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:

Never mind the agile workplace, here is something you already know

Never mind the agile workplace, here is something you already know

The myth has it that John Lydon’s audition for the Sex Pistols consisted largely of wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt with the words I HATE scrawled above the prog rock group’s name. It appealed to the new band’s managers and its existing members at a time when they needed a singer with the right attitude as much as the right chops. Before Lydon’s involvement, bass guitarist Glen Matlock had taken to approaching anybody he saw of his age group with short hair to ask them if they could sing. This was a time when everybody had long hair.

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Office design goes to the movies

Office design goes to the movies

What can the movies tell us about office designFollowing our recent attempts to create a rudimentary playlist of songs that tell us something, or perhaps nothing, about office design, office life and office furniture, here’s another look at how the parochial world of the workplace can brush up against popular culture. It does this unnoticed for most people, I suppose, but not for those of us bound up in this world. We’re not the sort of people who can ignore the regular, brief glimpse of an Aeron chair’s ubiquitous mesh without a synapse of recognition sparking up. So, here is a brief rundown of nine movies that use office design to make a plot point or set up a character development.

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The great workplace conversation needs to be held with a great deal more humility

The great workplace conversation needs to be held with a great deal more humility

“Nobody knows anything”. William Goldman’s infamous summing up of the essential unknowability of the movie business also has a less quoted second part. “Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” It is a call for humility. That no matter how much we know about what we do and how good we are at it, we can’t always predict its outcomes. More →

The constant craving to put numbers on working relationships

The constant craving to put numbers on working relationships

The answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything is not 42, as you may have been led to believe. It’s 1/137 (or near enough). This is the greatest of the two dozen or so universal constants. Without the physical and quantum relationships it describes, the universe as we know it could not exist. More →

We need to acknowledge our bias if we want to see the world for what it is

We need to acknowledge our bias if we want to see the world for what it is

We’re all biased. We all recognise the sharp bump of our critical thinking skills kicking into life when confronted with ideas and information that go against our beliefs. We know how they doze in the comforting embrace of affirming data. So, it’s been entertaining this week to observe the reaction to the large-scale academic study of 10,000 IT workers which found that they had worked 30 percent longer hours while working from home, a fifth of it outside their normal times of work, without actually doing any more work. In essence their productivity had fallen by 20 percent in spite of their increased hours. More →

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 →

Flexible working and wellbeing? We already know how that all works

Flexible working and wellbeing? We already know how that all works

flexible working and wellbeingIf you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Woody Allen’s wise observation could have been made for this year. But it’s not just true for plans that go awry, but also those that go right in unexpected ways.  For example, what better time to publish a book about the links between flexible working and wellbeing than in April 2020 as large swathes of the population were adjusting to completely remote work, many of them for the first time? 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 →

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

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 →

IN Magazine issue 6 has been published

IN Magazine issue 6 has been published

IN Magazine cover artIt’s now a year since we launched IN Magazine and what a year it’s been. Issue 6 is now out. IN continues to explore the latest ideas from the world of work, speak to the most interesting people and feature the most pioneering ideas. In this issue: Kerstin Sailer casts a spell on the workplace; Microsoft’s Experience Centre in Amsterdam; what we can learn about the workplace experience from app design; the new emphasis on fresh air; the problem of managing people across borders; what happens to spaces when people abandon them; and why we must take the environmental impact of commercial property far more seriously. And, of course, much more. All back issues of IN Magazine can be found here. Illustration: Ian Pearsall

The binary choices and multiple outcomes of flexible working

The binary choices and multiple outcomes of flexible working

A year of unnecessarily binary conversation about work leads inevitably to this. A stupid question. Is Big Tech going off work from home? Betteridge’s Law takes care of that, just as it did another question from 12 months ago. Even though the article is slightly better than the headline, the insistence that the only two choices we have are home or office remains. More →

The underlying problems with the way we think about work

The underlying problems with the way we think about work

people and workAn idea that has never really gone away, but which seems to be enjoying a new lease of life is the tabula rasa. The conception of people as a blank slate is something a that has crept back into mainstream political and social thought for a variety of reasons. Arguably, it is also behind many of the most misleading notions about work and workplace design, perhaps most importantly that a change to some single element or characteristic of a working environment will lead to a specific outcome in the behaviour of people. More →

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