March 4, 2019
We might think that an inability to absorb the vast amount of information generated by our fellow humans and their machines is something of a modern phenomenon, but we’ve always known we can have too much of this particular good thing. Distringit librorum multitude, wrote Seneca in the First Century. An abundance of books is a distraction.
February 25, 2019
While the recent Finnish pilot of universal basic income had mixed results, a trial of the other most talked about solution to our problem with work – the four day week – has been reported as far more promising. A New Zealand financial services firm called Perpetual Guardian switched its 240 staff from a five-day to a four-day week last November and maintained their pay. The results (registration) included a 20 percent rise in productivity and improved staff wellbeing and engagement.
February 22, 2019
Would an investor plow millions of dollars into a stock and never bother to track how the investment does? Of course not. Nor would they confuse the expected return on investment (ROI) with the actual results. We don’t guess about financial investments. We don’t base investment decisions on what some stranger does or how they say they’ve done. So why then, do many of the largest companies in the world invest millions of dollars in buildings or renovating their workplaces and never even bother to measure results. Why are they so willing to copy the unproven workplace strategy of others? Why are they satisfied with projected results, rather than measuring how their investments actually perform? more…
February 15, 2019
Amazon drops plans for HQ, judging others in the open plan, why people would rather electrocute themselves than sit and think and some other stuff
Why is it so hard to design a decent office space? demands this article in Quartz. It’s a fair enough question but probably the wrong one. It’s perfectly possible to design a decent (or adequate) office with a pen, paper and bag of presuppositions and many people have done exactly that. The real question is why it is so hard to design a good or excellent office.
February 8, 2019
If there’s just one thing that makes my heart sink more precipitously than the word ‘trends’, it’s when it’s preceded by the words Top and Ten. So it’s nice to have been surprised by this list of workplace trends that displays the wherewithal and insight to call on those people in the sector who might have something informed and interesting to say about where it all might be headed this year. Don’t be put off by the headline, even if you’re as jaded as I am.
February 6, 2019
February 5, 2019
The UK is joining a global drive towards a ‘net zero carbon’ future, with its biggest cities setting ambitious decarbonisation targets in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. Manchester plans to be a carbon-neutral city by 2038, while Bristol aims for full decarbonisation by 2030. In London, all new buildings will be net zero carbon by 2030, as the UK strives to meet targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement.
February 1, 2019
The New York Times asked an interesting question this week. “Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?” it demanded, begging the immediate response ‘for the same reason everybody else does’. If only that pat, facetious response were enough to satisfy the actual questions concealed by the typically misleading headline. What the article actually wants to know is why some members of one particular tribe of young people have a toxic relationship with work. And that tribe (of course) is made up of the diverse, attractive, urbanite, coffee-fixated, stock image Millennials working for the world’s tech giants. Interesting in so far as it goes, but this tribe is not homogeneous to begin with and does not represent the world’s ‘young people’. It’s beyond time we stopped working on the basis that it does. Change the headlines.
January 28, 2019
The World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit in Davos offers the world’s elite the chance to rub shoulders and address important themes of capitalism and society. Its output has largely consisted of making assured noises about Big Subjects, and especially globalisation and the effects of technology on the economy, now typically framed around the current / imminent Fourth Industrial Revolution™.
January 25, 2019
My trade is to ask questions about the workplace then make sense of the answers. That has been a particular challenge with the question, ‘what are offices today?’ What seems clear is that the various actors in the workplace ecosystem look at offices through very different eyes. Urban planning and development professionals still view offices as a distinct category of real estate and most real estate professionals view offices in terms of the delivery of floor space. Some things have changed,however. For some time, the hybrid economy of serviced offices has turned the product into a service. But, in many cases this has simply made the leasing of space simpler and more flexible.
January 21, 2019
Today is officially* Blue Monday and instead of offering up an endless series of clickbait pieces telling you how to cope and make the day better for your colleagues, we’re turning our attention to more interesting things. Such as this recent piece arguing that our obsession with ‘millennials’ can cloud our perspective on more important issues about people, their characteristics, advantages and inequalities. It argues that birth dates are rather less important to people’s life chances than their background, individual abilities and structural issues in the economy and society. Who – as they say – knew?
January 14, 2019
If it makes you feel better about Blue Monday (today – ‘officially’ the year’s glummest day), it also marks the closure of the Predictions Window in my view. If somebody still has an unpublished list of forecasts for the coming year on their specialist topic, they’ve missed their chance. At least with us they have. But not to worry, there’s a good chance they can trot most of them all out again next year and they’ll be just as relevant. Anything else can be quietly dropped.