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:

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

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tall buildings“What Baloo had said about the monkeys was perfectly true. They belonged to the tree-tops, and as beasts very seldom look up, there was no occasion for the monkeys and the Jungle-People to cross each other’s path.” Of course, Rudyard Kipling meant this figuratively but there is a clear link between ‘up’ in the figurative sense and ‘up’ in the physical sense. The executives at Omnicorp don’t lease the most expensive offices in a tower in so they can sit around on the ground floor watching the hoi polloi pass by at street level. They need to be at the top of the building looking down on them. More →

Insight launches sister magazine to shape the future of workplace thinking

Insight launches sister magazine to shape the future of workplace thinking

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It’s been six years since Workplace Insight first appeared as a blog. I’d been in the office design and management sector for twenty years already, but I created Insight to explore both a new medium and a new conversation about work and workplaces. Since that time we have published over 6,000 stories with contributions from over 400 people. And – get this – we have been read by over 2.5 million people both in the UK and around the world. Clearly, we have been on to something, chronicling the development of what is essentially a new discipline. More →

Other things being equal, this year will see the end of open plan and start of a four day week

Other things being equal, this year will see the end of open plan and start of a four day week

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You’ll only get one prediction from me this year and that’s about how all of the other workplace predictions will be cut and paste jobs from the past three decades and more. If you want to take a cynical approach to the whole thing, you’ll find one from your humble servant here. Apart from that, if you only read one set of actual predictions for 2020 or even the Twenties (that’ll take some getting used to), then make it this from an author also jaded and burdened by too many glib pronouncements about work and workplaces in general and the annual parade of predictable predictions in particular. More →

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility 0

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corporate social responsibilityYou’re probably aware of the experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in which volunteers were asked by men in white coats to administer what they believed to be electric shocks to another person, who they could not see, but could hear, from behind a screen. Around two-thirds of the volunteers agreed to deliver what they were told to be potentially fatal shocks to the subject, who they could hear screaming and begging them to stop. What they didn’t know was the person they were agreeing to inflict this on was in fact an actor. Although now questioned, Milgram’s findings remain the famous of a series of studies that have attempted to highlight the willingness of humans to bow to authority figures and comply with group norms irrespective of what their own morals might tell them.

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The ten most read workplace stories of 2019

The ten most read workplace stories of 2019

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Most read workplace storiesHere’s a rundown of the best-read stories and pages on Workplace Insight first published over the last year. Taken together they may offer a snapshot of current workplace thinking although I would have to caveat that by saying that because we don’t publish obvious uninformed and hysterical nonsense, it will by necessity not include some stories that have gained traction elsewhere. More →

The tipped out, left out and fallout from a failing workplace culture

The tipped out, left out and fallout from a failing workplace culture

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The big workplace news story of the past week or so appears to be one about a toilet seat. Sometimes it’s in the small things we can discern a greater truth. To see a world in a grain of sand, as William Blake wrote. The seat of this much discussed is tilted forward by 13 degrees so that after about five minutes it becomes very uncomfortable because people tire of using their legs to stop themselves sliding off. The reason is clearly to stop them ‘wasting time’ on the toilet. For some reason best known to themselves the product has been endorsed by the British Toilet Association who have opened themselves to the criticism that they agree with the presupposition that people should get on with the whole nasty business and get back to work. More →

The philosophy of wellbeing: Elina Grigoriou in conversation

The philosophy of wellbeing: Elina Grigoriou in conversation

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wellbeing mattersElina Grigorou is the author of a fantastic new book called Wellbeing in Interiors: Philosophy, Design & Value in Practice. The book looks not only at the ways organisations can use design to address the wellbeing of individuals, but also the impact this approach has on them as individuals in terms of their creativity and productivity. This in turn can have a transformative impact on the organisations for which they work. More →

The truth about all those workplace trends lists

The truth about all those workplace trends lists

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You would not believe the number of firms that ask us to publish a list of workplace trends each week. Or maybe you would, given the number that have appeared elsewhere. Each firm perhaps convinced they are saying something original, unique or interesting, or maybe simply convinced they stand out in some way, while pushing the same timid, stale narratives about the workplace. It goes without saying that the commercialised messages often do little to shine a light on complex realities. In the words of the Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang, they use information ‘like a drunk uses lamp-posts—for support rather than illumination’.

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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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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 →

Is work important to us because we need it to be important?

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The ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside robots 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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Seeing red about the only home we will ever know

Seeing red about the only home we will ever know

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Somewhere in the Utah desert, there is a small living pod designed to emulate conditions on Mars for a group of scientists keen to explore how we might colonise that red planet after messing this blue one up. This came as a surprise to me as did the news that Ikea has been on site recently installing some of its furniture for the occupants. Next up perhaps, an installation of Billy bookcases on the International Space Station as scientists explore the effects on people of a lost screw in zero gravity. I am Jack’s unconstrained rage. More →

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