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:

The truth about all those workplace trends lists

The truth about all those workplace trends lists

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You would not believe the number of firms that ask us to publish a list of workplace trends each week. Or maybe you would, given the number that have appeared elsewhere. Each firm perhaps convinced they are saying something original, unique or interesting, or maybe simply convinced they stand out in some way, while pushing the same timid, stale narratives about the workplace. It goes without saying that the commercialised messages often do little to shine a light on complex realities. In the words of the Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang, they use information ‘like a drunk uses lamp-posts—for support rather than illumination’.

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Friday, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with staring out of the window

Friday, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with staring out of the window

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There is or was a running joke within IBM that their buildings don’t have windows, they have outside awareness ports. It’s an idea that not only reflects the culture of long hours spent staring at computer screens – something you don’t have to work for Big Blue to be aware of – but also one that acknowledges our need to be aware of the wider world when we are at work. Our gut instinct tells us that we are better off either outdoors or looking at it. More →

Helsinki tops global rankings for work-life balance

Helsinki tops global rankings for work-life balance

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Work-life balanceHelsinki is the world’s best city for work-life balance according to a new study from technology business Kisi which compares data on a range of factors such as “livability”, work intensity, institutional support, equality and legislation to rank cities. Helsinki, Munich, and Oslo are the three best ranked cities while the cities deemed as having the worst work-life balance were Tokyo, Singapore, and Washington DC. Using data relating to work intensity, social wellbeing, and livability to analyse the interplay between work and life, the index claims to assess how successful residents are at achieving a healthy work-life balance in 40 cities around the world. More →

Changing nature of work revealed in official data

Changing nature of work revealed in official data

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The changing nature of workMany aspects of the changing nature of work in the UK are highlighted in a new official report into the number of hours worked in the country. The UK’s ongoing productivity challenges, highlighted by another ONS report last month, are well known, but the new data suggests that a number of common suppositions about the way we work should be challenged, especially those related to demographics, the types of work people do and who does it. More →

Some uncomfortable truths about sitting down at work

Some uncomfortable truths about sitting down at work 0

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The problem with the modish idea of fake news is that we’re not very good at spotting it. As with our driving, each of us possesses an unwarranted faith in our own abilities coupled with dismay at those of other people, unaware of just how much our own biases and fixed opinions distort the way we perceive information. It’s one of those things we need to be on the lookout for, especially if we are pronouncing on complex issues.

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The magical limits of workplace design

The magical limits of workplace design

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workplace design like a rabbit in a hatDerren Brown is clearly on to something. And if you’ve read his books you’ll know that what he’s on to is finding ways to tap in to our fascination with how our thoughts and actions can be manipulated using some well-defined and researched techniques and principles. Add in some showmanship and what you have is something that is indistinguishable from magic. It also gas something to say about some of the ways we think about workplace design and management.

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Insight weekly: Toxic colleagues + Sleeping on the job + New ways of measuring success

Insight weekly: Toxic colleagues + Sleeping on the job + New ways of measuring success

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The latest issue of Insight Weekly is available to read online. If you don’t already subscribe, you can find a simple subscription form at the bottom of the page. In this week’s issue we look at how the behaviour of just one person in an organisation can have knock on effects for everybody;  James Ransom looks at how smart cities are being pioneered in the unlikeliest of places; Anna King uncovers the psychological roots of workplace acoustics; James Geekie argues we’ve arrived at the tipping point for flexible working; and I consider the colour of magic and what it means for office design.

Office design goes to the movies

Office design goes to the movies

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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 can’t ignore the brief glimpse of an Aeron chair’s ubiquitous mesh without a synapse firing 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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One dishonest co-worker can disrupt an entire workplace

One dishonest co-worker can disrupt an entire workplace

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The devil takes the hindmost - how the actions of a co-worker can disrupt a businessA vicious cycle can begin with one little white lie from a co-worker, diminishing the ability of other employees to read others and then even undermining the entire workplace or business, finds a new study from researchers at Michigan, Harvard, Virginia and Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Dishonest deeds diminish a person’s ability to read others’ emotions, or “interpersonal cognition,” the research found. In addition, the consequences can snowball. One dishonest act can set in motion even more dishonesty. More →

The colour of magic in office design

The colour of magic in office design

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In the Discworld series of novels, the author Terry Pratchett introduces us to the colour of magic. He calls it octarine, a sort of greenish purple, described as ‘the undisputed pigment of the imagination’. It’s all fanciful but, in fact, such unseeable colours exist for the human eye. They are seemingly invisible to us most of the time because of the limitations of our vision and not just because they exist outside of the usual visible spectrum. More →

Agile working? This is Frank’s World and the rest of us just live in it

Agile working? This is Frank’s World and the rest of us just live in it

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An early example of agile working James Joyce had a word for moments of insight when we see right through convention and suddenly appreciate how things really are. He called such moments epiphanies. Such a flash of insight happened to me three or four years ago in Texas. I had been explaining to the partners of a very large international client how they could use their office space more effectively. Since these partners were rightly concerned with driving down occupancy costs, including rent, property taxes, service charges and energy costs throughout all their operations everywhere, my proposals were very acceptable. More →

Commercial property sector shifts focus to wellbeing in response to tenant demands

Commercial property sector shifts focus to wellbeing in response to tenant demands

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Wellbeing is an increasing focus for the commercial property sector A new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), claims that the wave of interest in wellbeing in the UK is expected to translate into significant investment from the commercial property sector over the next three years. The report, Picture of health: the growing role of wellbeing in commercial real estate investment decision-making, has been published by the ULI UK Sustainability Forum to highlight the rise of wellbeing investment in commercial buildings. The report from ULI UK was sponsored by E.ON and addresses questions about the investment case for incorporating wellbeing into buildings and how to measure its impact. More →

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