Deloitte increases flexible working rights to attract future female leaders

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Deloitte increases flexible working rights to attract future female leadersAs employers prepare for new flexible working legislation, which comes into place at the end of this month; Deloitte UK has announced it is to allow its 12,000 employees more say in where, when and how they work. The firm has introduced a range of new and adapted, formal and informal agile working arrangements to incite a change in the day-to-day culture at the UK firm. Deloitte already offers all employees the right to request a formal flexible working arrangement; it will now also enable them to request a block of four weeks unpaid leave each year, without reason or justification. These arrangements support its wider measures that encourage a more agile workplace, including the introduction of collaborative and adaptable working spaces, an environment that supports open conversations about agile working and improvements to technology that make it feasible. More →

Loss making design and build service withdrawn by MITIE Group

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MITIE withdraws design and buildDiversified facilities management services business Mitie has announced it is no longer to provide design and build services in the energy sector and will no longer provide mechanical and electrical (M&E) services. It has announced in its preliminary results for the year to March 2014 that the withdrawal of both operations will incur substantial losses – £25.4 million and £22.1 million respectively – so it will now concentrate more closely on its core and more lucrative facilities management markets instead where it sees the ‘potential for growth and [to] meet our margin targets’.  While the firm reports that a number of design and build projects had experienced delays and cost overruns which led to substantial losses, results for the whole of MITIE group show pre-tax profit up 4.3 per cent to £113.3m with revenue up 8.2 per cent to £2.14 billion.

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Ska rating is shaping the future of sustainable office design

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t-cmg-01-sideWe all know the ways in which we can ‘do our bit’ at home – turn off the lights when you leave a room, only boil as much water as you need, recycle as much as you can. At work however, it can be all too easy to forget and ignore the impact we have on our environment. Intelligent and inspired office design can not only increase productivity and employee wellbeing, but also be sustainable and provide financial benefits as a result. Although there were established tools for assessing the environmental impact of whole buildings, such as BREEAM and LEED, the certification of fit-outs, especially on existing buildings, had previously been unsatisfactory. To address this, the Ska Rating method was developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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New collaborative office design for Petronas HQ in Italy

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Petronas 2 300dpi cropBuilding work has begun on the new 17,000 sq. m. European Research & Development Headquarters for Petronas Lubricants, the global lubricants manufacturing and marketing arm of Petronas, the Malaysian oil and gas company. The building has been designed by architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan. The office – located in Santena, just outside Turin, Italy – is part of a major investment into Petronas’ overall research capability and will be home to a community of several hundred scientists, researchers and new product developers. It is expected to play an important role in supporting Petronas’ development and refinement of fuels and lubricants with a particular emphasis on an office design that encourages collaborative work.

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Gallery: Interiors Group completes office fit-out at Instinctif Partners

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140306INS-20 smThe Interiors Group has completed a project for the design and fit-out of the relocated offices for Instinctif Partners, an international business communications consultancy now situated at  65 Gresham Street, London. The relocation coincided with the launch of Instinctif Partners’ new name (having previously been known as College Group) so the new design became an expression of the new identity. The office fit-out project includes joinery, the installation of a media wall, bespoke feature walls, reception desk and lighting. The flooring consists of porcelain tiles and carpet from Interface.  The backlit reception desk displays the client’s twelve corporate colours on rotation. Leather seating was specified for the visitors’ waiting area. The open plan office is designed as a circular newsroom with a high table in the heart of the space highlighted by an oversized dome pendant. The dining area has been fitted out with LED screens and furnished in white. More →

Rem Koolhaas to create office design for new media centre in Berlin

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axel-springer-oma-7An office design by Rem Koolhaas’s architecture practice OMA has been selected for the new Axel Springer media centre in Berlin. The firm claims the design will encourage collaborative working and strike the right balance between the needs of people to work priavtely and with others.  The new building will sit on the site of a section of the Berlin Wall. It includes a 30 metre high atrium, described by OMA as an ‘open valley’, with a series of interconnecting terraces, work spaces and meeting areas.  The atrium opens up towards the existing home of multimedia company Axel Springer and deliberately references the distinction between the old and the new by associating so closely with Zimmerstrasse, a main street which was previously synonymous with the split between East and West Berlin. The ground floor level also contains studios, event and exhibition spaces, canteens and restaurants.

