A Newtonian perspective on productivity, reason and creativity

A Newtonian perspective on productivity, reason and creativity

On the doorstep of the British Library, venue for yesterday’s Workplace Trends Summit, you will find Edouardo Paolozzi’s imposing statue of Sir Isaac Newton. At first glance, this position seems to make perfect sense. Where better for a monument to the Enlightenment’s poster boy than raised on a plinth at the entrance to the world’s […]

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Interiors are not enough to win the war for talent

Interiors are not enough to win the war for talent

I often refer to Google and Facebook in my blog, due to their influence on workplace design. Many consider them to be workplace interior’s holy grail. But today’s big employers are competing with one another on a much broader set of principles. Cool interiors alone just won’t cut it. Zürich, like many European cities is […]

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How organic design can reflect the way people move around a building

How organic design can reflect the way people move around a building

The story goes that, after Rem Koolhaas had been appointed to design the McCormick Tribune Campus Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2003, the legendary architect noticed how students had created their own pathways between the buildings on the site. The site of the new building included a field on which their footprints […]

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Artificial Intelligence is transforming the workforce as we know it

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the workforce as we know it

It may seem like an inevitable fact of administrative positions that anyone who fills them will be subjected to a never-ending litany of repetitive tasks. Employees in these jobs often don’t receive work that engages their brains or peaks their interests. Rather than flexing their critical thinking skills, these workers are resigned to completing the […]

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Time to unlearn the time management system you learned at school

Time to unlearn the time management system you learned at school

Picture a workplace where everyone follows rigorous to-do lists. Employees are told what to do, how long to spend on it, and in what order to tackle their projects. Then, picture a workplace where there are no to-do lists, no project deadlines, and no estimations of how long projects will take. Employees tackle work in […]

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When exactly did busyness become a sign of status?

When exactly did busyness become a sign of status?

When exactly did “busyness” become a status? At work, in our personal lives and online, the competition to “live our best lives” and “hustle harder” is being taken to the extreme. Neuroscientists refer to busyness as a state of “cognitive overload.” This state can hinder our productivity, as well as our abilities to think clearly, […]

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The negative entropy of workplace design and management

The negative entropy of workplace design and management

Immediately after the Workplace Trends Summit in London last October, Ian Ellison of 3edges and I retired to a side room to record an interview for a podcast over a glass of red wine. The main objective was to try to piece together a coherent summary of what we’d seen that day. Ian assures me […]

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Mobile working is a recipe for business success

Mobile working is a recipe for business success

Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the face of work as we know it: introducing AI and automation to the workplace and creating a drastic shift in the skills required by organisations today. As automation increasingly frees employees up from the repetitive, process work that can so often dominate their day-to-day, organisations are instead […]

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The cargo cult of modern office design

The cargo cult of modern office design

The idea of the cargo cult derives from anthropological observations made about the behaviour of societies that encounter more technologically advanced societies. In particular it is rooted in those rituals and objects created by Pacific islanders in an attempt to attract modern goods and technology and generally earn favour with people who they thought could […]

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On International Woman’s Day – why advancing women is still not a business priority

On International Woman’s Day – why advancing women is still not a business priority

It has probably not escaped your notice that today is International Woman’s Day, which for Workplace Insight means a plethora of studies on the topic of women/jobs/salaries and ways women might work differently to men. We’ve decided not to waste anyone’s time and ignored most of them (particularly the patronizing ones on how ladies are […]

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A workplace chatbot might soon be one of your new best friends

A workplace chatbot might soon be one of your new best friends

If you’ve ever wished you could delegate certain routine tasks to an assistant, then a chatbot could be just what you need. Staff working for Unilever will soon be able to get HR advice from Una, a new member of staff who will be available worldwide and at any time of day. Una is a […]

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Beware the great apex fallacy of workplace design

Beware the great apex fallacy of workplace design

Of all the memes and narratives that corrupt public discourse about workplace design, the most pernicious is the one that suggests there is a linear evolution to some grand end point called the Office of the Future. There is a natural human inclination to buy this sort of idea, fed by an assumption that what […]

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