Resistance to workplace change marks the passing of the old order

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ChangeWhen Vodafone announced in March that the UK’s businesses could save up to £34 billion with the more widespread application of flexible working models, the research to support the claim had two very familiar components. The first was a crystal clear business case, the second an admission that the message was still not quite getting through to those at the top. In fact, Vodafone claimed, around two-thirds of business leaders continue to insist their business can’t afford to reduce the number of workstations they use despite all evidence to the contrary. A third haven’t even considered the idea of reducing the number of workstations they use as a way of cutting costs.

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New survey reveals risks of cutting costs in corporate real estate

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JLL ReportA new report from Jones Lang LaSalle claims to highlight how those firms who see their property as a driver of added value rather than a cost reap rewards in the form of higher revenue, employee performance and shareholder returns. In contrast, those firms who view their facilities as a cost and seek to reduce those costs for short term gain are, in fact, storing up long term problems and risks. JLL’s report – Global Corporate Real Estate Trends – claims to reveal the top five corporate real estate risks, including negative impacts on competitive advantage and profitability from cost cutting, procurement processes, lack of collaboration between functions and failure to drive productivity.

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Dubai developers switch unwanted commercial property projects to other uses

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Cups gameThe UK isn’t the only country looking to convert its unwanted office space into other uses. According to a new report from CBRE, the oversupply of new commercial property in Dubai is leading developers to switch the use of projects in the Emirate before they have even finished building them. With occupancy levels already at less than 50 percent in some areas and swathes of new developments coming online thanks to Dubai’s ongoing commitment to a policy of ‘build it and they will come’, developers are taking the decision to convert construction projects to homes or hotels.

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Extensive new research launched into leadership in FM

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FM Leadership survey launched for Think FM

A new research initiative, focusing on leadership has been launched by Workplace Law, the key findings of which will be presented at ThinkFM 2013, taking place on Monday 10 June at the Royal College of Physicians in London. The theme of the conference this year is ‘The Leadership Challenge: Raising our game, making our case, realising our value’, and Workplace Law’s survey aims to draw the opinions of facilities management clients and service providers across the UK. It covers a range of issues, including talent in FM, sustainability, leadership in health and safety, plus looking at how leadership and performance management in FM can really add value to an organisation. More →

What Søren Kierkegaard can teach us about workplace design and management

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KierkegaardSøren Kierkegaard was a Nineteenth Century Danish philosopher and proto-existentialist. Not for him the hazy, romantic ideals of many of his contemporaries. He was one of the thinkers who gave birth to the Twentieth Century with its focus on the individual, reality and life in a sometimes uncaring world, although he was no atheist like many of the true existentialists. If he’s generally well known for anything these days it is for a single quotation that reads like a greeting card aphorism but is no less true for that. He said: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.’ Looking back can give you a real handle on the present. I moved offices recently and as these things happen, a number of books that I routinely ignore fell open while I was looking for some displacement activity.

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New projects to research green building solutions

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The BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials

Two major new projects to further the development of sustainable building solutions have been launched. The BRE (Building Research Establishment) National Solar Centre, aimed at providing a research based, independent platform in the use of solar energy in the UK was officially opened in Cornwall today, and a £1m ground-breaking building called the HIVE funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and led by Dr Mike Lawrence from the University of Bath’s BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, is to be built at a dedicated research park in Swindon.

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Plans for redevelopment of iconic BBC Television Centre confirmed

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BBC television centre redesign plans confirmed

Detailed plans to open up and transform the BBC’s Television Centre into a mixed use development including office and studio space for the BBC have been released today. Developers Stanhope and the BBC revealed in February that for the first time, Television Centre will be opened up to the public and the famous forecourt remodelled. The BBC will remain at Television Centre operating studios and BBC Worldwide will consolidate their new home at Television Centre, following refurbishment. The remaining offices are aimed at occupiers in the creative sector. The much loved listed buildings at Television Centre will be retained. More →

CIBSE creates diversity panel to reflect varied workforce

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Diversity in the workplace

Efforts to encourage a more inclusive culture within the built environment appear to have moved up a gear. RIBA President Angela Brady has voiced concerns on the “gender inequality that continues to pervade the profession,” and now the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) has launched a Diversity Panel. Formed to encourage diversity in all its forms, whether race, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability, it is made up of CIBSE members who are keen to increase the routes to the profession through educational paths and by promoting a diverse workplace. Commented CIBSE: “The employment and retention of a varied workforce is integral to meet the building services engineering skills gap and to therefore improve building performance.” More →

Client focus as crucial as great design says RIBA

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The architectural profession can't rely on great design alone, but needs to be more business and client focused

The architectural profession can’t rely on great design alone, but needs to be more business and client focused warns the Royal Institute of British Architects. According to RIBA’s 2012/13 Business Benchmarking Survey, 62 per cent of practices do not have a business plan and, of those that do, only 13 per cent plan beyond one year. Interestingly, the survey also finds that 50 per cent of the profession’s work is won as the result of a direct approach with no competitive process. RIBA President Angela Brady said: “One key element exposed in these latest results is the acute split in business management, profitability and specialisms between large and small practices on how to make the most of their own position in the market place. What is clear is that if growth is on the agenda for a practice, then simply being a great designer, or a good project runner, is unlikely to be enough.” More →

Shortlist for green business awards published on Earth Day

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Earth day celebrations

Green charities, consultancies and a range of businesses that have helped to promote and facilitate environmental progress within the corporate community over the past year have been nominated for a BusinessGreen Leaders’ Award. The shortlist for the green business awards, which celebrate leading businesses and individuals’ contributions to the green economy is published today on Earth Day, when it’s expected that over one billion people in approximately 192 countries will be taking action to protect the environment. The day is being marked in Seattle by the formal opening of the “greenest commercial building in the world,” the Bullitt center by one of Earth’s day’s founders, the environmental activist Denis Hayes. More →

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

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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

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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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