December 3, 2018
There is a theory that when companies talk about issues such as corporate social responsibility they are doing so because it helps them to achieve their business goals. This is the coldly rational thing to do according to people like free market guru Milton Friedman who argues that companies should not actively pursue altruistic ends unless that pursuit is ultimately in the interest of their shareholders. As Friedman puts it: ‘Hypocrisy is virtuous when it serves the bottom line. Moral virtue is immoral when it does not’.
November 26, 2018
The meaning of life, the Black Mirror of Beijing, standing desks not a silver bullet and some other stuff
So, what is the meaning of life? According to a study by Pew, the gold standard US based researchers, it’s spending time with family and friends, reading, listening to music and going for a walk in the open air. Work comes somewhere down the list. Just one-third of the survey’s respondents mentioned their career or job as a source of meaning, and only a quarter cite finances or money. This, it turns out, is not too far off Monty Python’s conclusion in their eponymous film: Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. That’s that sorted then.
November 16, 2018
A slow news week here in the UK so the opportunity presents itself for quiet consideration of some important issues about the workplace. The big story has been the change of identity for the British Institute of Facilities Management, unveiled after weeks of debate and speculation. We’ll be running some commentary on what this all might mean in the next few days but for now, suffice it so say that any parallels with Brexit are entirely coincidental.
November 9, 2018
Sometime over the past few years, the search for possible locations for the latest tech giant palace has become something of a media preoccupation. Typical of the stories this quest generates is this piece in the New York Times about Google’s search for new property in the city. But the apotheosis of all this has been Amazon’s quest for a new HQ in the US, leading to an unedifying scrabble between municipal authorities keen to attract the lair of OmniCorp to their turf.
November 2, 2018
A little local difficulty, treating people as pets, designing for serendipity and some other stuff you might like
The big news to be on the lookout for this month is the BIFM’s impending name change to the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management. Now the interesting thing about this development is what it might tell us about the changing world of work and the distinction between the physical office and the places we actually work, including in digital space. So that’s what everybody’s focussed on right?
October 31, 2018
More business owners are swapping rigid 9-5 schedules and traditional office environments in favour of flexible space and remote work as an option for saving costs, retaining employees and encouraging a healthy work-life balance. With this in mind, Instant Offices has investigated what industries are leading the way for remote working and how to overcome the typical challenges of managing a remote team.
October 29, 2018
You can’t judge an international marketplace by wandering around an exhibition of its products for a day or two. This is a simple fact overlooked by a new piece in Dezeen which declares that desks are finished. This notion is based on a trip to the Orgatec furniture fair in Cologne. Our own review of the show will appear tomorrow, with the hysteria dialled down to a dull roar and with some added facts about what organisations actually buy most from office furniture companies (spoiler: desks and chairs) compared to what makes the sector more interesting.
October 22, 2018
What to make of the announcement that Chengdu is thinking of creating an artificial moon so that it can do away with street lights, bathing the city’s streets in permanent dusk? Well possibly a big thumbs up for the ingenuity and maybe thumbs down for the impact on people’s circadian rhythms and awareness of what’s in the heavens. People really should look up more, both figuratively and literally. Maybe there’s also room for a thought about we we can over-complicate designed solutions when we look to innovate beyond a certain point.
October 16, 2018
Flexibility is rocking the foundations of the traditional commercial real estate world. It’s entering our workforces, our offices and the shock waves are extending to the relationship between landlord and tenant. This demand for increased flexibility from the world’s workforces is due to a convergence of social and economic factors. JLL’s Top 10 Global Corporate Real Estate (CRE) Trends report predicts the emergence of a more dynamic workforce, demand for work environments that support creativity, cross-collaboration and innovation, and an increasing focus on employee wellbeing and performance will dominate global CRE strategies throughout 2018. This has major implications for both occupiers and landlords.
October 12, 2018
October 11, 2018
Sitting is so culturally ingrained at work, at the wheel, in front of the TV and at the movies, it takes a great effort to imagine doing these things standing up, let alone pedalling as you work at a bike desk. So, when the world’s first specific guidelines on sitting and moving at work were published, they generated headlines such as: Abandon your chair for four hours to stay healthy, office workers are told and: Stand up at your desk for two hours a day, new guidelines say. But what many media reports did not mention was the guidelines were based on limited evidence. They were also co-authored by someone with commercial links to standing desks (desks you raise and lower to work at standing or sitting), a link not declared when the guidelines were first published in a journal. Media reports also overplayed the dangers of sitting at work, incorrectly saying it wiped out the benefits of exercise. Our new study reveals the nature of this media coverage and its role in overselling standing desks as a solution to inactivity at work.
October 10, 2018
Because collaboration, creativity and innovation are increasingly perceived as key objectives and differentiators of performance, the genesis and mechanisms behind ideation and creativity are an an integral part of both business and personal development. As a consequence, there is growing interest in the way the physical attributes of work settings may influence or even trigger creative behaviour. The cliché of the shower as one of these favourite places comes to mind and yet experience does show that the idea of seeking a setting, a “zone” if you will, for a specific purpose is intuitively right. This needn’t be a retreat or cocoon, as is often assumed, but can also be a crowded, busy, noisy place, which might explain why so often the most animated work conversations move out of the office shop into the coffee shop. Equally, highlight events or special meetings tend to be held in a “venue’, often dressed for the occasion.
Sign up to our newsletter
Join thousands of other workplace professionals to receive regular updates and access premium content