July 22, 2013
There is evidence of improving fortunes for the UK’s regional office markets, latest figures suggest. CBRE has revealed national rental value grew by 1.7 per cent over the second quarter of this year with offices across all UK regions performing well, and none recording a drop in rents. The highest rate of rental growth over the last twelve months, as we reported earlier this month remains that of Central London at 5 per cent (and 1.7 per cent for the last quarter), but a number of the regions outside London and the South East have started to record rental growth for prime offices, whereas until recently the general trend has been down.
July 22, 2013
The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomburg has announced a series of initiatives to promote physical activity through the design of buildings and public spaces to encourage architects, planners and urban designers help combat obesity in the City. The Center for Active Design, a non-profit organization that promotes changes to the built environment to improve wellness is being created, and the Mayor has issued an Executive Order requiring City agencies use active design strategies when performing new construction and major renovation projects. Two pieces of legislation will promote stairway access in all buildings, with measures such as making stairways more visible to encourage use. more…
July 19, 2013
There is overwhelming support for sustainability to be embedded into business operations, but still some challenges in its successful delivery, according to the 7th annual Sustainability in Facilities Management survey from the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM). Of the top five barriers to implementation success, three related to engagement; engagement overall, amongst senior management and middle management. The report also found that many FMs are not targeting the areas of highest priority relating to behaviours or processes which have the highest impact, but tend to focus on technologies. more…
July 19, 2013
Too bright, too dull, too much glare – lighting (alongside air conditioning) is often one of the most contentious factors in a workplace. Office workers need illumination to read, write, type and interact. Yet many workplaces get it wrong and fail to consider the downsides of poor lighting, and as such staff will suffer from eye strain, headaches and postural problems, leading to sick days, not to mention lost productivity and mistakes. Eighty per cent of office workers experience at least one negative effect from poor quality lighting, according to researchers Bruskin Goldring, and 68 per cent of employees complain about the light in their offices, according to a study by the American Society of Interior Designers.
July 18, 2013
We’d managed to avoid the topic “isn’t it really hot” on Office Insight but as the UK heat-wave enters its third week it’s become impossible to ignore. Employers are being urged by unions to relax workplace dress codes, with the TUC calling for the introduction of a maximum workplace temperature of 30C – or 27C for those doing strenuous work. Under current health and safety law, workplaces can’t legally fall below 16C but there is no upper limit. The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) meanwhile, has issued a new guide that provides greater understanding and improved prediction of overheating in commercial buildings.
July 16, 2013
The global economic outlook is strong for the second half of 2013, while the prospects for corporate growth and expansion are also increasing, according to the views of corporate executives surveyed in June for the new CoreNet Global Confidence Index. Nearly two-thirds (62.5%) rated their outlook on the global economy for the coming six months as optimistic to very optimistic, compared to a year ago. Most (72.4%) reported the likelihood that flexible, open workplace strategies will increase, while space per work setting and/or work settings per supported worker will be reduced.
July 15, 2013
The European Commission is gathering views on how to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings. The consultation will focus on resources such as materials (including waste), water and embedded energy and aims to address resource use and related environmental impacts throughout the life-cycle of buildings, from the extraction of building materials to demolition and recycling of materials. James Drinkwater, Senior Policy Advisor for the Europe Regional Network of the World Green Building Council, welcomed the move: “It is incredibly important that the green building movement gets behind this evolution in building policy, and engages with the Commission on what the right strategic direction is going forward.” more…
July 13, 2013
The UK government has conceded that it is falling significantly behind in its plans to create a modern workplace involving a more flexible working environment for public sector employees. The plans were outlined in the Civil Service Reform Plan a year ago with the aim to create a “decent working environment for all staff, with modern workplaces enabling flexible working”. However, a report released this week by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude confirms that the plans are now rated red, meaning they are significantly delayed or off track and that there is now a great deal of work that needs to be done to meet the stated aims of the plan. While some departments have made good progress, there is little cross-government work to meet the demands of the Government’s commitment.
July 12, 2013
News emerges from BNP Paribas that the most dynamic occupiers in Western European property markets belong to the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector and that the most important market in the region is London. This comes as no surprise given the plans of Google to move to its new home in King’s Cross and the focus on developments in Tech City. But the same hothousing of TMT businesses is also evident in the area Prime Minister David Cameron has referred to as Silicon Alley, a cluster of businesses running alongside the M4 originally clustered between Reading and Swindon but now extending as far as Bristol. Companies that have found a home in the area include the likes of Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Ericsson, Vodafone, O2, Citrix, Dell, Huawei, Lexmark, LG, Novell, Nvidia, Panasonic, SAP and Symantec not to mention the countless other smaller businesses, consultants and freelancers that share this hothouse.
July 12, 2013
The Knights of the Round Table may be the stuff of legend but it seems King Arthur was on to something, for a new study reveals that people sitting in a circular formation at round meeting tables are more likely to want to ‘belong’ to a group and are less prone to be antagonistic. By contrast, the research from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business found that people seated in an angular arrangement – i.e. “The Boardroom” in Sir Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice – are more likely to look out for number one. “The geometric shape of a seating arrangement can act as a subtle environmental cue for people, by priming their fundamental need for inclusiveness or individuality,” says Sauder Assistant Professor Juliet Zhu, who co-authored the forthcoming study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
July 11, 2013
Allowing staff to make design decisions in a workspace enhanced with office plants can increase wellbeing and wellness by as much as 47 per cent, increase creativity by 45 per cent and increase productivity by 38 per cent, new research has revealed. Visitors at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show were challenged to take part in the study which measured their creativity, happiness and productivity as they experienced a range of different workspace designs. The findings, which would be expected to translate to a significant increase in business profitability, confront the popular belief that plants and art are an unnecessary or even wasteful element of the business environment. Results from this and related scientific investigations indicate that across all measures of psychological comfort and business performance, the managerially popular flexible, controlled, lean office, is consistently inferior to a space enriched by the design decisions of people who work there.
July 9, 2013
Deloitte has been commissioned by the Green Construction Board and the Green Property Alliance to carry out a study into the effectiveness of the UK Government’s policies for carbon reduction as the it seeks to meet its commitment to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Inevitably buildings, which reportedly are the largest source of CO2 including some 17 percent from non-domestic property, have been targeted to make significant contributions. With the much vaunted Green Deal in the news for all the wrong reasons – either because of its low take-up as well as new fears that it could lead to homes overheating – the survey will gauge how policies aimed specifically at commercial property such as Energy Performance Certificates and the Carbon Reduction Commitment have fared in spite of their own difficult gestations.
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