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:

The unshocking truth about work and workplaces

The unshocking truth about work and workplaces

I recently read an interesting little book called Office by Sheila Liming. It’s a small book, easy to read in a sitting and linked to a series of essays in The Atlantic. The author is a Professor of English so it’s no surprise to find that it’s beautifully written and draws on a range of sources to illustrate its points. It’s pretty sound on its own terms but also illustrates perfectly what is wrong with so many current narratives about work. The writing may not be clichéd but the thinking often is. More →

The office is everywhere and nowhere, baby

The office is everywhere and nowhere, baby

Workplace Insight and IN Magazine publisher Mark Eltringham recently took part in a lively episode of the Nowhere Office podcast with Julia Hobsbawn, Stefan Stern and Joanna Swash. They considered the current nature of work, what long term changes we can expect to emerge now and the role of working culture in providing a great experience for everybody, whoever and wherever they are – and whenever they might work. More →

If you’re certain about the changing world of work, you’re certainly wrong

If you’re certain about the changing world of work, you’re certainly wrong

world of workIf you click on the first link in any article on Wikipedia and keep repeating the process, eventually you will land on the Philosophy page. Or you will 97 percent of the time, according to Wikipedia itself. There’s a dry explanation for this involving the site’s classification system, as explained by the mathematician Hannah Fry here. But there’s a more poetic explanation that I prefer. That every subject leads back to a consideration of ourselves, our lives and our place in the world. Anthropocentric maybe, but then again, the proper study of mankind is man. More →

The new era of flexible working and knowing when to lie flat

The new era of flexible working and knowing when to lie flat

flexible working and knowing when to lie flatWhen people first started working from home in large numbers for the first time in the Spring of 2020, one of the most talked about issues was how the productivity of most stayed the same or improved. This shouldn’t have been that surprising given all that we have learned about remote and flexible working over the years, but it certainly drove the debate for a while. More →

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

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

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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Office design goes to the movies

Office design goes to the movies

What can the movies tell us about office designFollowing our recent attempts to create a rudimentary playlist of songs that tell us something, or perhaps nothing, about office design, office life and office furniture, here’s another look at how the parochial world of the workplace can brush up against popular culture. It does this unnoticed for most people, I suppose, but not for those of us bound up in this world. We’re not the sort of people who can ignore the regular, brief glimpse of an Aeron chair’s ubiquitous mesh without a synapse of recognition sparking up. So, here is a brief rundown of nine movies that use office design to make a plot point or set up a character development.

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The great workplace conversation needs to be held with a great deal more humility

The great workplace conversation needs to be held with a great deal more humility

“Nobody knows anything”. William Goldman’s infamous summing up of the essential unknowability of the movie business also has a less quoted second part. “Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.” It is a call for humility. That no matter how much we know about what we do and how good we are at it, we can’t always predict its outcomes. More →

We need to acknowledge our bias if we want to see the world for what it is

We need to acknowledge our bias if we want to see the world for what it is

We’re all biased. We all recognise the sharp bump of our critical thinking skills kicking into life when confronted with ideas and information that go against our beliefs. We know how they doze in the comforting embrace of affirming data. So, it’s been entertaining this week to observe the reaction to the large-scale academic study of 10,000 IT workers which found that they had worked 30 percent longer hours while working from home, a fifth of it outside their normal times of work, without actually doing any more work. In essence their productivity had fallen by 20 percent in spite of their increased hours. More →

Flexible working and wellbeing? We already know how that all works

Flexible working and wellbeing? We already know how that all works

flexible working and wellbeingIf you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Woody Allen’s wise observation could have been made for this year. But it’s not just true for plans that go awry, but also those that go right in unexpected ways.  For example, what better time to publish a book about the links between flexible working and wellbeing than in April 2020 as large swathes of the population were adjusting to completely remote work, many of them for the first time? 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 →

IN Magazine issue 6 has been published

IN Magazine issue 6 has been published

IN Magazine cover artIt’s now a year since we launched IN Magazine and what a year it’s been. Issue 6 is now out. IN continues to explore the latest ideas from the world of work, speak to the most interesting people and feature the most pioneering ideas. In this issue: Kerstin Sailer casts a spell on the workplace; Microsoft’s Experience Centre in Amsterdam; what we can learn about the workplace experience from app design; the new emphasis on fresh air; the problem of managing people across borders; what happens to spaces when people abandon them; and why we must take the environmental impact of commercial property far more seriously. And, of course, much more. All back issues of IN Magazine can be found here. Illustration: Ian Pearsall

The binary choices and multiple outcomes of flexible working

The binary choices and multiple outcomes of flexible working

A year of unnecessarily binary conversation about work leads inevitably to this. A stupid question. Is Big Tech going off work from home? Betteridge’s Law takes care of that, just as it did another question from 12 months ago. Even though the article is slightly better than the headline, the insistence that the only two choices we have are home or office remains. More →

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