December 26, 2016
The Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. In this edition… Neil Usher, Workplace Director at Sky offers a first hand account of the story behind the firm’s remarkable new offices at the Osterley campus in London; Kate Langan explores some of the implications of the growing digitisation of the workplace; Jim Ware looks at how the challenge of creating effective meeting spaces is now a strategic concern; John Blackwell tries to make sense of falling productivity levels when we have all the tools and know how to increase it; David Woolf makes the case for designing better collaborative spaces; Mark Eltringham looks forward to an almost entirely unpredictable future for workplaces in the 21st Century; and Karen Plum and Andrew Mawson set out the factors that drive knowledge worker productivity. The PDF edition is available to view and download here. Or view online here.
December 22, 2016
Insight publisher Mark Eltringham recently took part in a conversation with Ian Ellison of 3edges. The podcast was recorded before the recent publication of The Workplace Advantage from the Stoddart Review but looks at its potential opportunities and challenges. The range of topics also include the growing role of workplace professionals in shaping workplace thinking, the differences between the FM and workplace disciplines, the trouble at the BIFM, the self image of various professions and why it’s unwise to believe that the most interesting examples of workplace design are indicative of how most people work. You can listen to the podcast online on Acast or iTunes. Other editions of the podcast are available here. Image: Sky Central designed by Hassell. Photographer Mark Cocksedge.
December 20, 2016
A rise in the cost of renting commercial property in Bristol is being driven by increased demand from TMT, professional and energy occupiers looking for office space in the city, with take up levels of Bristol city centre offices predicted to reach 800,000 sq ft (74,322 sq m) in 2016. This is 50 percent above the five year average of 533,000 sq ft (49,517 sq m), according to Savills. This influx has resulted in a significant decrease in the supply of city centre Grade A stock, with levels currently at 117,116 sq ft (10,880 sq m). In order to cope with the demand landlords, particularly those with TMT tenants are refurbishing their offices, with the refurbishment/redevelopment pipeline at an estimated 300,000 sq ft (27,871 sq m). Savills notes that as a result of increased demand rental growth has been seen in both Grade A and B stock in Bristol. Refurbished office space is now reaching rents of £27 per sq ft (£291 per sq m) in Grade B stock, just below the headline rent of £28.50 per sq ft (£307 per sq m). It is predicted that in 2017 rents on Grade A space will reach and exceed £30 per sq ft (£323 per sq m).
December 14, 2016
London commercial property has managed to weather the Brexit storm with a late surge of City deals over the past three weeks set to see Central London take-up in line with its long-term average level of 10 million sq ft in 2016. According to the latest figures from JLL, despite take-up in Central London being subdued in the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the referendum, City take-up has surged during the last quarter, and is expected to reach 5.3 million sq ft by year end, just 6 percent below the long term average. This is offset by strong take-up in East London, where the recent deal to the GPU at Canary Wharf propelled take-up to 8 percent above its long term average level. The most notable deals of 2016 included – The Government Property Unit (GPUK) took 542,000 sq ft at 20 Cabot Square, E14 which was a sub-lease from Barclays; Apple pre-let 500,000 sq ft at Battersea Power Station, SW8 and will be paying a rent in the high £50 per sq ft; Thompson Reuters acquired 315,362 sq ft at 5 Canada Square, E14, paying a rent of £40 per sq ft; 33 Central, EC4 was pre-let to Wells Fargo who took the entire building, totalling 227,689 sq ft and New Look pre-leasing 127,096 sq ft at R7 Handyside Street, N1C for £77.50 per sq ft.
December 13, 2016
The culture within which we work determines how effective, successful, fulfilled and well we are in both our professional and personal lives. The organisations for which we work – on whatever basis that might be – the physical surroundings they create, and the other places in which we choose to work are now woven into the fabric of our lives as never before. The technological immersion that allows us to work in new ways also means that each day becomes a series of experiences. Because we are free to work wherever and whenever we choose, we are increasingly able to determine the nature of those experiences. For those who design and manage offices this represents both a great opportunity and an unprecedented series of challenges.
December 9, 2016
Companies could boost their productivity by between 1 and 3.5 per cent, adding as much as £70 billion to the UK economy, by focusing on how the workplace might be used to generate revenue, instead of regarding them simply as a cost to be managed. That is according to the newly published The Workplace Advantage report from The Stoddart Review based on a meta-analysis of 200 studies by workplace expert Dr Nigel Oseland. Taking a new approach to how space is used to help employees to be productive and changing who is responsible for the decisions is the first step. The Review, a collaboration between business leaders and workplace experts, found that only a little over a half (53 percent) of the UK’s office workers can say their workplace enables them to be productive. For the rest, a workplace that’s unproductive is also affecting their pride in the company, its image and culture. It found that too many businesses are prioritising filling up their offices with people rather than asking themselves ‘what will make their staff productive’. As a result, as many as 70 percent say their office is too noisy and they are disappointed by the lack of different types of workspace including communal areas and break-out zones.
