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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Getting back to environmental basics in the Anthropocene era

Getting back to environmental basics in the Anthropocene era

A new word has recently entered the public discourse on the environment. It describes the current epoch of geological time as the period in which humans have had an impact on the world’s climate, geology and ecosystems. Although yet to be formally recognised by the mainstream scientific community, it has been in existence for a […]

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Whatever you might be told, this is not the Office of the Future

Whatever you might be told, this is not the Office of the Future

It seems like we don’t have to wait more than a few days at a time before some or other organisation is making its own prognoses about how we will be working in the future, especially at this time of year. The thing these reports about the office of the future all share in common, […]

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It is time to take action to support older people’s health at work

It is time to take action to support older people’s health at work

Poor health is one of the biggest factors causing people to leave work earlier than they would like to; yet poor health isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. We know that health conditions can become more likely as we get older. While some health conditions are not any more likely the older you get, others certainly […]

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What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics at work

What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics at work

Over the last few years there has been something of a widespread backlash to the idea that we need to have constant access to information and our colleagues to work effectively. The touchstone for this movement is of course the open plan office but it has become something of a scapegoat given the universality of […]

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The Internet and a pile of turtles that goes all the way down

The Internet and a pile of turtles that goes all the way down

In his 1998 book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking relates the following anecdote: “A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of […]

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