The future of work will be defined by a harmony of people and technology

The future of work will be defined by a harmony of people and technology

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the future of workAs modern-day employees and consumers, technology has become so commonplace that it now impacts almost every aspect of our lives – both personally and professionally. We can now communicate with whomever we want, wherever we want with the simple click of a button or tap of a smartphone. We can also automate mundane workplace tasks, and even customise software to our hearts’ content. This is not the future of work but the presents More →

Working carers occupy a blind spot and are suffering because of it

Working carers occupy a blind spot and are suffering because of it

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working carersThe working world has changed almost beyond recognition over the past half century. Historically, employers had to fulfill two criteria to attract the best talent: be large or have a well-known brand and pay well. Of course, priorities have shifted. Growing demand from staff for a healthier work/life balance including for the country’s working carers has resulted in flatter hierarchies and a more relaxed atmosphere, even in the largest firms. More →

Office design can be a vehicle for equality and change

Office design can be a vehicle for equality and change

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workplace design for inclusionThe way companies design physical environments is a direct reflection of their values and beliefs. Inequality is hardwired into the “standard” office layout, with perimeter offices and fixed desks offering limited settings for unstructured collaboration and recreation, further perpetuating the issue. Modern office design often favours extroversion and emphasises a hierarchy with values that benefit only a small portion of the overall workforce, contributing to organisation-wide imbalance. So how do we create more inclusive workplaces that can be leveraged as vehicles for change? More →

Merging workplace cultures and breaking habits

Merging workplace cultures and breaking habits

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Ricoh London workplaceHuman beings are hardwired to be creatures of habit. From birth, we learn behaviours and develop routines that are reinforced over time through repetition. Researchers at MIT claim the neurons in our brains are responsible for this process. When someone begins a new activity a certain part of the brain kicks into gear, helping them to learn the exercise quickly. But once the action is repeated successfully, the scientists found, those same neurons only really come to life at the beginning and end of the activity. This is the reason that mundane tasks, like getting dressed or driving a car often feel like they’re performed on ‘autopilot’ and why breaking bad habits is so difficult, including those we develop in the workplace. More →

The agile workplace: try to catch the wind

The agile workplace: try to catch the wind

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Wheatfield with Crows depicts the pointlessness of trying to capture agile workIn the chilly hours and minutes, of uncertainty sang Donovan in ‘Catch the Wind’. That’s us, arriving at the agile workplace. We are all Donovan. The comment was recently made on Twitter that agile is “as natural as the wind”. Seemingly however, the anxiety and frustration generated by our experiences are proving as impossible as catching it. Change programmes issue us with a metaphorical bag to catch it in. Where the problem seems bigger we get given a proportionally bigger bag, forgetting the problem of mass.

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Is IoT the answer to occupancy level issues?

Is IoT the answer to occupancy level issues?

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A frequently heard claim from manufacturers is that all Internet of Things (IoT) technology is the panacea to occupancy level issues for owners and managers of commercial buildings. The obvious retort is “Well, they would say that wouldn’t they?” since the equipment they have on offer is produced with the sole purpose of putting a degree of intelligence into smart buildings. The benefits of making your commercial premises ‘smart’ have been aired many times – including the ability to manage in real-time systems for air quality, temperature, noise levels, fire detection, equipment failure, and lift management. While having this kind of information at your fingertips is undoubtedly useful, the management of occupancy is an area where building managers are starting to see real dividends because they are able to make major savings in running costs. More →

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

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An illustration of a frog, a key metaphor in Charles Handy's writing about the world of work While working at a Viennese Obstetric Clinic in the mid 1840s, a Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that mothers were far less likely to succumb to a potentially fatal infection called puerperal fever when the medical staff treating them washed their hands. When he started collecting data to confirm his insight, he found that hand washing reduced mortality rates from around 10 percent to as little as 1 percent. Although, his findings predated the germ theory of disease, which left him without an explanation, in 1847 he published a book in which he proposed that the link was so evident that in future staff should always wash their hands in chlorinated lime before treating patients, to protect them from infection.

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Workplace design in a new age of reason

Workplace design in a new age of reason

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Workplace design needs to recapture the principles of the enlightenmentThe enduring but changing struggle to improve the working conditions and performance of people through workplace design and management has more than a whiff of the Enlightenment of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries about it. The Enlightenment marked a new era in which the old superstitions and dogmas were to be overthrown by pure reason.

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Uber Works may not be as good for workers as it is for businesses

Uber Works may not be as good for workers as it is for businesses

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<img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125519/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important" />Uber is still best known as a ride-hailing platform but it has been branching out into other industries. Food (Uber eats), electric scooters and bicycles (Jump), and now shift work with the launch of Uber Works. It is being trialled in Chicago, with plans to launch elsewhere soon, and enables casual workers such as cleaners, bar staff and warehouse workers to find work. More →

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

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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 →

Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

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Stress, uncertainty and the medicalisation of dissatisfactionThis is a piece to mark National Stress Awareness Day, which is today. We now have a policy of not offering ourselves as an outlet for any of the deluge of comment pieces and surveys that are published each year to mark days like this. This is largely because we cover the issue year round so don’t feel the need to add to the PR feeding frenzy that they generate. Whatever you make of the findings of the these reports and others like them, even cynics would have to acknowledge they tap into an unmistakable  feeling that work is not as enjoyable as it should be. More →

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

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Between the 9th and 13th Centuries, the world’s intellectual centre and the source of much of its progress, discovery and achievement was Baghdad. This was the Muslim Golden Age and at its core was the House of Wisdom, established by the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. At one point, this library housed the largest collection of books on Earth and drew the greatest minds in the world to share ideas, innovate and explore ancient sources of science and wisdom from Greek and Persian texts. Muslim, Jewish, Christian and atheist scholars worked together to advance human understanding until a slow decline culminated with a later Caliph declaring that its diversity of thought should bow to a literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadith.

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