December 9, 2016
Major companies including Barclays and Vodafone were among more than 40 leading businesses, universities and business networks which pledged their support and backed the promotion of the Northern Powerhouse economy during a ’partnership’ conference held in Liverpool yesterday (8 December 2016). The North has over one million businesses, seven international airports and four of the world’s top universities, the conference heard. Its economy was worth £304 billion in 2014, similar to the whole of Belgium, while last year employment growth in the North East was the fastest in the UK. To help support the initiative a new dedicated Northern Powerhouse website has been launched to share the latest news, views and opportunities for established businesses and new investors. In addition, a Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme aims to encourage businesses to focus on the key strengths and areas of development across the North – from connectivity to transport, skills to science and from culture to devolution. more…
December 8, 2016
In the United States where taking a sick day is frowned upon heavily and where the annual number of holiday days are around half of that of the UK, going to work when you’re ill is almost a mark of dedication. However, for the unfortunate colleagues of those who display such martyred behaviours, trying to avoid cold and flu in the workplace has reached desperate levels, as nearly half of people in a recent survey would give up a vacation day to a sick worker to ensure they don’t bring illness to the workplace. According to the seventh annual cold and flu season survey from Staples, while the workforce is keenly aware of the dangers as well as prevention tactics surrounding seasonal illness, personal accountability remains low, with nearly 80 percent of employees still going to work sick. This is despite the fact that employers increasingly appreciate that a sick employee at home is much preferable than one who has struggled into work.
December 5, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham dissects the current obsession with engagement and motivation; and from the Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place which is now available to view online; discusses the future of work and place in the 21st century. We discover why creativity in the workplace is a prime engagement tool; that 85 percent of employers believe workplace automation will create more jobs than it will replace; however, in the now, technology issues cause the most lost time for SMEs. One in three lawyers would not feel comfortable even beginning the conversation about flexible working with their employer; a fifth of employees are distressed by political discussions in the workplace and employers urged to develop strategies to help retain older workers. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
December 2, 2016
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 tacitly acknowledged by George Orwell’s title for 1984, written in 1948, and is always the pinch of salt we can apply to science fiction and most of the predictions we come across. This is the fundamental reason why a typical report or feature looking to explore the future of work and workplaces invariably produces a hyped-up office of the present. This has sufficed to some degree up till now because the major driving force of change – technology – has developed in linear ways. Its major driver since Gordon Moore produced his eponymous law in 1965 has been miniaturisation. If we can expect computing power to double every 18 months, as Moore predicted, we at least have a degree of certainty about technological disruption. Of course, this has already had a profound effect on the way we work and the way we use buildings. So too has the secondary prime technological driver of the early 21st Century, the digitisation of the past and present.
November 30, 2016
The current obsession with engagement and motivation is evident every time you read the business media these days. This is understandable in many ways, not least because it seems true that firms and employees are often working in an atmosphere of mistrust. But one thing that is often noticeable when a profession such as HR gets itself into a debate of this nature is the gap that can exist between practitioners and everybody else proffering a view. So while academics can talk about definitions and suppliers seek to apply their solutions to the issue, it is often down to those who work at the sharp end to dish up the truth, however unpalatable or cynical that can seem to be. One of the best and funniest quotes on the matter was something that once appeared in a small piece in Human Resources magazine, in which Vance Kearney the HR Director EMEA for Oracle said ‘the only thing worse than employing an idiot is employing an engaged and motivated idiot’.
November 29, 2016
Flexible working may be gaining ground across the professions but it remains so rare in the legal industry that more than one in three (35 percent) lawyers say they would not feel comfortable even beginning the conversation about flexible working with their employer. The reason for this, suggests new research from My Family Care and recruiters Hydrogen, is down to a rigid culture which encourages working anti-social hours; as almost a third (29 percent) of the 140 of lawyers asked, saying that the majority of their colleagues think that people who work flexibly are simply “having an easy life.” Yet despite this, over two thirds (67 percent) would rather choose flexible working over a 5 percent salary increase. The research also found a large gender divide when it comes to flexible working. While significantly more female lawyers work part time (34 percent of women compared with 10 percent of men), female lawyers say they work considerably more than their contracted hours: 35 percent compared to just 28 percent of males.