WDM Newsletter – June 2017

June 19, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 15/06/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

INTERNET OF THINGS OR INTERNET OF SERVICES?
Exploring Smart Buildings and Smart Occupiers

WDMheader2017-06The ThinkFM Conference 2017 explored how technology impacts the role of the Facilities Manager and, indeed, the entire workforce. There is no doubt that connectivity and wireless technology in its many incarnations – the Internet of Things (IoT) – is making it easier to monitor buildings and equipment as well as anticipate faults. This improves preventative maintenance and many workplace services dramatically. Much more interesting to me was how much may be achieved by monitoring people as well! We are already familiar with occupancy monitors and wearable technology that can assess our steps, posture and heart rate. [more]

EVA CHAIR
Responsible, innovative and beautiful

eva_chairThe new Eva from Orangebox places the company firmly in the premier league of international seating and furniture manufacturers. I was privileged to be part of a small focus group to see and comment on the concept in the last few weeks before its launch. It is very clear that enormous attention has been paid to every facet of its development and construction. The sleek, minimalist profile creates an elegant chair and aids its outstanding sustainability story. Simultaneously, the simple, intuitive controls combine with a wide adjustability range to maximise comfort. Contact us to experience the chair yourself.

THOUGHTS FROM CLERKENWELL DESIGN WEEK 2017
There is more to Wellbeing than fabulous furniture

wellbeing2The buzzword at CDW 2017 was Wellbeing. I am delighted to see that the designers of mainstream workplace environments are recognising the importance of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF&E) but we know that issues to consider under the Wellbeing heading are numerous and diverse, extending way beyond the provision of comfortable, attractive furniture. We see mental health as a major cause for concern for many of our clients so it is important to address this alongside physical health and employee engagement for a successful, productive workforce. [more]

WEBINARS & EVENTS
Education & training opportunities

webinarHave you looked at our event diary recently? We run regular webinars alongside periodic training and education events on topics relevant to senior managers in all organisations. Whether you are in Facilities, HR, Health & Safety or Procurement, there will be subjects that resonate with your current priorities. Recent webinar sessions include ‘Is it true what they say about Millennials?’ and ‘Zero Inbox – the Basics of Email Management’. Many events are free! Check the page regularly to see what else we have added.


WDM Newsletter – May/June 2017

May 22, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 18/05/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

UNDERSTANDING TODAY’S WORK ENVIRONMENTS
Communication – Collaboration – Concentration – Contemplation

WDMheader2017-05As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, we have participated recently in The Business Show which targets smaller employers. In doing so, we realised that this market is less familiar with the many terms we use in day-to-day conversation with our large clients. The result of this thinking was our latest jargon-free brochure. It was an exhilarating experience discussing the workplace with people who had never heard of agile working, touchdowns, co-worker spaces or activity based working arrangements although many are using such formats without realising it!

LUX
Compact comfort

luxFor our stand at the Business Show, we needed a product to represent our broader portfolio in a compact space. The Lux seating family provides an ideal mix of striking design and small footprint which met the brief exactly. As an evolution of the traditional tub chair, it is available in a choice of high and low backs and single or two-seater models. Complete with co-ordinating low tables, it is ideal for reception and breakout areas where space is limited.

IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MILLENNIALS?
Exploding some myths about Generation Y

millennialsThis is the title of a new presentation I delivered recently to a group of senior managers in the finance field. In it, I addressed some of the key issues in the context of a multi-generational workforce and explore ways to improve communications across age groups and character types. You can see the PowerPoint deck here. There were several comments from attendees about some of my ideas that they had not considered before and I already have an enquiry to present again to a leadership team. Let me know if this is a topic of interest to you and your colleagues. It can be delivered in person or by webinar.

SEATING BROCHURE
Content update

seatedFollowing the introduction of the new work environments literature mentioned above, our seating brochure needed a facelift. The new version provides an overview of every type of seating from reception to home working and laboratories to industrial settings. We source products from a number of manufacturers in the UK and abroad to provide a comprehensive portfolio of quality products and, since it is in our DNA always to consider ergonomics, we bring a unique perspective to many seating discussions. Contact us for further information.

