Search Results for: real estate

In a crowd of truths, we can discern and reclaim what it means to be human

In a crowd of truths, we can discern and reclaim what it means to be human 0

This is the second of two responses to an excellent article by Antony Slumbers, the first being this perspective from my mirrored room, in this instance offering that his views offer a far too presumptive picture of how technology will shape our work future. The paragraph headlines are from Antony’s original article. One person’s optimism is another’s pessimism. A decade ago the dream of liberated commute-free teleworking was, to many, the nightmare of enforced seclusion to the soundtrack of the dishwasher. The deployment of robots for the performance of menial tasks creating time and wealth for leisure is another’s horror at the loss of employment and resultant anomic fragmentation and decay. The fatally pointless optimism of Candide’s Dr Pangloss was agnostic in regard to every such outcome. It was positive only because there could be no alternative, and therefore no better alternative.

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Reflections on the future of work from a mirrored room

Reflections on the future of work from a mirrored room 0

This is the first of two responses to an excellent article by Antony Slumbers, in this instance offering that his views offer too conservative a view of how technology will shape the future of work. Dr Pangloss, the teacher of metaphysics in Candide, Voltaire’s hilariously sarcastic attack on Leibnizian optimism, offered a timeless and universal explanation of the most cruel and tragic events as “the best of all possible worlds”. I would argue however that far from creating a landscape of optimism, it facilitates a dismissal of all significant change as an irrelevance given that effectively we have no option other than to happily accept it. For example, whether property transitions to a service or remains locked in its existing institutional quagmire, it doesn’t matter. Either way its fine as it’s the best we can hope for. Accept it, happily. A Panglossian future only looks appealing if you’re –well, Dr Pangloss.

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Over a third of office workers complain about poor air quality

Over a third of office workers complain about poor air quality 0

Poor air qualityAlmost 70 percent of office workers believe poor air quality in their place of work is having a negative effect on their day-to-day productivity and wellbeing, claims a survey commissioned by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA); and a third of workers are concerned that poor air quality could be having a negative effect on their health. Opening windows is the most commonly used form of ventilation with 60 percent of workers saying it is the first thing they do if they need fresh air. However, although this is seen as a natural response, opening windows runs the risk of further polluting the working environment by letting in outdoor toxins, the survey claims. Given that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors and on average, 212 days a year at work, BESA has called on firms, managers and employees to ensure proper, effective, well maintained ventilation systems are operating in all offices across the UK.

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London office rents predicted to stay strong provided there’s no Brexit

London office rents predicted to stay strong provided there’s no Brexit 0

City of London BrexitThe continuing imbalance between the supply and demand for office space throughout London is resulting in a shift in the balance of negotiating power away from tenants, according to the latest London Office Update from Carter Jonas. Rents across Central London have, on average, risen by over 50 percent over the last five years in the West End, Midtown and South Bank office markets, and by over 30 percent in the City of London. Rent free periods have typically fallen by up to six months over the same period. In the next 18-24 months, the trend will continue to be higher rents and shorter rent free periods as availability remains low. While some occupiers may leave London altogether, others may adopt a ‘spoke and hub’ strategy, whereby back office functions relocate to peripheral, lower cost, areas while ‘client facing’ operations are retained in Central London. This prediction assumes that Britain rejects Brexit however, and there are no major economic shocks.

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BIFM launches new guide to construction and design processes

BIFM launches new guide to construction and design processes 0

BIMThe British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has launched its new ‘Operational Readiness Guide: A guide to ensuring long term effectiveness in the design and construction process’. The guide aims to ‘equip facilities management professionals with the skills, knowledge and guidance to effectively engage at each stage of the design and construction process to deliver greater value to the end user organisations that occupy the buildings.’ Its launch coincides with the first day that centrally procured public sector projects in the UK will require the implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) at Level 2. The authors claims that in order for FMs ‘to deliver long term effectiveness and relevance for the end user facilities management professionals need to be engaged from the start and learnings and insights from operators applied to close the gap between building design and performance’.

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While politicians squabble, here’s what the Budget meant for the workplace

While politicians squabble, here’s what the Budget meant for the workplace 0

Bash streetStrange as it may seem now, there was a Budget last week. We’d planned to produce a report on it once the dust had settled but given that whatever dust had originally been kicked up has now been swept away by a political storm, it’s only now we feel able to offer some perspective a few days out. As ever these days, the budget touched on a number of aspects of the workplace, sometimes hitting the mark and sometimes suggesting politicians don’t yet understand how people work. There was the usual stuff about rates and commercial property but also plenty to digest about the freelance economy, productivity, new technology, flexible working legislation and the current, often faltering attempts to develop wealth and infrastructure as well as the 21st Century creative and digital economy in places other than London. There’s plenty to digest here and plenty of people have already had their say, so a chance to grab a coffee and take all or some of it in.

