May 21, 2013
When you consider health and safety dangers at work, there is really no contest between the risks blue collar workers face – falls from height, heavy lifting and breathing in asbestos dust – compared to the relatively minor mishaps of the average office worker. But it seems there is no such thing as an ‘average’ office worker either and where you fit in the pecking order could have a direct impact on the level and quality of the ergonomic tools you’re offered. According to a worldwide survey published by Jabra and YouGov there is a great demographic divide when it comes to the ergonomic equipment provided within the office – and your level of education and department play a significant role in how well you are seated and whether you are offered a headset or handset. more…
May 16, 2013
As argued on this site today, many people prefer to work while commuting and research published today supports this view. A survey of over 2,000 British workers by recruiter Randstad reveals the number of employees who work while they commute rose from 4.8 per cent in 2008 to 7.5 per cent in 2013. There’s also been a big rise in the number of “extreme commuters” – those travelling more than 90 minutes each way – which has increased by 50 per cent, from just over one in twenty (6 per cent), to almost one in ten (9 per cent). However, while 18 per cent of British workers feel that the development of smartphones and tablets has made it easier for them to work while they travel, – one in ten (9.2 per cent) say that new technology has increased the pressure on them to get work done on their journey to and from work. more…
May 15, 2013
Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment Professional Groups (RICS) is calling for a cultural shift to ensure that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is more widely adopted. This follows the results of a survey taken at the RICS National BIM conference which revealed that despite its overwhelming recognition within the built environment nearly half of respondents were still not using the process, with 46 per cent identifying minimal client demand as a major factor preventing their implementation of BIM. Comments Muse: “Quite simply, some clients are not yet recognising the efficiencies that BIM can bring”, which is the reason why RICs is now developing a BIM accreditation standard.
May 14, 2013
The results of a pilot project to review list descriptions for post-war commercial offices has been announced by English Heritage. The revisions to 28 commercial offices by the conservation body have better identified the special interest in these buildings, which in many cases are the exterior and internally are usually limited to spaces such as lobbies and board rooms. When other parts of the building, such as basements and working floors are not of interest, this is said explicitly, thereby giving owners greater flexibility and clarity in the consents process and the management of change.
May 14, 2013
Anybody who has been working in and around the facilities management sector for any length of time will know that the FM profession/discipline (delete as appropriate) regularly undergoes protracted periods of existential angst about its role. It strikes me however that this is actually quite an easy question to deal with because the answer is the same as it is for similarly amorphous professions such as marketing. It all seems to depend on who you are and what you are trying to do. That’s the twist. The average facilities manager, like the Urban Spaceman, doesn’t exist. I might think that but it won’t stop the associations and institutes currently working together to establish a new super-body for FM in the UK having to continue the debate.
May 14, 2013
The first day at a new job used to mean getting the answer to that all important question: “so which is my office?” In today’s mostly open plan environments, the same psychological attachment has been transferred to the desk – ‘my’ desk. However the current trend for flexible approaches to where people work means that even the concept of having one’s own desk is now under attack. So how much does having your own desk matter to the UK office workforce these days? We have been asking employees how they feel about having their own desk. The results seem to be that more than half, on average 56% (of a total of 2,653 employees surveyed at 5 recent client projects), think that it is ‘very important’ and a further 25% think it is ‘quite important’.
May 13, 2013
We’ve already focused today on the role individuals can play in supporting the green agenda of their employers, but for those working within the built environment they may have particular responsibility when it comes to helping to reduce energy consumption and provide for the adaptation of buildings that respond to the challenges of climate change. This is the message from incoming CIBSE President, George Adams Engineering Director for Spie Matthew Hall, in his Presidential address, “Whole Life Thinking” where he stresses the need for a new energy engineering conscience and calls for an increased pace of action to improve the industry and reduce its environmental impact.
May 10, 2013
The office rental sector has benefited from the prospect of reduced supply, stemming from the recent announcement by the government to relax the need for permission to change use from commercial to residential, according to RICS’ property and construction experts. Although the first quarter results of the 2013 RICS UK Commercial Market Survey reveals how the retail side of the commercial market continues to suffer, other areas of the commercial property market – such as office and industrial space have seen demand for premises strengthen slightly with no major increases in empty floor space and rising levels of tenant demand for office premises. more…
May 10, 2013
The design of offices and the furniture that fills them matters because of what they tell us about how we work, how organisations function and even what is happening in the economy. If you want to know what’s going on, take a look at the places we work and the things with which we surround ourselves and how they change over time. Because the way we work changes so quickly, buildings need to have flexibility built into them so that they meet our needs today but anticipate what we will need tomorrow.In his book How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand outlines the process whereby buildings evolve over time to meet the changing needs of their occupants.
May 4, 2013
With breathless excitement a press release announces the proposed merger of all of the UK’s major facilities management and support services trade associations, or rather notes that they: “have agreed to the concept of forming one single and united body to represent facilities management and support services.” With a sense of crushing inevitability the first step has been to form a steering group to address how these and other organisations could come together into this single body to meet the needs of the industry and the professionals that work within it. With this in mind, I proffer a few pieces of advice in the form of seven thoughts for those involved in these discussions.
May 3, 2013
Building Information Modelling (BIM) will raise productivity, provide better buildings, faster and cheaper and represents opportunities for the built environment to become a powerful international player. This is according to a major new report, Growth through BIM produced by Richard Saxon, the UK Government’s BIM Ambassador for Growth who concludes: “No wonder it has been mandated as government policy“. The Built Environment sector, for the purposes of his report, is defined as Property, Construction and Facilities Management, which accounts for about 15 per cent of GDP, and which he describes as: “an enabling sector, facilitating the performance of most other sectors”. more…
May 3, 2013
So what do people really want from their offices? It’s a question that has tasked the minds of researchers for many years. According to a recent survey from Overbury, the ideal office design seemed to be a Starbucks, but a new report from the British Council for Offices suggests that what people want isn’t actually that much. Top of the list of priorities for the 1,200 or so people surveyed were fast Wi-Fi, comfortable surroundings, a convenient location and a decent, if unspectacular, fit-out, although responses varied to a certain degree across age groups and sectors. Is that really too much to ask? And are the pool table and the slide absolutely necessary?
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