Other things being equal, this year will see the end of open plan and start of a four day week

Other things being equal, this year will see the end of open plan and start of a four day week

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You’ll only get one prediction from me this year and that’s about how all of the other workplace predictions will be cut and paste jobs from the past three decades and more. If you want to take a cynical approach to the whole thing, you’ll find one from your humble servant here. Apart from that, if you only read one set of actual predictions for 2020 or even the Twenties (that’ll take some getting used to), then make it this from an author also jaded and burdened by too many glib pronouncements about work and workplaces in general and the annual parade of predictable predictions in particular. 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 ten most read workplace stories of 2019

The ten most read workplace stories of 2019

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Most read workplace storiesHere’s a rundown of the best-read stories and pages on Workplace Insight first published over the last year. Taken together they may offer a snapshot of current workplace thinking although I would have to caveat that by saying that because we don’t publish obvious uninformed and hysterical nonsense, it will by necessity not include some stories that have gained traction elsewhere. 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 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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Seeing red about the only home we will ever know

Seeing red about the only home we will ever know

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Somewhere in the Utah desert, there is a small living pod designed to emulate conditions on Mars for a group of scientists keen to explore how we might colonise that red planet after messing this blue one up. This came as a surprise to me as did the news that Ikea has been on site recently installing some of its furniture for the occupants. Next up perhaps, an installation of Billy bookcases on the International Space Station as scientists explore the effects on people of a lost screw in zero gravity. I am Jack’s unconstrained rage. More →

Drawing back the curtain on the new workplace

Drawing back the curtain on the new workplace

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It’s a shame that Rhymer Rigby’s piece in The Times on creativity at work is behind a paywall because it says something perfectly obvious and demonstrable about workplace creativity that more people should read. The gist is that a cult has grown up around creativity that should be subject to more scrutiny and we should stop thinking about all work as the potential outlet for the creative instincts of people who may not have any, may not work in a job that involves them or who may not want to express them during their shifts in the Amazon warehouse. More →

The best smart cities focus on people rather than technology

The best smart cities focus on people rather than technology

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The best smart cities such as Buenos Aires focus on peopleCities are fast becoming “smart”, and the impact on people’s lives can be immense. Singapore’s smart traffic cameras restrict traffic depending on volume, and ease the commute of thousands of passengers every day. In Kaunas, Lithuania, the cost of parking is automatically deducted from the bank accounts of drivers when they park their cars. In many cities, the timing of public buses is announced at each stop with almost perfect accuracy. And free WiFi is now accessible across entire cities, including Buenos Aires, Argentina (pictured) and Ramallah, Palestine. More →

Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

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The worst workplace related news story of 2019 is also one of the most widely reported. I’m not linking to it because I don’t want to give it any credibility, but it has been discharged into the ether by Fellowes along with a ‘behavioural futurist’ called William Higham. I will say only two things about it. Firstly, we flatly refused to publish a story about the damn thing and it’s a shame that the mainstream media couldn’t spot it for the utter drivel it is. The fact that they have picked up on it says something about the way such issues are covered in the press. That’s why you’re more likely to see a stress-related story about rats driving cars on the BBC than you are something meaningful. More →

Why some people are more creative than others

Why some people are more creative than others

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Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative “geniuses” like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in some capacity. It’s not just your ability to draw a picture or design a product. We all need to think creatively in our daily lives, whether it’s figuring out how to make dinner using leftovers or fashioning a Halloween costume out of clothes in your closet. More →

Making flippy floppy with the meaning of work

Making flippy floppy with the meaning of work

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Great news! No, not the Brexit deal but the reports that the US has replaced the floppy disks it uses to store the information about its nuclear arsenal with something a bit less Nineties. If nothing else, a useful reminder that even the people responsible for a potential Armageddon might not be quite on board for the Fourth Industrial Revolution just yet, and are still coming to terms with the Third. More →

Going with the flow in office design

Going with the flow in office design

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Sedus Smart OfficeThroughout history we’ve been aware of the state we now refer to as flow. It describes the sensation of existing purely in the moment of some activity, effortlessly achieving what we have set out to achieve and unaware of distractions. Mystics have described it as ecstasy, artists as rapture and athletes as in the zone. This state was first described as flow by the Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975 and has been developed by him and a wide range of other researchers in a number of fields since that time. More →

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