February 3, 2017
We are all futurologists now. We all have our 2020 visions. But there was a time, not so long ago, when the title was reserved for a few people who would be able to shake and shape the world with a single idea and a book. Yes, a book. Nowadays a book has to go hand in hand with a Ted Talk, blogs on the Huff Post and a speaking tour to get you anywhere at all. But within living memory it was possible to shift the thinking of the planet with a book. This is a past just as exotic as the future once described by the likes of Charles Handy, James Gleick and Alvin Toffler who died on Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 87. Toffler’s 1970 blockbuster Future Shock created not just an enduring expression of an idea but also set the standard for all subsequent futurologists. His ideas and the terms he used to encapsulate them continue to resonate as we now understand how the future world he described so memorably has come to pass.
February 2, 2017
It’s no surprise to say that technology is having a significant impact on the workplace and the use of corporate real estate. The fast pace of change has seen technology impact all aspects of business, government and culture, as well as personal life, with a constant flow of new innovations and solutions helping us to do things more quickly and efficiently. Equally, technology also provides a challenge to business and, more specifically, corporate operations, with a whole array of disruptive technologies. Disruption is indeed now running a swathe through a whole spectrum of industries. CoreNet Global’s recent report, The Bigger Picture: The Future of Corporate Real Estate, attempts to capture the impact of technological change, and a variety of other factors, that will influence, disrupt and transform the corporate real estate (CRE) profession. As business strategy and operations are reshaped and consumer preferences change, we will find that the ‘how’ and ‘where’ people want to work will transform.
January 26, 2017
Workers across the globe are excited by the potential for technology to enhance their work lives and create new career opportunities, but over a third (40 percent) fear that they won’t be able to keep up with the rate of change required by digital business, claims a new survey. Across Europe 77 percent of workers acknowledge that disruption and increased competition will require more people with digital skills in order to compete on a global scale; however, the level of encouragement employees believe they are currently receiving to drive change in the workplace varies greatly throughout the world. Only 64 percent of respondents in the US saying they feel empowered by their company culture to lead innovation, whereas 90 percent of employees in Mexico feel their workplaces encourages them to drive change. The BMC study of over 3,200 office workers in 12 countries worldwide found that 88 percent of office workers across the world strongly believe that employers must create an innovative culture to retain staff and enable them to be successful with increasingly digital roles and responsibilities.
January 25, 2017
In an era in which the digital workplace is just as prevalent as the physical office, organisations that create spaces, technologies and social networks specifically focused on enabling more collaborative work, perform above their direct competitors in their respective industries – in employee connectedness and responsive leadership. This is according to research conducted by Nick van der Meulen of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR). The report assessed on a basis of five indicators, including growth in market share, profit growth and employee satisfaction, and found that trusting employees by giving them autonomy is the key to making a success of the digital workplace. The survey of 313 organisations showed that the high-performing organisations have an integrated and company-wide approach to greater employee connectedness.
January 24, 2017
Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the concept of Loss Aversion in 1984, highlighting people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains. Lose £100 and we will feel a remorse that easily outweighs winning £100. In a similar fashion we find it very hard to see future positives when confronted with short term loses. We understand easily what we have lost but cannot imagine what there is to be gained. Furthermore, as Frederic Bastiat wrote in an 1850 paper, “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen”, man has a tendency to “pursue a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, rather than a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil”. Put these together and it is no wonder that, by and large, the future of work, corporate real estate and the workplace is so widely misunderstood.
January 17, 2017
The debate around designing a workplace that works for millennials and now Gen Z is a public one. Every week a new article highlights what is required to create a workplace that millennials want. However for large companies with a diverse workforce, more than the desires of just one generation must be considered to make the workforce effective. Is it possible to create a universal workforce that can work across generations to serve the needs of all employees, and should that be the goal for workplace design? Right now, we know that tech firms are drawing more top talent than they did before. It can be seen in the a comparison of Harvard MBAs in 2007 and again in 2014 that went into banking (13 percent down to 5 percent) vs tech (up from 7 percent to 17 percent). Following their lead, broader design has shifted to adopt a tech feel in their own offices, with open layouts trending upwards. Office amenities from ping pong tables to slides are also rising as companies try to bring a fresh approach to the workplace.
