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 human mind and body are not really machines for living in

The human mind and body are not really machines for living in

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It is ironic that while we live in a world in which we are witnessing the automation of more and more human skills and capabilities, we are often best able to understand the way people function with symbols of mechanisation. That is the underlying conceit of what turned out to be one of the animated film events of recent years, Pixar’s Inside Out. The movie depicts the inner workings of the human brain as under the control of tiny people, literally inside our heads, making decisions on our behalf we only half understand. More →

Blundering blindly towards the truth about work and workplaces

Blundering blindly towards the truth about work and workplaces

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If you don’t like some of the stories we publish on Insight, you should see the ones we reject.  It’s something I catch myself saying a lot and underlying it is an awareness that bullshit can be appealing. We should apply the smell test to stories and go in search of what might best be described as the facts, contradictions and nuances that are characteristic elements of some sort of truth. More →

Stress, sickie days and a beamish response to it all

Stress, sickie days and a beamish response to it all

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Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfactionThis is a piece to mark National Sickie Day, which is today. We now have a policy of not offering ourselves as an outlet for any of the deluge of comment pieces and surveys that are published each year to mark days like this. This is largely because we cover the issue year round so don’t feel the need to add to the PR feeding frenzy that they generate. Whatever you make of the findings of the these reports and others like them, even cynics would have to acknowledge they tap into an unmistakable  feeling that work is not as enjoyable as it should be. More →

Navel gazing may not be the answer to the challenges facing workplace professions

Navel gazing may not be the answer to the challenges facing workplace professions

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belly button workplace professionalsAn adherence to strongly held beliefs can make people think and behave in peculiar ways and get them tangled up in all sorts of peripheral issues that suddenly take on a great deal of significance. Early religious artists, for example, spent centuries wrestling with the intractable problem of whether to depict Adam and Eve with belly buttons or not. It’s a question that troubles theologians to this day but at least they can talk about it in metaphysical terms whereas artists have to choose whether to openly suggest that Adam and Eve were born rather than created, hiding the belly button completely or just going along with whatever and letting other people do the arguing. Many classical artists chose the latter although some chose to use a fig leaf to obscure both the genitalia and implied origins of their subjects.

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The new wellbeing movement: Anna Davison in conversation

The new wellbeing movement: Anna Davison in conversation

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This is the second of six special episodes of the Workplace Insight podcast in which we consider what are the most important facets of workplace wellbeing.  The guest in this episode is Anna Davison who is head of workplace wellbeing at ukactive. Anna says her mission is to develop “the value of physical activity in all workplaces, delivering value to our members aligned to our wider mission of More People, More Active, More Often.” More →

Don`t believe what you read about wellbeing, except this

Don`t believe what you read about wellbeing, except this

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wellbeing and the workplace messengerAs we are told repeatedly, the modern workplace is not very good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and potentially a death trap. Most of us are lucky to get home in one piece at the end of each day, regardless of the job we do. More →

We might spot patterns in office design, but a global picture is beyond us

We might spot patterns in office design, but a global picture is beyond us

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The ongoing evolution in the design of the places we work has much in common with evolution in the natural world. But whereas natural selection is dependent on its ‘Blind Watchmaker’ to indirectly shape creatures in response to the constantly changing forces in their environment own, office design is anything but blind – at least it is when done intelligently and with insight. More →

Forget all the talk of Blue Monday; work is still (largely) good for us

Forget all the talk of Blue Monday; work is still (largely) good for us

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blue mondaySo here it comes. Blue Monday. Next Monday. Officially the most depressing day of the year. We say ‘officially’, but like the idea of ‘Body Odour’ its common usage hides the fact that it was originally created as part of a PR campaign, in this case one for Sky’s travel channel in 2005. The whole idea of Blue Monday is couched in a pseudo-mathematical equation which includes factors like the weather, levels of debt, time since Christmas, low levels of motivation and, apparently, an unspecified variable known simply as ‘D’. More →

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

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tall buildings“What Baloo had said about the monkeys was perfectly true. They belonged to the tree-tops, and as beasts very seldom look up, there was no occasion for the monkeys and the Jungle-People to cross each other’s path.” Of course, Rudyard Kipling meant this figuratively but there is a clear link between ‘up’ in the figurative sense and ‘up’ in the physical sense. The executives at Omnicorp don’t lease the most expensive offices in a tower in so they can sit around on the ground floor watching the hoi polloi pass by at street level. They need to be at the top of the building looking down on them. More →

Issue 1 of IN Magazine is now online

Issue 1 of IN Magazine is now online

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It’s been six years since Workplace Insight first appeared as a blog. I’d been in the office design and management sector for twenty years already, but I created Insight to explore both a new medium and a new conversation about work and workplaces. Since that time we have published over 6,000 stories with contributions from over 400 people. And – get this – we have been read by over 2.5 million people both in the UK and around the world. Clearly, we have been on to something, chronicling the development of what is essentially a new discipline. More →

Other things being equal, this year will see the end of open plan and start of a four day week

Other things being equal, this year will see the end of open plan and start of a four day week

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You’ll only get one prediction from me this year and that’s about how all of the other workplace predictions will be cut and paste jobs from the past three decades and more. If you want to take a cynical approach to the whole thing, you’ll find one from your humble servant here. Apart from that, if you only read one set of actual predictions for 2020 or even the Twenties (that’ll take some getting used to), then make it this from an author also jaded and burdened by too many glib pronouncements about work and workplaces in general and the annual parade of predictable predictions in particular. More →

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility 0

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corporate social responsibilityYou’re probably aware of the experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in which volunteers were asked by men in white coats to administer what they believed to be electric shocks to another person, who they could not see, but could hear, from behind a screen. Around two-thirds of the volunteers agreed to deliver what they were told to be potentially fatal shocks to the subject, who they could hear screaming and begging them to stop. What they didn’t know was the person they were agreeing to inflict this on was in fact an actor. Although now questioned, Milgram’s findings remain the famous of a series of studies that have attempted to highlight the willingness of humans to bow to authority figures and comply with group norms irrespective of what their own morals might tell them.

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