July 12, 2017
Yesterday, the much-awaited Taylor Review into modern working practices was finally published. And by modern working practices, the report focussed primarily on what has become known as the gig economy. People have been speculating about the contents of the report for months and things ramped up last week after a partial leak to the media. So, things were already bubbling under nicely before the actual publication of the document brought things to a boil yesterday. Assuming the government do more than kick the whole thing into the long grass, always a possibility, debate will continue for a while. We’ll let politicians do their thing with it, but here are a few of the initial reactions from interested parties and the experts. More →
June 23, 2017
The average worker is interrupted or distracted every three minutes and it takes them fully twenty-three minutes to return to a task after being interrupted. Office workers are overwhelmed by distractions, due mainly to a lack of understanding of how to manage attention. Distractions and the inability to focus negatively affects productivity, engagement, wellbeing and overall performance in organisations. We long to be more effective, but the harder we try, the more tired our brains become. Attention meltdowns are epidemic because workers do not understand what attention is, how to manage it or have access to the best places to support their tasks. In workplaces throughout the world scenarios of near constant distraction have become the norm, to such an extent that often people do not even feel compelled to comment on them and their consequences.
June 7, 2017
In France, we might have been the first to behead a King and hold a revolution, or to stand on barricades and die for ideals of justice and equality, but when it comes to change – especially in large organisations– we always seem to lag behind. You could blame it on a number of factors: a cultural bias towards tradition, the legacy of an interventionist and ever-present state, spawning bureaucratic models of large state-owned corporations, the everlasting grasp of the elites stifling innovation and the ability to “think outside the box”… Whatever this may be, the debate around remote working – a type of work organisation which allows employees to work regularly away from the office – in France has always been articulated around the preconception that France was behind. And that while its Anglo-Saxon or Nordic European neighbours displayed a boastful 30 percent of the working population as remote workers, France struggled to reach a meagre 9 to 10 percent in 2010.
May 16, 2017
This is a long tale, but a worthwhile one to tell, and something that many of you will relate to, especially if you have anything to do with workplace design or management. Three managers walk into a bar. This is always a good place to start. They each have gender-neutral names, so I’ll leave you to work out whether they may be male or female. Not that it even matters in this context. Frankie gets there first. “Hi. Large glass of wine please. What do you have?” The bartender pauses, then replies: “We have … red … or … um … white. Um … oh, and fizzy and pink”. Frankie thinks for a moment, dismisses the idea of a cocktail or a short, then orders a beer. It’s a corporate training centre after all. What would you expect in a place like this? An extensive wine list?
April 5, 2017
It is two years since the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), where couples were given the ability to share leave surrounding the arrival of a new addition to their family; and while sharing leave is seen to have a profound beneficial impact for the family, there are still plenty of barriers. According to research from My Family Care, one of the largest is that there is a sense that it involves a big risk with real concerns around the impact on a father’s career if they were to take more than two or three months off. A second report from the charity Working Families found that despite the initial slow take up of new rights, more than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave. However, snapshot figures for the first three months of 2016 showed that 3,000 new parents were taking up the new right. If the maternity leave figure is taken as indicative of the number of couples with new babies at the time the new figures are in line with the bottom of the government’s 2013 estimated take-up range – between two and eight per cent of fathers.
April 5, 2017
From April 2017, employers with over 250 employees will be required to reveal specific information about the difference in net pay and bonuses between male and female employees explain the legal experts from Berg. The Office for National Statistics revealed that, in the financial industry, male managers and directors are earning on average 32.4% more than women in the same role. Whilst the statistic will vary from industry to industry, it’s important to highlight the divide and work together to accomplish equality in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 comes into force on 6th April 2017, and will require businesses to be transparent about the gender equality in their workplaces. It is hoped that this important move will encourage any business with less than positive statistics to make the move towards creating an equal workplace. For businesses that will need to report on their net pay, it’s a big task that needs to be executed properly. In fact, a survey by NGA Human Resources found that 20% of respondents won’t be ready to disclose the information by the deadline. With that in mind, here’s a look into what the regulations require you to do, and how these changes could impact your business.
