About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Workplace Insight and IN Magazine. He has worked in the office design and management sector for over twenty five years as a journalist, marketing professional, editor and consultant.

Posts by Mark Eltringham:

Dogs need to be part of The Great Workplace Conversation too

Dogs need to be part of The Great Workplace Conversation too

You probably saw that meme based on an article in the WSJ that did the rounds during peak lockdown of a cat and a dog imploring their unseen owners to either get back to the office as soon as possible or stay home forever. If not, it’s reproduced below. It not only captured the nature of cats and dogs and their stereotypical relationships with humans, but also the relentless, tedious insistence on that binary choice of home or office that nearly drowned out all other voices during the not-so Great Workplace Conversation. And often still does. More →

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present 0

We are all futurologists now. We all have our 2020 visions, at least for a little while. 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. More →

Always connected in the age of disconnection

Always connected in the age of disconnection

All of humanity’s problems,” the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He may have been right, but then again, sitting in a room alone isn’t necessarily a great state of permanent being either. There was a time we used to talk with dismay about the Japanese phenomenon of intense social distancing known as hikikomori. We would consider with horror the isolation, lack of engagement with society, poor mental health and loneliness of the people who had almost completely withdrawn to their rooms. Those poor bastards locked up in enclosed spaces linked to the outside world only by screens. More →

The truth about motivation, engagement and the employment of motivated idiots

The truth about motivation, engagement and the employment of motivated idiots

motivated idiotsThe 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 offering 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. More →

Getting back to the future of work

Getting back to the future of work

future of workQuoting George Orwell is the kind of thing that people who haven’t read George Orwell do. I have read Orwell, and even have a  drunken story about Paul Shane signing my copy of the Collected Essays, which was the only autograph-able material I had on me at the time I met him in a pub in about 1990. For another time. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell describes Winston Smith’s realisation that the best books are those that tell you what you already know. This is an ancient profundity, and one that is sort of useful during times of significant, rapid change, when we are obliged to confront old truths in a new context. History doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes, as they say. More →

What Jacob Rees Mogg really got wrong about working from the office

What Jacob Rees Mogg really got wrong about working from the office

One of the challenges of taking part in The Great Work Conversation is swerving alignments with the wrong people. It’s easy enough to call out the crusty, passive aggressive notes apparently left by Lord Bufton Tufton on the desks of civil service drones. But it’s equally easy to find yourself tarred with the same brush if you dare to suggest not everybody is about to cocoon themselves in a bedroom forever or swap all they have for a life trundling from place to place in a dormobile, exchanging work for tokens. More →

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

A model of agile workplaces at Sedus in DogernIn recent years we have grown very fond of borrowing foreign words to describe some of the more difficult to express ideas about wellbeing and the new era of agile, experiential and engaging work. We’ve adopted Eudaimonia from the Ancient Greek of Aristotle to describe the nuances of wellbeing, happiness and purpose. We went nuts briefly for the Scandinavian idea of hygge to describe a copy and laid-back approach to life that we felt we’d been lacking. More →

Do organisations actually know what their people do?

Do organisations actually know what their people do?

Do organisations truly understand how their people work? A big question that needed some unpacking and was explored at a recent Workplace Evolutionaries event, led by Tim Allen and Mark Eltringham. This is raw audio from the event so includes a brief chat about dogs and some other stuff. More →

The effects of workplace change may not be the ones we expect

The effects of workplace change may not be the ones we expect

There’s a scene in the 1986 horror movie The Fly in which Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) persuades the reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) to try two steaks, one of which Brundle has just sent between two teleportation pods in an effort to work out why the pods can’t process organic matter, including the organic matter that had recently belonged to a very unfortunate baboon. More →

Issue 10 of IN Magazine is now online

Issue 10 of IN Magazine is now online

IN Magazine issue 11IN10 is now available to view online here. Print issues will be sent out next week. In this issue of IN Magazine, amongst other things: we cast an eye over three of the most talked about issues in the post pandemic era of work – the four day week, universal basic income and the metaverse; we visit the new offices of BT in Birmingham and see how the design has evolved over the two years since they were first announced; we meet Simone Fenton-Jarvis to discuss her new book and views on where we are; we explore the power of weak ties at work; ask why colour psychology seems to work, but not in the ways most commonly touted; ponder the effects of prolonged periods of isolation; wonder what we’ve done to our dogs; and look at the changing face of workplace art. All back issues of IN Magazine are available here.

From the archive: The cargo cult of modern office design

From the archive: The cargo cult of modern office design

The idea of the cargo cult derives from anthropological observations made about the behaviour of societies that encounter more technologically advanced societies. In particular it is rooted in those rituals and objects created by Pacific islanders in an attempt to attract modern goods and technology and generally earn favour with people who they thought could prevent terrible events. More →

The lost art of office furniture peacocking

The lost art of office furniture peacocking

office furniture peacockingWhen Donald Trump was pictured at the tail-end of his tenure as President, sitting uncomfortably at a table that looked like it had been retrieved from a skip, it provoked the sort of sneering commentary about office furniture choices previously seen when Dominic Cummings popped in to the Downing Street garden to deliver some self-serving blather from behind a rickety trestle. More →

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