FIRA announces winners of competition to design the workplace of the future

FIRA announces winners of competition to design the workplace of the future

Workplace of the futureThe judges of a design competition which challenged undergraduates to share their ideas for a workplace of the future have announced the three winners. The ‘FUTURE@WORK’ competition was run by the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) and sponsored by contract furniture firm Morgan. Winners of first, second and third prize were chosen from four shortlisted entries. The designs were subject to a public vote which took place at Morgan’s showroom throughout Clerkenwell Design Week and on FIRA’s website. The winner of the first prize and the public vote is Familiar Systems, a piece of technology which aims to replace the computer screen. The device was designed by Jack Darby and Andy Lyell, is based on drone technology and incorporates a projector and a pivoted support known as a gimble which allows the user to work in a variety of locations and configurations.

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The latest issue of Insight Weekly is available to view online

The latest issue of Insight Weekly is available to view online

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; employees advised to spend up to half of each day working while standing. Paul Robathan’s views on the loosening of the bonds that link work with place are backed up by a new report that says work will be something workers do, not a place to which they commute; and Mark Eltringham explains why designers and manufacturers continue to launch more sophisticated and better chairs.  Plans for the tallest office building outside of London are submitted to Birmingham City Council; CIBSE, the BCIA and the Building Futures Group collaborate to ‘kick-start the future of FM in the UK; and only 3 percent of European employees say their workplace is suitable for collaborative work.  Subscribe for free quarterly issues of Work&Place and for weekly news via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

European employers failing to provide technology for collaborative working

European employers failing to provide technology for collaborative working

European employers failing to provide technology for collaborative workingAlthough most organisations encourage remote team work, only 3 percent of European employees say their current working environment is suitable for collaborative work such as online video conferencing, according to new research by ADP. Almost half (44%) of workers say that technology helps them understand the mission and values of their organisation, whilst 51 percent believe that technology fosters better relationships with colleagues. Yet one in four employees would like to have more quiet zones for detailed thinking, while a third (30%) would like to have access to technologies that enhance collaboration such as file sharing tools. Employees in the UK are less likely to be equipped with the latest technology; more than eight in ten (82%) French, German and Dutch employees have access to the latest business tools to allow them to do their job effectively, compared to 70 percent of UK employees.

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IT firms hold TechNorth digital hub in higher regard than TechCity

IT firms hold TechNorth digital hub in higher regard than TechCity

Tech NorthTechNorth, the Manchester based technology hothouse devised as a regional counterbalance to London, is held in higher regard than the capital’s flagship TechCity development, according to research from recruitment firm Robert Half. The study of IT decision makers across the UK claims that the vast majority would prioritise working with Northern firms over their London counterparts, with 87 percent either ‘highly likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to place work with IT businesses in the TechNorth hub rather than those in TechCity London given the choice. The figure is 100 percent for IT leaders based in the North and to 95 percent for those in Scotland. More surprisingly, 80 percent of those based London and the South East said they would prioritise TechNorth, as did 75 percent in the South West and Wales.

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The bonds that link work with place are loosening day by day

The bonds that link work with place are loosening day by day

Frayed ropeOver the decades designing productive spaces for work has focused on redefining the corporate office and its surroundings. While there are examples of quality design in buildings around the world, there is a growing movement that challenges the presumption that work should always be done “at work”. If we aim to allow people to be at their best, develop and nurture creativity and maximise quality output then we must ensure the place where the work is done is outstanding. Sarah Kathleen Peck of ‘It starts with’ summed it up when she wrote “There are people, places and things that make me feel like I’m building my energy stores, that rejuvenate me, and help me to do my best work. Likewise, there are also people and places that zap my energy; that leave me exhausted; that make me feel as though I’ve waste my time and my energy – and my day – without getting anything useful done.”

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London’s buoyant startup scene driven by tech sector success

London’s buoyant startup scene driven by tech sector success

London's startup sceneThe UK has seen an all-time high of new startups in 2014, with London contributing the majority of new businesses to the mix. According to a new analysis by Instant Offices, London’s startup scene is set to reach record highs in 2015 as it spearheads the UK’s growing entrepreneurial community. The tech industry in particular has skyrocketed, rising 40 percent year-on-year and resulting in a seven year high. Research from the national enterprise campaign Startup Britain shows 581,173 businesses registered with Companies House last year, beating the previous record of 526,446 businesses recorded in 2013, and 484,224 in 2012, indicating a rapid upward trend of the UK’s startup market. Last year alone, London produced 184,671 startups, centering around finance, media, fashion and technology. Investment into England’s capital has also seen rapid growth, with London now the leading venture capital city in Europe.

