Don’t stand so close to me: why personal space matters in the workplace

Don’t stand so close to me: why personal space matters in the workplace

As successive BCO Specification Guides and the research of organisations like CoreNet Global have proved, the spatial dynamics of offices have changed dramatically in recent years. Put simply, the modern office serves significantly more people per square foot than ever before. Originally this tightening was largely down to the growing ubiquity of flat screen and […]

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Wiring your brain to the Internet? What could possibly go wrong?

Wiring your brain to the Internet? What could possibly go wrong?

Neuralink – which is “developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers” – is probably a bad idea. If you understand the science behind it, and that’s what you wanted to hear, you can stop reading. But this is an absurdly simple narrative to spin about Neuralink and an unhelpful attitude to […]

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Fresh concerns raised about council investments in commercial property market

Fresh concerns raised about council investments in commercial property market

As we reported last month, the level of investment in commercial property undertaken by UK local authorities is raising serious concerns within both central government and the real estate sector. Now, a fresh warning has been issued by the former business secretary Sir Vince Cable that councils face potential bankruptcy if the property bubble bursts. […]

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Some uncomfortable truths about sitting down at work

Some uncomfortable truths about sitting down at work

The problem with the modish idea of fake news is that we’re not very good at spotting it. As with our driving, each of us possesses an unwarranted faith in our own abilities coupled with dismay at those of other people, unaware of just how much our own biases and fixed opinions distort the way […]

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The quest for wellbeing has taken over from our search for productivity

The quest for wellbeing has taken over from our search for productivity

For decades, humankind has sought to establish the link between office design and productivity. And by humankind I mean a parochial band of researchers, suppliers, workplace specialists, futurologists and designers with a special interest in the whole thing. Most other people only expressed a passing interest in the subject. It did not seem to matter […]

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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 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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