About Andrew Brown

https://www.frankandbrown.com/

Andy is a writer and consultant on the  built environment and workplace with communications consultancy Frank and Brown. He previously led the in-house team at Alfred McAlpine and is a former editor of FMX magazine.

Posts by Andrew Brown:

We need to talk more about how we get to work in the first place

We need to talk more about how we get to work in the first place

More and more politicians and business leaders are keen to see the UK ease lockdown and begin a move towards returning to work. Is it’s too early to plan the exit from lockdown? Maybe. But either way, the general chatter about what a post COVID19 will look has predictably fanned the debate about how workplace will cope. It is a good debate, with valid ideas shared by the likes of Antony Slumbers, Neil Usher and others. More →

This design and fit-out firm would like to give its time to a charity

This design and fit-out firm would like to give its time to a charity

Burtt-Jones & Brewer is giving away its time for free as part of its tenth birthday celebrations. Formed ten years ago over a cup of coffee between Steve Brewer and Adam Burtt-Jones, the workplace designers are celebrating by giving away ten thousand pounds’ worth of its workplace consultancy time to a single charity. So, instead of putting a birthday present list – they are sharing their experiences from a decade of design, development and delivery – from Moorgate to Milan, banks to brand agencies, lawyers to lottery operators, insurers to investors, the Bank of England to The Treasury.

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What Johan Cruyff can teach us about the contemporary workplace

What Johan Cruyff can teach us about the contemporary workplace 0

_73035861_cruyffThe Dutch (and to an extent, their north European neighbours in Scandinavia) are regarded as leaders in ideas on how to improve employee engagement, productivity, wellbeing and basically putting people ahead of the capital asset. It’s why people are heading off to Amsterdam this week for the Smart Workplace Design Summit. What you might not know is that this whole approach is deeply rooted in Dutch culture. There is a distinct Dutch way of doing things. FM World is planning to explore this in a forthcoming issue in May. In the article readers will hear from organisations like Veldhoen and their adherence to the concept of activity based working (ABW). Veldhoen has a philosophy about workplace and how to improve an organisations performance. It all hinges on ABW. They won’t bother working with you unless you buy into their way of doing things. This is very Dutch. And why not. It works: Veldhoen get results.

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We should bring the soft landings idea back to Earth with a bump

Soft landingsSoft landings, hit the ground running, smooth handover, transition phase: whatever words you choose to describe the process the principle is the same. Managers and occupiers of a building – any building, want it to function properly. But why is this apparently so hard for anybody to achieve? Soft landings feels more like tainted love right now. So, think back a few steps and imagine you’re buying a brand new, shiny new-build house. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but it is a house – what’s not to know about it. But even new homes have issues. Maybe cracking in plaster, gaps around architraves, doors not closing smoothly and heating systems that is noisy and untested. In the trade it’s called snagging. You call the builder up, you make a list he comes round your new house and checks the list and then argues about the repairs.

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SkyCycle. Great idea, but how realistic is it really?

Cycling in London

 A cycle lane in the sky is a brilliant concept. The very name conjures up visual images of 21st century transport networks that HG Wells might have been proud of. But wedged above the Enfield Town to Liverpool Street line or its equivalent it seems very unlikely. So let’s assume this is an exercise in marketing, making use of good research and creative design as a means to kick start the debate about how we get to work and how we can accommodate more different and more sustainable methods of commuting. And let’s not restrict this to London either. The capital might have more obvious issues, more publicity; a larger than life Mayor; plus too many cycling fatalities, but they are problems shared across the UK.

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What Graeme Obree, the Flying Scotsman, can teach us about workplace innovation

What Graeme Obree, the Flying Scotsman can teach us about workplace innovation

Innovation is one of the over-used words in the UK built environment. In fact, it is used so much that its true meaning is being left behind by marketing teams and spin doctors. The real definition is about a new method, idea, product, i.e. some form of technological innovation. Think about the last time you read of a claim for an innovative product, method or management concept. How new was it really? Often ‘innovation’ is more to do with the Emperor’s clothes than an effective new method or a radical product that changes a manufacturing process or reduces carbon, or just makes life and work more efficient. More →

Half the time it’s management, not the design that makes the workplace stink

There is a general consensus around the workplace cognoscenti that design can and does impact upon the productivity and effectiveness of people in the workplace. That’s reflected in research, data and anecdotal exchanges, online and at events. What’s not often done is in linking this data to HR results, from employee surveys. While driven by professionally conscientious HR teams, their goal is shaped by the ever present desire to improve performance and hence save cash and enhance margins.  In other words it’s a management initiative. But half the time it’s management who are the problem.

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The democratisation of the workplace is changing how we work

Citizen Smith & why democratisation of the workplace is changing how we work

Work. We all, with some noticeable exceptions, are obliged to do some. If we are lucky we receive remuneration for our labour. This for me is at the heart of work. We are professionals. specialists, generalists, doers, thinkers, strategists or the people on the front line – but we all go to work. So, shouldn’t the people in charge – and just as importantly, the consultants they talk to about us workers – find out what makes us tick? Obviously, that is exactly the argument that many workplace consultants are making via Office Insight, via Twitter and in the property and FM media. Engaging with employees, via workshops forums or surveys such as Leesman or the more intelligently crafted employee surveys – I agree with all of it, but I think we might be missing something. We need to get back to what work is about.

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