Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Can Workplace Design Enhance Creativity?

This blog is based on the presentation I gave at the Workplace Trends conference last week, which in turn was based on a presentation I gave at an Innovation Exchange in Lisbon. The room was full of scientists presenting their latest inventions and chemical formulas, and they asked me to present on how the workplace design could assist them. Well I’m always up for a challenge and an all-expenses paid trip to Portugal.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Bloke down the pub told me … we can learn from pub design

Some of you may know that, as well as my keen interest in workplace design, I have a passion for beer – I’m training to be a beer sommelier and also part-own Haresfoot Brewery. As a consequence, I receive regular updates on the beer industry’s activities from the Morning Advertiser – “pub trade news from the industry's oldest and most-respected magazine”. 

I was particularly interested in the recent article “top pub interior design trends for 2017”. Whilst the article focuses mostly on the décor (e.g. masculine versus feminine, eclectic furniture, rawness and honesty), I have always thought that the pub offers so much more that can influence office design. Let me explain further.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Here's to a Prosperous and Productive New Year

I hope you all had a good break and have retuned to work re-energised and looking for a new challenge. As usual my thoughts turn to new ways in which we can improve workplace wellbeing and productivity.

In the recently published Stoddart Review, my research from 2012 was reported as showing that a 1% to 3.5% increase in productivity could be gained through improved workplace design. The reported figures actually refer to single design factors and the research shows an improvement of 7% is more likely if several factors (temperature, acoustics, air quality, lighting, space and furniture etc.) are addressed in a well-designed workplace. If you don’t have time to read the full Stoddart Review then take a look at the summary published in the Sunday Times, both downloadable for free.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Till desk do us part

This blog first appeared on the WCO website on 21st September.

“Desk: A piece of furniture with a flat or sloping surface and typically with drawers, at which one can read, write, or do other work”.

Is the traditional office desk obsolete? The desk, the workstation, that slab of “wood” that the majority of office workers sit at is getting smaller. Gone are the days of the 1800 x 1800 mm corner core, and my 2 m wide and 1 m deep bench desk at an architect’s practice; the 1600 mm wide homogenous bench has become a 1400 mm and recently I worked with an NHS Trust where the standard workstation was a mere 1200 mm but the facilities team were actually rolling out 1 m “back to school” style desks. So by logic and statistical extrapolation alone the traditional office desk is disappearing. Add to the mix the increasing use of tablets, laser keyboards, dictation software like Dragon and virtual reality goggles and it’s not too difficult to imagine a world without people gathering to sit in rows at a flat surface.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Two days in Delhi

My sixth and final conference speaking engagement was The Smart Green Summit in Delhi. I have to say I was more than a tad apprehensive about speaking on acoustics in India. What could I possibly tell Indians about overcoming noise (pollution)? Delhi was reported by India Today (2012) to have a noise level some 16 times higher than the prescribed limit set by the WHO. So I made few comparisons to outdoor noise levels in London and then moved swiftly on to indoor acoustics.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Emerging Trends - Biophilia & Performance

I’m off to Delhi to speak on psychoacoustics. It appears to be a subject of wide interest and appeal – it was well-received at EIAS and more recently Workplace Trends. Many of you will know that I co-founded the Workplace Trends series of conferences some 14 years ago with my wife, and Events Manager extraordinaire, Maggie Procopi.
Back then Workplace Trends was a small forum providing a platform for me and my peers to share subjects of interest to us and relevant to our day jobs. It has evolved to become the primary workplace conference for disseminating emerging trends that have an impact on office design and organisational management. The format allows the select group of speakers to present their subject matter in detail in a professional but non-commercial environment. Many delegates return year after year and the conference has become a networking hub for the increasing members of the workplace community. This year's theme was the increasingly topical Environments for Wellness and Health.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

My Journey into the Mysterious World of Psychoacoustics

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at EIAS2015. My journey began with a flight to Copenhagen followed by a bus trip across the Øresund Bridge, the famed bridge where the bisected body of a politician was found in the Broen Swedish/Danish TV drama. The bus meandered along until we reached the remote Swedish countryside, and I was reminded of the fictional Hedestad, in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Where were they taking us? We finally arrived at the isolated but idyllic town of Båstad, nestled in the Hallandian Ridge on the shores of the Bay of Laholm. Fortunately it was not the setting for another Nordic Noir crime scene but home to the Swedish Open tennis tournament and EIAS.