Communal workspace model making inroads in US offices


There is a growing trend in the United States to downsize office space, particularly amongst larger public firms, as they increasingly adopt policies for sharing non-dedicated offices and implement technology to support their employees’ ability to work anywhere and anytime. In a webinar presented to subscribers of commercial real estate intelligence group CoStar, Norm G. Miller, PhD, a professor at the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate examined what would happen if office tenants used 20 per cent less of the US’ current office space, which has a total valuation of $1.25 trillion.

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Regus launches ‘world’s first’ city-wide third space network

Regus Express BerlinServiced office provider Regus has claimed that it has launched the world’s first city-wide network of flexible working hubs in 70 Shell service stations across Berlin. The facilities available for the Regus Card toting road warriors at the ‘Regus Express’ hubs include wifi (surely a given these days),  docking stations, business lounges and meeting rooms. It is the most extensive use yet of the Regus approach to ‘third spaces’ which has so far also included the provision of facilities on Shell service station on the autoroutes around Paris, trains on the Dutch rail network and certain UK branches of Staples.

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‘Internet of everything’ for most firms within 3 years

Cisco techwatch

Next generation workspaces will be a reality for three quarters (76 per cent) of businesses by 2016 says a new Cisco report, as organisations pave the way for greater connectivity by investing in IT infrastructure and collaboration technologies. “Whilst cost-cutting and reducing complexity is important, creating an environment where IT can support – or indeed drive – innovation within the business is paramount said Ian Foddering, CTO Cisco UKI. “Three key pillars emerge: ‘Simplify’, ‘Protect’ and ‘Change & Grow’. Get the first two right, and you pave the way for innovation, greater connectivity, next generation workspaces and ultimately a shift towards the ‘Internet of Everything’.”

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Homeworkers happier but more at risk from poor ergonomics

Flexible workingAmidst all the controversy over flexible working raised by the infamous Yahoo homeworking ban comes US research revealing homeworking policies lead to happier employers and employees. 93 percent of employees surveyed by Staples Advantage agree that telecommuting programs are mutually beneficial, and more than half 53 percent of business decision makers said telecommuting leads to more productive employees. However, the survey also reveals that 48 per cent of telecommuters use furniture or technology that is not ergonomically adjusted for them, which can lead to discomfort, loss of productivity or injury. More →

Portland House is London’s latest major offices to homes conversion

Portland HouseLand Securities is the latest developer to announce a major office to flats conversion in the wake of the Government’s change to the relevant parts of the planning system that make it easier to change the use of buildings. The firm has submitted plans to convert the 29 floors of Portland House in Victoria into 206 flats along with ground floor retail units. Land Securities is one of the first firms to take advantage of the new planning rules which have been the subject of much criticism by organisations such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as well as local authorities throughout London who have almost unanimously sought exemptions.

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Information Commissioner warns on poor BYOD practice

Data theftThe Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published new guidance on the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) following the findings of a YouGov poll  which reported that while nearly half of UK workers use  their own phones, tablets and other devices for work, under a third of have been offered any form of formal guidance by employers. The ICO warns that without a policy or guidance in place, staff run the risk of theft of their personal information and other data.  In addition, employers need to be reminded that the Data Protection Act is also relevant for personal technology used in a work context.

Culture determines how we choose neighbours in the Global Village

WorldWhile a great deal has been written about the amount of time we spend each day dealing with emails, often to the detriment of other work, new research indicates that who we correspond with by email is influenced heavily by our cultural associations, language and beliefs. The study from researchers at Cornell and Stanford Universities in partnership with Yahoo found that people tend to align their email habits on the basis of cultural, linguistic and religious similarities with other users rather than pure geography. It suggests that while we may live in the Global Village, we still want to choose our digital neighbours.

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Video: another prediction from the 60s gets it a bit right and a bit wrong


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The latest in our series of videos looking at how the world in which we now live was predicted a generation or so ago. This time a clip from a 1967 documentary called 1999 AD. Although accurate in many respects including the use of online shopping and e-commerce as well as e-mail it betrays its origins in the use of devices with discrete functions, which is reflected in the clearly defined and – to our eyes – jarring description of gender roles.

Google and Yahoo office strategies teach us the value of the velvet glove

Velvet gloveIt’s a week now since the whole Yahoo-ha kicked off and since that time everybody has had their say on the matter including – refreshingly – those in the mainstream media. The story has followed its own narrative arc, from the initial gasps of horror at Yahoo’s audacious challenge to a cherished piece of contemporary received wisdom (coupled with the reminder that Yahoo still exists) to something more thoughtful and circumspect as we learned more about the thinking behind the decision.What has become apparent is that Yahoo’s actions were based on a tacit understanding that people work better on certain tasks when they are together.

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Widespread adoption of BIM moves closer


The widespread adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in architecture, design and construction has moved closer with the publication by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) yesterday of the BIM Protocol, a legal framework for BIM projects. The use of BIM as a collaborative way of working that utilises digital technologies for more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining properties has been described as a game-changing ICT and cultural process for the built environment, with the Government’s intention to require collaborative 3D BIM on all its projects by 2016

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Yahoo case doesn’t tell the whole story of teleworking

Yahoo! Sunnyvale headquarters.  October 28, 2001 (Y! Photo / Brian McGuiness)Yahoo! made headlines across the US and the rest of the world this week by announcing they are terminating the company’s telework program.  Does this signal, broadly, the pending demise of telework?  Here’s my take: this story is actually deeper than just about telework. Yahoo! has been wandering around aimlessly for a number of years, and it would appear that this particular measure is intended as some overdue shock therapy to jump-start a much needed culture shift and focus on what the company needs to survive in a world of rapid innovation and “big bang disruption” (see March 2013 HBR article by Larry Downes and Paul F. Nunes).

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Job dissatisfaction highest amongst Gen Y workers

Gen YHot on the heels of the news this week that generation Y workers are more risk averse than older employees, it seems they’re also more dissatisfied with their jobs than other age groups. A new survey by Office Angels shows that over a quarter (27 per cent) of 25-34 year olds are unhappy in their current job, compared to just a fifth (20 per cent) of those aged over 55. This backs up the survey, which found more than half of Gen Y employees (55 per cent) see their current employer as a mere stopping off point in their career path.

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