Search Results for: innovation

Are these this year’s ten most sustainable buildings in North America?

Are these this year’s ten most sustainable buildings in North America? 0

Bulliit Centre - sustainable buildingsThe American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected what they claim are the nation’s top ten examples of sustainable architecture and ecological design projects. The COTE Top Ten Awards program, now in its 19th year, claims to be the profession’s most rigorous recognition program for sustainable buildings. The program highlights projects that are the result of an “integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology … which make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.”

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Workplace Week to increase office tours as part of plan to double money raised

Workplace Week to increase office tours as part of plan to double money raised 0

PWC-Embankment-PlacePlans have been unveiled to double the amount of money raised for BBC Children in Need at this year’s Workplace Week, the week-long showcase of workplace innovation. Last year’s event, which saw more than 100 people attend the workplace tours, day-long convention and fringe events, raised over £13,000. Andrew Mawson, MD of workplace consultancy AWA, and the brains behind the venture, which is now in its sixth year, has set a target of £25,000. To achieve this aim, the number of workplace tours will be doubled, which this year shall include PWC, [pictured] Mintel and the Guardian. Capacity will be increased at the convention, with a small number of paid-for exhibitors and programme advertising allowed. Organisations from the built environment will be encouraged to arrange relevant Fringe events ­– breakfast or lunchtime seminars, or evening sessions to take place during the week – for which they’ll pay a small donation.

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Winners of BCO Scotland awards programme are announced

Winners of BCO Scotland awards programme are announced 0

GDFSuez-Aberdeen workplaceAt last week’s British Council for Offices’ awards dinner the regional prize for best corporate workplace in Scotland went to the headquarters of energy firm GDF Suez in Aberdeen. Judges said the 40,000 square foot development showed what can be achieved by a “clear vision that puts the needs of the occupier centre stage”. Opened last October, the five-storey building is home to the development and operations teams of the firm. The Grade A office accommodates up to 200 people and provides the company with the required space to grow operations in support of existing, and, new exploration and production projects.  The facilities include ‘state-of-the-art office accommodation and meeting rooms, all supported with IT and audio-visual infrastructure and was designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent score, making it one of the first buildings in Aberdeen to achieve this rating.

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RBS to save £18 million a year with office consolidation plans 0

RBS GogarburnThe Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to close four of its offices in Edinburgh as it moves to consolidate its operations at its Gogarburn headquarters. The change is expected to divest around 344,000 sq. ft. of space at the four existing sites in the centre of Edinburgh, saving some £18 million a year when the move is completed by 2017. By then some 6,000 employees will be working at the HQ in the rural district of Gogar, doubling the number of existing employees on the site. In addition to the consolidation, RBS is opening up the building to new and existing businesses to promote their growth. The plans involve the creation of a centre for entrepreneurs and small businesses which will allow them access to expert advice and finance, develop relationships with RBS and also encourage them to collaborate and share ideas with each other.

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Why Facebook and other tech giants still apply mainstream office design ideas 0

Facebook-560x480This week Facebook moved into its new offices in Menlo Park, California. As you might expect they are somewhat out of the ordinary. Designed by Frank Gehry, they are bright, open and loaded with quirky and colourful design ideas. Yet upon closer inspection their underlying office design principles are often resolutely mainstream, not least the inclusion of what is billed as the world’s largest open plan office. In fact this has the personal backing of the CEO himself and has long been the core element in the brief because Facebook sees the idea of openness as being an essential part of its mission and business model. Mark Zuckerberg announced the opening of the building on his own Facebook page (where else?). In his official statement, he explains the thinking behind the design in an interesting way and it bears reproducing.

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Sino might: a review of the CIFF office design show in Guangzhou

Guangzhou office designGuangzhou, about two hours by train from Hong Kong, is China’s third city. It is a sprawling metropolis. Apart from a cluster of skyscrapers and the busy, broad sweep of the Pearl River which carves the city into districts, it has few redeeming features. Unlike the previous years’ office design shows hosted in Guangzhou, the heavy rain stayed away and the weather was hot and humid. It would probably have been sunny, were it not for the pall of smog which constantly shrouds the city. The 35th China International Furniture Fair is too large to be held at one time in the 430,000 sq. m. China Import & Export Fair complex, so it’s split into two, five day phases, held six days apart. Billed as the ‘Fabulous Furniture Fair’, Phase 1 concentrated on residential furniture. Phase 2 was for CIFF Office and for Interzum – the furniture materials and machinery show.

