About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Workplace Insight, IN magazine, Works magazine and is the European Director of Work&Place journal. He has worked in the office design and management sector for over thirty years as a journalist, marketing professional, editor and consultant.

Posts by Mark Eltringham:

Zürich named as world’s leading smart city in list dominated by Asia and Europe

Zürich named as world’s leading smart city in list dominated by Asia and Europe

Zürich has been named as the world’s leading smart city according to the latest annual Smart City Index published by IMD business schoolZürich has been named as the world’s leading smart city according to the latest annual Smart City Index published by IMD business school. Asian and European cities dominate this year’s top twenty. Among them, IMD names six “super champions” because they have been continuously improving their performance since 2019: Zürich, Oslo, Singapore, Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong. More →

Every workplace innovation contains the seeds of its opposite

Every workplace innovation contains the seeds of its opposite

workplace innovationThe announcement by Apple that it wanted its employees to work in an office for three days a week sparked the usual, tedious pile-on about how many days people should spend in a physical workplace each week. This included the columnist at Grazia who joins the tens of millions of people around the world who not only know where Apple is going wrong, but also how to run every other organisation in the world and what’s best for everybody who works for them. More →

What Studs Terkel can teach us about how we talk about work

What Studs Terkel can teach us about how we talk about work

Studs Terkel was something that has been lost in the modern sea of opinion, an oral historian. Not trying to change the world, but record itStuds Terkel is a particular hero of mine. I like his name, his style, his association with jazz but also the way he wrote. His characteristic approach was marked by interviews with ordinary Americans about their jobs and how they felt about them. He did lots of other stuff but that was his work. What is especially striking is that he saw himself as a chronicler of other people’s lives rather than a commentator on them. More →

Getting back to basics in The Great Workplace Conversation

Getting back to basics in The Great Workplace Conversation

There’s nowhere near enough talk about our base instincts in the Great Workplace Conversation.There’s nowhere near enough talk about our base instincts in the Great Workplace Conversation. Objectively speaking, we remain relatively highly evolved, communal and intelligent primates. And so we are driven by things we like to admit to – love, empathy and the Golden Rule. But also things we don’t care to admit to in quite the same way – status, jealousy and self-interest. More →

“Flexible working has been introduced very inflexibly”: IN conversation with Jeremy Myerson

“Flexible working has been introduced very inflexibly”: IN conversation with Jeremy Myerson

Jeremy Myerson in conversation about his new book, an inflexible form of flexible working and a great relearningOne of the latest people to invent activity-based working is a sociologist, who combined it with the similarly familiar hub and spoke office model on her substack as a solution to the Great Office Problem and as a way of implementing flexible working. She’s not the first and is a less surprising pioneer of a decades old model than some other people who should really know better. That includes an architectural practice who came up with the idea earlier this year and whose name escapes me. More →

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Between the 9th and 13th Centuries, the world’s intellectual centre and the source of much of its progress, discovery and achievement was Baghdad. This was the Muslim Golden Age and at its core was the House of Wisdom, established by the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. At one point, this library housed the largest collection of books on Earth and drew the greatest minds in the world to share ideas, innovate and explore ancient sources of science and wisdom from Greek and Persian texts. Muslim, Jewish, Christian and atheist scholars worked together to advance human understanding until a slow decline culminated with a later Caliph declaring that its diversity of thought should bow to a literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadith.

More →

Just call it ‘work’; Kate Lister in conversation with the Workplace Geeks

Just call it ‘work’; Kate Lister in conversation with the Workplace Geeks

In the latest episode of the Workplace Geeks podcast, one of the world’s leading experts on work and workplace, Kate Lister, focuses on a recent study in collaboration with Owl Labs, ‘State of Remote Work 2022’. The report, in its 6th year, provides a platform for a much broader conversation about hybrid and remote working (spoiler alert: terms which Kate hates by the way), Kate’s invitation to speak during the pandemic to United States Congress about home-working, and GWA’s long standing and freely available ROI and savings calculators. James returns following his blacksmithing course in the Peak District to a new discussion format – no more Pinder Ponder, get ready for the reflection section.

More →

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 →

Childhood’s end for work and the need for a grown-up conversation about it

Childhood’s end for work and the need for a grown-up conversation about it

Arthur C Clarke’s finest novel Childhood’s End is the story of an Earth that is invaded by a force of alien Overlords. This is not a destructive colonial invasion, which is why there’s no Hollywood blockbuster in the tale, but a seemingly benevolent intervention which ushers in a golden age for humanity. Although humankind initially does not get to meet the Overlords in person (for reasons I won’t give away here), the aliens unite the world’s governments, eradicate crime, conflict and the nation state and do away with the need for creativity and hard work. It is the literal end of history.

More →

Some questions about AI, a world drowning in content and the human centipede of creativity

Some questions about AI, a world drowning in content and the human centipede of creativity

We still don't even know what questions to ask about AI, so the idea we can provide answers is a bit prematureOne unintended but welcome result of the new fixation with AI is that many of the people who became experts on the workplace in 2020 are now experts on AI. You’ll find them on social media and they’ll have written a book about it by May to sit on the shelf alongside the one about hybrid working and The Great Resignation. So, if you want some certainty about where generative AI taking us, go talk to one of them because people who know about the subject seem to have little or no idea. More →

Issue 13 of IN Magazine celebrates ten years of workplace insight

Issue 13 of IN Magazine celebrates ten years of workplace insight

The new issue of In Magazine has now been published. It marks ten years of Workplace Insight with a few things we think we know about work, working culture and work places.The new issue of In Magazine has now been published. It marks ten years of Workplace Insight with a few things we think we know about work, working culture and work places. Elsewhere in this issue: Stephanie Fitzgerald talks about the unspoken privilege of wellbeing; we consider the sprawl of the world’s megacities; Jo Knight argues that the office sector needs to really up its game on the environment; Rene Stevens makes the case for a strategic approach to learning environments; we weigh up the pros and cons of retrofit and new builds; Neil Usher sets out to develop a universally acceptable definition of hybrid working; Andy Brown on what we really need data for; why dead tech hangs around; and we do the maths on what it means when people say the office should be worth the commute it takes to get to it. More →

AI presents us with a chance to rediscover what it means to be human

AI presents us with a chance to rediscover what it means to be human

We won't beat AI by relying on formulaic thinking and ideas, so we need to rethink creativity and what it means to be humanLike a lot of people right now, I am struggling to get my head around where we are going with AI. Look around and you’ll see the breathless excitement at the sheer amazingness of it all. And examples of its limitations, how it screws up, how military grade AI can be fooled by somebody hiding in a box, and its sense of humour failure. All of this is demonstrably, paradoxically true. More →