Whatever the office of the future is, it should be there to serve people

Whatever the office of the future is, it should be there to serve people

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Larkin BuildingFuturology 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’. But that shouldn’t make us blind to those predictions that we know will largely come true, not least those based on what we know is happening in the present. This is typified by research carried out by Cass Business School and Henley Business School and presented in a book called Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work. It found that two-thirds of the 360 managers it surveyed believe that there would be a revolution in working practices over the coming decade. Ninety per cent said that staff were more productive when empowered to decide when and where and how to work.

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Video: The 21st Century Office – how the BBC got it all wrong in 1969

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Two days ago we published a strikingly prescient report from Walter Cronkite dating from 1967 about how the world of work would look in the 21st century. Two years later the BBC was to get things hopelessly wrong, not only with its tired and misguided wannabe existentialism, but also with its vision of a future which was clearly just a slightly mechanised plasticky version of the present. That’s often the problem with futurology. It tells you more about the time in which people are making their predictions than any real vision of what is to come.

EU commission launches low-carbon contest

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City hall

The EU Commissioner for Climate Action has today launched a low-carbon contest, calling on creative and innovative ideas from across the EU. The World You Like Challenge is part of the European Commission’s climate action campaign: A world you like, launched at London City Hall [pictured] in October 2012. Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “The Challenge is a great opportunity to move beyond mere talking about climate change. By submitting your project, you help us show that building a world we like with a climate we like is both feasible and affordable.” More →

British Land named Carbon Champion at CIBSE awards

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British Land

British Land has been named Carbon Champion of Year in the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards 2013. The awards recognise building performance excellence in 12 categories, with other winners including Max Fordham, Norland, Atkins and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The CIBSE awards recognise and celebrate the best performance, innovation and practice in design, commissioning, construction, installation and operation of sustainable buildings and the manufacturers whose technologies enable energy efficiency. More →

Workers’ attitudes to data theft at odds with employers’

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data theft

Half of employees who left or lost their jobs in the last 12 months kept confidential corporate data, according to a global survey from Symantec and 40 percent plan to use it in their new jobs. The results show that employees’ attitudes and beliefs about intellectual property (IP) theft are at odds with the vast majority of company policies. Employees not only think it is acceptable to take and use IP when they leave, but also that companies don’t care. The survey reveals 62 percent believe it is acceptable to transfer documents to PCs, tablets, smartphones or file sharing applications and the majority never delete the data they’ve moved because they do not see any harm in keeping it.
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Sit-stand chair on Ergonomics Design Award shortlist

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muvman shortlisted

A sit-stand seat allowing workers more freedom of movement is amongst the designs shortlisted for the fourth IEHF Ergonomics Design Award. Other shortlisted entries include, a new type of protective hood, a mobile app and a 3D foot scanner. Said John Wood Executive Chairman of CCD Design and Ergonomics and chair of judges: “We’re very pleased to see the extensive range of projects that have again been entered for the award this year; it’s a sign of the continuing and growing recognition of the importance of ergonomics in society and business today.” More →

Marked improvement in US energy efficiency

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Energy use in US

The US is consuming energy considerably more efficiently and with lower emissions than just five years ago thanks to a slew of modern technologies that are changing decades-old patterns, according to a major new report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the Business Council on Sustainable Energy. Energy Star-certified commercial building floor space has increased by 139% from 2008 to 2012, and the stringency of building air conditioning efficiency standards has increased by up to 34% since 2005. Overall, energy intensity for US commercial buildings has now dropped by more than 40% since 1980. More →

A Field Guide to Workplace Terminology

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DictionaryAs the ecosystem around the workplace industry grows ever more complex, so too does the language we use to describe it. In an attempt to bring order to chaos, guest writer Simon Heath presents here a glossary of terms, acronyms and abbreviations to help you navigate these linguistic waters. (For example Business Intelligence – A commonly used oxymoron.) For more of Simon’s worldly, wise and witty writing on all things work and workplace related, visit his blog at https://workmusing.wordpress.com.

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New York state of mind to increase building energy efficiency by 20percent

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Build NY

In one of the most ambitious green initiatives in the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order directing state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years. He also announced Build Smart NY, a plan to  strategically implement the Executive Order by accelerating priority improvements in energy performance. The largest and most inefficient buildings will be addressed first and undergo comprehensive whole-building improvements, including new lighting fixtures and controls, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems and automated energy management systems. More →

Better Buildings challenge for sustainable innovation

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BPP

A competition to find green solutions that help to improve the performance of commercial buildings has been launched by the Institute for Sustainability, in partnership with the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) and the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) – a collaboration of leading London commercial property owners and investors. Because energy efficiency improvement works have focused primarily on mechanical and electrical control upgrades and plant replacement, the competition focuses on innovations which could help improve the environmental performance of the building envelope. More →

Workers fear social media leads to loss of privacy

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EmbarrassingAccording to a new report from AVG Technologies, more than half of adults believe that their privacy is being eroded at work because of the proliferation of social media. The Digital Work Life survey asked 4,000 people in ten countries about the experiences of and beliefs about issues such as cyberbullying, privacy and their approach to creating a better balance between their private and working lives. One in ten respondents had discovered secret discussions about themselves and 11 percent had embarrassing photos or videos taken at a work event and uploaded onto social media sites.

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Apple achieves trademark for store designs

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Apple StoreIt has long been a complaint of designers and marketers that courts do not understand design. For the most part this has made it difficult for them to trademark things like packaging designs and colours leaving them open to copycat designs which can seriously undermine a brand and make merchandising more difficult than it need be. Now Apple – who else? – has taken things to a whole new level by officially trademarking its distinctive shopping centre store design in the US.

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