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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Stranger than we can imagine: the future of work and place in the 21st Century

Stranger than we can imagine: the future of work and place in the 21st Century

However much we know about the forces we expect to come into play in our time and however much we understand the various social, commercial, legislative, cultural and economic parameters we expect to direct them, most predictions of the future tend to come out as refractions or extrapolations of the present. This is a fact […]

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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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Government framework win for BW includes HMRC contract

Government framework win for BW includes HMRC contract

Fit out and refurbishment firm BW has been awarded a position on the government framework agreement for the Southern lot of the UK Government Hubs Fit-Out Framework. One government department to use the framework will be HMRC; their current estate of 140 offices will be re-orientated into 13 modern regional centres. This is a 4-year […]

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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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British businesses at risk of creativity crisis, according to new Microsoft research

British businesses at risk of creativity crisis, according to new Microsoft research

British businesses are at risk of a creativity crisis due to workplace cultures that stifle innovation, according to new research launched by Microsoft Surface. Uninspiring workplaces (41 per cent), a stressful atmosphere (34 per cent) and a lack of appropriate spaces to focus and think alone (28 per cent) were all identified as major inhibitors […]

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Putting people at the centre of building design could provide large boost to the economy

Putting people at the centre of building design could provide large boost to the economy

More thoughtfully designed workplaces, centred around people’s needs, could improve performance and help tackle the UK’s productivity gap, according to a new report. Applying design thinking to boost workplace productivity by 5-8 per cent could contribute up to £20 billion to GDP. The potential gain in productivity, equivalent to twice the annual contribution to UK […]

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A four hundred year old guide to ergonomics that still rings true today

A four hundred year old guide to ergonomics that still rings true today

Changes to the nature of work, where it takes place and the things we use to complete it are always constrained by one particular eternally fixed element; the human being. The unchanging individual at the centre of it all is the thing that makes us return to old ideas time and again and ensures that whatever we […]

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Insurance claim data suggests that musculoskeletal disorders dominate workplace health

Insurance claim data suggests that musculoskeletal disorders dominate workplace health

According to an analysis of the private medical insurance (PMI) records of over 45,000 UK employees carried out by Aon Employee Benefits with its largest clients, the highest claims are for musculoskeletal disorders- almost double those for cancer related illness. In a study of reports from private medical insurers (PMI), Aon found that 31 percent […]

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