Friday, 23 September 2016

Till desk so 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.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Over use of the C-Word in the workplace

I often hear my fellow workplace strategists using the C-Word when referring to the office. I’m not talking about the obvious expletive and I certainly don’t mean that other offensive term “Consulting”; nor am I referring to the C-suite or even my Seven Cs of Change. But it seems to me that whenever we prepare a workplace strategy or design brief, there are a whole host of C-Words used as descriptors. Many are overused and misguiding, whereas others are fundamental to creating a successful workplace.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Healthy Buildings .... oh and acoustics

Last week I presented at the Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe conference in Eindhoven. I was excited about this gig because, in a former life as a Government researcher, I used to attend this series of conferences. So I was particularly interested in learning how the science of healthy buildings had progressed since I last attended in the late 90s.

It’s an academic conference and most of the presenters are researchers from scientific institutions. I think it’s also fair to say that most attendees had an engineering or physics background but I did find a couple of fellow psychologists (who spoke my language) and I also spotted a token architect. As a consequence, we were bombarded with complex statistics and even more complicated graphs; and we were impressed by studies of 2,000, 4,000 and even 8,000 people observed over several years. I admired that the researchers presented some very detailed and rigorous scientific experiments which must have required many many hours of diligent dedication.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Future Worsktyles | Future Workplaces

I recently co-authored a report for the City of London on Future Workstyles and Future Workplaces. I worked alongside fellow WCO colleagues Rob Harris of Ramidus Consulting and Despina Katsikakis, which was enjoyable and a breath of fresh air compared to carrying out research in my own bubble. The report was launched at MIPIM in Cannes, which unfortunately I didn’t get to, and London, where I ended up.

Both launches were well received with, what I perceived as, genuine interest and intelligent questions. We also received some good reviews on the usual social media channels. I like that people are saying that our reported workplace trends are relevant to all locations and not just to London. It’s great because we actually looked at global trends and then tailored them so that they were more relevant to the City of London. The City did a great job on the look and feel of the report; the new light and graphical format is a pleasant departure from their usual heavy tomes (so I’ve stolen their graphics).