The Boston Consulting Group: pushing the art and science of workplace design

The Boston Consulting Group: pushing the art and science of workplace design 0

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This month, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) opened its doors to its latest office in what’s been described as the new heart of New York; namely, the up-and-coming Hudson Yards development. Thought leaders from the world of workplace design including a representative from including Workplace Insight were invited to the launch of the new workspace to find out how the world’s leading advisor on business strategy has pushed the art and science of workplace design. BCG, which is consistently ranked near the top of Fortune’s annual Best Companies to Work For survey, worked with an array of experts for input into the design and use of innovative technologies, including Gensler, Humanyze and Unwork. Leesman was brought in to offer a neutral voice when the project was already in motion to validate the design proposal.

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Interaction completes transformation of Grade II listed Victorian castle into new office

Interaction completes transformation of Grade II listed Victorian castle into new office 0

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Design and build firm Interaction, has completed the design and fit out of a Grade II listed Victorian ‘castle’ in Cirencester as the new head office of financial comparison website money.co.uk. In 2015 the firm was ranked the second fastest growing business in the UK by The Sunday Times and needed its workplace to reflect this growth, convey its culture and attract new talent. The core concept was a juxtaposition of the traditional architecture of The Castle with a contemporary interior. The design features include a bespoke Star Wars themed cinema complete with popcorn machine, two gyms, hand painted suits of armour as well as ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘Steam Punk’ themed bathrooms. The new office incorporates a number of settings for informal meetings, private work, training, relaxing or socialising. This includes an ‘ice cave’ which can be used for an informal meeting, or to eat and socialise. There is also a ‘ski lodge’, which can be accessed through a secret door. More →

Sky Central + Dealing with noise at source + The detoxified workplace 0

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Organisations are encouraged to “detoxify” their work environments In this week’s Newsletter; Neil Usher describes the vision behind Sky Central’s new activity-based workplace in London; and Mark Eltringham argues the European Display Screen Equipment Regulations are no longer fit for purpose. CRE’s attempts to advance corporate strategic goals often take a back seat to cost savings targets; the Hushme voice masking device for mobile phones promises a quieter office; and organisations are encouraged to “detoxify” their work environments to improve employee wellbeing. Why employees are prepared to move jobs if employers fail to offer flexible work; a quarter of people with money problems say it undermines their work performance; and the World Economic Forum cites unregulated technological progress as one of the greatest threats to work. Download our Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Detoxify the workplace to improve employee wellbeing and productivity

Detoxify the workplace to improve employee wellbeing and productivity 0

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While most organisations recognise the importance of keeping their employees safe, not enough focus is being given to wellness, and those organisations that do not prioritise employee wellness and design their workplaces accordingly will lose talent and potentially face bottom line repercussions. This is according to AECOM, which is urging organisations to “detoxify” their work environments to improve employee wellbeing. With 9.9 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in Great Britain in 2014/151, employees’ health and happiness can have a direct impact on business performance. Making improvements to the physical environment can help organisations create spaces and working cultures that encourage creativity, support wellbeing and increase job satisfaction.  More →

A unity of opposites at Sky Central

A unity of opposites at Sky Central 0

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It’s drummed into us from an early age that we can’t have it all, as a result we consider choices as being a binary either/or situation. The workplace design brief (where it’s actually undertaken, an entirely separate discussion) positions choices similarly – open or closed, focussed or collaborative, modern or traditional – the decision point existing along a sliding scale from one natural extreme to the other. Yet there is a way to consider workplace design as an attempt to achieve the “unity of opposites”, an idea proposed by the pre-Socratic aphoristic philosopher, Heraclitus, the original thinker on change. This holds that the existence of an idea is entirely dependent on the existence of its opposite, that one cannot exist without the other. The framework is considered here in its application to the recently completed Sky Central in Osterley (West London), a newly constructed 38,000m2 NIA activity-based workplace over three floors that is home to 3,500 of the total 7,500 people on the Campus. It may be considered as tool for aiding workplace brief development, or for understanding how a workplace has been conceived and functions.

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The Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is available now

The Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is available now 0

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wp8-cover-artThe Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. In this edition… Neil Usher, Workplace Director at Sky offers a first hand account of the story behind the firm’s remarkable new offices at the Osterley campus in London; Kate Langan explores some of the implications of the growing digitisation of the workplace; Jim Ware looks at how the challenge of creating effective meeting spaces is now a strategic concern; John Blackwell tries to make sense of falling productivity levels when we have all the tools and know how to increase it; David Woolf makes the case for designing better collaborative spaces; Mark Eltringham looks forward to an almost entirely unpredictable future for workplaces in the 21st Century; and Karen Plum and Andrew Mawson set out the factors that drive knowledge worker productivity. The PDF edition is available to view and download here. Or view online here.

