The workplace sector responds to the 2017 UK Autumn Budget

The workplace sector responds to the 2017 UK Autumn Budget

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Yesterday, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the details of the UK government’s latest budget. While Brexit inevitably cast its shadow over the whole thing, there were a number of announcements relevant to the workplace, construction, tech and built environment sectors, many of which have been broadly welcomed by commentators, industry bodies and experts. Among the announcements in the budget were new plans for infrastructure and planning, skills and training, the environment, productivity, AI and regional development.

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The missing LINC between the office and the future of work

The missing LINC between the office and the future of work

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There is a theory that if you want to know how the economy is doing, you ask a taxi driver. The basis for this idea is that they are the first to know when money is getting tight, because people make more use of buses and tubes. In a similar way, one of the best ways of gauging workplace trends is to ask an office furniture company. They’ve always functioned in a fiercely competitive market, but are also the first to notice an economic downturn or a shift in the structure of their markets.

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Seven stories about people, places and technology we’ve been reading this week

Seven stories about people, places and technology we’ve been reading this week

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How to navigate beyond sustainability buzzwords

The communist party offices around the world

Hawking’s fear that AI may replace humans altogether

Tech giants are transforming Sydney’s business district

How AI will transform the employee experience

Promotion improves men’s job satisfaction but not women’s

Why we value physical objects over digital

The contribution of personality to the performance of agile workers

The contribution of personality to the performance of agile workers

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The introduction of agile working into organisations has typically focussed on the workstyles of different job roles, but has tended to treat the jobholders within these groups in the same way. The successful introduction of new ways of working clearly relies on the willingness of the people occupying the job roles to embrace new ways of working; yet there has been little investigation of the needs of agile workers with different personality types beyond looking at the needs of extroverts and introverts. These studies have tended to focus on the workplace; for example, the Cushman Wakefield Workplace Programme briefing paper examines how organisations can accommodate the needs of extroverts and introverts working together in the workplace. However, using OCEAN personality profiles, Nigel Oseland found that different personality types have different preferences, which in turn are likely to affect their performance at work.

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Seven workplace stories we’ve been reading this week

Seven workplace stories we’ve been reading this week

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UK law firms chop staff space despite headcount growth

What 15 minutes of solitude does for your emotions

Like it or not, popularity at work still matters

How younger men can help to break the glass ceiling

What do small businesses really contribute to the economy?

What technology will mean for traditional real estate models

Poor posture in people with disabilities can be fatal

Image: Claremont Group Interiors

Seven workplace stories we have been reading this week

Seven workplace stories we have been reading this week

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The link between air pollution and worker productivity

Amazon’s wish list for it new HQ and what it means for the future of cities

WeWork in talks to buy £785 million London project

The startup era may be ending in the tech sector

Rocking and rolling with the new era of workplaces

Is Google’s plan for smart cities an attempt to control them?

Offices that embrace the idea of a human workplace

An environmental psychology perspective on workplace design

An environmental psychology perspective on workplace design

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I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Cape Town to present a keynote address at the Dare to Lead conference organised by Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). I had just 20 minutes to speak on a psychologist’s view of health, wellbeing and performance; that’s a huge subject area and pretty much my whole career condensed down to the typical time it takes to boil a pan of potatoes. So, I focused on just three psychological theories: motivation, personality and evolutionary psychology.

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Seven (or eight) of the best workplace stories we think you should read this week

Seven (or eight) of the best workplace stories we think you should read this week

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A Google engineer has created a religion which will have an artificial intelligence as its God

Nobody seems to know what mindfulness actually is

Most people are neither extroverts nor introverts

We are literally sleepwalking into a health and productivity disaster

Are you working alongside a zombie?

The five major roadblocks to smart city infrastructure

Shooting the same people on the way to work for nine years

What Norman Foster got wrong about the Apple HQ, and what it means for everybody else

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Seven workplace stories you should read this week

Seven workplace stories you should read this week

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Poland has a rapidly ageing population but has just cut its state retirement age

Why IBM is bucking the trend and demanding its workers return to the office

US cities are offering all sorts of incentives for Amazon to move there

India is looking to create ten billion sq. ft. of green smart cities

WeWork’s $20 billion punt on the future of work

Does colour really affect the way we think and behave?

The silent killer of productivity and wellbeing is lack of civility

VodafoneZiggo workplace in Rotterdam sets out to redefine call centre design

VodafoneZiggo workplace in Rotterdam sets out to redefine call centre design

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When you think of a call centre you probably picture a line of people seated in row upon row of desks in a featureless room. But call centre design is changing. As companies recognise their growing importance, the boiler room approach is disappearing and call centres are beginning to morph into a corporate centrepiece. Dutch telecoms company Ziggo is a case in point. The company merged with Vodafone in 2017 and today offers broadband and mobile services to both residential and commercial customers across the Netherlands. It has a large call centre and like many companies invests significant resources in training call centre employees in both technology and interpersonal skills. VodafoneZiggo’s call centre in Rotterdam, designed by Evolution Design is spread over several large open plan areas, which were converted into series of smaller work spaces, using low cost solutions such as simple wooden frames, acoustic panelling or a change of flooring to demarcate different zones. Staff can now choose to work in areas as diverse as a plant covered ‘greenhouse’, open plan spaces with bright yellow accents and colourful floor tiles or in a more urban-style zone that uses reclaimed wooden pallets to divide and decorate. Throughout the centre, desks are height adjustable so employees can choose whether to sit or stand. There is also a central reception area with meeting and training rooms and a colourful break out space with comfortable sofas, a café and a games zone complete with table football and video games.

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The mega trends that continue to reshape the workplace around the world

The mega trends that continue to reshape the workplace around the world

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Last week, over 600 workplace and property experts met in London at the CoreNet Global Summit 2017 to discuss some of the most important trends affecting the sector. The debates underlined one important fact about property and workplaces, which is how they are shaped by major, globalised events as much as they are local needs and the objectives of specific organisations. This quickly became evident on day one, which demonstrated how dramatic shifts in the geopolitical landscape, all of which are impacting corporate real estate – from America First to Brexit – remain key talking points for the industry. Opening speaker Linda Yueh (University of Oxford and London Business School) explored several possible scenarios, including how the focus of ‘Trumpism’ would have a significant effect on the U.S. role on the world stage, with the priority on the domestic economy leaving little scope for global trade. She also predicted that a ‘hard Brexit’, with no new trade deal with the EU, will be the most likely outcome for the UK’s withdrawal process; and that businesses will need to focus on alternative WTO rules as an urgent priority. Other impacting factors covered by Yueh included the rise of a dominant global middle class, and China’s need to rebalance its economic growth drivers.
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The most productive thing you may do today is go for a walk

The most productive thing you may do today is go for a walk

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According to a widely reported government study in today’s news, 40 percent of middle aged English adults do not even manage a ten minute walk each month. The report from Public Health England says that so many people are sedentary that official activity guidelines are so unrealistic and people should be encouraged to walk ten minutes a day – half the current guidance – to improve general levels of health and mental wellbeing. Little steps, in other words. We can confidently say that the underlying problem here is cultural, including the amount of time people spend on their backsides at work. This is in spite of all the evidence that shows that we may not only be fitter and happier by moving more but more creative too.

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