June 20, 2014
The new issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. Published by Occupiers Journal in partnership with Insight it offers a wide range of thought leadership, research, commentary and case studies from the world’s foremost commentators, academics and practitioners in the world of workplace design and management. Contributors this quarter include Professor Franklin Becker of Cornell University, BBC CEO of Commercial Projects Chris Kane, Andrew Laing of AECOM, Simon Allford of architects AHMM Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, designer and workplace strategist Ziona Strelitz and Ian Ellison of Sheffield Hallam University. Work&Place offers progressive and informed commentary on some of the most pressing and cutting edge issues facing workplace designers and managers around the world today including co-working, office design, architecture, facilities management, workplace analytics, technology, flexible working, productivity and urbanisation.
June 20, 2014
Last year, we shared research from Overbury which suggested that what most people really wanted from their offices was for them to be a lot more like Starbucks. Now new research from Steelcase Solutions claims that what people would really like is to be working in bucolic splendour, or at least an indoor approximation of it. The survey of around 800 UK based office workers carried out by IPSOS claims that people would feel more optimistic about their work if natural light, more control of temperatures and informal, dynamic spaces were core elements of their working environments, which coincidentally are also important factors in fostering wellness and productivity. In addition, the authors of the report claim that more offices in future will apply biophilic design principles to offer staff a daily glimpse (or illusion) of the great outdoors. more…
June 19, 2014
World-of-work watchers will be more than aware that we are increasingly being informed that we are living in the VUCA age, which under normal circumstances is an acronym for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous but in the context of these RIBA Award Winners for 2014 might be taken in a number of other ways. Commentators and self-styled thought leaders are warning businesses to prepare for seismic changes to the way work gets done, where, how and by whom (or by what, if proponents of automation and robotics have anything to do with it). How lovely then, that RIBA have made awards to seven offices that hark back to more comforting, more halcyon, times. The text of the accompanying feature in Architects Journal is at pains to point out that offices are hard to design and that RIBA awards are hard won. I wouldn’t disagree on the former point but, from the evidence on show, it’s a bit more of a challenge to agree with the later. So I won’t.
June 19, 2014
The mixed attitude of businesses towards flexible working generally – and a new tranche of UK regulation in particular – is evident in two new studies. While a Citrix survey found that under half of small and medium sized business owners support the new flexible working legislation due to come into force at the end of this month with even fewer seeing it as a positive development, another study by recruitment consultants Robert Half found that two-thirds of large financial services firms use flexible working as a way of attracting and retaining employees. According to the report, this is particularly important in The City right now because many prospective employees are put off by the poor image of the financial services industry and so firms are keen to make themselves more attractive employers so are turning to flexible working and better workplaces to entice high-grade staff.
June 17, 2014
By common consent, the office is a little over 100 years old, with most commentators agreeing that the first true office as we understand it was the Larkin Building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904. Yet ninety years after this building ushered in the 20th Century workplace, there was another seismic shift in office furniture design that heralded the office for the 21st Century. In 1994, there was a great deal of excited talk about new ways of working, based on the growing use of mobile computers and phones. For the first time, people were unfettered from the personal workstation and new office furniture systems. Also that year, Herman Miller launched a chair that was to redefine not only what we understood about office seating and workplace ergonomics but reshaped the wider office furniture market in its own image. For the first time it became apparent that when looking after the wellbeing of individuals and making a universally understood office design statement in this new world of work, the chair was the thing, not the desk. more…
June 9, 2014
The world’s foremost workplace conference kicks off this morning and Insight will be there to cover all of it. . Speakers include Franklin Becker, Frank Duffy, Alexi Marmot, Wim Pullen, Ian Ellison, Ziona Strelitz, Andrew Laing, Chris Kane and Simon Allford will address the most important and up to date issues relating to workplace strategy. To coincide with the event, the latest issue of Work&Place will be published before being issued to around 25,000 IFMA members worldwide and made available free online to everybody. The event builds on the success of the first Workplace Strategy Summit held at Cornell University. Updates will be available on Twitter.
May 23, 2014
The publication of a report last week by the British Council for Offices highlights the wider impact of workplace design trends and commercial property arrangements in the increasingly important Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector. Not least it suggests that they are having a transformational influence on the way firms in other sectors approach leases, workplace design and the changing nature of work. It is no coincidence that the TMT sector is the one most commonly associated with the employment of the much-talked-about Gen Y demographic, nor that the business practices most commonly associated with this overly-stereotyped group are those that are having the greatest influence in the way we design and manage offices.
May 20, 2014
Designers can install sleep pods, slides and play areas in an effort to create a cool office, but the problem is that for every renowned Google campus are countless stuffy offices with fluorescent lighting and cramped, crowded conditions. When you drill right down to it office workers want those responsible for office design to meet their basic human needs; with more natural light, effective heating and air conditioning and the better use of office space. This is according to the results of a survey by Steelcase of more than 800 office workers across the UK to mark the beginning of Clerkenwell Design Week. It found that despite British workers appreciating the latest technology and high-quality office design, better lighting and more control over temperature settings would be a big step forward towards their dream office.
May 20, 2014
For the first time, London is the world’s best city for business, culture and finance, according to the latest edition of PWC’s annual Cities of Opportunity report. And the city’s reputation as a global leader in design is cited as one of the main reasons. The index of thirty of the world’s most important cities claims that London’s sheer economic clout, technological infrastructure and its design and development skills are just a few of the factors that led to the city usurping New York for the first time. When the survey was last carried out, it was ranked third. London is ranked one of the top three best places for intellectual capital and innovation alongside Paris and San Francisco and has leapt from eighth place last year to joint first place (with Seoul) in terms of its technological readiness.
May 19, 2014
Companies in the Gulf States with poor office design are losing a significant amount of money each year because of an associated loss of productivity and other factors including ergonomics and health and safety. That is according to a new survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Index exhibition organisers and office furniture manufacturer HNI. The survey puts the cost of poorly designed workplaces at as much as $70,000 (Dh257,000) per year for a large business and more than $35,000 (Dh128,500) a year for a medium-sized company in the region, according to a new study. A total of 867 senior managers across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were surveyed to establish the leading cause of employee accidents within the workspace, as well as the major causes of occupational health issues.
May 16, 2014
Global manufacturing executives rank the UK as one of the top destinations for future sales growth and profitability, according to KPMG’s latest Global Manufacturing Outlook report published this week. This places the UK ahead of Germany, India and Japan and alongside China, beaten only by the US. The report also notes that the UK is leading the world in the growth of 3D printing. The survey of 460 executives representing business with an annual turnover in excess of $5 billion reveals that the UK is ranked third in terms of those countries in which global companies expect profit growth over the next two years. The focus on new technology and materials in the report reveals that 85 percent of UK manufacturers are already moving to 3D printing to reduce their product development life cycle, as British office furniture maker Senator did in prototyping its Ad-Lib range (pictured).
May 16, 2014
As always, any discussion of stress starts with the headline figures. Work-related stress is evidently the UK’s biggest cause of lost working days. According to the HSE’s most recent data, around 10.4 million days were lost to it in 2012, the most significant cause of absenteeism and a massive 40 per cent of all work-related illnesses. The financial cost to the UK has been estimated at £60 billion, largely due to the psychological and physical harm stress does us. The reasons for this are clear in the minds of many: the demands made on us by employers and ourselves are intolerable. Our private time is eroded, we spend too much time at work in the first place, we’re under excessive pressure to perform when we are there and as a result we’re all knackered, unfulfilled, stressed, depressed and anxious. It’s no wonder we are so keen on stress management