Near universal uptake of flexible working driving increased use of Cloud

Near universal uptake of flexible working driving increased use of Cloud 0

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Flexible workingOne of the consequences of the near universal uptake of flexible working practices amongst smaller businesses is a growth in the use of the technology best suited to make them work such as Cloud based data services. That is one of the key findings of a new study from BT Business and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). According to the survey of just over 300 small and medium sized business owners and decision makers, nearly all (91 percent) have at least one member of staff working away from their main place of work for significant periods, and a fifth (19 percent) claim that more than half of their staff have adopted some form of flexible working. The report concludes that this is the main driver in the growth of Cloud data services with 69 percent of firms already using cloud-based applications and more than half (53 percent) saying that they are essential for agile working.

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‘World’s healthiest workplace’ is unveiled in Melbourne

‘World’s healthiest workplace’ is unveiled in Melbourne

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1573_24-04-2015_8503For some time now, the most talked about workplace issue has been wellbeing. Where once firms sought ways of using office design to solve a productivity puzzle, they are now increasingly concerned with the mental, psychological and physical health of employees. This is the case for most organisations but doubly so for those whose business is directly related to those issues, such as Melbourne based health insurance firm Medibank. The firm, Australia’s largest health insurer has moved to a new headquarters building in the Docklands district of the city and took the opportunity to create a space which it claims should be hardwired with the proactive principles of personal wellbeing and health with which its business is associated. The building has been designed by Hassell to meet these principles and includes a facility with outdoor sporting facilities, an edible garden and other green spaces.

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CTBUH announces winners of best tall buildings awards for 2015

CTBUH announces winners of best tall buildings awards for 2015

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one-world-trade-centerThe Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has announced the winners of the Best Tall Building Awards for 2015. The winners were selected from a pool of 123 entries based on an evaluation by a panel of industry experts. The organisers claim that not only do the winners exemplify best practice they also advocate ‘improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive effect on the people who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit’. Many of this year’s winners demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, especially those that make use of greenery to enhance the looks and environmental credentials of the building. The organisers also note that buildings are better integrated into their surroundings which ‘has been a long-needed requirement’. The Best Tall Buildings have been named from 33 countries in four competing regions.

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Why it’s time for more companies to roll the dice for gamification

Why it’s time for more companies to roll the dice for gamification 0

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gamificationAs was reported recently, gamification remains practically unknown to many managers yet companies like Nike, Microsoft, Samsung and eBay are beginning to see it as a useful tool. Generally adopted by marketing and sales professionals, gamification can also influence behaviour, increase productivity and improve wellbeing. Gamification is all around us, even if we don’t always notice it. It’s used in sales competitions, frequent flyer programmes and marketing initiatives. So what is gamification? In short it’s the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques in order to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. It’s about turning something potentially mundane into a game – similar to many ingenious mothers who might turn cleaning a room or washing dishes into a game for their children.

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Facebook moves into new California campus headquarters

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facebook1Facebook has moved into its much discussed new headquarters building and campus in Menlo Park, California. As is the way these days, the relocation to the Frank Gehry designed HQ was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his own Facebook page and heralded by a number of images shared on social media by staff. Zuckerberg also shared an aerial view of the 22 acre location included its landscaped roof and has promised that more images and video will emerge ‘once we’re fully unpacked’. Controversially – maybe – the building features what is claimed to be the world’s largest open plan office space which will be home to many of the new building’s 2,800 inhabitants. In this regard, the design is resolutely mainstream as are the array of breakout spaces and cafes used to supplement the open plan and give people the chance to take some time away.

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Video and gallery: Google’s new Silicon Valley headquarters

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google10cropGoogle may be having second thoughts about the design of its new London offices, but it is rather less reticent about that of its new Silicon Valley headquarters. It plans to transform a 2.5 million square foot site in the Californian city of Mountain View into a home for around 10,000 workers. The pastoral setting has been designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Engels and incorporates parkland dotted with glass buildings including some Eden Project like geodesic domes. Unsurprisingly the campus buildings have been designed to achieve a LEED platinum accreditation and cars are largely discouraged from the site. Heatherwick has described the plans as humanistic and the plans include a number of community facilities including a new public safety building, two new parks, an educational science centre and even a residential development on neighbouring land.

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Fold7 drops in to its new Mary Poppins inspired Farringdon offices

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Fold7 has moved into new offices in Farringdon to house the expanding agency business and talent. The agency, which counts Go Compare, Gumtree, Ted Baker, Nike and Orange as its clients, has unveiled its news offices designed by Paul Crofts Studio with a Mary Poppins-inspired installation of people floating away on umbrellas and two ‘dry’ jacuzzis. On the upper level, the agency has dedicated an entire floor to an informal working area, more akin to a restaurant and bar. A wall of curiosities screens the meeting room wall, with each individual item representing a story from our history and our experiences. A mid floor raised platform with two ‘dry Jacuzzis’ provides additional break out spaces. The ‘formal’ boardroom at the Farringdon offices is fitted with a collection of cuckoo clocks to serve as a reminder that ‘it’s not the time that matters, but what you do with it that counts’ according to Fold 7 founder Ryan Newey.

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Case Study: AutoTrader motors into its new Manchester digital playground

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_MG_0491smEven in the context of a rapidly declining print market, the decision to end AutoTrader’s 37-year history as a printed magazine was not an easy one to take. At its height, Auto Trader had a circulation of 368,000, but in June 2013 the final printed copy rolled off the presses and the business began its new incarnation as a purely digital platform. Of course, this transformation was a long time in the making and had actually begun ten years earlier.  By the time the print room lights went out, all of Auto Trader’s revenues had not only migrated online, but experienced significant growth too. It is Auto Trader’s growth during this process of transformation that is considered so unique in the publishing world and is proof that the business’ aspiration to be at the forefront of the digital marketplace is not just a wide-eyed intention. The website boasts 11.5million unique users, carrying out more than 140 million searches across mobile, table and desktop devices and the business is set to launch an extensive TV advertising campaign on boxing day.

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Case study: A public sector building that lights the way ahead for others

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The new offices of Wiltshire County Council, Trowbridge

The new offices of Wiltshire County Council, Trowbridge

Last year, I had the pleasure of producing a case study of the new offices of Wiltshire County Council for Mix Interiors magazine. Given that the building was this week shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Better Public Buildings Award and had already won an award from the BCO, we thought this seemed a good time to retread its corridors of power…. The recession has led the UK government to develop a number of new approaches to public sector buildings. But some of the UK’s local authorities are way ahead of the new thinking. Even so, there was a time, not so long ago, when nobody worried too much about the shape of the rooms that led off the corridors of power. But the pressure on UK public finances has politicised the design of the UK’s public buildings, with the government launching a wide range of initiatives to improve the efficiency of the way public sector acquires, designs and runs the places it calls home.

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Case study: dPOP’s jaw-dropping new offices light the road ahead for Detroit

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P1020679If you think you know what’s going on in Detroit based on the stories of the city’s financial woes and pictures of some crumbling buildings, it is worth a visit to the offices of dPOP, the two month old design firm with origins in creating the award-winning office spaces for Quicken Loans and its family of companies.The design firm’s space in the basement of a long defunct Detroit bank embodies what being from the Motor City is all about — being tough, but talented; gritty yet glamorous; fun with a funky twist.They design like they don’t care what you think — and that might just be true. Their own offices and those they created for the 11,000 workers that were moved from divergent suburban sites to the center of Detroit are bold, bright and fun. Most of all fun. But the result is spectacular.

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