backdrop to their working day, especially if they work in open plan areas. The problem of noise at work is particularly acute right now because most […]

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Beware the great apex fallacy of workplace design

Beware the great apex fallacy of workplace design

Of all the memes and narratives that corrupt public discourse about workplace design, the most pernicious is the one that suggests there is a linear evolution to some grand end point called the Office of the Future. There is a natural human inclination to buy this sort of idea, fed by an assumption that what […]

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Research shows how the gender pay gap can be directly related to motherhood

Research shows how the gender pay gap can be directly related to motherhood

A new piece of academic research provides more evidence that the underlying reason for the gender pay gap is the discrepancy between the way women with children are treated compared to men, and other women without children. According to new research from Université Paris-Saclay, mothers are paid 3 percent less for every child they have compared […]

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Flexible working is not a magic bullet for workplace ills

Flexible working is not a magic bullet for workplace ills

According to Oxford Dictionaries the word of the year for 2016 is post-truth. This is a slippery little adjective because while some things are pretty much objectively true, the use of post-truth in many contexts is merely a way of shutting down opinion. It’s especially pernicious when it comes to ideas and philosophy because it […]

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What lift design tells us about who we are and how we work

What lift design tells us about who we are and how we work

In 1959, cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman identified the personality traits which go hand in hand with disproportionate levels of heart disease. These include an overblown sense of time urgency, a desire to fit as much into each second as possible, excessive competitiveness and aggressiveness and frustration when other people are doing things more slowly […]

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Brexit should be a chance for the UK to enshrine employment rights

Brexit should be a chance for the UK to enshrine employment rights

Exploitative employment contracts continue to receive widespread media attention – from shaming the businesses who use them, to prompting questions regarding workers’ rights in Parliament. In light of the Prime Minister officially signing Article 50, to trigger the formal start of the Brexit negotiation period, now is a good time to consider how this will […]

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The point everybody is missing about the backtrack on remote working by IBM

The point everybody is missing about the backtrack on remote working by IBM

IBM recently announced that it was going to consolidate its 2,600 marketing department in six locations around the US. Nothing wrong with that you may say, but as part of the consolidation it has to told people to relocate so they can attend the office every day and workers that had been part of IBM’s […]

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A Turing Test for the workplace professions

A Turing Test for the workplace professions

One of the ideas we’re going to hear about a lot over the next few years is the Turing Test. It describes the point at which a machine’s behaviour becomes indistinguishable from a human’s, so that a typical person is unable to work out if he or she is interacting with a machine or an […]

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Social technology has the power to make the workplace more humane

Social technology has the power to make the workplace more humane

Social 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 […]

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Heisenberg, Jabberwocky and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

Heisenberg, Jabberwocky and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

A survey was published a couple of years ago to coincide with ‘National Stress Awareness Day’. Conducted by Robertson Cooper, the consultancy co-founded by media friendly academic Cary Cooper, the report made some fairly modest and believable claims about the impacts of stress. Especially if you compare them to the more startling findings of other […]

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The difference between office design and facilities management is like the difference between sex and parenthood

The difference between office design and facilities management is like the difference between sex and parenthood

There is an ongoing feeling within the facilities management discipline that when it comes to office design, facilities managers are not consulted early enough or well enough or consistently enough to ensure that the end result is a workplace that is as functional and as effective as it could be. The reason this feeling persists […]

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