The scale of the problem for the workplace

The scale of the problem for the workplace

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There is a typically telling and intelligent Pixar moment in the film A Bug’s Life in which an already well-lubricated mosquito goes up to a bar and orders a ‘Bloody Mary, O Positive’. The barman plonks a droplet of blood down on the bar. The mosquito sinks his proboscis into it, sucks it down in one go and promptly falls over. The mosquito doesn’t need a glass because that is for animals who have a problem with gravity. For insects, the major force in their lives isn’t gravity, but surface tension. More →

Doing the homework on home-work

Doing the homework on home-work

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flexible workingCOVID-19 will change the world in innumerable ways. It is already affecting how we think about disease transmission, consumption, labour, travel, and even space and distance. And it will change how we think about work. Almost immediately, however, designers, architects and everyone else with a stake in the future of workplace have spotted an opportunity to get creative and solve a problem that we don’t yet understand. More →

People working from home have the same legal protections as they do in offices

People working from home have the same legal protections as they do in offices

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working from homeEven as the COVID-19 lockdown eases, it is predicted that many people will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. Government advice remains that those who can work from home should do so. This throws up a key question for employers both in the current circumstances and going forward. Namely, what are employers’ ongoing legal obligations for the health and safety of homeworkers? Put simply, as an employer, you have the same legal duty of care for the health, safety and wellbeing of employees working from home as you do for those based in your office. So it’s worthwhile knowing what that means. More →

Getting beyond the hype of technological innovation and productivity

Getting beyond the hype of technological innovation and productivity

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Not long ago, innovation was a largely internal affair. The journey from the laboratory to the marketplace took place largely within the four walls of the firm. Think of Bell Labs, IBM Research, or Xerox PARC. Each of them created important technological breakthroughs. And each breakthrough was commercialized through the company’s own businesses.    More →

Neurodiversity measures do not hold up in the present culture

Neurodiversity measures do not hold up in the present culture

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Until recently, the phrase ‘What’s neurodiversity?’ was a question I was frequently asked, often accompanied by a bit of a nervous stare. Fortunately, this is now changing, and thanks to continued research, community activism and representation in the media, people leaders now understand that neurodiversity means a unique talent to be tapped – not something to be avoided. More →

What the humble avocado can teach us about why we will always work in offices

What the humble avocado can teach us about why we will always work in offices

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From the archive. Originally published in 2013. People have been talking about the death of the office for at least a quarter of a century. Leaving aside the often misleading conflation of flexible working with homeworking that is often involved, the underlying premise of such talk has been the same for all of that time. The main argument is, and always was, that there is an alternative to the tedium, aggravation and expense of travelling to an office solely to work inside its hermetically sealed and fluorescent-lit, blue-carpeted interior alongside people who can drive you spare, before you schlep home again. More →

From the archive: The future of work will be defined by a harmony of people and technology

From the archive: The future of work will be defined by a harmony of people and technology

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the future of workOriginally published November 26, 2019. As 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 present. More →

Reshaping ourselves to fit in a new era for work

Reshaping ourselves to fit in a new era for work

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Making a splash at workThe ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside new forms of technology is something we will have to address very soon. It is a point well made in this conversation between Kate Darling of MIT and the neuroscientist Sam Harris. But we’ve had parts of this conversation before. For example, while most people will not have read the book from which it came, those with an interest in work, workplaces and their links with our happiness (or perceived lack of it) will know that the British philosopher Bertrand Russell once famously said that “one of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important”.

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The language barrier to wellbeing in the workplace

The language barrier to wellbeing in the workplace

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In a recent piece for the Architects Journal, incoming BCO President Paul Patenall extolled the virtues of a Danish idea called Arbejdsglaede, (almost) literally the joy of work. There is no equivalent word in English, of course, but it also taps into our assumption that we can learn a thing or two from our Scandinavian cousins about wellbeing and the ways in which we should find happiness in our daily lives and surroundings.

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From the archive: We shouldn’t rely on narrow ideas to define flexible working

From the archive: We shouldn’t rely on narrow ideas to define flexible working

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flexible workingThis piece was originally published five years ago. While we now read it with different eyes, what is interesting is how the ideas have stood up. Some better than others perhaps but a welcome reminder that the conversations we are now having about life after lockdown began some time ago. One of the particular and often unspoken issues that shadows in any debate about flexible working is what we mean by the term. We’ve been talking about new ways of working for a good quarter of a century now and what is generally understood about the practice has evolved considerably. The very idea was conceived at the birth of the new online era so is inextricably tied up with the Internet and new technology. More →

A just in time lesson about office design

A just in time lesson about office design

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The nascent years of new ways of working in the late 80s and early 90s coincided with a widely held but soon to be discarded belief that the Japanese had cracked management practices. So it was perhaps inevitable that the principles of a process called just in time manufacturing – most famously applied in the factories of Toyota – should migrate to new forms of office design the rapidly developing practice of flexible working.

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An opportunity to take business relationships with charities to a new level

An opportunity to take business relationships with charities to a new level

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COVID-19 can be a catalyst for transforming how businesses and charities collaborate, with significant benefits for both. Companies and charities working together is nothing new. For many years Corporate Social Responsibility has had a place on the business agenda, as a means of doing some good while boosting companies’ reputations in the process. More →

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