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Smart buildings, smart cities and the promise of infinite data

Smart buildings, smart cities and the promise of infinite data

Smart citiesThe rapid urbanization of our world and the weaving of existing and new buildings into the urban fabric of Smart City initiatives are some of the great challenges facing our global industry today. Along with the vast amount of definitions and marketing campaigns surrounding the phrase “Smart Cities” comes the challenge of understanding why the movement is important to the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Facility Management (AEC/FM) industry and how industry stakeholders can profit from, or at the very least, not get run over by the tsunami called Smart Cities. The emergence of Smart Cities as the conduit for ideas, thoughts, policies and strategies for the world’s urban environments is an important milestone for our industry, and it comes at a time of rapid innovation, convergence and redefinitions.

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Organisations reticent to take the plunge into 4G, claims report

Organisations reticent to take the plunge into 4G, claims report

4GBritish businesses run the risk of missing out on the opportunities offered by the latest generation of mobile technology according to a new report from Vodafone. The YouGov study of more than 1,200 decision makers in both the public and private sector found that the majority of UK organisations are yet to introduce 4G. Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of respondents said their business or organisation does not have 4G right now and a perhaps more surprising 41 percent of those have no plans to adopt it. The survey found that cost was not generally seen as a barrier to implementation compared to more prevalent issues including a widespread misunderstanding of what 4G might offer the enterprise. Even a third of those organisations who have introduced 4G confess they don’t believe it offers any additional benefits.

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KFC Germany introduces keyboard paper tray (for a while)

KFC Germany introduces keyboard paper tray (for a while)

kfc-keyboard-trayEver worry that the five minutes it takes to eat fast food is not only depriving you of nutrients but also the chance to stay online – unless you really don’t mind greasy fingerprints all over your smartphone? Maybe not, but it’s clearly a problem for some people which is why a German advertising and design agency has developed a Bluetooth enabled keyboard tray for KFC which allows customers to eat fatty food without the intrusion of inconveniences such as napkins, awareness of the physical world, their own thoughts and interactions with other people. The agency Gute Werbung and a tech firm called Serviceplan have helped the fast food chain to introduce the Tray Typer as part of a promotion. The device consists of a tray liner with a 0.4 mm thick keyboard, rechargeable battery and a Bluetooth chip.

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Growing demand for in-flight Wi-Fi worldwide, claims report

Growing demand for in-flight Wi-Fi worldwide, claims report

In-Flight Wi-FiPassenger demand for in-flight Wi-Fi is growing worldwide as people become increasingly frustrated with spaces that deprive them of the full functionality of their screens and remind them of their presence in the physical world. That is the key finding of a new report from in-flight Wi-Fi provider GoGo. The latest update to its annual In-Flight Connectivity survey of passengers in seven countries also found that demand for in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity is found to be higher in Africa, Europe and the Middle East than the US, even though more than 80 percent of US carriers already offer Wi-Fi compared to an average of around 20 percent in the other countries surveyed. Conversely,  the study claims that over three quarters of passengers in Europe and the Middle East would like to be able to use on board Wi-Fi.

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The latest edition of Insight Weekly is available to view online

The latest edition of Insight Weekly is available to view online

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; Charles Marks on how the changing way we work presents challenges for the development of commercial property; Kati Barklund says management is needed to encourage people to use sit stand workstations properly and Peter Ames argues it is the flexibility of shared offices which allows SMEs to mould a space to their brand and make it feel like home. We learn that the European workforce is optimistic about the impact of new and emerging workplace technology, why women of over 55 make the best business strategists and Mark Eltringham agrees that the workplace is changing but the death of the office is a myth. The complete Work&Place archive is now available for you online and sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss this and other stories.

Broadband faults are more annoying than car breakdowns, claims study

Broadband faults are more annoying than car breakdowns, claims study

breakdownFollowing last week’s report that people would rather lose an unspecified finger than their broadband connection, a new report from comparison site Cable.co.uk claims that people generallly believe that losing their broadband connection for any period of time is more annoying than their car breaking down. Based on a survey of 2,500 UK residents, users also voted broadband disruption more annoying than receiving bad customer service, their boiler failing, waiting in for a delivery that doesn’t turn up and transport delays. Broadband drop-outs were given an average score of 9 out of 10, with 10 being extremely annoying. Half of users rated it 10 out of 10. The report’s authors conclude that this is likely to be because of feelings of a lack of control and an inability to communicate, something we now take for granted.

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