September 7, 2018
September 3, 2018
August 13, 2018
Image: Hunt of the Unicorn (tapestry circa 1500) housed at Stirling Castle
July 20, 2018
July 19, 2018
21st Century organisations are under constant pressure to evolve. They are beset by a number of forces that demand they change constantly. These include the need to restructure the organisation, adapt to new technologies, respond to competitors and changes in the economy and legislative environment. Inevitably, this constant need to change affects both people and the built environment in very profound ways. However, according to a study of Culture and Change Management published by the Katzenbach Center, only around half of all transformation initiatives meet their objects over time. Among the biggest obstacles to successful change management cited by the study is change fatigue, which is characterised by a lack of empathy and a widespread failure to engage with the change process.
July 16, 2018
July 5, 2018
In 2017, a content creator called Oobah Butler decided that he wanted to do something with the experience he’d gained writing fake positive restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor. What if, he wondered, he set up an entirely fictitious restaurant based in the shed in his garden and then started to manipulate TripAdvisor ratings? What happened surpassed his wildest expectations. In just six months, The Shed at Dulwich became the top-rated restaurant in London, even though nobody had ever actually eaten there, based solely on fake reviews, fake pictures and the word of mouth created by a complete inability for anybody to book a table.
July 4, 2018
People who stand in meetings may enjoy a number of health benefits, but it can also make them feel self-conscious, anxious about how others perceive them, and disengaged from the meeting. These findings, taken from our recent study, suggest that efforts to encourage office workers to sit less and move more must acknowledge the realities of the workplace that conspire to keep people chained to their seats. Sitting has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and poorer mental health. While some evidence suggests that the harms of sitting can be offset by at least one daily hour of moderate physical activity, this seems an unrealistic target. More →
June 29, 2018
June 28, 2018
The science of the workplace has gained a lot of interest over the last few years, highlighting recurring patterns of human behaviour as well as how organisational behaviour relates to office design. In theory, knowledge from this growing body of research could be used to inform design. In practice, this is rarely the case. A survey of 420 architects and designers highlighted a large gap between research and practice: while 80 percent of respondents agreed that more evidence was needed on the impact of design, 68 percent admitted they never reviewed literature and 71 percent said they never engaged in any sort of post-occupancy evaluation. Only 5 percent undertake a formal POE and just 1 percent do so in a rigorous fashion. Not a single practitioner reported a report on the occupied scheme, despite its importance in understanding the impact of a design.
June 21, 2018
Chicago is one of the world’s great cities. Its dramatic lake and river setting, its magnificent architecture and its raw energy inspire the locals and businesses to achieve great things. People work and play very hard. Competition is fierce both in business as in the way the people relate to each other, and befits a city heavily influenced by waves of immigration down the ages. Apart from somewhat overly aggressive and noisy driving, if there is friction, you don’t sense it and it isn’t obvious. Most locals seem genuinely open and friendly, including to strangers, and happy to get on with their lives without troubling others. Perhaps they’re all being buoyed up by the great street music which is everywhere.
June 19, 2018
There is a witch hunt on in the workplace. “Open plan” has become a dirty word and the national press are leading the mob in vilifying this so-called scourge. The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and Business Week have all reported that “we can’t get anything done in an open-plan office” as it affects our concentration, our performance and our health. These news items are all damning, but perhaps not as damming as the Wikipedia entry on open plan which states: “A systematic survey of research upon the effects of open plan offices found frequent negative effects in some traditional workplaces: high levels of noise, stress, conflict, high blood pressure and a high staff turnover… Most people prefer closed offices… there is a dearth of studies confirming positive impacts on productivity from open plan office designs”.