New letting strengthens Cambridge’s growing reputation as a centre of technology

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Latest lettings underline Cambridge’s growing reputation as a centre of technologyIn the largest office letting in Cambridge in over a decade, technology developer CSR plc has agreed with The Crown Estate to establish an expanded, 100,000 sq. ft. global HQ at Cambridge Business Park. Further lettings of a combined 11,000 sq. ft., to the multi-national computer technology company, Oracle, and to JDR Cable Systems, means that the 320,000 sq. ft. Business Park is now fully let, with over 2,000 people set to be working on site once these tenants move in. These latest lettings underline Cambridge’s growing reputation as a centre of technology – where its success this sector has even led to it being referred to as the “Silicon Fen”, the UK’s equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley. More →

Sound, settings, serendipity and other lessons from 100% Design

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Workplace Hub by NBBJ

Workplace Hub by NBBJ

The trick with visits to exhibitions like 100% Design is to stay focussed on the wood as much as the trees. So as well as identifying the good, the bad and the meh, it pays to discern the themes pursued by the exhibitors and organisers. Leaving aside what was happening in the domestic halls, those related to the workplace  invariably derive from a mixture of what the exhibitors’ customers are talking to them about and what the media says people are talking about. So at this year’s show (still ongoing till tomorrow at Earl’s Court) some of the most readily identifiable themes included the dissipation of the workplace, privacy, ergonomics and serendipity. With the possible exception of the age old problem of ergonomics, these all relate to our changing relationship with work and workplaces, not least how we can – and indeed must – be able to work from anywhere and what this means both functionally and aesthetically.

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Exam board introduces workplace issues to psychology A Level syllabus

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workplace issuesOne of the UK’s five main national examination boards is to introduce a range of workplace issues as part of its updated Psychology A Level syllabus from next year. Cambridge based OCR claims that Psychology is the UK’s fourth  most popular subject at both A and AS level and is also one of the most popular subjects at degree level too. The issues will be introduced to the syllabus as part of an Environmental Psychology theme and will consider as issues such as the effects of allowing desk clutter on individual wellbeing (although it didn’t do much for Kanji Watanabe in Akira Kurosawa’s film Ikiru, above), gender roles in workstation personalisation and so on. Students will be expected to carry out their own research into the topics as well as draw on established sources of information. OCR also suggests that the subject may help to develop the emotional intelligence of those who take the subject.

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There is a moral imperative to meet global standards in workplace performance

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International evolution in global standards of workplace managementMany corporate organisations now operate on a global scale, with operations spread across a number of countries and continents. But while they are geographically diverse, they nevertheless have a requirement to meet measurable standards of performance, delivered on a consistent basis regardless of location. If something works well in one country, companies want to be able to replicate it in all others. Wherever standards relating to compliance, health and safety, sustainability, leadership or management are most rigorous, it makes good business sense to employ those same standards wherever they have a presence. But from the collapse of a building full of factory workers in Bangladesh to the death of hundreds of construction workers in Qatar, the need to promote and adhere to international standards is more than a matter of mere commerciality.

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6 Bevis Marks, the Gherkin’s new neighbour, is ready for tenants

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6 Bevis marks ready for tenants6 Bevis Marks – next to the Gherkin in the City of London – has been completed, with the first two tenants expected to take occupation in August. The mixed use building comprises 160,000 sqft (14,864 sqm) of office and retail space over 15 floors, and has been developed in a joint venture between AXA Real Estate and BlackRock. Located close to Liverpool Street, where the new Crossrail station is due to open in 2018, the building features a rooftop garden square, a ground floor business lounge, full on-site cyclist facilities and a private landscaped courtyard with access to the public realm surrounding the Gherkin. The development also features a 26-screen media wall in the reception, which is being used to host the Vivid Digital arts programme – a commission of young filmmaking talent supported by the developer. The building is BREEAM Excellent rated, with a range of sustainability features. More →

BBC announces further moves out of London to reduce cost of property estate

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BBC announces more moves out of London to MediaCity

MediaCityUK in Salford

The BBC has announced plans to move more of its BBC teams out of Media Village, London W12, to bases in Salford, Birmingham, Caversham and other buildings in London. It’s part of the corporation’s strategy to reduce the size and cost of its property estate, invest more of the Licence Fee in programmes, and build its presence outside the capital. Around 120 Future Media roles and 102 Technology roles will move to Salford during 2015, joining around 3,000 colleagues already based at MediaCityUK. Anne Bulford, Managing Director Finance and Operations, said: “We are well advanced with reducing the amount of space the BBC occupies in London W12. Spending less on these buildings will enable us to invest more of the Licence Fee in programmes, as well as continuing to build up our presence out of London, ultimately bringing us closer to audiences. BBC Worldwide is due to leave the Media Centre early in 2015, so we are developing proposals on how to accommodate the remaining occupants and free up this building to release savings.” More →

