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:

Cracking the issue of work after lockdown

Cracking the issue of work after lockdown

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Take any issue in the modern era and you’ll find a noisy schism. The big-endians and little-endians yelling at each other about the right way to eat a boiled egg, right over the heads of the majority of people who wonder if they’d be better off just having some toast and a nice cup of tea. Not that the toast-eaters can say anything without being accused by both sides of the divide of belonging to the other. More →

What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge and information

What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge and information

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Unbelievably for those of us who saw him as a personal hero, it’s over 20 years since the astronomer and author Carl Sagan died. At the time of his death in 1996, the Internet was very much in its infancy but Sagan could see what was coming, including how we need to filter what is valuable from the deluge of information we now bob around in. Sagan put it like this: “all of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” More →

Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

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agile working began in the coal fields of NottinghamshireThe idea of diffusion of innovation has become so embedded in our culture, and most recently so associated with the adoption of new technology, that we might assume it happens in predictable ways. The steps between innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards seem intuitive and certain even when their peaks might be unsure. And yet history teaches us that sometimes new ideas can take years or even decades to take hold, even when they are potentially world-changing and relevant for the era in which they were formulated. More →

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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Acts of kindness create a virtuous circle in the workplace

Acts of kindness create a virtuous circle in the workplace

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flat white economyThis is the very definition of a Friday story. The results of a research project, published in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion suggests that the small kindnesses we show to others at work tend to propagate across an organisation. For the study, a group of researchers from the University of California told workers at Coca Cola’s Madrid headquarters that they were taking part in a piece of research to measure their levels of happiness, job satisfaction, relationships with colleagues (good and bad) and their positive and negative experiences of other people’s behaviour as well as an assessment of their own behaviour over a period of four weeks.

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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 →

We are in danger of reanimating some bad ideas about work

We are in danger of reanimating some bad ideas about work

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Did you hear the one about a Swiss court ruling that firms should pay to rent space in the homes of remote workers? It’s a hell of a thing, especially when so much has been made of the cost savings of a reduction in office space. It’s a notion that is extremely likely to be tested in other countries, so brace yourself. It also illustrates why so many of the narratives about working life after lockdown aren’t as straightforward as they might appear. More →

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present 0

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We are all futurologists now. We all have our 2020 visions, at least for a little while. But there was a time, not so long ago, when the title was reserved for a few people who would be able to shake and shape the world with a single idea and a book. Yes, a book. Nowadays a book has to go hand in hand with a Ted Talk, blogs on the Huff Post and a speaking tour to get you anywhere at all. But within living memory it was possible to shift the thinking of the planet with a book. More →

Charles Handy was a true visionary about the modern workplace

Charles Handy was a true visionary about the modern workplace

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It’s incredibly hard not to be impressed by Charles Handy and even harder not to find him likeable. The scope of his intellect and humanity is evident on the page, in his interviews and in his broadcasts. He reeks of credibility and warmth. Do a Google image search of him and the pictures you find epitomise English middle-class academic decency (despite the fact that he’s Irish); jumpers, churchyards, armchairs and a benign smile. More →

Childhood’s end for work and the need for a grown-up conversation about it

Childhood’s end for work and the need for a grown-up conversation about it

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In my opinion Arthur C Clarke’s finest novel Childhood’s End is the story of an Earth that is invaded by a force of alien Overlords. This is not a destructive colonial invasion, which is why there’s no Hollywood blockbuster in the tale, but a seemingly benevolent intervention which ushers in a golden age for humanity. Although humankind initially does not get to meet the Overlords in person (for reasons I won’t give away here), the aliens unite the world’s governments, eradicate crime, conflict and the nation state and do away with the need for creativity and hard work. It is the literal end of history.

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Never mind the agile workplace, here is something you already know

Never mind the agile workplace, here is something you already know

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The myth has it that John Lydon’s audition for the Sex Pistols consisted largely of wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt with the words I HATE scrawled above the prog rock group’s name. It appealed to the new band’s managers and its existing members at a time when they needed a singer with the right attitude as much as the right chops. Before Lydon’s involvement, bass guitarist Glen Matlock had taken to approaching anybody he saw of his age group with short hair to ask them if they could sing. This was a time when everybody had long hair.

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Latest issue of IN Magazine heralds new era for working life

Latest issue of IN Magazine heralds new era for working life

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IN Magazine coverThe partial return to the physical world of work means that the print edition of the June 2020 issue of IN Magazine is now being mailed out. It has been available for a couple of weeks as a digital edition and it’s full of great stuff on the work topics that matter more than ever. We would say that but you can judge for yourself. More →

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