April 7, 2017
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 than absolutely necessary. In other words – your typical 21st Century human. Friedman and Rosenman coined a term for such people which has now entered common usage. They called them Type-A personalities. In Douglas Coupland’s 1995 novel Microserfs, one of the characters encapsulates what Type-As are all about. ‘Type-A personalities have a whole subset of diseases that they, and only they, share. The transmission vector for these diseases is the door close button on elevators that only gets pushed by impatient, Type-A people.’
April 6, 2017
Working with colleagues across different geographies and time zones has become the norm since an increasing number of organisations now integrate and seek collaboration at a global level. Interestingly, according to Cisco, 62 percent of workers now regularly collaborate with people in other countries. These globally integrated enterprises (GIE) aim to draw in the best talent from across the world, delivering maximum innovation and efficiency. The rise of global and distributed teams has been further encouraged by the popularity of remote working, with 71 percent of office workers now choosing greater flexibility to work from various locations instead of travelling to the office everyday . And the trend only looks set to gain pace, with 56 percent of senior leaders in large global companies expecting global teams to increase in the next one to three years.
April 5, 2017
Demand for coworking spaces is growing at an average of 10-15 percent per annum across all regions as firms look to cut their real estate costs by embracing the concept based on shared work spaces and collaboration. That is the key finding of a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. As the trend gains momentum, according to the study, developers are increasingly incorporating the aesthetic and function of such flexible working environments into mainstream building design. However the main driver of uptake continues to be concern about the cost of renting offices in prime locations and it is no surprise that coworking is focussed on major globalised cities.
April 3, 2017
One of the ideas we’re going to hear about a lot over the next few years is the Turing Test. It describes the point at which a machine’s behaviour becomes indistinguishable from a human’s, so that a typical person is unable to work out if he or she is interacting with a machine or an individual. This matters for lots of reasons; functional, philosophical and ethical. While it is the kicking off point for dramas such as Westworld (pictured) and Humans that explore our new relationship with machines, we’re most likely to encounter it at first with the automation of mundane things like customer service and information. Indeed, its creator Alan Turing first defined it as an issue of language and communication. Of course, somebody getting annoyed at an automated help desk won’t make drama as appealing as the idea of a robot theme park, but that’s life.
March 30, 2017
Architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) have completed design work on the new headquarters for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London. The practice claims that the design ‘supports cultural organisational and conveys a new image for the MPS by creating a building that looks to engage with public and media alike’. The £60m new headquarters is a re-modelling and extension of the Curtis Green Building, a 1930s riverside site in Westminster, central London currently owned by the MPS. AHMM’s design includes the addition of new entrance and rooftop pavilions and a reworking of the existing accommodation. The new entrance is designed ‘to create a welcoming and non-institutional yet secure front door’ and reinstates the iconic revolving sign. The project has been completed as part of a major rethink of the organisation’s corporate real estate strategy.
March 29, 2017
A new report from the Design Commission in partnership with the BRE Trust is the latest to outline how the design of the built environment influences the way people think and behave. The report has been published following an inquiry chaired by Baroness Whitaker and Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett, University College London and is endorsed by Richard Rogers and Kevin McCloud. It calls on central and local government to escape their muddled thinking on the matter and instead create a policy framework that acknowledges the link between design and behaviour. It also suggests that more private sector organisations should wake up to the link and do more than merely comply with their legislative obligations.
March 28, 2017
The number of new leases taken up by the largest law firms in London fell by more than 50 percent last year, claims a new report from CBRE. The study of the 100 largest firms in the capital found that the firms are rethinking their real estate strategy in the light of new developments in flexible working, technology and the result of the Brexit referendum. According to the report, the total space taken through new leases in 2016 was just under 500,000 sq ft – 55 percent down on 2015 and 36 percent below the 10-year average. The report found that no law firms had signed deals for more than 90,000 sq ft last year. The largest deal of 2016 was CMS’ leasing of 84,199 sq ft at Cannon Place ahead of its merger with Nabarro and Olswang, with lawyers from the three firms set to consolidate into one building.
March 21, 2017
The difference between office design and facilities management is like the difference between sex and parenthood
There is an ongoing feeling within the facilities management discipline that when it comes to office design, facilities managers are not consulted early enough or well enough or consistently enough to ensure that the end result is a workplace that is as functional and as effective as it could be. The reason this feeling persists is that in many cases it is true. Or at least is true to a greater or lesser extent depending on how you view these things. And if that sounds woolly, then you have to remember we are talking about facilities management here, finding a definition for which has always been like nailing jelly to a wall. In many cases the demarcation between workplace design and workplace management is based on the mistaken idea that the two have little correlation when in fact the relationship between them should be more akin to that between sex and parenthood. One is an act of creation and the other of care. Sex may be more interesting and we might spend more time thinking and talking about it, but we spend more time being parents.
March 16, 2017
Almost a third (28 percent) of those working from home have been distracted by a crying child whilst on a work call, reports Morgan Lovell. In solidarity with Robert E. Kelly, a professor of political science whose Skype interview by the BBC was unexpectedly interrupted by his children, workplace design, fit out and refurbishment specialist Morgan Lovell commissioned a OnePulse poll to find out the biggest disruptions when working from home.
In the survey, a third (33 percent) of respondents working from home stated that the biggest distraction was their children. Other interruptions that featured highly were: pestering pets (18 percent), flatmates (18 percent) and noisy neighbours (16 percent). Of those unable to work from home, 9 percent opted not to because of distractions and a further 44 percent were not allowed to by their bosses.
March 16, 2017
The Construction Industry Council has published a new guide to creating an accessible and inclusive environment. The guide sets out six principles as suggested by the Office for Disability Issues to ‘guide, support and motivate’ industry professionals. The guide is an initiative that emerged from the Built Environment Professional Education Project – a government project that has been championed by CIC. The aim is to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by helping to generate a change in the way skills related to inclusive design are taught in the UK. The aim is that all built environment professionals will receive mandatory, quality teaching about inclusive design so that they can help create inclusive building, places and spaces for future generations.
March 15, 2017
There’s a good reason why we find it hard to establish the causal links between our working lives and our personal happiness. It’s because it’s all very complicated. So complicated in fact that you can sidetrack any discussion on the subject by asking elementary questions such as: ‘what do you mean by happy?’ or ‘should it be the role of work to make us happy?’ A lot of commercial interests in the workplace sector would like us to think that there is a correlation between what they do and how happy people are at work, but the research shows that things are never that straightforward. It all depends not just on a stimulus but how we choose to respond to it. One thing that seems evident is that the design of the workplace would be characterised as a ‘hygiene factor’ according to the work of Frederick Herzberg dating from the 1950s, which explained why the things that motivate us are not the mere opposites of those which make us unhappy.
March 15, 2017
At the end of the 18th Century it was becoming apparent that overpopulation was something the human race would need to address for perhaps the first time. Advances in technology and the urbanisation that followed the Industrial Revolution had created a new set of challenges. These were most famously laid out in a 1798 book called An Essay on the Principle of Population, written by an English cleric called Thomas Malthus. The book helped to influence the nascent discipline of economics and informed the thinking of Charles Darwin when he wrote On The Origin of Species some sixty years later. The term Malthusian remains in use to this day when describing the central paradox laid out in the book. This paradox suggests that because population increases geometrically (doubling every 25 years by multiplication), while food production only grows arithmetically (by addition), the end result can only be depressed wages and ultimately starvation.