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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For the love of workplace art, where have all the walls gone?

For the love of workplace art, where have all the walls gone?

A survey exploring art in the workplace (‘Making Art Work in the Workplace’) conducted by the British Council for Offices (BCO) found that almost 88 percent of respondents felt that “art is more relevant in the workplace than ever before”. Yet, with the arrival of the generic modern office, full of open plan space and […]

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Banking sector will be ground zero for job losses from artificial intelligence and robotics

Banking sector will be ground zero for job losses from artificial intelligence and robotics

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan has predicted a bonfire of industry jobs as automation takes hold across the finance sector. Every signal is that he will be proved right very soon. Those roles in finance where the knowledge required is systematic will soon disappear. And it will happen irrespective of how high a level, how highly trained […]

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Breaking eggs and a two thousand year quest to make the most of each day

Breaking eggs and a two thousand year quest to make the most of each day

The fracturing of time and place underlies every one of the great workplace issues of our time. Everything that springs from this – the where, when, how, what and why of work – is defined by the shattering of any fixed idea we may once have had of a time and a place to work. […]

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Working from home and the future of work. How quaint

Working from home and the future of work. How quaint

In 1962, a professor of communication studies called Everett Rogers came up with the principle we call diffusion of innovation. It’s a familiar enough notion, widely taught and works by plotting the adoption of new ideas and products over time as a bell curve, before categorising groups of people along its length as innovators, early […]

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Survival, inquiry, sophistication: what Douglas Adams can teach us about workplace design

Survival, inquiry, sophistication: what Douglas Adams can teach us about workplace design

Each day you can easily find somebody or other sharing their thoughts on ‘the office of the future’ or ‘the death of the office’. My view is that you should steer clear of taking most of this sort of stuff head-on, on the basis that hardcore deskheads have heard most of it before and already concluded that […]

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I’ve got some real estate here in my bag

I’ve got some real estate here in my bag

Let us be lovers, We’ll marry our fortunes together. I’ve got some real estate Here in my bag. So we bought a pack of cigarettes, And Mrs. Wagner’s pies, And walked off To look for America. “Kathy”, I said, As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh, Michigan seems like a dream to me now.

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How workplace design shapes and reflects organisational hierarchies

How workplace design shapes and reflects organisational hierarchies

The roots of the open plan office can be traced back to the 1960s when post-capitalism was beginning to emerge as a political and intellectual movement. The social and political upheaval that followed World War Two and the emphasis on the autonomous, motivated and engaged worker combined to inspire designers and architects to develop a […]

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Seven ways in which flexible working is making our lives more rigid

Seven ways in which flexible working is making our lives more rigid

One of the main reasons why books such as Catch 22 and 1984 make such mediocre films, is because celluloid struggles to capture the books’ preoccupation with the ways in which language can be used to subvert meaning and rationality. We don’t always have to lean on the bookcase to see how this works. It’s […]

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Reducing the risk of personal gambling becoming a corporate fraud issue

Reducing the risk of personal gambling becoming a corporate fraud issue

A recently leaked confidential report for the betting industry says that, if introduced, the new rules to encourage responsible gambling in the UK would lead to closure of half of the country’s bookmakers and the loss of around 20,000 jobs. The report follows widespread concerns about the controversial use, and misuse, of Fixed Odds Betting […]

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The growth of agile working and the softening of workplace design

The growth of agile working and the softening of workplace design

The workplace has gone soft and I mean that in a good way. Over the past fifteen to twenty years we have experienced the very welcome development of a much softer aesthetic generally when it comes to the design of offices. This process has accelerated dramatically since we came out of the recession and more […]

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The state of the workplace right now? Everywhere and nowhere, baby

The state of the workplace right now? Everywhere and nowhere, baby

My trade is to ask questions about the workplace then make sense of the answers. That has been a particular challenge with the question, ‘what are offices today?’ What seems clear is that the various actors in the workplace ecosystem look at offices through very different eyes. Urban planning and development professionals still view offices […]

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