November 21, 2017
There is a theory that if you want to know how the economy is doing, you ask a taxi driver. The basis for this idea is that they are the first to know when money is getting tight, because people make more use of buses and tubes. In a similar way, one of the best ways of gauging workplace trends is to ask an office furniture company. They’ve always functioned in a fiercely competitive market, but are also the first to notice an economic downturn or a shift in the structure of their markets.
November 17, 2017
November 15, 2017
The introduction of agile working into organisations has typically focussed on the workstyles of different job roles, but has tended to treat the jobholders within these groups in the same way. The successful introduction of new ways of working clearly relies on the willingness of the people occupying the job roles to embrace new ways of working; yet there has been little investigation of the needs of agile workers with different personality types beyond looking at the needs of extroverts and introverts. These studies have tended to focus on the workplace; for example, the Cushman Wakefield Workplace Programme briefing paper examines how organisations can accommodate the needs of extroverts and introverts working together in the workplace. However, using OCEAN personality profiles, Nigel Oseland found that different personality types have different preferences, which in turn are likely to affect their performance at work.
November 10, 2017
November 3, 2017
October 23, 2017
I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Cape Town to present a keynote address at the Dare to Lead conference organised by Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). I had just 20 minutes to speak on a psychologist’s view of health, wellbeing and performance; that’s a huge subject area and pretty much my whole career condensed down to the typical time it takes to boil a pan of potatoes. So, I focused on just three psychological theories: motivation, personality and evolutionary psychology.
October 13, 2017
October 6, 2017
October 4, 2017
When you think of a call centre you probably picture a line of people seated in row upon row of desks in a featureless room. But call centre design is changing. As companies recognise their growing importance, the boiler room approach is disappearing and call centres are beginning to morph into a corporate centrepiece. Dutch telecoms company Ziggo is a case in point. The company merged with Vodafone in 2017 and today offers broadband and mobile services to both residential and commercial customers across the Netherlands. It has a large call centre and like many companies invests significant resources in training call centre employees in both technology and interpersonal skills. VodafoneZiggo’s call centre in Rotterdam, designed by Evolution Design is spread over several large open plan areas, which were converted into series of smaller work spaces, using low cost solutions such as simple wooden frames, acoustic panelling or a change of flooring to demarcate different zones. Staff can now choose to work in areas as diverse as a plant covered ‘greenhouse’, open plan spaces with bright yellow accents and colourful floor tiles or in a more urban-style zone that uses reclaimed wooden pallets to divide and decorate. Throughout the centre, desks are height adjustable so employees can choose whether to sit or stand. There is also a central reception area with meeting and training rooms and a colourful break out space with comfortable sofas, a café and a games zone complete with table football and video games.
September 18, 2017
Last week, over 600 workplace and property experts met in London at the CoreNet Global Summit 2017 to discuss some of the most important trends affecting the sector. The debates underlined one important fact about property and workplaces, which is how they are shaped by major, globalised events as much as they are local needs and the objectives of specific organisations. This quickly became evident on day one, which demonstrated how dramatic shifts in the geopolitical landscape, all of which are impacting corporate real estate – from America First to Brexit – remain key talking points for the industry. Opening speaker Linda Yueh (University of Oxford and London Business School) explored several possible scenarios, including how the focus of ‘Trumpism’ would have a significant effect on the U.S. role on the world stage, with the priority on the domestic economy leaving little scope for global trade. She also predicted that a ‘hard Brexit’, with no new trade deal with the EU, will be the most likely outcome for the UK’s withdrawal process; and that businesses will need to focus on alternative WTO rules as an urgent priority. Other impacting factors covered by Yueh included the rise of a dominant global middle class, and China’s need to rebalance its economic growth drivers.
August 24, 2017
According to a widely reported government study in today’s news, 40 percent of middle aged English adults do not even manage a ten minute walk each month. The report from Public Health England says that so many people are sedentary that official activity guidelines are so unrealistic and people should be encouraged to walk ten minutes a day – half the current guidance – to improve general levels of health and mental wellbeing. Little steps, in other words. We can confidently say that the underlying problem here is cultural, including the amount of time people spend on their backsides at work. This is in spite of all the evidence that shows that we may not only be fitter and happier by moving more but more creative too.
July 20, 2017
The IFMA Foundation Workplace Summit of summer 2014 felt like an optimistic time for facilities management and the workspace industry. Heavyweights from the sector were asking searching questions about our organisational contribution, with thankfully less of the internally focused, debate-free hubris typical of much of the industry narrative. The newly announced (and now evidently historical) collaboration between BIFM and CIPD was in full swing, endorsed by social media savvy Twitterati under The Workplace Conversation banner. Finally, I thought, we seemed to be talking less about space as a commodity and more about people. Melissa Marsh of Plastarc captured it at the Summit as she evidenced co-working principles: less “managing facilities” and more “enabling communities”. It felt like some were finally starting to realise the fundamental qualitative difference between workspace and workplace: the role of culture.