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Latest issue of the Insight newsletter available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smThe latest issue of our weekly newsletter is now available to view online. If you don’t already subscribe, please do so. Just submit your email address in the Subscription section on the right of this page and we’ll keep you up to date each week with a digest of the best news and views on the design and management of workplaces, the people who work in them and the technology they use. This week, we offer a timely warning of the perils of predictions while hypocritically predicting what we’ll spend most of 2014 talking about, ponder why wellness programmes are so popular given that they don’t appear to do all they claim, ask why so many UK employees are so keen on moving jobs, question the thinking behind the idea of creating a cycle lane in the sky in London and highlight the ongoing resurgence in the takeup of commercial property in the UK.

New SkyCycle route proposed to ease Capital’s transport network congestion

SkycycleDemand for London-based workplaces is increasing, but the capital’s transport network is at capacity and ill equipped for a predicted population growth of 12 per cent over the next decade. Despite the Mayor’s efforts to encourage more cycling in the capital, a recent series of accidents has raised concerns about its safety. Architects Foster + Partners together with Exterior Architecture and urban planners Space Syntax have come up with a proposed solution, the SkyCycle network. This consists of a wide, secure deck constructed above the existing suburban railway corridors, to provide over 220 kilometres of safe, car free cycle routes which can be accessed at over 200 entrance points. Each route can accommodate 12,000 cyclists per hour and will improve journey times by up to 29 minutes. More →

The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year ahead

The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year aheadThere were a number of workplace issues that wouldn’t go away during 2013. And there’s no reason to believe we will resolve many of them during 2014 either. We can try to explain the recalcitrance of such things by referring to the enveloping fog that emanates from the commercial interests who promote problems to their customers so they can provide the solutions, but many are more deep-rooted. Technology and its constant radicalising effects is almost invariably the major driver of change, but it is only one thread in a complex web of social, professional, demographic, cultural and commercial changes. So here, in no particular order, are the issues we expect to spend the most time talking about on Insight over the next year. More →

Architects’ workloads remain in positive territory across the country reports RIBA

RIBA future trends Nov 2013The design and construction sector continues to pick up, particularly in Scotland, Southern England and London says the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Although the Future Trends Workload Index fell back slightly in November, standing at +31 compared with +35 in October 2013, it remained firmly in positive territory. RIBA’s monthly survey illustrates the profession’s confidence and workload, and is a useful indicator of the health of the wider UK construction industry.Welcoming the growing confidence across the United Kingdom, RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: “In terms of geographical analysis the highest balance figures were in Scotland (+50), the South of England (+41) and London (+40), but all UK nations and regions remain positive about future workloads, again reflecting a widespread increase in confidence levels.” More →

Insight newsletter is now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn the Insight newsletter, available to view online; cost is still viewed by businesses as the most important factor in assessing an office’s performance; a suspiciously high number of occupiers claim that their programmes of workplace change are successful; PwC’s nine-storey headquarters in London surpasses all BREEAM scores to date, and we review The Emergent Workplace – a new book which aims to help people make better decisions about their offices. Nigel Sikora discusses the challenges of ensuring the right level of acoustic and visual privacy within the workplace; Charles Marks says London may grab all the headlines but the creative and tech industries are thriving around the country and Richenda Oldham explains ways businesses can improve their knowledge of the range of costs involved in owning or leasing commercial real estate.

New survey reveals extent and nature of workplace change programmes

Apple 11

The newly published Workplace Transformation Survey from property consultancy  Cushman and Wakefield begins with the now routine statement that “there is no doubt the corporate workplace is rapidly transforming”. So tell us something we don’t know – and in the subsequent report they pretty much do. That said, the methodology of the survey does skew the results by focussing on a particular part of the workplace elephant, because the report was compiled in conjunction with CoreNet Global, based on a questionnaire of over 500 occupiers and other participants from around the world taking part in events in Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Shanghai. So inevitably the results are weighted to at least some degree in favour of those with an interest in commercial property and the regions from which it draws its data. More →

