The war against environmental cynicism puts an onus on suppliers to be honest

Roller Painting House Siding GreenGreenwash is one of those terms that has gone from needing an explanation to being in common usage in the space of a few years. The reason for that is quite simply that it is the perfect description of a particular form of marketing bullshit that we all recognise. However, while a degree of scepticism about what you hear from marketers is always healthy, but I fear the point has been reached where some people find it easy to dismiss real environmental claims as greenwash. The war against cynicism can partly be helped if more manufacturers and suppliers could get better at demonstrating the validity of their claims.

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New online survey will explore the psychology of collaboration spaces

psychHerman Miller is sponsoring the next stage of Research into the Psychology of Collaboration Spaces being carried out by Dr Nigel Oseland of Workplace Unlimited The key methodology is an online survey which determines your personality profile and collaboration preferences. To enter the survey click here. The research stems from a literature review that Nigel conducted on behalf of Herman Miller last year. For a copy of the previous research report please click here for a summary or the full paper. The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete. Participants  will receive a copy of the new research report and an invitation to a seminar of the research findings. You may also enter a prize draw for a Herman Miller Mirra chair and Workplace Trends conference tickets. The survey closes on Friday 16th August.

Effective recycling is about good management as much as it is materials and design

We all like to think we are discerning about what we will and won’t put in our trolleys at the supermarket. Not any old salty, fat-saturated gloop will make the cut these days. That’s why the producers of food like to proclaim its healthiness on packaging, regardless of the nature of the product within. ‘Lower fat’ doesn’t mean low fat. Companies in other sectors follow suit. The office products market is one in which some manufacturers don’t mind a splash of green on product labels. This doesn’t do the customer or the buyer any good and can breed cynicism in the market, undermining the efforts of those suppliers who actually take a sophisticated approach to the environmental performance of their products.

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100% Design announces new collaboration with Design Guild Mark

Mir by Mark Gabbertas for Chorus Furniture

Mir by Mark Gabbertas for Chorus Furniture

The UK’s largest and longest running contemporary design event 100% Design has announced a new collaboration with The  Furniture  Makers  Company  to  promote  British  design  excellence through the Design Guild Mark. The Design Guild Mark was introduced by The Furniture  Makers Company  in 2008 to recognises excellence in the design of mass produced furniture in the UK. Ten of the products which earned a Design Guild Mark will be exhibited at 100% Design this year including products from designers such as Barber Osgerby, Terry Hunt, Mark Gabbertas and James Irvine.

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Predicting the future of the office means looking at what is happening now

display_img_01Futurology is notoriously a mug’s game. Especially when it comes to making predictions about technology. Just ask Ken Olson, the founder of DEC who in 1977 pronounced that ‘there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home’. Or Bill Gates himself who once claimed that Microsoft ‘will never make a 32 bit operating system’. Most recently Steve Ballmer, a billionaire executive said in 2007 ‘there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.’ But mone of these retrosepctively viewed dodgy predictions should make us blind to those that we know will certainly come true, especially those based on what we know is happening in the present.

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Hospitality giant receives second LEED certificate for sustainable HQ

 Wyndham Worldwide HQ wins second LEED silver award

Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, which counts the Travelodge and Ramada chains amongst its brands has received a second silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for its New Jersey-based headquarters. One of the green initiatives was the introduction of a sustainable purchasing policy that encourages the purchase of ongoing items such as lamps, electronic goods and furniture, to be environmentally friendly, conserve natural resources, minimize waste and reduce toxicity. More →

Report: How will the future affect us or can we effect the future?

 How will the future affect us or can we effect the future

Workplace furniture specialist Kinnarps has published its Trend Report 2013, which is the culmination of detailed research across European markets and thought leaders, conducted in partnership with Stockholm based futurologists Kairos Future. The study distilled a broad overview of emerging and established trends, across Kinnarps’ European markets, to focus on eight key themes that will influence the workplace of the future. According to the report, big changes are already apparent in our society, but these will come to have an altogether greater impact on the way we evaluate our working environment. More →

New Government department to focus on FM and office supplies procurement


The UK Government’s latest attempt at developing a centralised public sector procurement department was unveiled by the Cabinet Office yesterday. The  Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has been set an annual budget of up to £12 billion to secure a range of goods and services including facilities management and office supplies. It has a target of saving some £1 billion each year by working across a range of government departments to take advantage of a shared purchasing function. The announcement follows last week’s report from a committee of MPs into the failings of the current procurement setup in Whitehall. More →

Government report highlights failings in UK public sector procurement

Cheque signingIn the wake of a number of recent procurement failures including the G4S and Serco overcharging fiasco, the UK Government has published a highly critical report of the way it buys some £227 billion of goods and services annually. The report from the Public Administration Committee (PASC) says that in spite of steps to improve procurement which include using better data, aggregating demand across departments and renegotiating with major suppliers, the number of failures remains conspicuously high. The G4S and Serco contracts with the Ministry of Justice, under which payments were made regardless of the service being delivered, are the most high profile examples but the report indicates that problems are widespread.

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Plans to redevelop London’s Smithfield Market are given the green light

SmithfieldThe much talked about plans to redevelop Smithfield market have been given the green light by City of London planners. As we reported earlier this year, the development in the heart of a London district renowned for its creative industries, including many of the UK’s leading workplace design studios, has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny and controversy. Now the City of London’s planning and transport committee has voted to approve the scheme designed by John McAslan + Partners. Most of the objections were made by campaigners based on the heritage of the historic site.

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Round meeting tables enhance workplace consensus and collaboration

Round table layout improves workplace consensus and collaboration

The Knights of the Round Table may be the stuff of legend but it seems King Arthur was on to something, for a new study reveals that people sitting in a circular formation at round meeting tables are more likely to want to ‘belong’ to a group and are less prone to be antagonistic. By contrast, the research from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business found that people seated in an angular arrangement – i.e. “The Boardroom” in Sir Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice – are more likely to look out for number one.  “The geometric shape of a seating arrangement can act as a subtle environmental cue for people, by priming their fundamental need for inclusiveness or individuality,” says Sauder Assistant Professor Juliet Zhu, who co-authored the forthcoming study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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Ergonomics of dishonesty. How desk size influences behaviour

The influence the design and layout of the workplace can have on productivity is widely acknowledged. Now, according to a new scientific study expansive physical settings like having a big desk to stretch out at work can cause individuals to feel more powerful, and in turn these feelings of power can elicit more dishonest behaviour such as stealing, cheating, and traffic violations. This might sound far-fetched but The Ergonomics of Dishonesty was written by a group of researchers at leading business schools, including Harvard, Columbia and Berkeley and is soon to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. Co-author Andy Yap, explained: “Our research shows that office managers should pay attention to the ergonomics of their workspaces. The results suggest that these physical spaces have tangible and real-world impact on our behaviours.” More →