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:

Who watches the workplace watchmen?

Who watches the workplace watchmen?

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an eye on the workplaceOne of the world’s best known and most enduring foundational psychological experiments does not appear to be as clear cut as we commonly think. It was back in 1961 that a team led by the American psychologist Stanley Milgram asked a number of ordinary people to administer what they believed to be increasingly high levels of electric shocks to a person in another room while listening to their responses. More →

The allure of workplace bullshit

The allure of workplace bullshit

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The sleep of reason and workplace bullshitAlthough the legend of Faust is one of the Germanic world’s foundational narratives, its archetypes and themes were already established by the time Goethe codified them in his 1808 play. They have since become universal. The idea that somebody would sell their soul to the Devil to gain something or rid themselves of unhappiness is as resonant now as it was in Renaissance Europe. It has inspired books films and artists to such an extent that its derivatives now have their own Wikipedia page.

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What happens to the workplace after the pandemic?

What happens to the workplace after the pandemic?

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Tomorrow morning I’ll be taking part in a live webinar considering some of the most important workplace issues that have been raised by the global corona-virus pandemic. As always, we’ll try to take on the least helpful ideas about the “future of work”, the impact on people’s lives, their reactions to the crisis as well as those of their employers. Crucially, we will also talk about what happens after this ends and what longer term effect it will have on work and workplaces. More →

Did you hear the one about offices and creativity?

Did you hear the one about offices and creativity?

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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.

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The shape of things to come for the world and the workplace

The shape of things to come for the world and the workplace

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In Dorian Lynskey’s The Ministry of Truth, a “biography” of 1984, the author describes how Orwell’s  book was the end point of an obsession with utopian (and ultimately dystopian) fiction that characterised the first half of the Twentieth Century, and reflected the competing political, social and economic ideologies of the era. More →

The facilities manager`s fear of the penalty kick

The facilities manager`s fear of the penalty kick

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facilities managersOn the whole, football is not a great source of inspiration for artists. It certainly doesn’t film well, although there is a small place for it in literature. The likes of Arnold Bennett, Orwell, Sartre and J B Priestley have all drawn from the game some metaphor, philosophical point, social observation or other. There are even some major literary figures who played the game to a decent level, and the curious thing about them is that they were all goalkeepers.

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The future of work has no destination, there is only the journey

The future of work has no destination, there is only the journey

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One of the truisms about depictions of the future is that they often have more to say about the world in which we live than the one to come. So, when George Orwell wrote 1984 the story goes that its title was derived by inverting the numbers of the year in which it was written – 1948. Whatever the truth of this, Orwell understood it was a book as much about the world in which he lived as the one it portrayed. Our images of the future are invariably refracted through the prism of the present. This is just as true for predictions about the future of work.

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Will coronavirus mean the death of the office?

Will coronavirus mean the death of the office?

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Betteridge’s law of headlines declares that “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no”. And so I simultaneously ask and answer the question of whether the coronavirus pandemic will really lead to the death of the office. So it goes. Of course, I’m not the first person to raise the question over the last few weeks as the world adapts to the threat of the pandemic. But it’s worth reminding ourselves that the demise of the office has been predicted for at least a quarter of a century, although never in such circumstances. More →

How to flourish in the workplace – Derek Clements-Croome in conversation

How to flourish in the workplace – Derek Clements-Croome in conversation

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In the third in our series of wellbeing podcasts published in partnership with Wellworking, I am in conversation with Derek Clements-Croome, one of the world’s leading experts on wellbeing and sustainability in the workplace. We look at the increasingly powerful links between personal wellbeing and green sustainable building design and consider some of the most important yet last talked about wellbeing and productivity issues such as temperature and air quality. More →

Workplace piffle, humane design and throwing away the blank slate

Workplace piffle, humane design and throwing away the blank slate

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workplace designThe piece I wrote on workplace bullshit came in for quite a bit of attention when it was published and also meant I was pointed to this excellent article on how to spot it when you see it. Lots is said about the skills we’ll need to cope with the challenges of the current Century, but this is perhaps one of the most important. Especially trying to spot it in ourselves. Paradoxically, we already seem reasonably able to spot it in our politicians. More →

The theme park of modern office design

The theme park of modern office design

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office design is moving into a new phaseHere’s an interesting exercise you may want to try. Off the top of your head and without thinking about it too much, write down the names of five iconic office furniture designs. The kind that your Aunt Sheila might recognise if she saw them but wouldn’t necessarily be able to name. When I did this recently while writing a piece about design trends, the products I came up with automatically were things like Frank Lloyd Wright’s desks for the Larkin building, Action Office, the 3107 chair (pictured), and Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair. More →

Exploring life at the new Siemens Campus in Zug

Exploring life at the new Siemens Campus in Zug

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Siemens SparkWhen it comes to creating an office to call home, all of the usual challenges are magnified by several degrees for a company like Siemens. It can’t afford to skimp on the building’s services, green credentials, integrated technology and all-round smartness then hold meaningful conversations on the same subjects with its clients. So, the new Siemens Campus in the Swiss town of Zug has to showcase the best the firm has to offer as well as delivering for the people who work there. More →

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