Search Results for: interaction

Businesses report a growing appetite for social media work tools


Social media, as politicians and celebrities are all too aware is a double edged sword. Just last week David Cameron read out a Twitter message during Prime Minister’s Questions sent to a Labour MP, who had asked people for suggestions about what to ask at PMQs. The first reply was “how happy are you that the Labour leader will still be in place at the next election?” And Cameron himself has not been exempt to the odd twitter gaffe. Social media is such a powerful tool however, that employers can’t afford to ignore it – so demand for enterprise social networks – business tools that use Facebook-style features to allow staff to interact with one another on work projects are on the increase. More →

100% Design: Holding a mirror up to the way we design and manage workplaces

Hanging Room

Hanging Room at 100% Design

If art holds a mirror up to nature, shouldn’t the design of workplace products hold a mirror up to the way we work? By definition, the things with which we surround ourselves should tell us something about the way we see ourselves and what we do. It should be possible to infer from the design of the products suppliers offer to the market what is changing in the workplace. This isn’t always the case, of course, especially for those firms who see design not so much in terms of putting lipstick on a gorilla as telling you that what you’re looking at isn’t in fact a gorilla at all. It’s Scarlett Johansson.

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We deserve better than a polarised debate about cellular v open plan offices

Jacques Tati's Playtime

Jacques Tati’s Playtime

Stimulated by a number of rather unsubtle commercial interests, the ‘in’ workplace discussion seems to have swung from ‘collaboration’ i.e. organisations need more new spaces for formal and informal collaborative interactions, to ‘distraction’ i.e. open plan workplaces are creating a loss of productivity because people whose work requires concentration are impeded by constant interruption. The implication of the latter is that people should keep their ‘cubes’ and open-plan should be avoided at all costs. You can see pretty quickly where the commercial axes are being ground can’t you.

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New report urges UK Government departments to ditch paper completely by 2020

Paper stackA new report from the Think Tank Policy Exchange is claiming that UK Government departments should look to stop using paper by moving from process that are ‘digital-by-default to digital, full stop’ by the year 2020.  The report, Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger: Remaking government for the digital age, claims that the move would make the UK public sector 8 percent more effective and save £24 billion a year by eliminating the paper used by Government departments to communicate and switching to digital processes for all services that don’t require face-to-face interaction with suppliers and members of the public.

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Mobile apps will dominate workplace communications within next three years

The news this week that Microsoft is to purchase Nokia’s mobile phone business for £4.6bn is a reminder of how rapidly app-based communications tools have transformed mobile phones and computer devices. Within the workplace, fragmentation and lack of standardisation of the technologies have resulted in organisations often using multiple tools, including that of employees’ own consumer smartphones and tablets. According to analysts Gartner most collaboration applications will be equally available on desktops, mobile phones, tablets and browsers by 2016. Over the next three to five years it predicts, every business will be using mobile collaboration tools – boosted by BYOD, personal cloud file sharing and the increasing availability of mobile applications. More →

Open-plan office workers need time out from the madding crowd

Open plan offices

Open-plan offices are now the most popular workplace layout, primarily because they save on space, enable flexible working and, it’s argued, foster better communication and collaboration between employees. Yet open-plan still has some way to go to convince occupants of its merits. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, of over 42,000 US office workers in 303 office buildings, workers in private offices remain the most satisfied with their surroundings. However, what constitutes a satisfactory workspace differed, according to the employee’s current office layout. So while noise was the most important consideration for open-plan workers, light and ease of interaction topped the satisfaction list for those housed in cellular offices. More →

Dull corporate offices with no “buzz” inhibit productivity, complain staff

Dull corporate offices are stifling productivity

Creating a dynamic and creative workplace is dependent on a number of factors; the office layout and design, the style of management and the wider company culture. Get these elements right and, says workplace consultants Morgan Lovell you hit the “Buzz Barometer” – a combination of a good atmosphere, energy and teamwork which encourages productivity and high levels of employee engagement. However, according to their recent research, three quarters (78 per cent) of employees say they would be significantly more productive if their workplace had more buzz. And worryingly for larger organisations, corporates are failing to match small company buzz, with four-fifths (81 per cent) saying SMEs offer a better working atmosphere than large companies.

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Report: How will the future affect us or can we effect the future?

 How will the future affect us or can we effect the future

Workplace furniture specialist Kinnarps has published its Trend Report 2013, which is the culmination of detailed research across European markets and thought leaders, conducted in partnership with Stockholm based futurologists Kairos Future. The study distilled a broad overview of emerging and established trends, across Kinnarps’ European markets, to focus on eight key themes that will influence the workplace of the future. According to the report, big changes are already apparent in our society, but these will come to have an altogether greater impact on the way we evaluate our working environment. More →

Douglas Engelbart helped to define our relationship with technology and each other

Douglas Engelbart helped to define our relationship with technology and each other

The obituaries of Douglas Engelbart, who died on Tuesday, invariably characterised him as ‘the inventor of the mouse’ which is downplaying the contribution he made to our ability to interact with computers. He had the foresight to see that our relationship with technology would become one of the defining characteristics of modern life and he had it at a time when computers were the size of rooms and programmed using punched cards. He took part in the world’s first videoconference and developed ideas for early incarnations of word processors, the internet and email. He made no money from the mouse, the rights for which were sold to Apple for $40,000 in 1983 and the patent for which ran out in 1987. He was honoured in his lifetime however, winning the Lemelson-MIT prize in 1997 and a National Medal of Technology for ‘creating the foundations of personal computing’ in 2000.

While the mouse appears to be about our physical interaction with the computer, and indeed is one of the most pressing concerns for ergonomists, Engelbart was actually more concerned with developing ways for groups of people to use computers to share information and ideas. His thoughts on how intellectualised workers would apply technology while sitting at what he called ‘working stations’ are strikingly contemporary but at the time he expressed them went against the grain in a world in which computers were mere number crunching machines. Indeed, for a time Engelbart became a marginal figure as interest waned in his ideas, only for him to achieve the recognition his work and ideas deserved over the last twenty five years as the internet transformed our working lives.

US corporate occupiers changing the size and type of office space they demand

America’s corporate occupiers are not only reducing the amount of office space they use, they are changing their requirements too according to the latest Office Occupier View report from CBRE. Not only did overall demand for commercial space fall during the first quarter of 2013 compared to the last of 2012, the average amount of space allocated to each worker is falling below 225 sq.ft. (21 sq.m.) , and occupiers are demanding more open, ‘creative’ working environments in Class A buildings with large floor plates. Occupiers are also looking for space that is ideally located  in central business districts (CBDs) with easy access to transport links and amenities and offers them flexible terms.

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Flexible working going into reverse in parts of UK public sector

Broken elastic bandA briefing from the Society of IT Management claims that while nearly all UK public sector organisations have adopted some form of flexible working, the practice remains far from universal and is going into reverse in some departments. The report found that  around  97 percent  of UK public sector organisations have now  adopted the practice in the form of home working, desk sharing and mobile working in four of the public sector functions surveyed. While while there have been large increases in adoption the adoption of flexible working in the revenues and benefits functions and some in education, four other services show a significant decline with others appearing to be static.

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Working on daily commute is on the increase survey finds

Working while commuting is on the increase survey finds

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 →