About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Insight and 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:

Four day week not a good idea for UK, report concludes

Four day week not a good idea for UK, report concludes

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four day weekThe debate about the introduction of a compulsory four day week or shorter hours may take a new turn following the publication of a new report commissioned by the Labour Party which concludes that a blanket limit on the hours worked by people in the UK is both unrealistic and potentially counter-productive, in spite of the fact that there is clear evidence for its effect on wellbeing and productivity. More →

The Internet and a pile of turtles that goes all the way down

The Internet and a pile of turtles that goes all the way down

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alan_turingIn his 1998 book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking relates the following anecdote: “A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!” 

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Shakespeare, steampunk and our immersion in tech soup

Shakespeare, steampunk and our immersion in tech soup

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Technology is always remarkable in its own time, indistinguishable from magic for an increasingly fleeting moment before the stardust fades and it becomes mundane, subverted by our unintended uses, its own unintended consequences and the very way it inveigles itself into the background of our existence, blurring identities, changing the way we view ourselves and others and shattering the compartments into which we once found it easy to separate the different parts of our lives.

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Aping our robot overlords, Instagrammable buildings and some other stuff

Aping our robot overlords, Instagrammable buildings and some other stuff

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What happens to people when their skills become obsolete? If you’re not asking yourself this question already, you probably should. A new study from researchers at MIT and Wharton is the basis for this piece in Quartz at Work which considers the implications for what looks like a small technological change and its consequences for a large number of people who had to reset what they offered employers. More →

What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics and distractions at work

What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics and distractions at work

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Aldous Huxley who had some thoughts on acoustics and unwanted noiseOver the last few years there has been something of a loud and widespread backlash to the idea that we need to have constant access to information and our colleagues to work effectively. The touchstone for this pushback is of course the open plan office which has become something of a scapegoat for the universal problem of interruption and distraction and a renewed interest in the complexities of acoustics in office design. More →

Governments should respond to needs of older workers

Governments should respond to needs of older workers

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Illustration of older workers in an officeWhile firms are already being asked to do more to support their older workers by organisations like The Centre for Ageing Better, a new OECD report is arguing that it is an issue that Governments are not addressing as well as they might. It claims that the rapidly ageing population of countries around the world means that governments should promote more and better job opportunities for older workers to protect living standards and the sustainability of public finances.

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Back to workplace basics, the joy and pain of work, squeezing people in and some other stuff

Back to workplace basics, the joy and pain of work, squeezing people in and some other stuff

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A coworking workplace in Chengdu by WeWorkLet’s get the inevitable WeWork story out of the way first. A supposed news item in Crain’s New York Business has claimed that WeWork is ‘squeezing’ people into half the space recommended in the BCO’s Specification Guide; “roughly the size of two standard doors laying side by side”. You can see the editorial cogs at work here, combining a story about WeWork with one about how people are crammed into the workplace like cattle these days.

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A grey tsunami, three goldfish, the red pill of coworking and some other colourful stuff

A grey tsunami, three goldfish, the red pill of coworking and some other colourful stuff

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A right leaning think tank’s suggestion that the UK should set a new retirement age of 75 and introduce a range of measures to extend people’s working lives to boost the economy and improve people’s wellbeing sparked an inevitable paroxysm of rage. Immediately followed by an equally inevitable and furious level of what passes for debate these days. A stramash the Scottish would call it. More →

London is the most productive region in the UK

London is the most productive region in the UK

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London is the most productive region in the UK, followed by the South East and Scotland according to new research from the the University of Durham Business School. Economists Professor Richard Harris and Professor John Moffat conducted the research and also found that the least productive region was Wales, with London having productivity levels over double the amount of Wales. London receives between twice and three times as much per capita funding for transport than any other region. More →

What the 21st Century office of the future looked like in the 1960s

What the 21st Century office of the future looked like in the 1960s

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refraction and the office of the futureWe’re used to hearing people predict what The Office of the Future will look like. It’s been going on for a very long time now and each new generation of commentators on the subject comes up with its own forms of wishful thinking, wild generalisations, distorted conclusions and failures to account for the inherent unknowability of future disruptive technology. The best way of reminding ourselves of these pitfalls is not to look forward, but back. Only then  can we see how an image can be refracted and make allowances. More →

Businesses should focus on the greater good of people and society

Businesses should focus on the greater good of people and society

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Modern corporations should work in the best interests of society and people rather than focusing primarily on making money for shareholders as they may have in the past, according to an influential group of chief executives. The body Business Roundtable, which represents the heads of some of America’s largest companies, including Apple, Amazon and Exxon Mobil, has issued a statement of its updated corporate governance principles. More →

The endless hunt for the office of the future

The endless hunt for the office of the future 0

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The office of the future has its precedents in the 1950sLewis Carroll’s second best known work The Hunting of the Snark is a long nonsense poem that describes the pursuit by a group of adventurers of an elusive creature called a Snark. This turns out to be a much more dangerous Boojum when it is finally seen, causing one of the crew members to vanish. The poem may or may not be an allegory for the pursuit of happiness but it could easily be about our pursuit of anything elusive, imaginary or ephemeral.

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