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:

A just in time lesson about office design

A just in time lesson about office design

The nascent years of new ways of working in the late 80s and early 90s coincided with a widely held but soon to be discarded belief that the Japanese had cracked management practices. So it was perhaps inevitable that the principles of a process called just in time manufacturing – most famously applied in the factories of Toyota – should migrate to new forms of office design and the rapidly developing practice of flexible working.

More →

We are not blank slates and we don’t adapt to change in predictable ways

We are not blank slates and we don’t adapt to change in predictable ways

An idea that has never really gone away, but which seems to be enjoying a new lease of life is the tabula rasa. The conception of people as a blank slate is something that has crept back into mainstream political and social thought for a variety of reasons. Arguably, it is also behind many of the most misleading notions about work and workplace design, perhaps most importantly that a change to some single element or characteristic of a working environment will lead to a specific outcome in the behaviour of people. More →

Office furniture giant Flokk acquires Connection, doubling footprint in UK

Office furniture giant Flokk acquires Connection, doubling footprint in UK

office furniture giant Flokk acquires ConnectionFlokk, one of the leading European manufacturers of office seating and office furniture products, has acquired UK-based office furniture manufacturer Connection, expanding its footprint in the strategically important UK market and underpinning its international growth strategy. “Having Connection join the Flokk group moves us into the major league of Europe’s second-largest office seating market. We roughly double our size to about EUR 30 million in the key UK market. The transaction is another example of Flokk continuing to consolidate the fragmented European office seating market through targeted and value-creating acquisitions of attractive companies and brands,” says Lars I. Røiri, CEO of Flokk. More →

Who watches the workplace watchmen?

Who watches the workplace watchmen?

an eye on the workplaceOne of the world’s best known and most enduring foundational psychological experiments does not appear to be as clear cut as we commonly think. It was back in 1961 that a team led by the American psychologist Stanley Milgram asked a number of ordinary people to administer what they believed to be increasingly high levels of electric shocks to a person in another room while listening to their responses. More →

The Great Resignation will cast a long spell

The Great Resignation will cast a long spell

the spell of the great resignationThe writer Alan Moore believes in magic. Not hocus-pocus magic, double double toil and trouble, but in the power of words and art to change reality and bring things into existence. It’s a compelling idea, one that Moore shares with Picasso amongst others, and the evidence for it in its metaphorical sense is all around. More →

The office sector needs to develop better arguments for its products

The office sector needs to develop better arguments for its products

the office sector needs better argumentsThe distillation of every received and laundered idea of the past two years leads us here. A claim from Gallup that in future just over a third of the desks in offices will be empty. Whatever Gallup thinks, this is great news for the office sector. One of the truths the office sector hasn’t always liked to talk about too much over the last few decades is that in a typical office over that period, around half of the desks have already been empty. More →

New issue of IN Magazine is now online

New issue of IN Magazine is now online

IN Magazine coverThe January 2022 issue of IN Magazine is now online. In this issue we: visit what is claimed to be the best office in the world; consider whether the experience of our daily lives is shaped more by maintenance than design; challenge the idea of people as blank slates; look at a new generation of datacentre design; explore the regional flex office market; ask how rising energy costs will impact remote workers; talk to manufacturers using waste and unwanted materials to create new products; hear from Robert Bolton of KPMG on a new era for HR; and learn about how intentional design applies to the workplace. All back issues of IN Magazine are available here.

The allure of workplace bullshit

The allure of workplace bullshit

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.

More →

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

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

great workplace conversation“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. And that is clearly the case with the ongoing Great Workplace Conversation. More →

Hybrid working? Let’s put on a show

Hybrid working? Let’s put on a show

hybrid working performanceI’m currently rereading Art Kleiner’s masterful book The Age of Heretics which describes the history of ground-breaking thought in management in the 20th Century and the lessons we forget. It remains a relevant book for the new era of ‘hybrid working’ because the book draws a distinction between two fundamental schools of thought in management theory. One of these sees management as a numbers game in which people are inherently problematic and so must be directed what to do based on data and routines of desirable activity and behaviour. And the other sees people as well meaning, capable and adaptable with managers there to facilitate and channel their abilities and help them develop. 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 →

Republished: The brain-dead megaphone of work

Republished: The brain-dead megaphone of work

There is nothing new about any of this. And yet it’s all new. I’ve spent months talking to people who really know their stuff about work and workplaces and underlying nearly all of those conversations is the following paradox. They know about flexible working, the under-utilisation of space, the twenty minute neighbourhood, the work ecosystem, universal basic income, the digital workspace, the office as club, all the rest of it. Heard it all before, often many times, over many years. Some of them have been living it too, and yet… More →

Translate >>