Don’t believe what you read about wellbeing, except this

Don’t believe what you read about wellbeing, except this

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wellbeing and the workplace messengerAs we are told repeatedly, the modern workplace is not very good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and potentially a death trap. Most of us are lucky to get home in one piece at the end of each day, regardless of the job we do. More →

Workplace culture can eat strategy for breakfast

Workplace culture can eat strategy for breakfast

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It was management consultant and author Peter Drucker who coined the well-worn maxim that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. But often it is used in the wrong way. Far from suggesting that culture alone dictates workplace function, he presented culture as a first among equals. A strategy that does not heed culture is more likely to fail. A culture without strategy is prone to go adrift. It is vital for an organisation to be aware of its own culture and subcultures. Without self-awareness, the steps to improve or nuture those within the organisation will be futile. More →

We might spot patterns in office design, but a global picture is beyond us

We might spot patterns in office design, but a global picture is beyond us

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The ongoing evolution in the design of the places we work has much in common with evolution in the natural world. But whereas natural selection is dependent on its ‘Blind Watchmaker’ to indirectly shape creatures in response to the constantly changing forces in their environment own, office design is anything but blind – at least it is when done intelligently and with insight. More →

The vaguery of workplace serendipity

The vaguery of workplace serendipity

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It has become vogue to refer to the workplace as being ‘all about people’. It points in all directions at once. Organisations need fit, healthy, happy, skilled, motivated, engaged and purposeful people being (and feeling) productive and doing their best work every day. They want their people working closely together – they’ve spent a lot of time and money drawing in those they feel can contribute to a whole that is other than the sum of the parts. More →

Workers value comfort and functionality over quirky office design

Workers value comfort and functionality over quirky office design

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office design and engagementEmployees value physical office design features and amenities that offer them a greater deal of comfort and functionality in the workplace. They especially favour outdoor views, natural light and on-site food services, according to a new report from CBRE based on a survey of 1,600 North American office users. More →

Office design in the US now more closely aligned with needs of workers

Office design in the US now more closely aligned with needs of workers

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office designOffice design and expectations around professionalism in the workplace are evolving along with the modern workforce in America, according to a new report from researchers at Olivet Nazarene University. The Modern Office Study claims that office design is evolving in parallel with changes in working culture, especially in the way that traditional North American cubicles, which were once the default model of office design in the US, are rapidly being replaced with open plan layouts. The report claims that these are now found in over half of American workplaces. More →

From the archives: Is this the missing piece of the facilities management puzzle?

From the archives: Is this the missing piece of the facilities management puzzle? 0

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facilities managementThe IFMA Foundation Workplace Summit of summer 2014 felt like an optimistic time for facilities management and the workspace industry. Heavyweights from the sector were asking searching questions about our organisational contribution, with thankfully less of the internally focused, debate-free hubris typical of much of the industry narrative. The newly announced (and now evidently historical) collaboration between BIFM and CIPD was in full swing, endorsed by social media savvy Twitterati under The Workplace Conversation banner. More →

The tipped out, left out and fallout from a failing workplace culture

The tipped out, left out and fallout from a failing workplace culture

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The big workplace news story of the past week or so appears to be one about a toilet seat. Sometimes it’s in the small things we can discern a greater truth. To see a world in a grain of sand, as William Blake wrote. The seat of this much discussed is tilted forward by 13 degrees so that after about five minutes it becomes very uncomfortable because people tire of using their legs to stop themselves sliding off. The reason is clearly to stop them ‘wasting time’ on the toilet. For some reason best known to themselves the product has been endorsed by the British Toilet Association who have opened themselves to the criticism that they agree with the presupposition that people should get on with the whole nasty business and get back to work. More →

The philosophy of wellbeing: Elina Grigoriou in conversation

The philosophy of wellbeing: Elina Grigoriou in conversation

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wellbeing mattersElina Grigorou is the author of a fantastic new book called Wellbeing in Interiors: Philosophy, Design & Value in Practice. The book looks not only at the ways organisations can use design to address the wellbeing of individuals, but also the impact this approach has on them as individuals in terms of their creativity and productivity. This in turn can have a transformative impact on the organisations for which they work. More →

The truth about all those workplace trends lists

The truth about all those workplace trends lists

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You would not believe the number of firms that ask us to publish a list of workplace trends each week. Or maybe you would, given the number that have appeared elsewhere. Each firm perhaps convinced they are saying something original, unique or interesting, or maybe simply convinced they stand out in some way, while pushing the same timid, stale narratives about the workplace. It goes without saying that the commercialised messages often do little to shine a light on complex realities. In the words of the Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang, they use information ‘like a drunk uses lamp-posts—for support rather than illumination’.

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Anthropology might hold answers to the most difficult workplace challenges

Anthropology might hold answers to the most difficult workplace challenges

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anthropology and the workplaceMany recent discussions have centered on the drawbacks of the open-plan office, a major format in the UK, and possible pathways to the communal workplace of the future. As part of this, it has been acknowledged that the factors responsible for determining the open-plan office’s performance are complex, and a number of the present-day workplace’s characteristics are messy and hard to quantify. In this brief article, I present anthropological methods as means for practitioners to further unpack the symbolic aspects of communication in open-plan offices and spark workplace solidarity.

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Never mind the agile workplace, here is something you already know

Never mind the agile workplace, here is something you already know

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The myth has it that John Lydon’s audition for the Sex Pistols consisted largely of wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt with the words I HATE scrawled above the prog rock group’s name. It appealed to the new band’s managers and its existing members at a time when they needed a singer with the right attitude as much as the right chops. Before Lydon’s involvement, bass guitarist Glen Matlock had taken to approaching anybody he saw of his age group with short hair to ask them if they could sing. This was a time when everybody had long hair.

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