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 happens to work when the machine stops?

What happens to work when the machine stops?

Newton at work

In 1909, E M Forster – not exactly known for a body of work including dystopian fiction – published a novella called The Machine Stops. You can read it here but the story describes a future in which people live below ground, in isolation but with all their needs met by an omnipresent Machine (you can see where this is going). More →

The way to create a successful workplace is simple, but never easy

The way to create a successful workplace is simple, but never easy

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. As is now the way of these things, the famous opening words of Anna Karenina have been used to name a principle that is applied across a wide range of fields. It describes how success can only happen in one way, but failure comes in many forms. More →

The shape of things to come for the world and the workplace

The shape of things to come for the world and the workplace

Originally published in March, right at the start of all this. Makes me wonder how far we’ve come in nine months. In Dorian Lynskey’s The Ministry of Truth, a “biography” of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the author describes how Orwell’s  book was the end point of an obsession with utopian (and ultimately dystopian) fiction that characterised the first half of the Twentieth Century, and reflected the competing political, social and economic ideologies of the era. More →

When the chairs took over the world and what it all meant

When the chairs took over the world and what it all meant

rows of chairsOf all the things we buy, with the exception of our clothes, furniture is the most intimate, the one item we spend most time in contact with. According to JG Ballard who dedicated himself to understanding our relationship with the world around us, ‘Furniture constitutes an external constellation of our skin areas and body postures’. Whether he would have recognised it as such, Ballard was a pioneer of the principle we now refer to as psychogeography, defined by one of its founders, Guy Debord, as ‘the study of the precise effects of setting, consciously managed or not, acting directly on the mood and behaviour of the individual’. More →

Listening in on an enormous conversation about the workplace

Listening in on an enormous conversation about the workplace

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 it seems to rely on straddling at least two worlds. More →

Office taxonomy and an increasingly diverse workplace ecosystem

Office taxonomy and an increasingly diverse workplace ecosystem

From the archive. First published in October workplace ecosystem2015. It is perhaps the most common misconception of evolutionary theory that all animals are somehow evolving towards some end point – meaning us. This notion is perhaps best summed up when a sceptic asks: “If we have evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” The lesser of the two problems with this is its solipsistic assumption that humans are the pinnacles of life and that, if evolution were true, all species would eventually evolve into people. More →

The lost art of office furniture peacocking and the growing mental health crisis at work

The lost art of office furniture peacocking and the growing mental health crisis at work

When Donald Trump was pictured recently sitting uncomfortably at a table that looked like it had been retrieved from a skip, it provoked the sort of sneering commentary about furniture choices last seen when Dominic Cummings popped in to the Downing Street garden to deliver some self-serving blather from behind a rickety trestle table. More →

Is there a future for the office?

Is there a future for the office?

Yes.

IN Magazine issue 4 continues to explore the changing world of work and workplaces

IN Magazine issue 4 continues to explore the changing world of work and workplaces

The new issue of IN Magazine is now online. This issue includes interviews with Chris Kane and Thomas Heatherwick; as well as pieces on: the new EDGE building in Berlin; the changing attitudes of CRE professionals to the office; the anthropology of workplace design; the interplay of networks and hierarchies; the need to create better cycling facilities; what the city and the office can learn from each other; a tribute to Enzo Mari and much more. Back issues can be found here.

Chris Kane discusses his new book on workplace transformation

Chris Kane discusses his new book on workplace transformation

The physician can bury his mistakes,—but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines. Frank Lloyd Wright’s eternal epigram is not just true for buildings. It also applies to the authors of books, especially those on the subjects most affected by this year’s pandemic. Speakers and blog writers can quietly inter the things they get wrong, while the book sits unchangeable on a shelf. Maybe behind a houseplant.
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What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge and information

What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge and information

Unbelievably for those of us who saw him as a personal hero, yesterday marked the 24th anniversary of the death of Carl Sagan. At the time of his death in 1996, the Internet was very much in its infancy but Sagan could see what was coming, including how we need to filter what is valuable from the deluge of information we now bob around in. Sagan put it like this: “all of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” More →

The brain-dead megaphone of work

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 →

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