Monday 28 April 2014

Workplace Strategy Summit 2014

On June 8-10 of this year, University College London will host a gathering of leading thinkers in workplace strategy, including AMA director Alexi Marmot, professor at UCL.

Building on the success of the first Workplace Strategy Summit held at Cornell University, the 2014 summit will feature leading academics and experts in the fields of facility management and real estate speaking about the most innovative concepts to emerge in workplace strategy. 

Among the topics being debated are the following ones:
  • Alexi Marmot: Healthy Building Syndrome
  • Chris Kane/Caroline Waters: Transforming BBC’s Workplace
  • Melissa Marsh and others: Cafes, CoWorking, and the New Economy
  • Frank Becker: Workplace Innovation on the Edge
  • Wim Pullen: Generational Workplace Preferences
  • Also, a number of experts will talk about workplace trends and global workplace research
Read more about the conference at, and see the complete program schedule here

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Should office workers stand rather than sit?

"Sitting is the the smoking of our generation", according to an article in the Harvard Business Review. Not only is it bad for your health, but it decreases productivity: "I suspect advances in office furniture are the main reason productivity stubbornly fails to improve. With everyone sitting so comfortably, there is never any great rush to get things done", writes Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times. But reducing the amount of time office workers sits is a huge challenge: It means rethinking architecture, disrupting traditional work patterns, and may involve considerable costs. Sit-stand desks are an obvious solution, but they are not cheap, and many employers treat investments in better workplaces as a cost rather than an investment.

AMA director Alexi Marmot, a specialist on workplace design and a UCL Bartlett Professor, was interviewed about this by the BBC. She commented "if what we are creating are environments where people are not going to be terribly healthy and suffering from diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it is highly unlikely the organisation benefits."

Read the entire BBC article here,  or listen to the interview here or live on BBC Radio 4 next Monday, 21 April, at 21:00.

Sitting as the norm in workplaces is a recent innovation.
Copyright © Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday 8 April 2014

"Office buildings tend to be very boring" - Richard Rogers

The Economist has reported that offices in the UK are getting ever-smaller (per worker, that is), meaning that many large city firms are consolidating their operations in fewer and fewer buildings. The professional services firm KPMG, for example, has reduced the number of the offices buildings it used in London from seven to two. This is a challenge for architects and designers. How are they responding to it? Not very well, according to Richard Rogers, who opines that "office buildings tend to be very boring" in this video about the Leadenhall building, the Rogers-designed new office building in the City.

The Leadenhall building © Creative Commons licence