Highest ever BREEAM outstanding score for PwC’s HQ refurbishment

PWC refurbishment wins highest every BREEAM

PwC’s nine-storey headquarters at One Embankment Place in London has surpassed all BREEAM scores to date for both new build and existing structures. The 450,000 sq ft commercial office building located at Charing Cross station in London has achieved a milestone 96.31 per cent BREEAM Outstanding score, including a 100 per cent score for materials, transport and management. Built in the early 1990s, the structure, which comprises a basement below the station and nine floors of office space above it, has had a complete office refit and refurbishment as well as full central plant replacement in the basement areas, roof and terraces. Achieving a high BREEAM rating and EPC score was a priority of the refit, which was achieved while some 2,000 staff remained in occupation. More →

The creative talent in the UK’s regions (other than London) is quietly thriving

We can now be very confident that the UK economy is on an enduring upward path. We can also be sure that the UK that emerges from five years of recession will be very different to the one that entered it. And on that score things look pretty promising too, because we have the skills and talent needed in some of the world’s most in-demand sectors such as digital media, banking, software development, telecoms and publishing. In fact a recent report from Deloitte says that London employs more people in these and similar knowledge-based sectors than any other country in the world. But while London has an inevitable tendency to grab these sorts of headlines, it’s also great to acknowledge that London doesn’t have a monopoly on this pool of talent, and may even be less attractive as a base for some firms.

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Battle lines being drawn as wearable tech raises privacy and security fears

Google Glass banWe are starting to see the first shots fired in the coming war about wearable technology. The most talked about early salvos related to the very recent and highly publicised case of a diner in a Seattle cafe who was ejected when it was discovered he was wearing and using Google Glass despite being asked not to and reminded of the restaurant owner’s policy regarding wearable tech. The ensuing media storm broke on social media first as it does these days, with the Google Glass owner arguing – perhaps unreasonably – they were his glasses and he should be allowed to do what he wanted with them , while the cafe owner argued –perhaps reasonably – that his other customers don’t want to have a meal out while wondering if they are being filmed or recorded by a complete stranger with the ability to upload it all instantaneously.

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Case study: dPOP’s jaw-dropping new offices light the road ahead for Detroit

P1020679If you think you know what’s going on in Detroit based on the stories of the city’s financial woes and pictures of some crumbling buildings, it is worth a visit to the offices of dPOP, the two month old design firm with origins in creating the award-winning office spaces for Quicken Loans and its family of companies.The design firm’s space in the basement of a long defunct Detroit bank embodies what being from the Motor City is all about — being tough, but talented; gritty yet glamorous; fun with a funky twist.They design like they don’t care what you think — and that might just be true. Their own offices and those they created for the 11,000 workers that were moved from divergent suburban sites to the center of Detroit are bold, bright and fun. Most of all fun. But the result is spectacular.

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Latest Insight newsletter is now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn this week’s Insight newsletter, available to view online; Nigel Oseland makes a plea not to kill off the open plan office just because it has been misinterpreted; Cathie Sellars explains why Maslow continues to offer us the ideal definition of wellness and Annie Gurton says the ability to find meaning and purpose in our lives trumps financial rewards. Mark Eltringham writes: what Robert Frost can teach us about how we discuss the changing workplace and why he believes attempts to predict the workplace of the future are overwhelmingly rooted in the present. In the news; employers who struggle with “doing mobile”; high tech sector contributes to highest level of commercial real estate activity in over six years and zero-hours contracts are not the evil they’ve been portrayed.

Technology means UK small business owners are unable to switch off, says report

Can't reach off switchNearly half of the UK’s small business owners feel unable to ever get away completely from work, according to a new report from Lloyds Bank. The survey, published in the bank’s Small Business Report found that 47 percent of microbusiness owners and sole traders feel unable to completely switch off from work due to their reliance on technology to operate. More than two fifths (41 percent) work longer hours to keep up according to the report from Lloyds, which has itself recently been accused by the Government of deliberately forcing small businesses under.  According to the survey, over two thirds  (70 percent) of small businesses are concerned that their commercial health will suffer if they neglect their online presence.

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