Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

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Making predictions about the future can leave people hostages to fortune. Just ask the Decca record executive Dick Rowe who in 1962 rejected a contract with The Beatles confidently asserting that “guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein” or even multi-billionaire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who declared in 2007 that “there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Some people buck the trend however. More →

People know that restricting screen time at work would benefit their wellbeing

People know that restricting screen time at work would benefit their wellbeing

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wellbeing and the off switchIn a new survey of 4,000 employees in the UK, the US, Singapore and the UAE, three quarters of office workers say restricting screen time would benefit their mental and physical wellbeing. The survey has been published in a new report, The digital health dilemma: Is technology keeping workers healthy or making them ill? from benefits provider, Aetna International, in a bid to uncover how modern workplace technology and digital tools have impacted employee wellbeing. More →

People working from home buy things to look good on work video calls

People working from home buy things to look good on work video calls

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looking good while working from homeAround one in seven UK adults (14 percent) now working from home admit that they have bought items specifically to look good in the background of their video calls with colleagues and clients. This rises to one in five (21 percent) among younger millennial and Gen-Z employees aged 16-34 – and 15 percent of women vs. 13 percent of men. More →

Your working day is never finished, merely abandoned

Your working day is never finished, merely abandoned

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It’s been talked about for a number of years now but we can expect to be hearing a lot more about the four day week or six hour day soon. The modern conversation has its roots partly in a Swedish experiment designed to limit the hours people work in an attempt to improve their work-life balance and possibly even increase their productivity. Now a growing number of firms are looking to introduce a nominal four day working week or restrict the use of technology – meaning email – outside of certain hours. More →

Buildings with a digital twin have a lot to tell us

Buildings with a digital twin have a lot to tell us

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digital twinThe expression “if these walls could talk” is taking on an entirely new meaning with the emerging opportunity to create digital twins for buildings. Across the entire lifecycle of structures such as office buildings, hospitals, airports and hotels, creating a digital twin can significantly reduce costs, improve efficiencies, speed construction delivery, as well as enhance performance and the user experience. More →

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

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An illustration of a frog, a key metaphor in Charles Handy's writing about the world of workWhile at work in a Viennese Obstetric Clinic in the mid 1840s, a Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that mothers were far less likely to succumb to a potentially fatal infection called puerperal fever when the medical staff treating them washed their hands. When he started collecting data to confirm his insight, he found that hand washing reduced mortality rates from around 10 percent to as little as 1 percent. Although, his findings predated the germ theory of disease, which left him without an explanation, in 1847 he published a book in which he proposed that the link was so evident that in future staff should always wash their hands in chlorinated lime before treating patients, to protect them from infection.

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From the archive: the future of work and place in the 21st Century

From the archive: the future of work and place in the 21st Century 0

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future of work and placeHowever much we know about the forces we expect to come into play in our time and however much we understand the various social, commercial, legislative, cultural and economic parameters we expect to direct them, most predictions of the future tend to come out as refractions or extrapolations of the present. This is a fact tacitly acknowledged by George Orwell’s title for 1984, written in 1948, and is always the pinch of salt we can apply to science fiction and most of the predictions we come across. More →

Companies fail to consider employee needs during digital transformation

Companies fail to consider employee needs during digital transformation

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digital transformationLenovo has published a new study which claims that organisations are placing business and shareholder goals above employee needs during their digital transformation. The research, conducted among 1,000 IT managers across EMEA, suggests that just 6 percent of IT managers consider users as their top priority when making technology investments. More →

Creating great cultures will be one of the main drivers for firms in the new era of work

Creating great cultures will be one of the main drivers for firms in the new era of work

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Workplace design is – or should be – inextricably linked to both an organisation’s identity and its culture. The issue of workplace culture, and why it might succeed or fail, has become a matter of a great deal of study as the basis for work has moved on from the scientific management theories of the early to mid-20th Century. This aped the hierarchies, structures and forms of factories. It once prevailed but even now its vestiges remain, often in spite of the decades of research and a changing world of work that show us better ways of getting things done.   More →

What happens to work when the machine stops?

What happens to work when the machine stops?

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Newton at work

In 1909, E M Forster – not exactly known for a body of work including dystopian fiction – published a novella called The Machine Stops. You can read it here but the story describes a future in which people live below ground, in isolation but with all their needs met by an omnipresent Machine (you can see where this is going). More →

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present 0

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We are all futurologists now. We all have our 2020 visions, at least for a little while. But there was a time, not so long ago, when the title was reserved for a few people who would be able to shake and shape the world with a single idea and a book. Yes, a book. Nowadays a book has to go hand in hand with a Ted Talk, blogs on the Huff Post and a speaking tour to get you anywhere at all. But within living memory it was possible to shift the thinking of the planet with a book. More →

Charles Handy was a true visionary about the modern workplace

Charles Handy was a true visionary about the modern workplace

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It’s incredibly hard not to be impressed by Charles Handy and even harder not to find him likeable. The scope of his intellect and humanity is evident on the page, in his interviews and in his broadcasts. He reeks of credibility and warmth. Do a Google image search of him and the pictures you find epitomise English middle-class academic decency (despite the fact that he’s Irish); jumpers, churchyards, armchairs and a benign smile. More →

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