How agile working is helping to transform businesses worldwide

How agile working is helping to transform businesses worldwide

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Home-office-001Firms have always had concerns about the efficient use of their offices, and for good reason. After staff, real estate is their most expensive and valuable asset. Twenty or more years ago, before the Internet began to unravel the bonds that tied us full time to the workplace, most people had fixed hours in one place of work and a dedicated workstation, the size of which was often determined by their status within the organisation rather than anything else. Even those workers who spent large amounts of time away from the office usually had their own desk to call home. In the mid 1990s, that started to change. Not only did the uptake of the Internet and the adoption of mobile phones and laptops allow staff to work from anywhere, there was growing awareness of exactly how they used space within the office itself.

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Does declining productivity spell the end for IT and property directors?

Does declining productivity spell the end for IT and property directors?

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property directorsWhen it comes to increasing organisational output, which in turn directly relates to real wage growth and higher living standards, the only determinant is productivity, measured in terms of output per hour worked. This is at the heart of all businesses and is essential for growth. The basic facts on productivity are clear. For over a decade, productivity has been painfully weak across all the major economies. The UK has performed particularly badly, with productivity having declined by 3.7 percent since 2008. A recent OECD report went as far as saying: “weak labour productivity since 2004 has been holding back real wages and well-being. The sustainability of economic expansion and further progress in living standards rest on boosting productivity growth, which is a key challenge for the coming years”.

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The world’s enduring addiction to the joy and misery of commuting

The world’s enduring addiction to the joy and misery of commuting

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CommutingCommuting is one of the most complained about yet least explored facets of our working lives. This is in spite of the fact that it consumes so much of people’s time, energy and money, is presented as one of the main arguments for more flexible working practices and is so closely linked to our wellbeing. Yet the half a billion – and growing – commuters worldwide could be forgiven for assuming nobody is really that much interested in the effects of their daily grind into work, especially when you consider the attention given to other workplace issues. Douglas Langmead in his feature on page 32 of the new issue of Work&Place does his bit to redress this imbalance with a fascinating look at commuting in the rapidly developing and endlessly fascinating economies of the United Arab Emirates.

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Current issue of Work&Place explores intersecting worlds of people, place and tech

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wandpcoverAs we prepare the upcoming issue of Work&Place (don’t forget to subscribe on our homepage), a reminder that the September issue of Work&Place is available to download or view as a PDF or now in an online edition. Amongst this issue’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s retrospective of last Summer’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the  firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement.

The weekly Insight newsletter is now available to view online

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wandpcoverIn the latest edition of the weekly Insight newsletter, now available to view online; Mark Eltringham describes some of the most readily identifiable themes at this year’s 100% design, while Sara Bean hails Richard Branson’s adoption of a flexible working policy for his personal staff. The British Council for Offices (BCO) launches the much awaited new edition of its Specification Guide; a new report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) claims “overwhelming evidence” that office design significantly impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff; and research by Steelcase discovers nearly a third (31%) of occupants now routinely leave the office to get work done in private. Justin Miller discusses the challenge of balancing sustainable building design with the need to ensure a comfortable workplace; and from the latest issue of Work&Place, the journal we publish in partnership with Occupiers Journal, Dr. Agustin Chevez lists the thirteen ways the physical environment shapes knowledge management .

New issue of Work&Place is now available to download and read online

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Work&PlaceThe September issue of Work&Place has today been published and is available to download or view online. Amongst this month’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s review of June’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the  firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement

Book Review: Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval

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Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Nikil Saval’s book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace pulls off that rare feat for a parochial business book of being intelligent and informed (which many are) as well as fascinating, entertaining and realistic, which is rather less commonplace. He pulls this off with plenty of references to pop culture including television series such as Will and Grace, films such as Office Space and The Apartment and, inevitably, the Dilbert cartoons. There is also a great deal of enjoyment to be had in the slightly jaded tone of his writing and brutal evisceration of the likes of Tom Peters who is singled out for special criticism. So too, his take on the very  idea of the ‘Office of the Future’ with its slides, basketball courts, pool tables and vivid colours.

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The latest Workplace Insight newsletter is available to view online

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Workplace InsightIn the latest copy of the Workplace Insight newsletter available to view online; Chris Kane argues that people and place are a company’s most valuable assets and only by developing them both in tandem will you unlock their true value. We reveal that far from improving their work/life balance, flexible working means nearly half of managers work an extra day each week; the Dutch beat the Germans in workplace happiness and productivity levels, and the UK’s public sector spends almost twice as much on outsourced services as the country’s private sector. The BBC announces plans to move more staff out of its central London offices as part of its strategy to reduce property costs, and news of a transformation in the way the US corporate real estate market approaches the environmental performance of buildings. We also include a link to the new issue of Work&Place, the journal we publish in partnership with Occupiers Journal.

The new issue of Work&Place is now available to view online

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Work&PlaceThe new issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. Published by Occupiers Journal in partnership with Insight it offers a wide range of thought leadership, research, commentary and case studies from the world’s foremost commentators, academics and practitioners in the world of workplace design and management. Contributors this quarter include Professor Franklin Becker of Cornell University, BBC CEO of Commercial Projects Chris Kane, Andrew Laing of AECOM, Simon Allford of architects AHMM Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, designer and workplace strategist Ziona Strelitz and Ian Ellison of Sheffield Hallam University. Work&Place offers progressive and informed commentary on some of the most pressing and cutting edge issues facing workplace designers and managers around the world today including co-working, office design, architecture, facilities management, workplace analytics, technology, flexible working, productivity and urbanisation.

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