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:

Zoom fatigue and the new era of online meetings

Zoom fatigue and the new era of online meetings

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When it comes to that annual announcement the publishers of dictionaries like to make about their Word of the Year, 2020 will have only one candidate. But if there were a shortlist, you can bet that Zoom would be on it. The uptake of Zoom and other apps to help people connect during the lockdown has been remarkable. Numbers emerge each week of the scale of growth, but they’re instantly out of date and probably meaningless anyway. We could make up something like there having been a 2,300% increase since March 23rd, and it might as well be true. More →

What happens to work when the machine stops?

What happens to work when the machine stops?

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Newton at work

In 1909, E M Forster – not exactly known for a body of work including dystopian fiction – published a novella called The Machine Stops. You can read it here but the story describes a future in which people live below ground, in isolation but with all their needs met by an omnipresent Machine (you can see where this is going). 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 →

The scale of the problem for the workplace

The scale of the problem for the workplace

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There is a typically telling and intelligent Pixar moment in the film A Bug’s Life in which an already well-lubricated mosquito goes up to a bar and orders a ‘Bloody Mary, O Positive’. The barman plonks a droplet of blood down on the bar. The mosquito sinks his proboscis into it, sucks it down in one go and promptly falls over. The mosquito doesn’t need a glass because that is for animals who have a problem with gravity. For insects, the major force in their lives isn’t gravity, but surface tension. More →

Casting a spell on the future of work and workplaces

Casting a spell on the future of work and workplaces

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There was a time we used to talk with dismay about the Japanese phenomenon of intense social distancing known as hikikomori. We would consider with horror the isolation, lack of engagement with society, poor mental health and loneliness of the people who had almost completely withdrawn to their rooms. Those poor bastards locked up in enclosed spaces linked to the outside world only by screens. More →

What the humble avocado can teach us about why we will always work in offices

What the humble avocado can teach us about why we will always work in offices

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From the archive. Originally published in 2013. People have been talking about the death of the office for at least a quarter of a century. Leaving aside the often misleading conflation of flexible working with homeworking that is often involved, the underlying premise of such talk has been the same for all of that time. The main argument is, and always was, that there is an alternative to the tedium, aggravation and expense of travelling to an office solely to work inside its hermetically sealed and fluorescent-lit, blue-carpeted interior alongside people who can drive you spare, before you schlep home again. More →

New digital edition of IN Magazine is now available for you

New digital edition of IN Magazine is now available for you

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The June 2020 issue of IN Magazine is now available as a digital edition. Print copies will be sent out when we know people will be able to receive them. Highlights include Kate Usher in conversation with Sally Gunnell on the challenges facing women in the second phase of  their lives, Toby Benzecry mapping organisational culture on to the physical and digital workplace, Debra Hill’s exploration of the stellar installation of Nordea’s Control Centre in Warsaw, Peter Löffler on the way digital twin technology will transform the way we design, construct and occupy buildings, Giuseppe Boscherini on the role of personality in working culture, Ian Ellison rediscovering a building that was ramshackle but a great place to work, our series of podcasts on wellbeing and a wry look at the intrusion of Zoom and similar tools into our homes. More →

Peter Löffler explores the world of digital twin technology in the Workplace Insight podcast

Peter Löffler explores the world of digital twin technology in the Workplace Insight podcast

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The expression “if these walls could talk” is taking on an entirely new meaning with the emerging opportunity to create digital twins for buildings, claims Peter Löffler, the head of innovation at Siemens Smart Infrastructure in a new episode of the Workplace Insight podcast. Across the entire lifecycle of structures such as office buildings, hospitals, airports and hotels, creating a digital twin can significantly reduce costs, improve efficiencies, speed construction delivery, as well as enhance performance and the user experience. More →

Reshaping ourselves to fit in a new era for work

Reshaping ourselves to fit in a new era for work

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Making a splash at workThe ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside new forms of technology is something we will have to address very soon. It is a point well made in this conversation between Kate Darling of MIT and the neuroscientist Sam Harris. But we’ve had parts of this conversation before. For example, while most people will not have read the book from which it came, those with an interest in work, workplaces and their links with our happiness (or perceived lack of it) will know that the British philosopher Bertrand Russell once famously said that “one of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important”.

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A just in time lesson about office design

A just in time lesson about office design

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The nascent years of new ways of working in the late 80s and early 90s coincided with a widely held but soon to be discarded belief that the Japanese had cracked management practices. So it was perhaps inevitable that the principles of a process called just in time manufacturing – most famously applied in the factories of Toyota – should migrate to new forms of office design the rapidly developing practice of flexible working.

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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 →

Listening in on an enormous conversation about the workplace

Listening in on an enormous conversation about the workplace

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One of the best tricks Clive James ever pulled was finding acceptance as a public intellectual in the UK. It’s not easy in a country in which it is possible to be too clever by half or even too clever for your own good. Stephen Fry continues to pull it off as does Mary Beard, but it’s a hell of a thing to achieve. In the UK at least it seems to rely on straddling at least two worlds. More →

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