The new issue of Insight is now available to view in your browser

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2.Insight_twitter_logo smThe new issue of our weekly newsletter is now available to view online. This week, Simon Heath asks whether we are really so ready to swap the rat race for a life of indolent uselessness (and possibly edible obsolescence); we report on the failure of a large number of major EU institutions to act on their own green building initiatives; Helen Strother visits the new offices of AutoTrader in Manchester as the company switches to a solely digital platform; Cathy Hayward reports from Workplace Week; Sara Bean finds that the turmoil in the UK commercial property is ongoing, especially in London; and we report on the ongoing and unresolved tensions created by the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and ubiquity of open plan offices.  If you don’t already receive a copy, please sign up using the simple subscription form in the right hand sidebar and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Case Study: AutoTrader motors into its new Manchester digital playground

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_MG_0491smEven in the context of a rapidly declining print market, the decision to end AutoTrader’s 37-year history as a printed magazine was not an easy one to take. At its height, Auto Trader had a circulation of 368,000, but in June 2013 the final printed copy rolled off the presses and the business began its new incarnation as a purely digital platform. Of course, this transformation was a long time in the making and had actually begun ten years earlier.  By the time the print room lights went out, all of Auto Trader’s revenues had not only migrated online, but experienced significant growth too. It is Auto Trader’s growth during this process of transformation that is considered so unique in the publishing world and is proof that the business’ aspiration to be at the forefront of the digital marketplace is not just a wide-eyed intention. The website boasts 11.5million unique users, carrying out more than 140 million searches across mobile, table and desktop devices and the business is set to launch an extensive TV advertising campaign on boxing day.

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Workplace Week focuses on the office and individual productivity in all its forms

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1KP_4971The holy grail of improving people’s productivity was the focus of this year’s Workplace Week, which took place last week from 3-7th November and raised more than £12,500 for Children in Need. The annual event organised by AWA and designed as a celebration of workplace innovation, included visits to 11 workplaces showcasing the latest techniques to get people performing at their very best, a day-long convention and a series of Fringe events. Andrew Mawson, who heads up AWA, opened the convention by setting the discussion in context. “We have maximised asset productivity by getting more people into buildings, and therefore working a building harder. But we need to focus on human productivity. If each organisation could make each person just 5 per cent more productive, that would have a major impact both on that organisation and the wider economy. In the knowledge economy we need to get the very best performance out of each and every brain on the payroll and to create the conditions that consciously support that.

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Interruptions and a lack of engagement cost UK firms £15 bn each year

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engagementUK businesses are suffering massive losses in company performance due to ‘disengaged’ employees who complain of working conditions that result in constant distraction and disruption and a lack of privacy, according to a new report published by office furniture maker Steelcase. Research by the Centre for Mental Health claims that presenteeism (at work physically but unproductive mentally) costs UK businesses £15bn per year and that includes the cost of disengaged employees. A new IPSOS survey commissioned by Steelcase, claims to highlights this and related issues. The survey of 10,500 employees working in open plan offices across 14 different countries and found that only 11 percent of workers are engaged and inspired at work, 63 percent lack engagement and are unmotivated and 37 percent describe their workplace as ‘stressful’. More →

Current issue of Work&Place explores intersecting worlds of people, place and tech

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wandpcoverAs we prepare the upcoming issue of Work&Place (don’t forget to subscribe on our homepage), a reminder that the September issue of Work&Place is available to download or view as a PDF or now in an online edition. Amongst this issue’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s retrospective of last Summer’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the  firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement.

The new issue of the Insight weekly newsletter is now available to view online

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Lounge Chair & Ottoman Hocker AlgueThe new issue of our weekly newsletter is now available to view online. With an unmistakable focus on workplace design, this issue sponsored by Fresh Workspace, sees Tony Ash of Vitra UK question why the Government isn’t doing more to curb the furniture copycats who brazenly steal other people’s intellectual property; Alison Kitchingman of Milliken looks at how architects and designers have used organic design to reflect the way people actually move around a building; Justin Miller of Wellworking considers a startling 20 percent leap in the number of people reporting musculoskeletal disorders in the UK; Anna King looks back on Orgatec and its key themes; Sara Bean reports on the rapidly declining availability of Grade A commercial property across the UK; and Mark Eltringham considers the science behind what makes offices so motivating for people. If you don’t already receive a copy, please sign up using the simple subscription form in the right hand sidebar and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Orgatec 2014 focuses on collaboration, quiet and wellbeing in the workplace

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Anna King reports from the biennial office furniture and interiors fair Orgatec, which took place recently in Cologne: Collaboration seemed to be king once again at this year’s Orgatec trade fair in Cologne, so much so that you’d be hard pressed to find a conventional workstation amongst the thousands of products on display. Even ergonomic task chairs in the traditional sense were thin on the ground. Senator’s offering was typical in its focus on collaborative work and the provision of work settings. As well as the Ad-Lib Scholar range for educational establishments, it presented the Ad-Lib Work Lounge multipurpose chair, both the work of British design studio PearsonLloyd. This upholstered model complete with headrest is available on glides or castors so it can slot into a multitude of workplace scenarios. Shown in some rich shades such as moss green and turquoise, it comes complete with a fold-down worksurface for brainstorming or other group working.

