March 11, 2013
Amidst all the controversy over flexible working raised by the infamous Yahoo homeworking ban comes US research revealing homeworking policies lead to happier employers and employees. 93 percent of employees surveyed by Staples Advantage agree that telecommuting programs are mutually beneficial, and more than half 53 percent of business decision makers said telecommuting leads to more productive employees. However, the survey also reveals that 48 per cent of telecommuters use furniture or technology that is not ergonomically adjusted for them, which can lead to discomfort, loss of productivity or injury. more…
March 11, 2013
Much hand-wringing and angst in the world of Facilities/Workplace Management at the moment. The usual existential paranoia about relevancy and the need for a seat at the top table; the search for differentiation when pretty much the whole industry does the same things in the same way; hoping to standardise as much as possible under the guise of best practice and looking for ways that add value that won’t put a further pinch on already tight margins. As ever, new legislative and regulatory frameworks will keep the talking heads occupied and BIM (and other new tools) will continue to keep the cash tills ringing at software companies.
March 8, 2013
There is an understandable temptation when we consider the ways in which we might green our buildings and organisations that we focus primarily on designed and engineered solutions. But as this blog on Greenbiz points out, we can achieve a great deal by looking at the behaviour of individuals. It is a point made in an entertaining way by my favourite TED Talk of all time, delivered by Rory Sutherland (above). It’s fair to say that if he were to consider ways in which to change the behaviour of individuals, the printed note above the photocopier and the label on the light switch wouldn’t display enough innovative thought for him.
March 8, 2013
As we are told repeatedly, the modern workplace is a death trap. Most of us are lucky to get home in one piece at the end of each day, regardless of the job we do. Of course, statistically the most dangerous professions are those such as agriculture, forestry and construction. Proper, hardcore industries which employ proper, hardcore people, some of them working miles from anywhere, out in the open air, doing what used to be considered the core functions of work, namely making things or destroying things or moving things from one place to another.
March 6, 2013
Last year’s unrest in the Chinese factory that is a principal manufacturer of the iPhone5 shone a light into one of the usually dark corners of modern life. Namely that beneath the sleek facades of the products we buy lies the story of their production, transportation, marketing and eventual demise. Look further back than the factory and it usually starts with a hole in the ground; and, in the case of the iPhone, an open-cast rare earth mine in the Nevada desert which produces the raw materials for the cutting edge technologies that make our lives tick.
March 5, 2013
Green issues have become a core business concern amongst managers responsible for the built environment, says the chair of the Green Building Council Andrew Gould in his introduction to a series of essays which highlight the benefits of a sustainable built environment as a driver for growth. Senior executives from 15 major companies, including Atkins, Balfour Beatty and E.ON, have written the pieces which outline the business case for green buildings and infrastructure. Added Gould: “At the start of 2013, with the short-medium term economic forecast only a little improved, the sustainability agenda is actually in rude health.”
March 5, 2013
The Cabinet Office has published figures for how much the UK’s central government departments spent on products and services from small and medium enterprises during the year 2011/2012. The low key announcement slipped under the radar for many people, possibly because the figures indicate that the government is very unlikely to hit its target of spending a quarter of its total expenditure with SMEs in the course of this parliament. While it’s inevitable that large areas of government spending are unsuitable for supply from smaller businesses, the Cabinet Office will be concerned that the current total of 10 per cent is way short of its expectations.
March 5, 2013
Today is the first day of Ecobuild, which claims to be the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to sustainable construction and fit-out. Some 1,500 organisations are taking part in the event in East London which last year attracted 58,000 visitors from around the world. While undoubtedly successful, influential, with great intellectual content and a showcase for some truly innovative and effective products, the approach of Ecobuild invariably begs the question: in a world in which every supplier claims to be environmentally friendly, how are their customers expected to make the right choices?
March 2, 2013
It’s a week now since the whole Yahoo-ha kicked off and since that time everybody has had their say on the matter including – refreshingly – those in the mainstream media. The story has followed its own narrative arc, from the initial gasps of horror at Yahoo’s audacious challenge to a cherished piece of contemporary received wisdom (coupled with the reminder that Yahoo still exists) to something more thoughtful and circumspect as we learned more about the thinking behind the decision.What has become apparent is that Yahoo’s actions were based on a tacit understanding that people work better on certain tasks when they are together.
February 28, 2013
Yahoo! made headlines across the US and the rest of the world this week by announcing they are terminating the company’s telework program. Does this signal, broadly, the pending demise of telework? Here’s my take: this story is actually deeper than just about telework. Yahoo! has been wandering around aimlessly for a number of years, and it would appear that this particular measure is intended as some overdue shock therapy to jump-start a much needed culture shift and focus on what the company needs to survive in a world of rapid innovation and “big bang disruption” (see March 2013 HBR article by Larry Downes and Paul F. Nunes).
February 28, 2013
The British Council for Offices claims that it is ‘Britain’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector. Its members are organisations involved in creating, acquiring or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions or public agencies.’ If true, this makes its Specification Guide all the more remarkable for not only being wide of the mark about at least one key issue when it was published back in 2009, but about which it is growing increasingly redundant by the day.
February 27, 2013
These past two weeks have seen me playing and working in what I believe is fondly referred to as “That London” by those who live and work in the rest of the United Kingdom. Whilst resisting the temptations of the capital’s fleshpots, I’ve had the time to reflect on the design of public spaces and wonder at the architectural munificence that gave us, within a single square mile or so; The Shard, The Gherkin, St Pauls Cathedral and the engineering marvel of Tower Bridge (I also had the chance to sample Japanese octopus balls, but that, as the saying goes, is another story altogether).
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