Thursday, 4 July 2019

Workstyle #2: I prefer to work locally, so what am I?

My previous blog explained the subtilties between the different type of modern workplace strategy. This sibling blog focuses on the modern office worker types or workstyles.

Presumably, those who work according to a specific workplace strategy are deemed a particular style of worker. For example, ‘home-worker’ is a common phrase to refer to those who regularly or occasionally work from home. ‘Remote worker’ is often used describe those who work outside of the office either at home, in other places (caf├ęs, library) or travelling on business. Myself and others who work in garden cabins refer to ourselves as ‘shed workers’, a sub-group of ‘home-worker’. The latest workstyle, ‘co-worker’, refers to a person who has set up their office base at a co-working hub. The phrases ‘agile worker’, ‘smart worker’ or ‘activity-based worker’ are less commonly used – maybe because they are less popular choices. 

Workstyle #1: Am I an agile or flexible worker and does it matter?

I am working with a client at the moment who is moving to a new building and asked me to review their flexible working policies. Their existing policies are a direct response to the law regarding the right to request to work flexibly, first introduced in the Employment Act 2002 for those with dependents, and extended to all employees by the Flexible Working Regulations 2014. The organisation is implementing desk-sharing in their new office and already supports home-working. So, I was a little surprised that their flexible working policies made no reference to 'agile working', 'smart working' or 'activity-based working' – I was even more surprised that they were not familiar with such terms!


Saturday, 23 March 2019

Psychologist fest at Workplace Trends


It was a privilege to chair the morning of yesterday’s Workplace Trends (WT) conference. This WT conference was different to previous ones as the focus was on new research that will ultimately influence workplace design, management and use. The researchers submitted abstracts which were scored, blindly, by myself and Mark Eltringham of Workplace Insight. Some nine papers out of thirty or so were selected for presentation. 

The researchers were joined by an initial keynote address from Rob Briner. Rob is a psychologist that advises organisations on how to use evidence to influence decision making. 


Monday, 21 January 2019

Top Tips for Terrific Technical Talks


I love going to conferences, dare I say I am a conference junkie, hence I attend and speak at around 10 conferences each year. The conferences I go to are usually academic or technical in nature where the speakers present their latest research, ideas and innovations. I also help organise the biannual Workplace Trends and annual Learning Environments conferences for which I select the speakers, and also receive feedback from the audience on the speakers. 

After attending 100s of conferences across the globe over the years I have concluded that, in general, there are two types of technical speaker: 1. those with fantastic content but have poor delivery, and 2. those that present well but have poor content. Speakers with good content who can also communicate in an interesting and engaging manner are the unicorns of the conference circuit – that is they are rare and magical beasts. It always seems a shame to me that the years of hard graft conducting original and valuable research is ultimately lost amidst a poorly constructed and delivered presentation. So here are my top tips for a terrific technical talk

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Merry Biophilic Christmas

Last month I sat on a panel discussing the business case for workplace wellbeing, of which one is slowly emerging. That along with Christmas and my Viking* heritage got me pondering on the true origins of biophilic design.  

Biophilia, a term coined by Edward O Wilson, is basically our innate affinity to nature. Biophilic design tends to focus on introducing plants into the workplace but, as explained in a previous blog, it is so much more and taps into our base (evolutionary psychology) needs. Biophilia includes daylight, views, fluctuating temperature, sound-scaping, natural ventilation, natural materials, social spaces, refuge etc – see Bill Browning’s excellent work for a full explanation of biophilic design principles. But bringing nature indoors has been going on for some time, especially around this time of year …

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Happy Season's Meetings

This is my penultimate blog of 2018; throughout the year I have attempted to offer blogs on work as well as workplace, in particular how to improve your performance. With the Christmas holidays looming, and my clients trying to tidy up loose ends, I have noticed a rapid increase in the number of meetings I have been invited to. Meetings can be great, a productive way to move things forward, but we have also all attended those that we thought a complete and utter waste of time. So here are my thoughts on how you can master meetings.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Design Fundamentals for an Attractive City


As part of my day-job is speaking at conferences, I get to visit a lot of wonderful cities around the world. The people and culture are fundamental prerequisites of a good city, but design and planning also play an important role in creating an attractive city. In this blog I list the dozen design features that I have found are indicators of cities that I most prefer – they are also actually my place-making criteria. This blog is also an excuse to share some of my holiday photos.