NHS Estate inefficiencies present ‘Hyde Park sized opportunity’, claims report

Hyde ParkConsultants E C Harris have just published the latest edition of their report into the NHS Estate which claims that the service has an opportunity to save around £2.3 billion a year in the way it manages and procures space. Every report needs headlines to go with and in this case E C Harris have plumped for the idea that the NHS is underutilising space equivalent to an area the size of Hyde Park and that an eighth of the estate is unsuitable for its intended use, equivalent to ‘three Hyde Parks’. Last year’s edition of the report claimed the potential saving of disposable space was the equivalent of ‘264 Premier League football pitches’, which at least has the advantage of being comprehensible for those who can’t envisage how big Hyde Park is.

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High wire act: balancing attitudes and expectations in the workplace

This week, with some fanfare and a modest splash on social media, CBRE, the Global real estate services provider launched The Workshop Idea. One of its stated aims is the revitalisation of our high streets and, with the introduction of local venues in a number of differing guises, an increase in the degree of choice and flexibility of places in which to work when not travelling into the office. A whitepaper is due out shortly and we will cover this specific initiative once that has been given the proper consideration and thoughtful analysis it deserves. However, it raises some initial thoughts on expectations, attitudes and behaviours that need to be overcome in the way we view our high streets and places of work and the degree to which those who provide services respond.

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Fully mobile workplace for Cisco’s new Singapore regional HQ

Cisco Singapore HQ offers fully flexible working

IT giant Cisco has opened a new regional headquarters in Singapore that features utilisation-based space allocation that for the first time allows all of its staff to work just about anywhere in the building, using whichever kind of mobile device they prefer. The move reflects the findings of Cisco’s recent report which revealed that growing numbers of workers prefer to use an iPad or iPhone rather than a PC. The new offices, located at UE Biz Hub, within the Changi Business Park in Singapore, brings together 1,000 employees from Cisco’s previous four offices around the island and has reduced around 40 per cent of the required workspace.

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Commercial construction sector grew in first quarter of 2013

Steady growth in the commercial construction sector

There has been a steady growth in the UK commercial construction sector in the first quarter of this year, according to international property recruitment consultancy Judd Farris. The commercial construction sector has experienced steady growth, with a resulting high demand for experienced commercial candidates with knowledge of fit-outs and general build. There is also a strong recent demand for strategic sourcing candidates within Facilities Management. Said Tom Flood, Associate Director,  Judd Farris: “As part of continuing cost-saving measures, companies are keen to appoint procurement specialists to effectively manage their strategic sourcing and supplier contracts.” More →

Is facilities management evolving into workplace management?

EvolutionNot so long ago, there used to be a lot of talk about the overlap between facilities management and professions such as HR and IT, much of it to do with the endless search for the true meaning of the nascent FM profession. Now there is open talk of convergence of these three and other disciplines as we adapt to the changing world of work. The nature and implications of this new order for those professions, and the role of facilities managers in particular, is the subject of a new book called Moving On: Facilities Management to Workplace Management by Graham Jervis.

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Office design goes to the movies. Part 8 – Brazil

Office design goes to the movies. Part 8 – Brazil

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A prescient film when it comes to modern office life, the workplace depicted in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is that particularly 1980s modish mish-mash of futuristic technology and grubby antique with more than a nod to the offices of the past, present and future. Nevertheless he was able to anticipate both the current obsession with shared desks, the battle for resources and space (above) and the fact that people will sometimes use technology to do anything  other than work so long as the boss doesn’t notice (below). Even the exposed pipes that were once so daring can now seem a routine or even hackneyed element in an office design.

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Hong Kong’s pioneering zero carbon building wins innovation award

ZCB building in Hong Kong

The Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in Hong Kong has been awarded Champion of the Innovation Award for the Engineering Industry 2012/2013 by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE). The ZCB, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong engineered by Arup won the construction category for its integrated innovations, tailored for the city’s sub-tropical climate. It is the first building in Hong Kong to actively feed electricity back to the grid and has BEAM Plus Platinum status – the highest rating for excellent building environmental performance.

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Video: how we need to break with the past to optimise what we do now

Video: how we need to break with the past to optimise what we do now

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Dave Coplin, the ‘Chief Envisioning Officer’ at Microsoft, explores with the RSA how we might apply technology in new ways to transform the way we work. He starts with a look at how we are constrained by the past, with the example of the QWERTY keyboard which was originally developed to slow typists down to stop keys jamming but is still the de facto input method for typists over a century later. Obviously there are very good commercial reasons why technology companies need to ‘envision’ this new world of flexible working but it’s an engaging presentation and honest enough when he argues against our obsession with specific aspects of work such as email at the expense of others.

Mobile devices set to outnumber humans as PC sales plummet

IpadsOne of the sure fire ways to judge what is about to happen to the world’s workplaces is to watch what people are doing with their gadgets. So as two surveys are published that show the dramatic decline in the numbers of PCs being sold around the world, a report from Cisco has forecast that by the end of this year, the number of mobile devices in operation globally will exceed the human population for the first time. Of course, that could only be possible if everybody was carrying around a number of mobile gadgets and, sure enough, a related survey from Juniper Networks shows that the average person surveyed now uses five devices at home and at work with at least three connected to the Internet.

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Flexible working arrangements could help law firms attract talent

Legal journalsA new report from recruitment consultants Douglas Scott claims that a greater use of flexible working in the UK’s law firms would help them attract and retain the best employees. The survey of staff from firms across the UK  found that while only 19 per cent of employees currently enjoy flexible working, nearly half (43%) of respondents claimed flex-time is at the top of their wish list of employment benefits. The survey note a deal of variation across law firms with 73 per cent of public sector employees already on some form of flexible arrangement, compared to just 16 per cent across the board and only 13.6 per cent in the top 100 firms. Flexible working is enjoyed by more senior people with 20 per cent  of qualified candidates enjoying flexible working compared to 7 per cent of support staff.

Video: people feel good at work when they know it has meaning

Video: people feel good at work when they know it has meaning

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More evidence stacks up about what motivates people, including in the workplace. One thing that all the research shows about how to help people feel good at work is that motivation is a complex issue. It is not about money or joy or fun or an easy life. The things that are important include the challenge of overcoming difficult problems, a sense of achievement and an understanding that the work they do is acknowledged and makes a genuine contribution. The one thing to avoid is futility and the thing to aim for is meaning even in small ways. All of this research challenges the assumption that people are essentially economic creatures and that we can make them feel better by making isolated changes to their working environment.

Productivity challenges of modern office workers’ email deluge

Image credit: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/photo_16117895_heap-of-letters-in-envelopes-falling-from-screen-of-modern-metal-office-laptop-or-silver-business-no.html'>scanrail / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Possibly the most perplexing picture of the modern office is whether technology has made it more, or less productive. New research by Warwick Business School has found that on average UK office workers deal with 40 emails a day and one in 12 with 100 messages a day, which can’t be good for productivity. Meanwhile another piece of research by psychologists at the University of Chester reveals the somewhat unsurprising fact that an over reliance on social media reduces the ability to maintain ‘meaningful’ relationships due to a lack of visual emotional cues – which could further cast doubts over the efficacy of remote working. More →

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