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:

There are thirty-eight ways to win an argument, but this ain’t one

There are thirty-eight ways to win an argument, but this ain’t one

A painting of Socrates to depict the ways we have discussions about the workplace There are 38 ways to win an argument. That is according to the 19th Century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who laid them out in an essay called The Art of Being Right. We’ve probably added a few more since it was published in 1896, but whatever we’ve come up with since probably works on the same basis. Despite the essay’s title, the stratagems are not actually about being right at all, but about winning an argument. More →

The great office door handle problem

The great office door handle problem

office door handleArchitects and designers have always a had a thing for door handles. It’s the kind of detail they like and one of the most genuinely tactile features of a building. Architects from Frank Gehry to Zaha Hadid have worked on the designs of door handles for manufacturers. It was the Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa who described the door handle as ‘the handshake of the building’ in his architectural theory book?The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses in 2005. This was cute before last March but now looks slightly menacing.   More →

The perfect storm shouldn’t force us to jump aboard the wrong ship

The perfect storm shouldn’t force us to jump aboard the wrong ship

For all the millions of words written and gabbed about work and its future over the past 21 months, one of the few things we can say with any certainty is that we still don’t know which parts of it all are short-term responses to events, and which are permanent long-term shifts. More →

Biophilic design has a long history and an even bigger future

Biophilic design has a long history and an even bigger future

biophilic design at the new Amazon HQ2There are plenty of definitions of the modish concept of biophilic design around right now. But perhaps nobody can top that of Erich Fromm, the sociologist and psychoanalyst who first described it in his 1973 book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness as “The passionate love of life and all that is alive”. More →

Memories of the Office Age 

Memories of the Office Age 

memories of the office ageNo author uses the built environment like J G Ballard. In his 1975 novel High-Rise, the eponymous structure is both a way of isolating the group of people who live and compete inside it and a metaphor for their personal isolation and inner struggles. Over the course of three months, the building’s services begin to fail. The 2,000 people within, detached from external realities in the 40-storey building, confronted with their true selves and those of their neighbours, descend into selfishness and – ultimately – savagery.  More →

Going with the flow in the way we work

Going with the flow in the way we work

Sedus Smart OfficeThroughout history we’ve been aware of the state we now refer to as flow. It describes the sensation of existing purely in the moment of some activity, effortlessly achieving what we have set out to achieve and unaware of distractions. Mystics have described it as ecstasy, artists as rapture and athletes as in the zone. This state was first described as flow by the Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975 and has been developed by him and a wide range of other researchers in a number of fields since that time. More →

A divine spark of inspiration for office occupiers and designers

A divine spark of inspiration for office occupiers and designers

Organisations are having to rethink the form and function of their offices in ways unprecedented in their relatively short history. And perhaps the biggest challenge is to create places to work that reflect the organisation’s culture and the needs of the people who work there (some of the time). One possible framework for aligning an office design model with the culture of the organisation is presented in a supplement published in the current issue of IN Magazine called Gods of Work. Published in partnership with Modus, it draws on management and organisational theory and established models of office design to suggest solutions to some of the challenges facing organisations as they rethink the way they work. The office of the future for most organisations will be smaller, but much better and we hope this becomes an invaluable guide for those setting out on that path.

What do we need offices for anyway? The Greeks had a word for it

What do we need offices for anyway? The Greeks had a word for it

offices - what is going onThe Greek word anagnorisis describes the sense of having just caught up with a truth that was always waiting for you. It’s a common literary and artistic device found in the plots of everything from Oedipus Rex to Macbeth, Star Wars and Fight Club, but it’s also a word that conveys a useful, complex idea that does not have an adequate English version. The mot juste, if you like. And it’s a useful idea when it comes to framing the current conversation we are having about offices and work more generally. More →

Did you hear the one about offices and creativity?

Did you hear the one about offices and creativity?

the places we go for ideasThere is a famous episode of Seinfeld in which the character George is insulted in a business meeting and only thinks of a perfect retort while driving away from the office. This being George, he decides that he doesn’t want to waste his ‘killer line’ so engineers a second meeting so he can use it with the person who had insulted him, only for it to blow up in his face yet again. It’s an example of what the French refer to as l’esprit de l’escalier and the Germans as Treppenwitz, in both languages the wit you develop on a staircase.

More →

So what’s happening to all the plexiglass we thought was a solution last year?

So what’s happening to all the plexiglass we thought was a solution last year?

hyperobjects plexiglass styrofoamIn 2008, the philosopher and ecologist Timothy Morton coined the term hyperobject to describe things that can’t be seen directly or experienced at a point in time or space but which are nevertheless vast and important.  The example he gives is Styrofoam. We might be able to see a small number of cups or fast-food trays, but what we can’t see is all the Styrofoam ever produced. It is a hyperobject and one that will last for at least 500 years, even if we stopped producing it today.  More →

Shift to hybrid working highlights the value of weak ties

Shift to hybrid working highlights the value of weak ties

hybrid workingSomething we can expect to hear a lot about in the near future is the power of weak ties. It’s a well-established idea in sociology, anthropology, and social network analysis theory. But it’s about to be invigorated as a way of thinking about workplaces in the wake of two major peer-reviewed studies into the effects of remote work and hybrid working on people and the way they work with each other. According to the most widely cited paper on the subject of relationships, Mark Granovetter’s The Power of Weak Ties, The relationships between people can be categorised as strong, weak or absent. The latter is self-explanatory. Strong ties exist between people who are related, friend or who interact on a day to day basis. More →

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Between the 9th and 13th Centuries, the world’s intellectual centre and the source of much of its progress, discovery and achievement was Baghdad. This was the Muslim Golden Age and at its core was the House of Wisdom, established by the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. At one point, this library housed the largest collection of books on Earth and drew the greatest minds in the world to share ideas, innovate and explore ancient sources of science and wisdom from Greek and Persian texts. Muslim, Jewish, Christian and atheist scholars worked together to advance human understanding until a slow decline culminated with a later Caliph declaring that its diversity of thought should bow to a literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadith.

More →

Translate >>