Search Results for: office

Our hardwired response to patterns can be a useful trait for designers

flying_fishOur ability to recognise patterns is hardwired. We instinctively and often unconsciously look for patterns everywhere. Where none exist we often impose them, grouping things  together according to their colour, shape, texture, number, taste, smell, touch or function. We do this to make sense of the world and to understand what goes on around us. And conversely, the patterns we perceive influence the way we think and how we feel. It was the psychologist Carl Jung who first explained how the innate human ability to recognise patterns is rooted in the need for primitive humans to perceive patterns in the world around them as a way of identifying threats.

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BIM task force group to represent built environment


Building Information Modelling (BIM) is of as much importance to those tasked with using and managing buildings as those involved in their design and construction and has led to the formation of the BIM4FM group, which represents institutes, trade associations and professional bodies within the built environment. Supported by the Cabinet Office Government Property Unit, the BIM4FM group will provide input into the on going development of BIM and work being developed through the Government Property Unit and BIM Task Group. Geoff Prudence, Chair of the BIM4FM group said: “Although BIM has long been discussed at the construction end of the supply chain it has only recently and repeatedly started to raise its profile with those operating and using buildings.” More →

U.S. employers plan penalties to boost wellness participation

U.S. wellness

Following on from the revelation that wellness programmes are only as good as the willingness of staff to participate, comes a study from the U.S. which highlights the role incentives can play in employers’ efforts to improve workforce health and performance. Aon Hewitt’s survey of nearly 800 large and mid-size U.S. employers representing more than 7 million U.S. employees found that 83 per cent now offer employees incentives for participating in programmes, while 58 per cent plan to impose consequences on participants who do not take appropriate actions for improving their health.

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Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

One of the standard complaints commonly ascribed to facilities managers and others who work to manage our buildings and the people and stuff inside them is that they are not consulted well enough when it comes to their development, architecture and design. Well, now they may have a chance to see how that all feels writ large following yesterday’s announcement from Culture and Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey of the launch of an independent review of the UK’s architecture which will be undertaken by the architect Sir Terry Farrell… leading a panel of mainly architects.

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The resistance to flexible working is entirely reasonable

Home workingIn recent media coverage of the decision by Yahoo to ban homeworking as well as a recent survey from Microsoft, the resistance to the idea that people work better when they are allowed to work flexibly has typically been put down to cultural inertia. Sometimes those who have resisted the uptake of flexible working have been portrayed as dinosaurs. While there’s no question that culture and management attitudes do create barriers to the uptake of flexible working, there is a growing recognition that certain flexible working practices may not be appropriate for many people and organisations and even specific sectors. The barriers may be there for a good reason.

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Rise in jobless figures puts pressure on Chancellor

The Treasury

There is more pressure on Chancellor George Osborne ahead of today’s budget with the news that uemployment rose by 7,000 to 2.52 million between November and January. However the overall unemployment rate for November 2012 to January 2013 remained at 7.8 per cent, unchanged from August to October 2012. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also show that while pay rose by 1.2 per cent during the same period, with inflation measuring 2.7 per cent between January 2012 and January 2013, there continues to be a cut in the real value of pay. More →

What Alan Bennett can teach us about taste

Alan BennettThe idea of taste is a strange one, not least when we’re surrounded by people guiding our tastes in everything from cars to wine, food, clothes, house design, office design, restaurants, holidays, language, art, music, books and film. The problem with an acceptance of what we mean by ‘good taste’ is that it acts as a brake on change and innovation. Alan Bennett once made the point in typical style. ‘Taste is timorous, conservative and fearful,’ he wrote. ‘It is a handicap. It stunts. Olivier was unhampered by taste and was often vulgar; Dickens similarly. Both could fail and failure is a sort of vulgarity; but it’s better than a timorous toeing of the line. Taste abuts on self preservation. It is the audience that polices taste. Only if you can forget your audience can you escape.’

Government should engage suppliers to address green supply failings

Green chainThe UK’s National Audit Office has published a new report on the Government’s record on sustainable procurement which suggests that policy has focussed on cost savings and budget cuts at the expense of sustainability. The briefing document on sustainable procurement is a response to a request from  the Environmental Audit Committee and paints a clear picture of the conflict between two key areas of economic policy which many experts argue should go hand in hand when managed intelligently. However a sign of the Government’s priorities may have been clear when the Cabinet Office abolished the post of Chief Sustainability Officer and close the Green Government Unit in 2011.

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Japan’s Toyo Ito wins 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Toyo ItoThe 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered architecture’s highest accolade is to go to Toyo Ito, a 71 year old Japanese architect whose work includes the Sendai Mediatheque library in Sendai City, Japan, which withstood the 2011 earthquake, Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library, and London’s 2002 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Ito, whose architectural practice is based in Tokyo, said of the award: “Architecture is bound by various social constraints. I have been designing architecture bearing in mind that it would be possible to realize more comfortable spaces if we are freed from all the restrictions even for a little bit.”

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Suppliers need to take responsibility for green labelling of products

Green splashWe all like to think we are discerning about what we will and won’t put in our trolleys at the supermarket. Not any old salty, fat saturated gloop will make the cut these days. That’s why food producers like to proclaim its healthiness on packaging, regardless of the nature of the product within. ‘Lower fat’ doesn’t mean low fat. Companies in other sectors follow suit. The office products market is one in which some manufacturers don’t mind a splash of green on product labels. This doesn’t do the customer or the buyer any good and can breed cynicism in the market, undermining the efforts of those suppliers who actually take a sophisticated approach to the environmental performance of their products.

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New procurement systems to make it easier to bid for Government work

Public SectorThe Cabinet Office has unveiled a new centralised system that it claims will make it easier and cheaper for suppliers to compete for government and public sector work  because they will only have to register once to have access to a range of contracts. Currently, suppliers to government and the public sector have to register on several systems to be able to view, access and tender for business opportunities. The Cabinet Office believes the new system will be particularly attractive for SMEs who found the current system too onerous.  The system will replace an existing system which serves over 80,000 registered suppliers and the same number of customers

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Two thirds of workers sit at desk over six hours a day

Sitting_at_DeskTwo-thirds of office workers sit at their desk for over six hours a day – putting themselves at risk of back complaints. A survey by Office Angels found that 63 per cent of workers spend six hours or more sitting at their desk, over half (51 per cent) slouch in their chair and nearly half (48 per cent) admit to not leaving the office all day. A fifth (21 per cent) of people also admitted to taking their work home with them and a third (32 per cent) work late on a regular basis. The study ‘Work happy, Work well”, which looks at the nation’s wellbeing and bad habits in the workplace reveals that sales, media and marketing (60 per cent) and finance (54 per cent) are the sectors with the highest number of desk bound workers.

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