Mace to oversee Old Admiralty refurbishment for DfE occupation

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Old admiralty building refurbishmentAs a direct result of the Cabinet Office’s programme to consolidate and modernise the government estate, the Grade II listed Old Admiralty Building is to be designed and refurbished for the Department for Education (DfE).  Mace is to oversee the project, which will see the modernisation of 18,000 sq. metres of office space to provide space for over 1,600 staff, who are currently working in leasehold accommodation. Old Admiralty Building (OAB) is currently occupied by staff from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who as part of the estate rationalisation strategy, will be consolidated into the Foreign Office’s King Charles Street Office in 2015. Refurbishment work is targeted to commence at the OAB late in 2015, following a design procurement process, including liaison with Westminster City Council planning and English Heritage, with the project due for completion in 2017. More →

First female President in RICS’ history will focus on diversity

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RICS' first female president in 146-history to focus on diversityThe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has confirmed the first female President in the Institution’s 146 year history. New President of RICS Louise Brooke-Smith will give her inaugural speech today (1 July) during RICS’ Governing Council meeting in London. Alongside her presidency of RICS, Brooke-Smith will continue to be involved with the Birmingham based planning and development consultancy, Brooke Smith Planning. RICS accredits over 118,000 qualified professionals across the globe in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. She succeeds outgoing RICS President, Michael Newey and during her year-long presidency, will focus on three core areas; diversity, Africa and her professional specialisms, planning and land economics. Commenting on her diversity plans for the year Louise Brooke-Smith, RICS President said: “Chartered Surveying is a globally recognised profession, and we must ensure that it is open to all, whatever their background, or gender. More →

Workplace wellbeing increasingly incorporated into office design

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Wellbeing considerations being incorporated into workplace designMore UK companies are proactively designing their workspaces with wellbeing in mind as the health and wellbeing of office workers soars up the list of business priorities. This is according to Bostjan Ljubic, the newly appointed head of Steelcase in the UK and Ireland, who believes the economic impact of employee wellbeing, plus greater understanding of the issue is now propelling companies to develop and enhance their engagement with their workforces, as they increase their post-recession drive to attract and retain high quality staff. “The issue of wellbeing has developed very significantly in recent times,” said Ljubic. “Businesses that are focusing clearly on the issue are doing so because they have identified the potential emotional, financial and competitive advantage. The mountain of research on wellbeing points very clearly to it being in a company’s interests to take the matter seriously.” More →

Acquisition of Dublin office site marks strengthening demand in Ireland’s capital

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Dublin acquisition marks strengthening demand for office spaceA 1.7-acre office development site in Dublin has been acquired for €40.5 million by Development Securities in a joint venture with Colony Capital and two leading Irish commercial developers. The site already has existing planning consent for the development of a 166,000 sq. ft. grade A office building which would replace an existing five storey, vacant office building that currently occupies the site. Located on Burlington Road, within Dublin’s prime commercial core, the office development will be marketed for pre-lets over the near-term, with initial site works expected to commence within the next 6 months and the building’s completion by in mid to late 2016. The move reflects a wave of office development in the Irish capital, where, according to a report by CBRE Ireland, a complete lack of office development over the last three years has manifested itself in supply shortages of Grade A office accommodation in core locations.

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Where office workers would really like to work? Outdoors.

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office workers outdoorsLast year, we shared research from Overbury which suggested that what most people really wanted from their offices was for them to be a lot more like Starbucks. Now new research from Steelcase Solutions claims that what people would really like is to be working in bucolic splendour, or at least an indoor approximation of it. The survey of around 800 UK based office workers carried out by IPSOS claims that people would feel more optimistic about their work if natural light, more control of temperatures and informal, dynamic spaces were core elements of their working environments, which coincidentally are also important factors in fostering wellness and productivity. In addition, the authors of the report  claim that more offices in future will apply biophilic design principles to offer staff a daily glimpse (or illusion) of the great outdoors. More →

New BBC Wales headquarters will be less expensive to run

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Ageing facilities prompts BBC to move Wales headquartersThe BBC is to move its main headquarters in Wales to a new, purpose-built broadcast centre in Cardiff city centre by 2018. BBC Cymru Wales, currently based in Llandaff in north west Cardiff, says it plans to relocate to a new 150,000sq ft. development in Capital Square – on the site of the current bus station at the northern entrance of Cardiff Central rail station. The decision follows a detailed three-year study prompted by the ageing facilities at the current base in Llandaff and the pressing need to modernise the outdated and unreliable technology. Options to upgrade the current site were ruled out as they were costlier, more disruptive and would have taken longer to deliver. The new centre, which is being designed by Fosters & Partners, will be roughly half the size of the current premises and less expensive to run. More →

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