About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Insight and 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:

Back of the net – a conversation with Chris Lewis about leadership in the 21st Century

Back of the net – a conversation with Chris Lewis about leadership in the 21st Century

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The Leadership LabIs there a crisis of leadership in the 21st Century? And if so, what can we do about it? I had the opportunity to address the issues in conversation with Chris Lewis, the co-author along with Dr Pippa Malmgren of the Business Book of the Year The Leadership Lab, diverting briefly to talk about the golden age of football and its lessons for the modern day leader and how the challenges of leadership are not just evident in organisation, but society as a whole. More →

Performance management systems still a major drag for HR leaders

Performance management systems still a major drag for HR leaders

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performance managementFewer than one-fifth of HR leaders believe that performance management is effective at achieving its primary objective, according to a report from Gartner (registration). Though companies have been prioritising performance management improvements for years, 81 percent of HR leaders are still making changes and experimenting with their organisation’s efforts, according to the report. Most efforts to fix the issues are centred on reducing effort with the survey claiming that two-thirds of HR leaders focused on making processes either easier or less time consuming. However, reducing the effort managers and employees must put into the systems has significant negative effects. More →

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

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An illustration of a frog, a key metaphor in Charles Handy's writing about the world of work While working at a Viennese Obstetric Clinic in the mid 1840s, a Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that mothers were far less likely to succumb to a potentially fatal infection called puerperal fever when the medical staff treating them washed their hands. When he started collecting data to confirm his insight, he found that hand washing reduced mortality rates from around 10 percent to as little as 1 percent. Although, his findings predated the germ theory of disease, which left him without an explanation, in 1847 he published a book in which he proposed that the link was so evident that in future staff should always wash their hands in chlorinated lime before treating patients, to protect them from infection.

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Drawing back the curtain on the new workplace

Drawing back the curtain on the new workplace

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It’s a shame that Rhymer Rigby’s piece in The Times on creativity at work is behind a paywall because it says something perfectly obvious and demonstrable about workplace creativity that more people should read. The gist is that a cult has grown up around creativity that should be subject to more scrutiny and we should stop thinking about all work as the potential outlet for the creative instincts of people who may not have any, may not work in a job that involves them or who may not want to express them during their shifts in the Amazon warehouse. More →

Workplace design in a new age of reason

Workplace design in a new age of reason

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Workplace design needs to recapture the principles of the enlightenmentThe enduring but changing struggle to improve the working conditions and performance of people through workplace design and management has more than a whiff of the Enlightenment of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries about it. The Enlightenment marked a new era in which the old superstitions and dogmas were to be overthrown by pure reason.

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Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

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agile working began in the coal fields of NottinghamshireThe idea of diffusion of innovation has become so embedded in our culture, and most recently so associated with the adoption of new technology, that we might assume it happens in predictable ways. The steps between innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards seem intuitive and certain even when their peaks might be unsure. And yet history teaches us that sometimes new ideas can take years or even decades to take hold, even when they are potentially world-changing and relevant for the era in which they were formulated. More →

Brexit continues to affect jobs market in UK, despite latest delay

Brexit continues to affect jobs market in UK, despite latest delay

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Brexit affecting jobs marketAlthough the stuttering resolution of the Brexit issue has had a mixed impact on the economy so far, a new study claims that the effects can be discerned in the jobs market. The number of vacancies has dropped below 1 million for the first time in over four years, after losing a total of 132,201 jobs in the past 12 months according to the latest research from job search engine Adzuna.co.uk. The Energy, Oil and Gas industry has seen just over a third of jobs wiped from the job market in the past 12 months as Brexit uncertainty continues to unsettle the job market. Domestic work has seen an equal number of jobs lost in the past 12 months (34 percent). More →

Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

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Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfactionThis is a piece to mark National Stress Awareness Day, which is today. We now have a policy of not offering ourselves as an outlet for any of the deluge of comment pieces and surveys that are published each year to mark days like this. This is largely because we cover the issue year round so don’t feel the need to add to the PR feeding frenzy that they generate. Whatever you make of the findings of the these reports and others like them, even cynics would have to acknowledge they tap into an unmistakable  feeling that work is not as enjoyable as it should be. More →

World Economic Forum announces major circular economy initiative

World Economic Forum announces major circular economy initiative

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earth and the circular economyThe World Economic Forum is creating a new partnership which it claims will harness the potential of technology innovation and smart policy to fast-track the circular economy. WEF claims that SCALE 360 will collaborate with government, business, civil society and entrepreneurs around the world to find bright new ideas that will help us cut the waste in the world’s economies. It defines a circular economy as a regenerative approach to production and consumption, in which products and materials are redesigned, recovered and reused to reduce environmental impacts. Research shows that this transition could generate $4.5 trillion in additional economic output by 2030. More →

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

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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.

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Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

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The worst workplace related news story of 2019 is also one of the most widely reported. I’m not linking to it because I don’t want to give it any credibility, but it has been discharged into the ether by Fellowes along with a ‘behavioural futurist’ called William Higham. I will say only two things about it. Firstly, we flatly refused to publish a story about the damn thing and it’s a shame that the mainstream media couldn’t spot it for the utter drivel it is. The fact that they have picked up on it says something about the way such issues are covered in the press. That’s why you’re more likely to see a stress-related story about rats driving cars on the BBC than you are something meaningful. More →

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

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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 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 →

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