About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Insight and 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:

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

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Between the 9th and 13th Centuries, the world’s intellectual centre and the source of much of its progress, discovery and achievement was Baghdad. This was the Muslim Golden Age and at its core was the House of Wisdom, established by the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. At one point, this library housed the largest collection of books on Earth and drew the greatest minds in the world to share ideas, innovate and explore ancient sources of science and wisdom from Greek and Persian texts. Muslim, Jewish, Christian and atheist scholars worked together to advance human understanding until a slow decline culminated with a later Caliph declaring that its diversity of thought should bow to a literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadith.

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Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

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The worst workplace related news story of 2019 is also one of the most widely reported. I’m not linking to it because I don’t want to give it any credibility, but it has been discharged into the ether by Fellowes along with a ‘behavioural futurist’ called William Higham. I will say only two things about it. Firstly, we flatly refused to publish a story about the damn thing and it’s a shame that the mainstream media couldn’t spot it for the utter drivel it is. The fact that they have picked up on it says something about the way such issues are covered in the press. That’s why you’re more likely to see a stress-related story about rats driving cars on the BBC than you are something meaningful. More →

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

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A model of agile workplaces at Sedus in DogernIn recent years we have grown very fond of borrowing foreign words to describe some of the more difficult to express ideas about wellbeing and work. We’ve adopted Eudaimonia from the Ancient Greek of Aristotle to describe the nuances of wellbeing, happiness and purpose. We went nuts briefly for the Scandinavian idea of hygge to describe a copy and laid-back approach to life that we felt we’d been lacking. More →

Majority of American workers are unhappy in their jobs

Majority of American workers are unhappy in their jobs

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American workers are unhappyAlthough more people are in work in the US than at any time in the past 50 years, only 40 percent of American workers say that they work in good jobs, according to a new study (registration) from the Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationOmidyar Network, and Gallup.  The report claims that 44 percent of workers surveyed said they had “mediocre” jobs while 16 percent said they were in “bad” jobs. More →

Fine tuning office design and its most wonderful invention to our needs

Fine tuning office design and its most wonderful invention to our needs

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The best workplaces are always focused on people. Which is why many of the great pioneers of workplace thinking are from the social sciences, including disciplines such as psychology, ethnography and anthropology. These are the people who have shared the insights that help us to understand the characteristics of great office design. In particular, this relies on an awareness of the ways in which people interact in particular spaces. More →

Mental health at work addressed by new consortium of firms

Mental health at work addressed by new consortium of firms

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Mental health at workLloyds Banking Group, Unilever the CBI, Bupa and the John Lewis Partnership are among the major firms and other organisations that have signed up to an agreement that aims to transform the approach to mental health in the workplace. The Mental Health at Work Commitment is a promise to adopt six standards which have been developed with mental health charities, large employers and trade organisations. More →

Many flexible office users would prefer to work in conventional space

Many flexible office users would prefer to work in conventional space

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Many people would prefer conventional offices to flexible office spaceJoint-research from Gensler and the British Council of Offices (BCO) on the rise of flexible workspace in the UK corporate sector claims that 40 percent of flexible office users would rather work from a conventional office. According to the report, while the future of coworking is increasingly being explored as part of academic and industry research, there has been limited focus on what it means for large corporate occupiers. The 2019 Rise of Flexible Workspace in the Corporate Sector Report (choir members only) aims to identify the drivers of and the barriers to – the use of flexible space and coworking by large corporate occupiers. More →

Remote workers struggle most to switch off from work

Remote workers struggle most to switch off from work

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Remote workers can't switch offAccording to a Remote.co survey of 200 full-time remote workers, unplugging after work hours (40 percent) is the biggest challenge remote workers face in their working lives. The survey, conducted in September and October of this year, claims that other challenges for people who work away from their firm’s  main office for a significant proportion of their time include dealing with non-work distractions (32 percent), developing strong relationships with co-workers (25 percent), loneliness (23 percent), troubleshooting technology problems (21 percent), and working across different time zones (19 percent). More →

Mental health stigma holds back ex-services people from getting jobs

Mental health stigma holds back ex-services people from getting jobs

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mental healthResearch out today, by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity claims that British ex-service personnel struggle to find work due to mental health stigma. Almost a half (46 percent) of UK recruiters worry about hiring a service leaver in case they had mental health issues. Despite best efforts from British companies and individuals, including Prince William and Prince Harry, negative perceptions about mental health remain a significant barrier in the recruitment process, with service leavers being stigmatised. Over a third (31 percent) of recruiters feel reluctant to hire someone who had previously served. More →

Making flippy floppy with the meaning of work

Making flippy floppy with the meaning of work

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Great news! No, not the Brexit deal but the reports that the US has replaced the floppy disks it uses to store the information about its nuclear arsenal with something a bit less Nineties. If nothing else, a useful reminder that even the people responsible for a potential Armageddon might not be quite on board for the Fourth Industrial Revolution just yet, and are still coming to terms with the Third. 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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Going with the flow in office design

Going with the flow in office design

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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 →

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