Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

agile working began in the coal fields of NottinghamshireThe idea of diffusion of innovation has become so embedded in our culture, and most recently so associated with the adoption of new technology, that we might assume it happens in predictable ways. The steps between innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards seem intuitive and certain even when their peaks might be unsure. And yet history teaches us that sometimes new ideas can take years or even decades to take hold, even when they are potentially world-changing and relevant for the era in which they were formulated. More →

Is your office worth the journey it takes to get to it?

Is your office worth the journey it takes to get to it?

Bishopsgate officeA couple of years ago, in the wake of a surge in self-care start-ups and viral diet fads, Forbes declared 2019 as the year of the “wellness revolution”. Three years and a global pandemic later, the revolution appears to have swept our offices. Why? Quite simply, we have woken up to the fact that we could be productive remotely, while also realising the risks of not accommodating employee wellbeing in the office. More →

Republished: The brain-dead megaphone of work

Republished: The brain-dead megaphone of work

There is nothing new about any of this. And yet it’s all new. I’ve spent months talking to people who really know their stuff about work and workplaces and underlying nearly all of those conversations is the following paradox. They know about flexible working, the under-utilisation of space, the twenty minute neighbourhood, the work ecosystem, universal basic income, the digital workspace, the office as club, all the rest of it. Heard it all before, often many times, over many years. Some of them have been living it too, and yet… More →

Not busy-ness as usual: how boredom may be one of the keys to creativity

Not busy-ness as usual: how boredom may be one of the keys to creativity

boredom and creativityThe modern world seems geared to help us avoid boredom. But there’s a problem. Artists have long recognised that boredom can drive creativity. The great Italian writer-philosopher Giacomo Leopardi described boredom as “the most sublime of all human emotions because it expresses the fact that the human spirit, in a certain sense, is greater than the entire universe. Boredom is an expression of a profound despair at not finding anything that can satisfy the soul’s boundless needs.” More →

Are we witnessing the demise of the knowledge worker?

Are we witnessing the demise of the knowledge worker?

Death of the knowledge worker?While the debate about working from home versus working in the office continues, should the real conversation focus on the implications for a typical knowledge worker? ‘Knowledge work’ is a term that dates back over sixty years. It’s said to be first coined by Peter Drucker in his 1958 book The Landmarks of Tomorrow. The business guru went on to talk about knowledge workers in a later book, The Effective Executive, in 1966. He defined them as ‘high-level workers who apply theoretical and analytical knowledge acquired through formal training, to develop products and services’. More →

Great Resignation offers firms a chance to create the Great Retention

Great Resignation offers firms a chance to create the Great Retention

Great Resignation and the Great RetentionThe last 18 months have seen unprecedented change. Covid-19 has forced people to re-evaluate every aspect of their lives, including their career. As a result, we’ve seen a surge in workers taking charge of their careers and leaving their jobs as part of the so-called Great Resignation. Recent data from the ONS shows that there were nearly 1.2 million job vacancies in the UK this quarter, with 15 of 18 sectors reporting record numbers. More →

The way we talk about hybrid working can reflect a failure of imagination

The way we talk about hybrid working can reflect a failure of imagination

hybrid working is not the only option we haveThe events of the last 18 months have given us a once in a generation opportunity to reinvent work. Our generation can create a discontinuity between the assumptions of the past and the opportunities of the future. To capitalise on these opportunities though we have to dispense with the assumptions we hold about work and the places where work takes place, including many of the assumptions we hold about hybrid working. We have to re-examine the purpose of the office and what form it might conceivably take in the future before we can decide if it has any place in our plans. More →

‘Great Resignation’ offers a one off opportunity to rethink our relationship with work

‘Great Resignation’ offers a one off opportunity to rethink our relationship with work

great resignationAfter nearly two turbulent years, which for many knowledge workers have been dominated by a ground-hog day like existence, people are looking for change. This is only natural as workers around the world are re-evaluating their priorities, reigniting their passions, or simply looking for something new. This has led to a mini-exodus from businesses, which is now being dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’. More →

So where are we?

So where are we?

That’s right. A New Year and still nobody knows anything. More →

Hybrid working will demand leaders develop new communication skills

Hybrid working will demand leaders develop new communication skills

hybrid workingKeeping on top of communication barriers in the business world can feel like an endless game of Whac-A-Mole, especially now in the new era of hybrid working. The usual culprits are well-known by now: patchy WiFi connections, crashing computer programmes, cloud syncing issues, important emails sneaking into spam folders – the list goes on. All can impede our ability to get the job done. More →

The Great Resignation will cast a long spell

The Great Resignation will cast a long spell

the spell of the great resignationThe writer Alan Moore believes in magic. Not hocus-pocus magic, double double toil and trouble, but in the power of words and art to change reality and bring things into existence. It’s a compelling idea, one that Moore shares with Picasso amongst others, and the evidence for it in its metaphorical sense is all around. More →

The metaverse will shape the future of work. Here’s how

The metaverse will shape the future of work. Here’s how

future of work and the metaverseAlthough the term ‘metaverse’ was coined in 1992 by science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson, it has only just entered the mainstream lexicon after Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect its strategic focus on making this sci fi vision a reality. Given that there is no singular definition of what a metaverse is, and there will be many competing metaverses transforming our experience of social media, electronic commerce and how we collaborate and transact online, it is important that leaders start to understand the profound ways in which this new technological paradigm is set to radically impact on the future of work. More →

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