CLERKENWELL DESIGN WEEK
Last chance – or maybe too late

clerkenwellDepending when you read this, CDW is just coming or you may have just missed it! If there is still time to book, you can do so here. I shall be attending on the Tuesday and Wednesday: let me know if you want to meet up. If you are too late, I shall be providing my own observations and insights in the June/July newsletter. As I write this piece, I am looking forward to the new Eva chair launch at Orangebox (I have had a sneak preview!), Textile Fluidity from Camira, Creative Collaborations with SB Seating and street art at Edge Design, amongst many others.


WDM Newsletter – April/May 2017

April 24, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 20/04/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR!
Conferences and exhibitions abound

WDMheader2017-04With Easter over and summer on the horizon, we continue to participate in a diverse array of events. As it happens, the next three are all in London. I am always looking for new products or fresh ideas and will provide feedback in due course. If you attend any of these events, I shall be pleased to hear whether you agree with my observations and, if you do not participate, I hope you find the information useful. If you are a social media user, you can also get more timely and frequent bulletins from one of the sources available here.

CLERKENWELL DESIGN WEEK
The eighth edition: May 23rd – 25th

CDWWith over 34,000 visitors last year, CDW continues to evolve and grow. I have already seen some exciting new products which are ready for launch and there is a hectic programme of events and presentations. Some of our own key partners have brand new showrooms since last year and others have moved premises. If you are attending timed sessions, expect to exceed your daily step target with ease and make sure you allow enough time to walk between them! This year I shall be attending on the Tuesday and Wednesday so let me know if you want to meet up.

THE BUSINESS SHOW 2017
The event for SME owners and directors

BusinessShowWe have been thinking for some time about how we can bring the knowledge gained from our relationships with enormous organisations to business owners in the SME world. We know that some of our unique and innovative techniques are equally applicable whatever the size of an organisation and we shall demonstrate this on Stand 7124 in The Marketplace Zone at The Business Show. If you plan to attend on May 17th or 18th, come and talk to us! If you do not yet have your free ticket, click here.

TH!NKFM CONFERENCE
FM in a connected world

th!nkFMOnly a few years ago, we were talking about how smartphones and tablets were changing our work lives. Before these issues are even fully embedded, there are already more new technologies to accommodate: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things, Robotics and Big Data are just a few of the terms that did not exist a few years ago. On June 8th, Th!nkFM will be exploring the benefits and challenges of these issues and considering ways to address them. I shall report back on what I learn!

ALTERNATIVE FACTS 2
April Fools or Year Round Fools?

alternative_truthsIn Issue 14, I referred to the terms ‘post-truth’ and ‘alternative facts’ and bemoaned our apparent growing willingness to accept information from unverified sources. I am grateful to those of you who provided interesting and valuable feedback. At the time, I was thinking about my next blog and, whilst contemplating the issues, came across a really insightful question in a Tweet on April 1st. That question became the necessary catalyst to shape this article!


WDM Newsletter – March 2017

March 20, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 16/03/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

DO YOU HAVE HOME WORKERS?
Of course you do!

WDMheader2017-03A few years ago (in a time before Agile Working was a hot topic), a Facilities Manager told me everyone in his company had a dedicated workplace, there was no hot desking and they had no home workers. I had only question: does anyone have a laptop? His affirmative reply meant that the organisation obviously had personnel working at home (although not necessarily authorised). Today, nobody would make such a bold statement in the first place. With laptop sales significantly exceeding desktop models and a proliferation of smartphones and tablets, not to mention Bring Your Own Devices practices (again, not necessarily authorised) and widespread Agile Working programmes, employees are being positively encouraged to work away from the office. The home is just one such workplace but, for the purposes of this newsletter, we are focussing on a few of the specific issues of employees working at their own residence.

HEALTH, WELLBEING, PRODUCTIVITY & DUTY OF CARE
Understanding individual needs and responses

health-wellbeing-productivityFor those based in open plan offices, working at home can be an ideal way to address two of the ‘4Cs’ (contemplation and concentration, rather than collaboration, communication). However, many miss the interaction with colleagues and a key negative factor can be lack of direction and goals from their line manager. Many employers overlook the importance of the culture change and different (pull, rather than push) management style required. To ensure maximum buy-in from those working at home, managers need to be trained to understand the issues and the correct way to modify their behaviour and relationships with colleagues. It is also essential to provide instant access to central support for everything from internet and login issues to mental health and wellbeing.

