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:

How the 21st Century office was born in post war Europe

How the 21st Century office was born in post war Europe

Central Beheer Building There was a curious addition to a 2016 report on the Top 10 Technologies Driving the Digital Workplace from tech researchers Gartner. It wasn’t a technology at all but rather a slightly obscure office design concept that originated in Hamburg in the late 1950s, but which tells us a lot about how we work in the 21st Century office, according to Gartner. Its history lies with the German consulting firm Quickborner. Led by the brothers Eberhard and Wolfgang Schnelle, the firm applied the egalitarian principles of the post war world and rejection of the scientific management theories that had created the familiar factory-like rows of desks that had come to dominate open plan offices to create something more in tune with the new age.

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Never mind the workplace predictions, here’s some bollocks

Never mind the workplace predictions, here’s some bollocks

A painting of Janus to depict the number of workplace predictions and retrospectives at the end of the yearTime of the year for looking backwards and forwards. For workplace predictions and retrospectives. The Economist announces that the word / term of the year is hybrid work. This is interesting because, although The Economist is using it as an interchangeable term for flexible working as many do, a great deal of energy is still expounded on defining exactly what it means. We may work out when the obsession with three days in the office, two at home thing started. But for now, determining where people are at any given time doesn’t seem very flexible to me. More →

The ethics of AI, liveable cities, unf*cking work and how the office needs to be more like your home…

The ethics of AI, liveable cities, unf*cking work and how the office needs to be more like your home…

The cover of IN Magazine 12 featuring a woman working in a private booth in an officeIN13 is in production but you can see the digital edition of issue 12 of IN Magazine here. It continues to explore the most up to date topics for workplace managers and executives. Including: a look at the reality of liveable cities; why offices now need to offer people more privacy, peace and quiet; how firms need to address the challenges of the circular economy; a case study from the dynamic city of Ljubljana; David Sharp on the ethics of AI; Chelsea Perino on hybrid working; a critical review of Neil Usher’s new book; Marie Puybaraud of JLL in conversation; and much more. All back issues of IN can be found here. And why not check out Works Magazine and Work&Place Journal too. More →

The Great Relearning about the Great Office Problem

The Great Relearning about the Great Office Problem

A person using computer in style of edward hopper in an office at nightOne of the latest people to invent activity-based working is sociologist Ana Andjelic, who combines it with the similarly familiar hub and spoke office model on her substack as a solution to the Great Office Problem. 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 →

Always connected in the age of disconnection

Always connected in the age of disconnection

All of humanity’s problems,” the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He may have been right, but then again, sitting in a room alone isn’t necessarily a great state of permanent being either. There was a time we used to talk with dismay about the Japanese phenomenon of intense social distancing known as hikikomori. We would consider with horror the isolation, lack of engagement with society, poor mental health and loneliness of the people who had almost completely withdrawn to their rooms. Those poor bastards locked up in enclosed spaces linked to the outside world only by screens. More →

The workplace circus continues to entertain, but back in the real world…

The workplace circus continues to entertain, but back in the real world…

A painting of a clown sitting alone, waiting to enter the workplace circusThe Great Workplace Circus headlines its 322nd show of the year with everybody’s favourite distraction, Elon Musk, being driven into the ring by his own shoddily built clown car, declaring he needs everybody at Twitter to be ‘extremely hardcore’ before sacking a few people from his space programme, then setting fire to the tent himself. The swarm of stories spawned by this extraordinary behaviour include this tired and predictable rant in the Telegraph about ‘lazy Brits’. Ironically, there’s nothing lazier than a columnist on this rag with some space to fill. More →

Hybrid working is now an essential part of many job offers

Hybrid working is now an essential part of many job offers

A bunch of carrots to illustrate how firms are using hybrid working and other benefits to attract talentA new US study conducted by IWG  claims that employers view the hybrid working model as an essential part of their toolbox when it comes to recruitment, hiring and retention, with nearly 95 percent of HR leaders saying it is an effective recruitment tool. Released today, the ‘HR Leaders & Hybrid Working Report’ examines findings from a poll of more than 1,000 HR professionals at managerial and board level. More →

Problems at Twitter, grease proof chairs, and the trouble with AI

Problems at Twitter, grease proof chairs, and the trouble with AI

The level of layoffs at several Big Tech firms has been the main source of news and comment over the past week or two. Around 11,000 people at Facebook and another 7,500 at Twitter are to be made redundant. Elon Musk then ensured the conversation moved on by forbidding remote work completely. More →

Summing up where the office now stands in the scheme of things

Summing up where the office now stands in the scheme of things

A painting in the style of Edward Hopper of a lone man waiting to board a commuter train to get to the office The argument about what it takes to encourage people to come into the office more often seems to have boiled down to an equation. It’s now common to hear somebody argue that the office has to be worth the commute it takes to get to it. So, if you want people to spend more time in the building, you need to do the maths. O must be greater than or equal to C More →

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

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

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 →

The underlying problems with the way we think about work

The underlying problems with the way we think about work

people and workAn idea that has never really gone away, but which seems to be enjoying a new lease of life is the tabula rasa. The conception of people as a blank slate is something a that has crept back into mainstream political and social thought for a variety of reasons. Arguably, it is also behind many of the most misleading notions about work and workplace design, perhaps most importantly that a change to some single element or characteristic of a working environment will lead to a specific outcome in the behaviour of people. More →

The rotting one hit wonders of the workplace

The rotting one hit wonders of the workplace

Painting of a fruit basket by CaravaggioOn the 8 December, you’ll be able to get your hands on a new book called Out of the Blue: The inside story of Liz Truss and her explosive rise to power. Or not. At the time of writing, its publication still seems to be going ahead, but I’m not even sure this introduction will be current by the time I press ‘publish’ so I wouldn’t bet on it. I imagine the publishers of the book haven’t given the green light to the printers just yet but nothing a change of title, a hasty rewrite and few extra chapters can’t fix. More →