January 17, 2017
Much of the current focus of the debate about the impact of artificial intelligence has been on how the ‘rise of the robots’ will spend the end for many job roles. Yet that mischaracterises the true effects according to a new report from Infosys, released today, to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos. The report, Amplifying Human Potential: Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence, concludes that the implementation of AI doesn’t necessarily mean job losses. In fact, 80 percent of businesses adopting AI which have replaced, or plan to replace, workers with technology, will be far more likely to retain, retrain and upskill those employees impacted. The study also claims that the adoption of AI will mean a number of other important benefits for organisations including a predicted 39 percent revenue rise by 2020 as a result of the implementation.
January 12, 2017
The European Display Screen Equipment Regulations were first introduced in 1992 as a way of improving the posture and wellbeing of people working with computers in the office. Although welcome at the time as a way of promoting good ergonomics practices in a rapidly digitising world, that’s now a long time ago and the workplace has changed a great deal in the meantime. Here’s a list of thing that have happened in the intervening years: 1. The Internet. Actually, we can stop there. Any piece of workplace legislation that predates the Internet almost certainly won’t be fit for purpose, especially one that is based on how we should work with computers, let alone other devices. Yet there it all is on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. It’s all so hopelessly out of date, it’s like starting a farm using a paleolithic cave painting as your guide to animal husbandry. The guidance is even called Working with VDUs which is certainly quaint, if nothing else.
January 12, 2017
While a fifth of respondents to a study commissioned by Cascade HR revealed the topics most likely to keep HR awake at night in 2017 said they don’t foresee any challenges as Brexit begins to unfold, the remainder highlighted recruitment, managing organisational change and staff morale as the overriding struggles they expect to encounter. While 80 percent of participants said their organisation is OK, good or excellent at managing major change, significant areas for improvement were also identified, with 61 percent stating better communication is required, 57 percent striving for greater staff involvement/engagement and 50 percent highlighting the need for improved planning. Of the 275 industry professionals questioned in the survey, to uncover their plans and fears surrounding Brexit and other significant economic developments, 59 percent said they will rely on technology to help them manage such change.
January 11, 2017
A new study from Colliers International claims that 62 percent of companies in the TMT sector are looking to expand their headcount. Despite advances in technology and artificial intelligence in the workplace, Colliers latest research suggests that over 62 percent of enterprises in the Tech, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector are seeking to employ more staff to drive their company forward, demonstrating that the human factor still plays a critical role in business development. The report was conducted by global real estate firm Colliers International, based on a number of interviews. The study also claims that only 12.5 per cent of the firms which were interviewed were looking to contract their workforce. Interestingly, technology was viewed as the least important strategic resource by all but one company. Yet most businesses surveyed did expect big change and efficiency improvements through the introduction of new technology in the business and the workplace, especially the development of cloud-based systems.
January 11, 2017
Last year we ran a piece which looked at some of the outlandish ways designers have offered people the chance to get some peace and quiet at work. The extremes people will consider as they deal with the challenge of office acoustics is enlightening. All of those examples relied on the principle of keeping at least some of the racket produced by colleagues from entering the ear. But a new prototype product launched at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas frames the issue differently by going back to source. The Hushme is a voice masking device for mobile phones. It has integrated earbuds and comes with a range of masking sounds such as wind, rain, monkey, Darth Vader and squirrel. You have to wonder who it’s aimed at but the makers suggest it is all about privacy. Then again, it may make an ideal gift for some and could be popular for this year’s Secret Santas.
January 11, 2017
A new study claims that the application of Big Data in the workplace has now reached a tipping point as two thirds of organisations now consider its application of ‘strategic’ consequence, with just a fifth (19 percent) still at an experimental stage. According to the 2016 Big Data Maturity Survey from AtScale, nearly all of the 2,550 businesses who took part (97 percent) claim they will do as much or more to apply Big Data to decision making over the next three months. The main application is expected to be business intelligence according to 75 percent of respondents to the study. The AtScale study also found most companies now deploy Big Data in the cloud rather than keeping it on premises. “There’s been a clear surge in use of Big Data in the Cloud over the last year and what’s perhaps as interesting is the fact that respondents are far more likely to achieve tangible value when their data is in the cloud,” said AtScale CTO and co-founder Matt Baird.