Your happiness at work is not just down to your employer

Your happiness at work is not just down to your employer

When Google promoted a software engineer named Chade-Meng Tan to the role of “Jolly Good Fellow”, his career – and the entire culture of Silicon Valley – took a sharp turn. Meng, a cheerful employee valued for his motivational qualities, went from developing mobile search tools to spreading happiness across the organisation. Happiness became his […]

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How our noisy world was foreseen by the 20th Century’s great minds

How our noisy world was foreseen by the 20th Century’s great minds

Over the past few years we’ve become more aware of the problems associated with the pace and clatter of modern life and not least among them its noise. Authors like Susan Cain have highlighted not only how distracting noise can be for everybody but how it affects different personality types in different ways. She is […]

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Australia is leading the world in the adoption of activity based working

Australia is leading the world in the adoption of activity based working

Over half of those employed in the banking sector in Australia now find themselves in agile and dynamic activity based workplaces. The banks have set the pace. The overall growth of the phenomenon has been exponential in the last 5 years, with sources suggesting two thirds of Australian organisations will have adopted Activity Based Working […]

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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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What we all get wrong about motivation and the hierarchy of needs

What we all get wrong about motivation and the hierarchy of needs

When it comes to understanding motivation, the stepping off point for most people is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The theory turned seventy in 2013 and its endurance is some kind of testimony to its insight. Yet a new paper published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, authored by William Compton of Middle Tennessee State […]

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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 some end point – meaning us. 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 […]

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The toxic workplace is not only about culture, but is a very real physical problem

The toxic workplace is not only about culture, but is a very real physical problem

In today’s society there is far more awareness and concern around additives in food and drink, vehicle emissions and the pollutants from factories. There is, however, a remarkable lack of knowledge when it comes to the air quality of our working environment, beyond air conditioning systems and whether printers emit anything ‘nasty’. The truth is […]

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What exactly is driving the global workplace conversation?

What exactly is driving the global workplace conversation?

There is a growing body of research and understanding on the impact that working environments, workplace habits and culture have on people and broader business performance. The very best workplaces in the world – some of which will be on show at Workplace Week in New York next month – are changing our expectations around the look, […]

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Magic, psychogeography and the limits of workplace design

Magic, psychogeography and the limits of workplace design

Derren Brown is clearly on to something. And if you’ve read his books you’ll know that what he’s on to is finding ways to tap in to our fascination with how our thoughts and actions can be manipulated using some well-defined and researched techniques and principles. Add in some showmanship and what you have is something […]

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A 21st Century take on the idea of the time capsule that tells us something about the way we work

A 21st Century take on the idea of the time capsule that tells us something about the way we work

Last December, National Geographic published a story about the discovery of one of the oldest known time capsules. It was concealed by a chaplain of the Cathedral of Burgo de Osma in Spain, in the buttocks of a statue of Jesus Christ. Hidden inside were some documents that detailed life in Spain in the late […]

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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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We still display status in office design, but in a completely new and subtle way

We still display status in office design, but in a completely new and subtle way

There was a time, not so long ago, that one of the most important factors to consider when designing an office was the corporate hierarchy. The office was once the  embodiment of the corporate structure. In Joanna Eley and Alexi Marmot’s 1995 book Understanding Offices, quite a lot of space is dedicated to the idea […]

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