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 seven greatest depictions of the workplace in art. Possibly.

The seven greatest depictions of the workplace in art. Possibly.

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Art supposedly holds up a mirror to life. Except when it comes to our working lives, it doesn’t. Or at least it doesn’t always show a true or full reflection, both in terms of the amount of time we dedicate to work and how important it is to us. More →

Right, said Fred. Here I am again

Right, said Fred. Here I am again

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If there has been an underlying driver of workplace thinking over the past several decades, it has been a rejection of the principles of scientific management. These begat the idea of the office as a factory, subject to the same rigid times and places of work and the same culture of process, efficiency and productivity. This made a pantomime villain of its key figure Frederick Taylor. The worst adjective you could use to describe a working culture was Taylorist. More →

Zoom fatigue and the new era of online meetings

Zoom fatigue and the new era of online meetings

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When it comes to that annual announcement the publishers of dictionaries like to make about their Word of the Year, 2020 will have only one candidate. But if there were a shortlist, you can bet that Zoom would be on it. The uptake of Zoom and other apps to help people connect during the lockdown has been remarkable. Numbers emerge each week of the scale of growth, but they’re instantly out of date and probably meaningless anyway. We could make up something like there having been a 2,300% increase since March 23rd, and it might as well be true. More →

The scale of the problem for the workplace

The scale of the problem for the workplace

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There is a typically telling and intelligent Pixar moment in the film A Bug’s Life in which an already well-lubricated mosquito goes up to a bar and orders a ‘Bloody Mary, O Positive’. The barman plonks a droplet of blood down on the bar. The mosquito sinks his proboscis into it, sucks it down in one go and promptly falls over. The mosquito doesn’t need a glass because that is for animals who have a problem with gravity. For insects, the major force in their lives isn’t gravity, but surface tension. More →

What the humble avocado can teach us about why we will always work in offices

What the humble avocado can teach us about why we will always work in offices

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From the archive. Originally published in 2013. People have been talking about the death of the office for at least a quarter of a century. Leaving aside the often misleading conflation of flexible working with homeworking that is often involved, the underlying premise of such talk has been the same for all of that time. The main argument is, and always was, that there is an alternative to the tedium, aggravation and expense of travelling to an office solely to work inside its hermetically sealed and fluorescent-lit, blue-carpeted interior alongside people who can drive you spare, before you schlep home again. More →

Peter Löffler explores the world of digital twin technology in the Workplace Insight podcast

Peter Löffler explores the world of digital twin technology in the Workplace Insight podcast

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The expression “if these walls could talk” is taking on an entirely new meaning with the emerging opportunity to create digital twins for buildings, claims Peter Löffler, the head of innovation at Siemens Smart Infrastructure in a new episode of the Workplace Insight podcast. Across the entire lifecycle of structures such as office buildings, hospitals, airports and hotels, creating a digital twin can significantly reduce costs, improve efficiencies, speed construction delivery, as well as enhance performance and the user experience. More →

Reshaping ourselves to fit in a new era for work

Reshaping ourselves to fit in a new era for work

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Making a splash at workThe ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside new forms of technology 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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A just in time lesson about office design

A just in time lesson about office design

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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 the rapidly developing practice of flexible working.

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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 →

From the archive: The cargo cult of modern office design

From the archive: The cargo cult of modern office design

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The idea of the cargo cult derives from anthropological observations made about the behaviour of societies that encounter more technologically advanced societies. In particular it is rooted in those rituals and objects created by Pacific islanders in an attempt to attract modern goods and technology and generally earn favour with people who they thought could prevent terrible events. More →

Escaping the gravitational pull of workplace data

Escaping the gravitational pull of workplace data

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On the doorstep of the British Library you will find Edouardo Paolozzi’s imposing statue of Sir Isaac Newton. At first glance, this positioning seems to make perfect sense. Where better for a monument to the Enlightenment’s poster boy than raised on a plinth at the entrance to the world’s second largest library? And yet, there’s more going on here than is evident at first glance.

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Picking through the workplace chatter

Picking through the workplace chatter

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The Universe is a noisy place. Countless bodies chatter to each other against the backdrop of distant echoes from the Big Bang. Because we are curious, we have developed the technology to listen in and record the din and convert it from the electromagnetic vibration it really is into something we can sense with our ears. NASA has even produced a playlist of the noises from our own solar system and some of the objects we have propelled into it, which you can listen to here.   More →

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