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:

Finding the spark of creativity in the routine and boredom of every day

Finding the spark of creativity in the routine and boredom of every day

Every day, after a leisurely breakfast in bed and the opening of his post, Roald Dahl would wander down his garden to the grubby little hut crammed with personal paraphernalia he had created. There he would sharpen the six yellow pencils that were always by his side while he worked, settle into an armchair, put his feet up on an old suitcase filled with logs, place an American yellow legal pad of paper onto a makeshift board on his lap and work for two hours. More →

They call it mellow yellow. Issue 19 of IN Magazine lands

They call it mellow yellow. Issue 19 of IN Magazine lands

The new issue of IN Magazine has been published today.The new issue of IN Magazine has been published online today. In this issue: we ask why firms are so reluctant to change what they do; a dream of the past and future of work; Andy Lake talks about his new, visionary book; how AI might make cities worse; what inclusive design means; a panel of experts discuss what changing work practices mean for major business districts; why we must rethink how we light our streets and squares; how to strike the right balance when it comes to creating meetings in offices; and we take a grand tour through the Bucharest HQ of the world’s biggest travel group. More →

Navel gazing may not be the answer to the challenges facing workplace professions

Navel gazing may not be the answer to the challenges facing workplace professions

An adherence to strongly held beliefs can make people think and behave in peculiar ways and get them tangled up in peripheral issues that take on a great deal of significance. Early religious artists, for example, spent centuries wrestling with the seemingly intractable problem of whether to depict Adam and Eve with belly buttons or not. 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

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 →

Where are the iconic office furniture products of yesterday?

Where are the iconic office furniture products of yesterday?

A new image of Bauhaus students from 1927 raises interesting questions about the design of office furnitureLate last year, this image went viral on social media. It is of a group of Bauhaus design students from around 1927. They are called Martha Erps, Katt Both and Ruth Hellos. The full image (reproduced below) shows them with legendary office furniture designer Marcel Breuer, who Erps would later marry. The story of the photograph can be found here. On social media, though, the standard response from people of a certain vintage – my vintage admittedly – is to suggest that they were last seen supporting Echo and the Bunnymen at the Barrowland Glasgow in 1984.  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 →

How Gulliver’s Travels predicted AI and our attempts to make sense of it all

How Gulliver’s Travels predicted AI and our attempts to make sense of it all

Gullivers Travels includes a description of a machine that woks very like modern AI systems, and with the same drawbacksGulliver’s Travels is one of those books we assume we know. But what we tend to recall is some stuff about Lilliput, giants, talking horses and possibly something about scientists trying to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. It’s really about one man’s descent into disillusion with the human race. It is acerbic, occasionally tediously detailed, and offers insight into some aspects of the human condition, which makes it timeless. More →

Insight weekly: What working from home is doing to you + New issue of IN magazine + The fear of the penalty kick

Insight weekly: What working from home is doing to you + New issue of IN magazine + The fear of the penalty kick

Insight Weekly includes a round up of the best stories and commentary from the past seven days. It includes free premium content including features, podcasts, supplements and a link to the digital edition of IN Magazine. In this issue:  your experience of working from home might improve your wellbeing – and might not; facilities managers are the goalies of the workplace; the new issue of IN; and a chat over a G&T with the one and only Antony Slumbers.  You can subscribe to this and our magazines here. More →

Whenever I hear the future of work, I reach for my pistol

Whenever I hear the future of work, I reach for my pistol

the future of workFor years it has been evident that there is no ‘future of work’. There is only a journey with no destination and no single way of not getting to it. That hasn’t stopped people talking about it all endlessly. And each time they have, I’ve reached for my pistol. More →

Of mice and men

Of mice and men

What humble computer mice can tell us about the way we now work. Or how the law of unintended consequences applies to hybrid workersThe history of the humble computer mouse dates back to the 1960s and engineer Douglas Engelbart’s work on improving the way people and computers interact. He initially called the device he envisaged a ‘bug’ but the first prototype he created with Bill English was so unmistakeably a rodent that there was only one thing they could have called it. If only they had settled the question of whether the plural was mouses or mice. 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, just a few days ago, 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 →

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

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 →