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Record construction of London office space, but supply shortfall remains

Record construction of London office space, but supply shortfall remains 0

Commercial Property LondonDemand for office space in London continues to overwhelm its availability and in spite of record levels of construction, according to two new reports. The latest CBRE Monthly Index claims that rents in Central London’s booming office market grew by 10.3 percent in the year to October 2015, the first time annual growth has hit double digits since April 2008. Despite rapidly rising rents, take-up of offices in Central London continues to outpace the 10 year average. The capital saw 1.1 percent growth in October, with 3.6m sq ft of space snapped up by businesses in the third quarter of 2015, with a further 3.8m sq ft currently under offer and expected to complete before the end of the year. Change could be on the way however as the latest biannnual London crane survey from Deloitte claims that the amount of office space being built in central London has risen by a fifth in six months, the highest level  for seven years.

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Insight Briefing: the growth of agile workplaces in the UK public sector

Insight Briefing: the growth of agile workplaces in the UK public sector 0

agile working coverThe process of transforming the UK’s public sector estate may have begun under the last Labour administration but it’s fair to say that change really began to kick in as a consequence of the austerity programme initiated by the current administration. Central Government departments and local authorities had already started exploring new ways of owning and occupying their property in the same way as their private sector contemporaries. Now they were incentivised to respond to an administration that was not only prepared to cut their budgets but was introducing frameworks and legislation that encouraged them to innovate and pioneer a new generation of agile workplaces. In our first Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, we look at how these forces for change have catalysed a new approach and challenged the idea that innovation in workplace design and management is primarily the preserve of the private sector.

Civic centre named best workplace in the UK by the BCO

Civic centre named best workplace in the UK by the BCO 0

Building: Keynsham Council Offices Location: Keynsham Architect: AHR

Keynsham Civic Centre & One Stop Shop in Keynsham, near Bath, has been named the Best of the Best workplace in the country at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) annual Awards. The office was recognised as the Best Corporate Workplace in the UK, topping a list of six other award winners recognised for excellence in office space. The building provides an environmentally sustainable, low maintenance and flexible workspace, whilst acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the town. As a workplace for the local council, the judges praised the building’s impressive use of natural light to create an ‘uplifting workspace’ as well as the design of the office floors which lend themselves toward flexibility and encourage collaborative working. The team behind the building was also commended for conducting a thorough and impressive stakeholder engagement process, from the inception of the project through to completion.

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Using office relocation as a vehicle for positive organisational  change

Using office relocation as a vehicle for positive organisational change 0

Using office relocation positivelyThe impact of office relocation can no longer be solely measured in immediately tangible terms. This doesn’t mean market factors can be dismissed, especially given CBRE’s recent announcement that office vacancies are at an all-time low while rents skyrocket and favourable terms for tenants erode. However, in an era where 67 percent of workplaces cite employee attraction and retention as the most important driver of their workplace design, and 46 percent cite productivity, the human factor also can’t be ignored. If such CBRE statistics aren’t challenging enough, there are also the realities of the modern workspace to contend with, such as creating an environment that suits generations of employees. It’s these human impacts that drive the importance of workplace design and urge top-flight businesses to use office relocation as a vehicle for positive change. Here are some of the latest findings.

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Long distance commuting, agile working and dinosaur extinction in the UAE

Long distance commuting, agile working and dinosaur extinction in the UAE

Make DubaiIn Dubai, there are no suburban dinosaurs; those large-scale, single purpose office buildings that ignore the agile realities of modern working life. In the western world, these giants evolved on business parks, driven by the perceived benefits of having office workers agglomerated in order to achieve efficiency of communication and dissemination. The business practices and technologies that underpinned these buildings have evolved and improved and many are in the process of being re-purposed. Things happen on a grander scale in the Middle East where the mantra is “if the land-use doesn’t fit the land, make more land.” Here, the patterns of work and place have evolved differently from the west, and at a much faster pace with creeping tides of development spreading rapidly out from the small centres of traditional trade and commerce to vast tracts of new development.

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Everything you wanted to know about open plan but were too distracted to ask

Everything you wanted to know about open plan but were too distracted to ask

open plan There is a lively and ongoing debate on whether open plan offices are a good or bad thing. Many articles would suggest that they routinely diminish productivity. Yes, the open plan office is not ideal for privacy and probably bad for conceptual focused work, but it’s a bit like saying a hammer is useless when you need to tighten a screw. The point is you don’t use it for that. Fans of open plan often underline how fantastic it is for building a sense of belonging, team spirit and ad hoc collaboration, often ignoring the challenges of working there. The point I’m making is that introducing open plan into your office is probably a good idea, but you really need to make sure that you provide your employees with a menu of settings which allow them to concentrate, have ad hoc meetings without disturbing their colleagues and provide some privacy for confidential conversations.

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