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Why isn’t the UK Government acting to curb the scandal of fake furniture?

Why isn’t the UK Government acting to curb the scandal of fake furniture?

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fake furniture

The real thing

If you’ve watched a DVD recently, it probably started with an advert highlighting that ‘you wouldn’t steal a handbag, so why would you steal a DVD?’ The point it’s making is that it’s unacceptable to buy poor quality copies of DVDs. They’re fake products and there’s a stigma attached to them, in the same way there’s a stigma attached to buying a fake watch, handbag or a forged piece of art. That’s how things should work, but this isn’t yet the case for fake furniture in the UK. And the reason for this is government inaction that is not only allowing a market for poorer quality replicas of iconic designs to exist, but to thrive. In April 2013 the UK government passed the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, a section of which closed a loophole in British intellectual property law. Under the new regulations, artistic designs for products such as furniture would be protected for up to 70 years after the designer’s death. Before the Act was passed, if more than 50 copies of a design were made, it was considered to be mass produced and was subject to only 25 years’ protection.

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New CBRE report claims to debunk multi-generational workplace myths

New CBRE report claims to debunk multi-generational workplace myths

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multi-generational workplaceAge is less of a factor than widely thought when it comes to workplace preferences in the US, according to a new report by CBRE Group. The study, Designing the office of the future? Don’t plan it around (what you think you know about) US millennials, is based on aggregated workplace strategy surveys from more than 5,500 office workers across a number of sectors. It found that, while current assumptions about the multi-generational workplace and millennials are driving the design of many offices today, there is actually little difference in preferences between millennials, Generation Xers and baby boomers. (We’ve been suggesting this for some time at Insight). The report claims that “with a projected 75 percent of the workforce being millennials by 2025, much has been made about this new workforce generation, particularly when it comes to workplace strategy. While this is causing many companies today to debate how to balance the needs of millennials with those of a more tenured workforce, the study suggests that the generational divide is more perception than reality”.

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Musculoskeletal disorders leap by a fifth, according to latest HSE data

Musculoskeletal disorders leap by a fifth, according to latest HSE data

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ipad musculoskeletal disordersWhile the UK remains one of the safest places to work in Europe, work related ill health continues to rise for British employees according to the latest data from the Health and Safety Executive. The HSE claims that there were some 28 million days lost over the last year, costing the economy over £14 billion. While the most dangerous professions continue to be construction, agriculture and manufacturing, the report found that over two thirds of days lost (20 million) and some £9 billion can be attributed to a number of well defined causes rooted in the modern workplace; musculoskeletal disorders, stress, anxiety and depression. The HSE study claims that around 80 per cent of new work-related illnesses were attributable to these conditions. Of the 535,000 new illnesses reported in 2013/14, 184,000 were musculoskeletal disorders and 244,000 were related to stress and depression. There are now over half a million (526,000) people with self-reported cases of musculoskeletal disorders in the UK, up by 20 percent since figures were last reported in 2011/12.

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More London convention one of highlights of Workplace Week, which starts today

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More London convention highlight of Workplace Week

PwC More London Offices

Tours of Google, Mintel and Lloyds of London are just some of the highlights of Workplace Week, the annual week-long celebration of workplace innovation which starts today. Organised by AWA to raise money for Children in Need, the inaugural Workplace Week in 2009 happened after Andrew Mawson, AWA’s managing director, had the idea for a workplace-related event raising money for the charity. This year’s week includes a programme of 90 minute ‘working workplace’ tours involving some of the UK’s most innovative workplaces; including Google, Mintel, Innocent Drinks, BDO, Edelman, Lloyds of London, Guardian Newspapers, CBI, Invesco, Prostate Cancer, and PWC Embankment Place. The week will also feature a one-day convention at PWC’s More London office near London Bridge on Thursday 6 November entitled, ‘the Work/place Revolution….taking human performance to new levels’. The focus here will be on taking human performance to new levels, with a range of speakers offering case studies, insights and new research. More →

BIM adoption set to soar in UK and US over next two years, claims report

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BIM Level 2Building owners are embracing building information modelling (BIM) as a powerful technology benefitting the design process, managing project schedules, controlling costs and minimizing project errors, according to the recent McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report “The Business Value of BIM for Owners”. The latest report focuses on the business value of BIM from the perspective of building owners in the United States and United Kingdom for whom the technology has been deployed. Initially adopted as a design tool and later evolving into an important tool for contractors, its adoption among building owners is expanding, the report claims, and that building owners are becoming more directly involved as “their power is even greater to align BIM use with their specific goals, engage more effectively with all stakeholders and extend the value of BIM beyond construction into facility management.” The study claims that 40 percent of US owners and 38 percent of UK owners expect that more than 75 percent of their projects will involve the technology in just two years.

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