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Facebook moves into new California campus headquarters

facebook1Facebook has moved into its much discussed new headquarters building and campus in Menlo Park, California. As is the way these days, the relocation to the Frank Gehry designed HQ was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his own Facebook page and heralded by a number of images shared on social media by staff. Zuckerberg also shared an aerial view of the 22 acre location included its landscaped roof and has promised that more images and video will emerge ‘once we’re fully unpacked’. Controversially – maybe – the building features what is claimed to be the world’s largest open plan office space which will be home to many of the new building’s 2,800 inhabitants. In this regard, the design is resolutely mainstream as are the array of breakout spaces and cafes used to supplement the open plan and give people the chance to take some time away.

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Driverless cars will transform the UK economy by 2030, claims report

Driverless carsA new study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and KPMG claims that the development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320,000 jobs in the UK and deliver huge benefits to society and the economy. The first ever comprehensive analysis of the opportunities provided by the new technology claims that by 2030 driverless cars will deliver a £51 billion boost to the UK economy, reduce congestion and carbon emissions and cut serious road traffic accidents by more than 25,000. By that time all new cars will incorporate some form of connectivity, according to the report’s authors. It also predicts that the UK will be a global leader in the production of this next generation of vehicles, with the support of Government including financial backing. The study was presented at last week’s SMMT conference in London.

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Gamification remains a mystery to employees and unused by many firms

gamificationAlthough it’s currently one of the most talked about workplace ideas, gamification remains a mystery to many workers and even HR professionals keen on the idea are probably not doing much about it. Those are two of the findings of a report from consultancy Penna based on interviews with 2,000 HR directors and employees. The study set out to explore how well senior HR professionals understood gamification, its uses and their perception of the barriers to adoption. Researchers also asked employees about their level of ‘everyday engagement’ with gamification and whether they recognise it as a concept. Over half (52 percent) of HR directors claim to be ‘massively interested’ in the idea although 44 percent also agreed that their organisation was ‘not at all interested’. Remarkably the survey also found that 89 percent of employees don’t even know what it is.

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Report identifies the challenges and opportunities of workplace wellbeing

workplace wellbeingMuch of what has been called workplace strategy in recent years has been more about cutting costs than supporting people, often to the detriment of the latter. That is the central claim of a new report authored by Kate Lister and Tom Harnish of Global Workplace Analytics and sponsored by office furniture maker Knoll. The paper, What’s Good for People? Moving from Wellness to Well-Being, explores how better workplaces, processes and practices can improve workplace wellbeing, employee engagement and organisational performance. The study starts from the premise that people are dealing with unprecedented stresses and pressures in the workplace which now need to be addressed in the context of a recovering economy, the limits of an approach that focuses on doing more with less and an increasingly scant pool of human resources and talents.

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Employers warned of new office malady: ‘Invisible Employee Syndrome’

Employers warned of new workplace malady – 'Invisible Employee Syndrome'While some workers might be happy to stay under the workplace radar, this lack of engagement does not benefit their employers. Now firms are being warned of a previously unrecognised malaise, Invisible Employee Syndrome, which occurs when employees ‘go dark’, disappear off the performance and talent radar, and intentionally or unintentionally become invisible to their employer. The survey cites a range of contributory factors, including inadequate engagement, poor communications, a lack of insights and broken HR processes and systems. The joint survey from HRMS provider Fairsail and HR Grapevine showed that 78 percent of respondents felt employees were poorly engaged. Many UK organisations are suffering from this ailment, which the research suggests is reducing productivity, sapping innovation, undermining competitiveness and fueling attrition.

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Two new reports highlight potential benefits of flexible working for women

flexible working womenTwo new reports published this week highlight the potential benefits of flexible working for both employers and staff, especially women. According to a Best Practice Report, only 36 percent of employers have a flexible working policy despite over half thinking it improves retention, particularly of women, and over a third saying it makes people more efficient. Meanwhile, a study from the TUC claims that around half of the net growth in female employment in 2014 came from women moving in to lower-paid part-time jobs. The analysis claims that while full-time employment accounted for all of the net growth in male employment last year, for women full-time employment accounted for just 47 per cent of net female jobs growth. The TUC also claims that women who moved into part-time jobs during 2014 were typically employed on much lower rates of pay than those in full-time work.

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