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:

Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

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Making predictions about the future can leave people hostages to fortune. Just ask the Decca record executive Dick Rowe who in 1962 rejected a contract with The Beatles confidently asserting that “guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein” or even multi-billionaire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who declared in 2007 that “there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Some people buck the trend however. More →

The golden age of procrastination and the tyranny of time keeping

The golden age of procrastination and the tyranny of time keeping 0

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Many of us start each day with a long to-do list, a new set of goals and a commitment not to repeat the same mistakes we have in the past. It’s likely that we will have promised ourselves to stop putting things off. On our hit list of the foibles we most want to dispose of, procrastination will be somewhere near the top. The problem is that because procrastination is linked to psychological factors such as an innate preference to do something we deem pleasurable to something we don’t, modern life encourages us to do it. More →

Workplace design and the corrective force of rediscovery

Workplace design and the corrective force of rediscovery

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rediscovering workplace designIt has become something of a preoccupation of mine to consider why so many of the conversations we hold about workplace design are largely about the rediscovery of old ideas. It may be because there are constants about how people interact with their surroundings and each other and the truisms underlying those interactions. Although these are often reframed by the amount of data we now have to support them, some things never change. More →

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

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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 →

Flexible models of work will shift focus from place to purpose

Flexible models of work will shift focus from place to purpose

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A new report from Poly claims that there is a ‘granular shift’ in focus from place to purpose of work as businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis, redesign their operations and reinvent the way they work. Out of city coworking spaces, ergonomic at-home work setups and virtual water cooler moments will define the new age of flexible working, the report claims. Drawing on experts in the future of work, workspace design and psychology, the Poly report, Hybrid Working: Creating the “next normal” in work practices, spaces and culture, sets out the path to what it refers to (tediously) as the “next normal,” where employees enjoy flexibility and choice, and businesses thrive through motivated, collaborative and productive teams. More →

BCO launches podcast to explore the future of offices

BCO launches podcast to explore the future of offices

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The British Council for Offices (BCO) has launched its first podcast, a 12-episode series, hosted by chief executive Richard Kauntze, which explores how COVID-19 is impacting the office, both in the long and short term. The interviews are edited versions of a recently run video series by the BCO. 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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Your working day is never finished, merely abandoned

Your working day is never finished, merely abandoned

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It’s been talked about for a number of years now but we can expect to be hearing a lot more about the four day week or six hour day soon. The modern conversation has its roots partly in a Swedish experiment designed to limit the hours people work in an attempt to improve their work-life balance and possibly even increase their productivity. Now a growing number of firms are looking to introduce a nominal four day working week or restrict the use of technology – meaning email – outside of certain hours. More →

Some brutal realities about the future of work

Some brutal realities about the future of work

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The future of workNo 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 →

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 workWhile at work in 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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For the love of procrastination

For the love of procrastination

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Many of us start each day with a long to-do list, a new set of goals and a commitment not to repeat the same mistakes we have in the past. It’s likely that we will have promised ourselves to stop putting things off. On our hit list of the foibles we most want to dispose of, procrastination will be somewhere near the top. The problem is that because procrastination is linked to psychological factors such as an innate preference to do something we deem pleasurable to something we don’t, modern life encourages us to do it. More →

From the archive: the future of work and place in the 21st Century

From the archive: the future of work and place in the 21st Century 0

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future of work and placeHowever much we know about the forces we expect to come into play in our time and however much we understand the various social, commercial, legislative, cultural and economic parameters we expect to direct them, most predictions of the future tend to come out as refractions or extrapolations of the present. This is a fact tacitly acknowledged by George Orwell’s title for 1984, written in 1948, and is always the pinch of salt we can apply to science fiction and most of the predictions we come across. More →

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