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CBI moves to new flagship London office at Cannon Place

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CBI Cannon Street 1The CBI is moving out of the Centre Point building this weekend to take up residence at its new flagship offices in London’s Cannon Place on Monday (31st March). The UK’s leading business group is leaving the Centre Point building in London’s West End after 34 years to relocate to new offices in Cannon Place, above Cannon Street station, where its new headquarters will be based. The 25,000 sq ft space on the fourth floor of the eight-floored Cannon Place will be open plan and home to around 200 staff. It will boast a member lounge with work stations and meeting rooms, as well as regular exhibitions showcasing the best of British business from around the globe. This first exhibitor will be Bristol-based film and television company Aardman Animations, the makers of the award-winning Wallace and Gromit series. More →

CIBSE’s new website inspired by iconic new City of London building

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5 Broadgate

5 Broadgate in the City of London

The look and feel of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers’ (CIBSE) new website, which was unveiled this week, has been inspired by a building. According to CIBSE the modular, precise design of 5 Broadgate, designed by Make Architects is echoed in the modern new design, improved user navigation and optimisation for mobile and smart devices of its new website. 5 Broadgate, the new City headquarters for financial services firm UBS, is a 700,000 sq ft, 12 storey building based on a single block form, featuring deep reveals to windows and openings that are designed to add to its overall feeling of substance. The new building will include up to four trading floors, each able to accommodate approximately 750 traders, allowing UBS to consolidate its London trading operations into one building, when fully occupied in 2016. More →

£56m office development planned for Salford’s regeneration area

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Salford £56m regeneration schemeWork is to start on a £56m Grade A office and car park development in Salford’s Greengate Embankment regeneration area. The joint venture partners behind the development are Carillion, Ask Real Estate and Tristan Capital Partners, with Carillion acting as the main contractor. Work on the site, which was part of the former Manchester Exchange railway station, will start in June, with delivery of the 172,640sq ft office and car park planned for spring 2016. Salford City Council has signed an eight-year pre-lease on the whole of the first office building and Q-Park has agreed a 35 year pre-lease for the 442 space car park. The site, which was acquired from Network Rail, also has planning permission for a second phase which comprises another Grade A office building providing 150,000 sq ft of space. More →

Large and small firms demand greater transparency in government procurement

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WhitehallThe whole thorny issue of public sector procurement is never far from the news, but this week gained new prominence as one contractor walked out on a £1 billion contract because it felt the Ministry of Justice hadn’t grasped the idea of intellectual property amongst other things, while the Confederation of British Industry raised the stakes overall by claiming that a culture of secrecy in government purchasing continues to foster mistrust and waste taxpayers’ money. The CBI goes so far as to claim that even the most high profile botched contracts over recent years have not deterred the government from its move to inculcate a culture of opacity rather than transparency when procuring goods and services. It called on the Government to move to open book contracts so that all parties are aware of contract terms and margins.

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Innovative new work space planned for the home of Dave

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Dave finds a new homeThe media company which counts Dave, Yesterday and Gold amongst its ten channels has announced its intention to move its 250 staff from its Hammersmith Road location to a ground-breaking new London headquarters by July this year. UKTV has signed a lease for 32,500 sq. ft. of an ecologically-recognised development at 10 Hammersmith Grove, London, and plans to work collaboratively with interior design and architecture studios PENSON to create a new headquarters that is inspirational, distinctive and “built for innovation”. The building itself is highly sustainable: one of the first in London to be entirely lit by LED lights and powered by solar panels and over the three floors of the development, there will be sociable working spaces, a café-bar and outdoor terrace, studio facilities and a screening room. More →

Virgin Atlantic first airline to apply Google Glass to customer service

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VirginGoogleGLass2

It’s already been predicted that Smart Glasses will be a boon to technicians, engineers and healthcare workers, as well as useful interactive, hands-free devices for office staff. Another obvious application for wearable technology is in customer services. Virgin Atlantic is applying the technology to deliver the airline industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet. Working with air-transport specialist SITA, it’s the first airline to test how the technology can best be used to enhance customers’ travel experiences and improve efficiency. During a six week pilot scheme, concierge staff in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow airport will use wearable technology to greet customers by name and begin the check in process. The benefits to consumers and the business will be evaluated ahead of a potential wider roll-out in the future. More →

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