Search Results for: collaboration

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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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 →

Hospitality giant receives second LEED certificate for sustainable HQ

 Wyndham Worldwide HQ wins second LEED silver award

Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, which counts the Travelodge and Ramada chains amongst its brands has received a second silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for its New Jersey-based headquarters. One of the green initiatives was the introduction of a sustainable purchasing policy that encourages the purchase of ongoing items such as lamps, electronic goods and furniture, to be environmentally friendly, conserve natural resources, minimize waste and reduce toxicity. More →

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 →

RIBA announces formal link with US-based community

 RIBA signs memo of understanding with RIBA USA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RIBA-USA, an international community of the RIBA operation in the USA. Speaking about the agreement, RIBA President Angela Brady said: “The RIBA welcomes and encourages members in communities that enhance and develop the RIBA’s presence and help achieve its strategic aims in an international territory. Our agreement with RIBA-USA formalises a long and successful relationship. This is an exciting opportunity to further develop RIBA membership in the USA and advance the RIBA’s purpose of championing better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.”

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Government report highlights failings in UK public sector procurement

Cheque signingIn the wake of a number of recent procurement failures including the G4S and Serco overcharging fiasco, the UK Government has published a highly critical report of the way it buys some £227 billion of goods and services annually. The report from the Public Administration Committee (PASC) says that in spite of steps to improve procurement which include using better data, aggregating demand across departments and renegotiating with major suppliers, the number of failures remains conspicuously high. The G4S and Serco contracts with the Ministry of Justice, under which payments were made regardless of the service being delivered, are the most high profile examples but the report indicates that problems are widespread.

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Active Building Design initiatives announced by New York Mayor

Active design guidelines

The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomburg has announced a series of initiatives to promote physical activity through the design of buildings and public spaces to encourage architects, planners and urban designers help combat obesity in the City. The Center for Active Design, a non-profit organization that promotes changes to the built environment to improve wellness is being created, and the Mayor has issued an Executive Order requiring City agencies use active design strategies when performing new construction and major renovation projects. Two pieces of legislation will promote stairway access in all buildings, with measures such as making stairways more visible to encourage use. More →

FMs must overcome engagement barriers to sustainability implementation

Engagement still barrier to successful sustainability implementation

There is overwhelming support for sustainability to be embedded into business operations, but still some challenges in its successful delivery, according to the 7th annual Sustainability in Facilities Management survey from the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).  Of the top five barriers to implementation success, three related to engagement; engagement overall, amongst senior management and middle management. The report also found that many FMs are not targeting the areas of highest priority relating to behaviours or processes which have the highest impact, but tend to focus on technologies. More →

UK workers mistrust more contented home-based colleagues

UK workers mistrust more contented home-working colleagues

The debate which ensued following the Yahoo ban on home working earlier this year was as much as about the level of trust felt towards home workers as it was about the importance of collaboration within the workplace. The fact is that for the majority of home workers, day to day life is easier. No commuting, work where you please, no irritating colleagues and the freedom to nip out to the dentist, doctors or parents meeting without having to book a half day off. As a result, while home workers enjoy the best mental health and wellbeing of four groups in a survey of contact centre workers, office workers, home workers and mobile professional workers, their distance from the office-based working population breeds suspicion between them and everybody else. More →

Government public sector construction reforms net £447 million in savings

Government public sector construction reforms net £447 million in savings

Reforms to strip out inefficiencies in public sector construction – including the use of building information modelling (BIM) and the creation of a sustainable supply chain have generated £447 million in savings and will deliver up to 20 per cent savings in project costs by 2015, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has announced. By making links across departments the Government has also been able to act as a single customer to the construction industry and provide clear benchmarks for budgets by setting out the average price it expects to pay for projects. The Government has now published a new set of benchmarks that are designed to drive down project costs even further and encourage the industry to offer more competitive and innovative solutions. More →

Wellness in Real Estate resolution passed for U.S. built environment

The influential U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has voted unanimously to pass a Wellness in Real Estate Resolution which commits to promoting buildings that “use a combination of criteria and features that will enhance the well-being of occupants and address growing preventable health concerns and costs.” The resolution is one of ten new sustainability resolutions for the U.S. built environment commended by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which praised the USCM for “showing courage and leadership by embracing a strong sustainability and green building policy agenda”. More →