Wednesday 7 June 2023

To POE or not to POE, that is the question

It’s always exciting to finish a book. I am not quite there but I have recently approved the draft layout of “A Practical Guide to Post-Occupancy Evaluation and Researching Building User Experience”. The book is based on my 25 years’ experience of conducting POEs and I have completed over 100 evaluations during that time. The book will be out in September but is available to pre-order from Amazon.

Without conducting an independent evaluation of newly built or refurbished workplaces, we cannot be confident that they meet the needs of the occupying organisation and its people. 

Wednesday 22 February 2023

The return to ROWI

Last month my paper on “developing the return on workplace investment (ROWI) tool”, co-authored with Matt Tucker and Hannah Wilson of Liverpool John Moores University, was published in the CREJ. The paper has been long in the making ...

It started back in 2012 when Adrian Burton of the AWE asked me to develop a means of estimating the productivity benefits gained from good workplace design. I responded to the challenge by reviewing 75 solid papers that reported a change in occupant performance due to improved environmental conditions, such acoustics, temperature, lighting etc. Initially the results of the different studies were so varied that they lacked any credibility. However, I worked with Paul Bartlett and the Office Productivity Network to weight the results according to the research environment, performance metric and type of activity so that they better represented a real office. The weighted results were more believable, were accepted by the AWE to use in their cost-benefit analysis of new workplace projects and we were accepted for publication by the JBSAV.

Monday 30 January 2023

The Write Stuff


It's good to be back to workplace consulting after I spent most of the tail end of 2022 writing – papers, blogs and my third book.

I managed to submit my draft of A Practical Guide to Post-Occupancy Evaluation before taking a well-earned break. The new book is a revision of the British Council Guide to Post-Occupancy Evaluation that I wrote back in 2007. It’s an under-statement to say the world has moved on since then – we’ve had austerity measures, agile/hybrid working, advances in sensor technology and AI to name a few workplace related initiatives. What hasn’t changed is the importance of POE, it’s more relevant than ever especially with Net Zero Carbon targets. 

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Workplace Capability

I have been a mountain biker for thirty years, but last year I purchased a gravel bike. The gravel bike is more all-terrain, hybrid if you like, allowing me to cover longer distances using trails avoiding busy roads. I recently rode along the Upper Lea Valley trail and paused to admire three sculptures of people significant to the area: Eric Morecambe, Capability Brown and a Sea Scout.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Design for the Range, Not the Average: The Prejudice and Inadequacies of Indoor Environment Standards

I recently presented at the Comfort at the Extremes (CATE) conference in Edinburgh. The delegates were a mix of researchers and medics in the fields of indoor air quality and thermal comfort in offices, homes, schools and hospitals. I recognised many from my days as a thermal comfort research back in the 1990s - it was good to catch up after some 25 years. It was also an opportunity for me to have another jibe at the prejudice and inadequacies of current indoor environment standards. This is what I said …

Monday 14 February 2022

A World of Music and Workplace

In my time out from workplace consulting I prepare and present a weekly show on my local community radio station. It got me thinking about the similarities between music and the workplace.

Firstly, I like different music depending on my activity, my mood and the time of day. Music of a higher beats per minute undoubtedly suits me better when I’m on my spin bike or flagging, but I prefer slower-paced instrumentals when I am focussing or writing. Different work-settings are better suited to different activities and mood.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Beyond the Workplace Zoo

I can’t believe my last blog post was around Xmas time last year, where has the time gone? But it doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, just through a different media. My own lockdown baby came in the form of a new book: Beyond the Workplace Zoo: Humanising the Office. It was published two weeks ago with a cosy book launch last week and its official airing at Workplace Trends yesterday.

It has been over 20 years since my last “proper” book, Improving Office Productivity. A book I co-authored with Paul Bartlett, who sadly passed away last year. Paul’s views on office economics and productivity paved the way for much of my thinking in the new book – his humour and candour are deeply missed.