Video: Why designers need to design for our ears too

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A subject too often ignored but about which we now have a great deal of research is that of acoustic comfort. Insight has covered the subject before, but the fact remains that too often we design for our eyes far more than our ears. What we also know to be true is that we are becoming more acutely aware of the issue as our workplaces change both in terms of the space each of us is allocated and our exposure to others in the name of collaboration. In this TED talk Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency considers how we might design our surrounding in ways to improve our acoustic comfort.

British Land named Carbon Champion at CIBSE awards

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British Land

British Land has been named Carbon Champion of Year in the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards 2013. The awards recognise building performance excellence in 12 categories, with other winners including Max Fordham, Norland, Atkins and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The CIBSE awards recognise and celebrate the best performance, innovation and practice in design, commissioning, construction, installation and operation of sustainable buildings and the manufacturers whose technologies enable energy efficiency. More →

A Field Guide to Workplace Terminology

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DictionaryAs the ecosystem around the workplace industry grows ever more complex, so too does the language we use to describe it. In an attempt to bring order to chaos, guest writer Simon Heath presents here a glossary of terms, acronyms and abbreviations to help you navigate these linguistic waters. (For example Business Intelligence – A commonly used oxymoron.) For more of Simon’s worldly, wise and witty writing on all things work and workplace related, visit his blog at https://workmusing.wordpress.com.

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New York state of mind to increase building energy efficiency by 20percent

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Build NY

In one of the most ambitious green initiatives in the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order directing state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years. He also announced Build Smart NY, a plan to  strategically implement the Executive Order by accelerating priority improvements in energy performance. The largest and most inefficient buildings will be addressed first and undergo comprehensive whole-building improvements, including new lighting fixtures and controls, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems and automated energy management systems. More →

£4 billion UK Government spend to be managed by Research Councils

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cheque_bookAround £4 billion of the UK Government’s spending on construction and facilities management projects is to be handled by The Research Council’s UK Shared Services Centre (RCUK SSC). The move has been agreed with the Government Procurement Service (GPS) as part of the coalition’s attempts to achieve cost savings in every part of the public sector. GPS projects that the move will save around 10 per cent of the budgeted spend by consolidating procurement procedures, although shared procurement services have sometimes failed to deliver anticipated saving in the past. More →

Sodexo Workplace Trends report covers familiar ground

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sodexo workplace trends editThe latest annual Workplace Trends Report from workplace services provider Sodexo claims to reveal the crucial role the built environment has in organisational performance. The report emphasises the growing strategic role of facilities management and the importance of sustainability as an element of corporate culture as well as a trend toward designing offices to attract and retain top talent by emphasising productivity and quality of life. The report also identifies the importance of social media in attracting prospective employees instead of traditional e-mail campaigns and other media.

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Yes, very nice, but who do you think is going to clean it?

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Abu Dhabi Mosque smallIf you want to, you can see the difference between design and facilities management as the difference between sex and parenthood. One is an act of creation, the other of care. So while an architect or designer might look at the honeycomb structures and shiny surfaces of the interior of the 40,000 capacity Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi with admiration, the person who is actually responsible for looking after it might well be more likely to think ‘well, that’s just great’.

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Designing for productivity means creating space for us to be alone

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WilkhahnOn the face of it, the case for working in open plan offices is clear cut. Not only are they  more conducive to collaborative work and less bound by ideas of that great no-no that we used to call ‘status’, the economic case is seemingly open and shut. Open plan workstations not only take up around half the space of cellular offices, the fit-out costs are typically 25 per cent lower. And yet there are clear signs of a backlash, at least to the idea of them fostering collaborative work.

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Global FM announces strategic vision & FM award winners

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Global FM

Global FM, (Global Facility Management Association) has formalised changes to its strategic plan. It follows the recommendations of a special Taskforce set up last year to evaluate the structure, objectives and activities of the association, a worldwide federation of member-centric organisations representing the facilities management profession. The Association explains the taskforce was: “In agreement that a more simplified structure would allow a better use of resources focussing on activities that create added value for the association and its members and avoiding any duplication of the outcomes of the national FM associations.”

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A more decentralised office inevitable for world’s workers

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The changing nature of work and the workforce continues to transform offices around the world. And nowhere more so than in the United States  According to a recent report from McKinsey – called Preparing for a New Era of Knowledge Work – not only are we seeing the final stages of the transition to a knowledge economy with all that entails, demographic inertia means that there may be a huge shortfall in the number of skilled graduate workers needed to service it. This pattern will be evident around the world, especially in rapidly developing economies such as China and India.  More →

UK businesses lag behind US counterparts in adoption of Cloud tech

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Businesses in the UK are significantly lagging behind their US counterparts when it comes to adopting Cloud technology according to new research from Redwood Software. The study found that 58 percent of US businesses were already using the cloud for private data storage, compared to just 35 percent in the UK. Meanwhile twice as many organisations in the US are using Cloud technology for supply chain integration and capacity management than their Brit contemporaries. More →

Workplace transformation strategies are an essential element of CSR

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CNGLogo

Adopting 21st-century workplace practices that meet the needs of employers and employees is an important form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), according to a new corporate real estate (CRE) industry advocacy statement by CoreNet Global. The report finds the nature of work is “changing dramatically, transcending the traditional definitions of productivity to include the concepts of enabling work, employee engagement, employee satisfaction and employee wellness, framed around an emerging ‘work-life support’ business model.” More →

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