About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Workplace Insight, IN magazine, Works magazine and is the European Director of Work&Place journal. He has worked in the office design and management sector for over thirty years as a journalist, marketing professional, editor and consultant.

Posts by Mark Eltringham:

A bit of alien thinking on coffee and some other BS

A bit of alien thinking on coffee and some other BS

I’ve sometimes highlighted how our perceptions of the workplace are subject to an apex fallacy. The daily consumption of narratives about campuses, tech palaces and ‘cool’ design can obscure the fact that most people don’t experience this stuff in their daily lives. They work in adequate or possibly nice offices. Some in shabby offices or horrible offices. Many travel into work at the same time each day and sit with roughly the same people and do roughly the same things. They may work from home more frequently now, but they have a routine there too. Most will work in a mundane or nice home that mirrors the mundane office that awaits at the other end of the commute. More →

The office needs to take on the characteristics of the city. Despina Katsikakis IN conversation

The office needs to take on the characteristics of the city. Despina Katsikakis IN conversation

Despina Katsikakis, the new President of the BCO has been shaping the way we think about offices for four decades

One of the unintended consequences of the era of online meetings is a chance to gain an insight into people’s actual lives. So it is that as Despina Katsikakis and I are talking, she spots my whippet Luna wandering into shot in the background and lets out an exclamation. She too has a whippet by her feet. And as a result, this abnormal, formal situation becomes a lot more normal and relaxed.   More →

Canary in the coal mine: other business districts are watching what happens next for Canary Wharf

Canary in the coal mine: other business districts are watching what happens next for Canary Wharf

Already the symbol of a bygone era, Canary Wharf runs the risk of becoming a relic unless it reinvents itself. And others are watching The first casualties of the already cliched injunction to make offices worth the commute were always going to be the world’s most inaccessible business districts. In the UK the most high profile of these is Canary Wharf, 52 hectares of former wasteland in East London that became a financial powerhouse. Part of the regeneration of the area that began in the 1980s, it became synonymous with the era and with Margaret Thatcher and her reform of the financial services sector. This came to pass even though its most iconic structure One Canada Square was only completed in 1990, shortly after she had left office and shortly before its developer filed for bankruptcy. More →

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

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

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  Nineteen Eighty-Four 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, many of which are explored in the new issue of IN Magazine.

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Issue 17 of IN Magazine lands

Issue 17 of IN Magazine lands

IN Magazine issue 17 lands

The new digital edition of IN Magazine is now available, free to read here. Print copies will be mailed out to subscribers soon. In this issue: we talk to incoming BCO President Despina Katsikakis about whippets and, less importantly, her history of pioneering workplace innovation; we visit a new space in London that proves biophilia is about a lot more than a plant wall; a special supplement produced in partnership with BVN explores the multi-faceted complexity of retrofit; Helen Parton explores how new developments are looking to increase their social value; we question the wisdom of predictions; and much more. More →

Are the days of landmark corporate headquarters over?

Are the days of landmark corporate headquarters over?

There’s something in the idea that the creation of a bespoke, landmark corporate headquarters is a sign that something has gone wrong - or is about to - for the firm behind it.There’s something in the idea that the creation of a bespoke, landmark corporate headquarters is a sign that something has gone wrong – or is about to – for the firm behind it. I’d first developed or come across this idea when visiting British Airway’s Waterside building in the late 1990s. At the time it was arguably the most talked about office building in the world, lauded for its inbuilt urban landscape, mix of settings and humane, biophilic design features. More →

From the archive: The way to create a successful workplace is simple, but never easy

From the archive: The way to create a successful workplace is simple, but never easy

This was originally published in December 2020. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. As is now the way of these things, the famous opening words of Anna Karenina have been used to name a principle that is applied across a wide range of fields. It describes how success can only happen in one way, but failure comes in many forms. More →

Hybrid working is here to stay. Squawk

Hybrid working is here to stay. Squawk

I hold to the idea that nobody knows what hybrid working is, by which I mean there is no universally shared idea about what it isIn his recent book, The Constitution of Knowledge, the author Jonathan Rauch argues that knowledge consists of something about which nearly everybody can agree, and which has been arrived at by a structured, ongoing and benign process of debate and discovery. More →

The Kafka trap of return to office arguments

The Kafka trap of return to office arguments

This month I witnessed somebody misapplying the work of Kafka in an attempt to make a middlebrow point about the so-called return to officeRecently, I bemoaned how Orwell is often invoked in support of an argument by people who haven’t read him. They are usually drawing on some laundered misperception of his work, and especially Nineteen Eighty-Four. Well, this month I witnessed somebody misapplying the work of Kafka in a similar attempt to make a middlebrow point about the so-called return to office. More →

The words we borrow from other languages to talk about work and wellbeing

The words we borrow from other languages to talk about work and wellbeing

We are prone to borrow words from other languages to express ideas that otherwise need some explaining in English. This includes the way we talk about work, and specially the way we talk about wellbeing and happinessWe are prone to borrow nuanced words from other languages to express ideas that otherwise need some explaining in English. This includes the way we talk about work, and especially the way we talk about wellbeing and happiness. Perhaps most famously, there was a lot of talk about hygge a couple of years ago. A straight dictionary translation of hygge would be something like cosiness, but the word also embodies an emotion and an approach to life that embraces a certain degree of slowness and an enjoyment of the present moment. It’s no coincidence that it became modish in a distracted and hurried world. Although the concept is usually referred to as Danish, the word itself is shared with Norwegian, which also offers us the word koselig, which means cosiness but also hints at it being best enjoyed at a fireside. More →

Breaking eggs and a two thousand year quest to make the most of each day

Breaking eggs and a two thousand year quest to make the most of each day

make the most of each dayThe fracturing of time and place underlies every one of the great workplace issues of our time. Everything that springs from this – the where, when, how, what and why of work – is defined by the shattering of any fixed idea we may once have had of a time and a place to work. Because the challenge to these traditional ideas is now so inextricably linked in our minds with new technology, we might often  forget that people have been asking questions about how we can get the most out of each day for thousands of years. Tempus fugit after all, and as a consequence we’ve always known that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. More →

Memories of the Office Age 

Memories of the Office Age 

memories of the office ageNo 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 →