Book review…. HQ:Nerve Centres of the World’s Leading Brands

Book review…. HQ:Nerve Centres of the World’s Leading Brands 0

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primark-cropSome people would have you believe that the office is dying out. But the absolute dead giveaway that it is not is the creation of tech enclaves and palaces around the world that exists solely to bring lots of people to work together in real space and real time. Some of these buildings are presented in a new book called HQ: Nerve Centres of the World’s Leading Brands from Irish publishers Roads (link is to Amazon but please try to order from a local bookshop if possible). The high tech homes of the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Vodafone are presented alongside similar examples from eight other business sectors: Finance, Retail, Motoring, Media, Drinks, Fashion, Sport and Design & Innovation.

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Penson completes design for artful London HQ of financial services company SEI

Penson completes design for artful London HQ of financial services company SEI 0

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se17853-minFinancial services firm SEI has taken residence at a new London headquarters designed by Penson. Located in Finsbury Square, The Alphabeta Building is spread over three floors. The 6320 sq. m, office incorporates natural materials such as upcycled timber, bold red steel and colourful walls. The office is divided into individual hubs with meeting rooms, chill-out zones, kitchenettes and pods providing a balance between open and private spaces. The new HQ is also set to house part of the West Collection, a contemporary art collection owned by Alfred P. West, Jr., Chairman and CEO of SEI, and curated by his daughter. The works include sculpture, installations drawing, painting, and photography, many of which reflect an environmental theme.

The Room of Requirements: is a flexible workspace even possible?

The Room of Requirements: is a flexible workspace even possible? 0

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google-flexible-workspaceMany of us have ways of framing our ideas about the workplace with reference to the things we love. Because I am a Harry Potter fan that means developing notions of Hogwarts and what it says about how the school building influences teaching and learning practices. J K Rowling’s universe offers rich pickings for this sort of thing and in the case of this feature provides us with an example of how we might consider the current state of thinking about the flexible workspace. One of Rowling’s brilliant ideas is the Room of Requirements. More →

UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment

UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment 0

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uk-gbc-hqBy achieving the lowest embodied carbon footprint ever recorded for an office refurbishment in the UK, the new headquarters in Central London for the UK Green Building Council is designed to inspire and encourage employers, landlords and occupiers alike to set the bar high when upgrading their office spaces, according to the organisation. It claims that the project is an exemplar for sustainable office refurbishment and features a range of wellbeing measures. UK-GBC says it hopes that this landmark project will also demonstrate that even a 160m² floorspace can deliver commercial, social and environmental value if each decision is challenged and scrutinised. Wellbeing measures have been incorporated into the design in order to improve staff satisfaction, productivity and overall health and wellness. These measures include: a living wall with over 1,500 plants; an innovative ventilation system, which has delivered a 750 percent increase in background fresh air; an automated low-energy LED lighting system; and products and finishes that minimisepollutants from the air.

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Newsletter: Self-image problem + Top tech trends for 2017 + Offices more productive places? 0

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An EMC officeIn this week’s Newsletter; Steven Lambert argues millennials’ love of mod cons may make them dislike noisy open offices; Cathy Hayward describes a tech giant’s One Team approach to workplace management and design; and Mark Eltringham says FM is not alone in thinking that it doesn’t shout loudly enough. The majority of people prefer working in an office; Gartner highlights the top technology trends; a belief Brexit could improve European commercial real estate investment opportunities; and the majority of freelancers don’t want more employment rights. Automation could swallow a sixth of public sector jobs; flexible working behind growing popularity of self-employment; and corporate real estate sector is reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and water usage. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

How tech giant EMC standardised the design and management of its office portfolio

How tech giant EMC standardised the design and management of its office portfolio 0

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workplace-insight-imagesThis summer’s headlines have been full of discord, a cacophony of angry voices either directed at continental Europe, or at the Brexiters who voted for Britain to leave the European Union. But EMC, a global leader in information technology-as-a-service which has recently been acquired by Dell, is a leading light of European integration through its One Team approach to workplace management and design across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Over the past three years, the EMC Global Real Estate and Facilities Team (GREF), which supports more than 12,000 people in around 130 office locations across 50 countries in EMEA, has transformed from a group operating independently, to a fully-aligned team which provides a uniform and standardised approach to workplace delivery and management to enable greater business success.

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