About Charles Marks


Posts by Charles Marks:

Flexible working is best built on the foundations of a great office

flexible working loungeIt’s getting on for two years since Yahoo’s much talked about decision in 2013 to ban its staff from homeworking but, in many ways, the fallout has continued ever since. Certainly a lot of commentary on the subject refers back to CEO Marissa Mayer’s trend bucking decision. This can only be because it was a defining event in what is an enduring debate about where we work and what that means for a range of factors including our productivity, wellbeing, sense of belonging, access to information, the way we structure our time and our ability to communicate with and develop relationships with our fellow human beings. If those things were the same regardless of how and where we worked, there would be no discussion in the first place. But they do make a difference and there is a discussion.

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New BREEAM environmental standard launched for UK office refurbishment and fit-outs

Office refurbishmentThe Building Research Establishment (BRE) has launched the latest addition to its flagship sustainability accreditation scheme. Launched fully at MIPIM UK, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) Refurbishment and Fit-Out 2014 standard has been in development for around  two years, a period which has included consultations with some of the UK’s largest commercial property occupiers, end users as well as a full assessment of a pilot project at BRE’s base near Watford. It joins existing BREEAM standards as a way of assessing the sustainability of office refurbishment and fit-out projects in the UK and overseas. The standards were tested on a simulated refurbishment project at the BRE site and achieved, in the words of the organisation,  “significant savings as well as many other positive learning outcomes”. Firms which took part in the two year development and consultation period included Lloyds, Boots, Legal & General and The Green Investment Bank.

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The creative talent in the UK’s regions (other than London) is quietly thriving

We can now be very confident that the UK economy is on an enduring upward path. We can also be sure that the UK that emerges from five years of recession will be very different to the one that entered it. And on that score things look pretty promising too, because we have the skills and talent needed in some of the world’s most in-demand sectors such as digital media, banking, software development, telecoms and publishing. In fact a recent report from Deloitte says that London employs more people in these and similar knowledge-based sectors than any other country in the world. But while London has an inevitable tendency to grab these sorts of headlines, it’s also great to acknowledge that London doesn’t have a monopoly on this pool of talent, and may even be less attractive as a base for some firms.

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Global urbanisation trends present UK cities with new opportunities

Country_Mouse1There is a great deal of talk about the growing urbanisation of the world right now, and its effects on societies, economies and individuals. The numbers of people involved are daunting, especially in the developing world.  As a  result, many countries are currently experiencing the sort of upheaval we in Britain experienced nearly 300 years ago, and they are doing so in a very compressed time span compared to the 150 years it took in Britain. But the changing nature of cities is also apparent in the UK where it is having an effect not only in the country’s only megacity but in regional centres too.  For places such as Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow the challenges presented by a new generation of initiatives focussed on urbanisation can be profound and mark an opportunity to shift at least some of the UK’s economic focus away from London.

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Predicting the future of the office means looking at what is happening now

display_img_01Futurology is notoriously a mug’s game. Especially when it comes to making predictions about technology. Just ask Ken Olson, the founder of DEC who in 1977 pronounced that ‘there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home’. Or Bill Gates himself who once claimed that Microsoft ‘will never make a 32 bit operating system’. Most recently Steve Ballmer, a billionaire executive said in 2007 ‘there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.’ But mone of these retrosepctively viewed dodgy predictions should make us blind to those that we know will certainly come true, especially those based on what we know is happening in the present.

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The challenge in Silicon Alley is providing the right quantity and quality of office space

M4 Silicon AlleyNews emerges from BNP Paribas that the most dynamic occupiers in Western European property markets belong to the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector and that the most important market in the region is London. This comes as no surprise given the plans of Google to move to its new home in King’s Cross and the focus on developments in Tech City. But the same hothousing of TMT businesses is also evident in the area Prime Minister David Cameron has referred to as Silicon Alley, a cluster of businesses running alongside the M4 originally clustered between Reading and Swindon but now extending as far as Bristol. Companies that have found a home in the area include the likes of Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Ericsson, Vodafone, O2, Citrix, Dell, Huawei, Lexmark, LG, Novell, Nvidia, Panasonic, SAP and Symantec not to mention the countless other smaller businesses, consultants and freelancers that share this hothouse.

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