The allure of workplace bullshit

The allure of workplace bullshit

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The sleep of reason and workplace bullshitAlthough the legend of Faust is one of the Germanic world’s foundational narratives, its archetypes and themes were already established by the time Goethe codified them in his 1808 play. They have since become universal. The idea that somebody would sell their soul to the Devil to gain something or rid themselves of unhappiness is as resonant now as it was in Renaissance Europe. It has inspired books films and artists to such an extent that its derivatives now have their own Wikipedia page.

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People lose half an hour a week to poor acoustics

People lose half an hour a week to poor acoustics

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According to new research by market researchers IPSOS and EPOS, 95 percent of audio end-users and decision makers experience problems relating to sound that affect their concentration or efficiency at work. Common complaints include being disturbed by loud colleagues (50 percent), overall noise levels in working environments (48 percent) and interruptions from colleagues (46 percent). More →

A revolutionary new approach to design and fit-out for flexible offices

A revolutionary new approach to design and fit-out for flexible offices

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Innovation in the commercial property market is the driving force behind a revolutionary new approach to the design and fit-out of office space from Modus. Tenant-Ready is a solution aimed at both landlords and operators, to deliver pre-fitted or fitted-to-demand workspace specifically for coworking spaces, serviced offices and other forms of flexible workplaces in which fit-out is not procured by tenants and occupiers. More →

The lights are on and there is definitely someone home

The lights are on and there is definitely someone home

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As COVID -19 has taken hold and the very necessary lockdown begins, there are A large number of workers thrown into semi-permanent work settings that we hadn’t anticipated a month ago. The transitions will be easier for some than others but we all need a space that feels comfortable AND is conducive to productive working. More →

Did you hear the one about offices and creativity?

Did you hear the one about offices and creativity?

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the places we go for ideasThere is a famous episode of Seinfeld in which the character George is insulted in a business meeting and only thinks of a perfect retort while driving away from the office. This being George, he decides that he doesn’t want to waste his ‘killer line’ so engineers a second meeting so he can use it with the person who had insulted him, only for it to blow up in his face yet again. It’s an example of what the French refer to as l’esprit de l’escalier and the Germans as Treppenwitz, in both languages the wit you develop on a staircase.

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The shape of things to come for the world and the workplace

The shape of things to come for the world and the workplace

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In Dorian Lynskey’s The Ministry of Truth, a “biography” of 1984, the author describes how Orwell’s  book was the end point of an obsession with utopian (and ultimately dystopian) fiction that characterised the first half of the Twentieth Century, and reflected the competing political, social and economic ideologies of the era. More →

Loneliness has always been a workplace issue

Loneliness has always been a workplace issue

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Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a serious issue in modern society. In the UK, the Office of National Statistics reported that 5 percent of adults feel lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’, with further 16 percent of adults reporting feeling lonely ‘sometimes’, equivalent to approximately 9 million adults suffering from loneliness to some degree. More →

A shift in the workplace axis might be a welcome outcome of this crisis

A shift in the workplace axis might be a welcome outcome of this crisis

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workplace shiftI am not a philosopher. I sell home and workplace furniture. But I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how radically different things will be – both in how we work and how we live – once we get through this dreadful period of our lives. We have the opportunity to embrace a whole new way of working which recognises and gets the best out of all parts of our community. More →

Facilities managers: you never noticed us because we did such a great job

Facilities managers: you never noticed us because we did such a great job

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Getting all hot under the collar about brushed chrome door furniture is an understandable but classic displacement activity when much of your work is messy, unglamorous and even occasionally dangerous. You work alongside designers and architects and look longingly at their apparent casual trendiness and clean lines, marvelling at the quality of the beech from sustainably managed European forestries (kiln dried to 10-12 per cent moisture content) with which they have specified the side tables in reception. Achingly cool and effortless in a way you feel you’ll never be.

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The future of work has no destination, there is only the journey

The future of work has no destination, there is only the journey

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One of the truisms about depictions of the future is that they often have more to say about the world in which we live than the one to come. So, when George Orwell wrote 1984 the story goes that its title was derived by inverting the numbers of the year in which it was written – 1948. Whatever the truth of this, Orwell understood it was a book as much about the world in which he lived as the one it portrayed. Our images of the future are invariably refracted through the prism of the present. This is just as true for predictions about the future of work.

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Workplace piffle, humane design and throwing away the blank slate

Workplace piffle, humane design and throwing away the blank slate

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workplace designThe piece I wrote on workplace bullshit came in for quite a bit of attention when it was published and also meant I was pointed to this excellent article on how to spot it when you see it. Lots is said about the skills we’ll need to cope with the challenges of the current Century, but this is perhaps one of the most important. Especially trying to spot it in ourselves. Paradoxically, we already seem reasonably able to spot it in our politicians. More →

The theme park of modern office design

The theme park of modern office design

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office design is moving into a new phaseHere’s an interesting exercise you may want to try. Off the top of your head and without thinking about it too much, write down the names of five iconic office furniture designs. The kind that your Aunt Sheila might recognise if she saw them but wouldn’t necessarily be able to name. When I did this recently while writing a piece about design trends, the products I came up with automatically were things like Frank Lloyd Wright’s desks for the Larkin building, Action Office, the 3107 chair (pictured), and Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair. More →

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