March 28, 2017
Cannes-based international real estate fair MIPIM has always been a magnet for cities, determined to extoll their virtues to investors, developers and occupiers, but this year the UK was in charm overdrive. Buoyed no doubt in part by the presence of the UK government’s Department of International Trade (DIT), waving its ‘open for business’ flag for UK PLC, many of the towns and cities that would normally have ploughed their own furrow, instead came together to leverage critical mass. So Bradford and Leeds combined, conurbations across the central belt conjoined on a Midlands pavilion, and so on. Whether it was panic or confidence, the net result was an unusually prominent UK presence, up a quarter on last year. Of course the UK is just one nationality among the 24,200 real estate and city professionals from 100 countries who come together in Cannes every March.
January 30, 2017
This month, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) opened its doors to its latest office in what’s been described as the new heart of New York; namely, the up-and-coming Hudson Yards development. Thought leaders from the world of workplace design including a representative from including Workplace Insight were invited to the launch of the new workspace to find out how the world’s leading advisor on business strategy has pushed the art and science of workplace design. BCG, which is consistently ranked near the top of Fortune’s annual Best Companies to Work For survey, worked with an array of experts for input into the design and use of innovative technologies, including Gensler, Humanyze and Unwork. Leesman was brought in to offer a neutral voice when the project was already in motion to validate the design proposal.
January 24, 2017
Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the concept of Loss Aversion in 1984, highlighting people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains. Lose £100 and we will feel a remorse that easily outweighs winning £100. In a similar fashion we find it very hard to see future positives when confronted with short term loses. We understand easily what we have lost but cannot imagine what there is to be gained. Furthermore, as Frederic Bastiat wrote in an 1850 paper, “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen”, man has a tendency to “pursue a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, rather than a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil”. Put these together and it is no wonder that, by and large, the future of work, corporate real estate and the workplace is so widely misunderstood.
January 10, 2017
It’s drummed into us from an early age that we can’t have it all, as a result we consider choices as being a binary either/or situation. The workplace design brief (where it’s actually undertaken, an entirely separate discussion) positions choices similarly – open or closed, focussed or collaborative, modern or traditional – the decision point existing along a sliding scale from one natural extreme to the other. Yet there is a way to consider workplace design as an attempt to achieve the “unity of opposites”, an idea proposed by the pre-Socratic aphoristic philosopher, Heraclitus, the original thinker on change. This holds that the existence of an idea is entirely dependent on the existence of its opposite, that one cannot exist without the other. The framework is considered here in its application to the recently completed Sky Central in Osterley (West London), a newly constructed 38,000m2 NIA activity-based workplace over three floors that is home to 3,500 of the total 7,500 people on the Campus. It may be considered as tool for aiding workplace brief development, or for understanding how a workplace has been conceived and functions.
November 10, 2016
Many of us have ways of framing our ideas about the workplace with reference to the things we love. Because I am a Harry Potter fan that means developing notions of Hogwarts and what it says about how the school building influences teaching and learning practices. J K Rowling’s universe offers rich pickings for this sort of thing and in the case of this feature provides us with an example of how we might consider the current state of thinking about the flexible workspace. One of Rowling’s brilliant ideas is the Room of Requirements. More →
November 10, 2016
Features such as baristas, sky terraces and fine dining will continue a process of transformation at the workplaces of Australia’s leading law firms over the next few years, claims a study by Melbourne based architecture practice Bates Smart. The report claims that the legal workplaces of today are are already unrecognisable compared to what was considered typical yesterday, having more in common with a five star hotel than a traditional office. Bates Smart predicts an even greater shift towards flexibility, collaboration and hospitality from legal firms in the future with the publication of four key findings in its new whitepaper, The Legal Workplace 2020, The report analyses trends in over 135,000 sq. m. of legal practice workplaces and draws conclusions that are indicative of key trends for law firms and the wider market alike.