ASSESSMENT AND EQUIPMENT
Getting it right

assessment-equipmentMany people lack sufficient space for an office at home and the potential issues are compounded by the almost inevitable ‘out of sight is out of mind’ circumstances. Home workers need to be properly assessed and this can be done online or with a site visit. Site visits address issues that are far less common in the office (light levels, overall space, fire extinguishers) and can incorporate other essential services such as PAT testing. Many employers create a brief catalogue (with suitable control mechanisms) for homeworkers to identify and order key equipment such as laptop stands or separate monitors. It is generally accepted that nothing will be handed back if an employee resigns so it is important for employers to get good advice to ensure resources are optimised. Items such as our Capsule Collection chairs are the best possible balance of budget and ergonomics.

MUKAVA
A multifunctional platform well suited to the home office

mukavaAppearance is an important factor when employees choose work products for use at home. What works in a minimalist warehouse loft is unlikely to work in a Tudor cottage! Mukava is at home in a multiple hot-desking environment but its clean lines, modern look and multifunctional nature make it a good candidate as a multi-purpose tool in a space-constrained home office. Combining laptop platform, document holder, white board, tablet and smartphone stand with built-in device charger, USB socket and magnetic grips, this small unit truly ‘does it all’! It can be mounted on any VESA monitor arm. Download the brochure for further details.

HANDHELD DEVICES
Averting problems from extended use

HandheldDevicesSmartphones and tablets are used almost everywhere, not just in the home. Management of the technology, what the products are used for and how they are used presents many challenges to responsible employers and the pace of technology makes it hard for organisations to keep up, let alone get ahead. Personnel  benefit from education to understand the issues and ensure they act responsibly. There are many adaptors and accessories to aid comfort when using handheld devices but the technology is all, fundamentally, badly designed for prolonged use! A key part of our handheld devices strategy is therefore to help users understand the postures to limit (or avoid).


WDM Newsletter – February/March 2017

February 20, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 16/02/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

STOCKHOLM FURNITURE & LIGHT FAIR
Design and innovation for commercial, hospitality and domestic markets

wdmheader2017-02One of the joys of this event is the diversity of products available in one location. Whether you are looking for domestic, workplace or hospitality applications, the variety is enormous and most of it comes with that extra ingredient of ‘Scandi Design’ flair. Starting amongst the numerous lighting exhibitors, I was reminded of the dramatic progress in the development of low energy lamps, LEDs and their associated applications in recent years. The selection of lighting products for both domestic and commercial use was a delight.  I was particularly impressed by the many designs merging traditional materials with the new technology. However, I was there to look at workplace furniture and, although it would be easy to spend my time creating a wish list of products for my own home, there was work to be done! [Read more]

IS THIS THE FUTURE OF WORKPLACE SEATING?
Free London seminar about seating and the sit-stand conundrum

future-of-seatingBack in October, I reported on the launch of the Axia Smart Active chair which links to a smartphone app to educate users about sitting and posture habits. On February 23rd, we are providing a free early-evening seminar in Clerkenwell to demonstrate how this technology can be used and also provide the latest thinking about sitting, standing and movement in the workplace. Stephen Bowden BSc (Hons) C.ErgHF MIEHF EurErg of Morgan Maxwell will provide an impartial overview of the latest research. Click here for the full programme, location and online booking form.

SOFI MESH
Stylish addition to a proven product

sofi_mesh2Launched at Orgatec and showcased at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, the HÅG SoFi Mesh is already establishing itself as the elegant new addition to the SoFi range. Designed in collaboration with the award-winning Frost Produkt and Powerdesign agencies, SoFi Mesh provides ease of movement without having to think about it. In the words of designer Aleksander Borgenhov, [we set out to create] ‘a beautiful object from something that is in fact a highly advanced machine’. As a result, all the features and mechanisms are compact and hidden away whilst the long-established HÅG in Balance® technology provides an energising platform for greater efficiency at work. For further information or to arrange a trial, please call us on 0345 345 0898.

ALTERNATIVE FACTS
Something to think about in a post-truth society

post-truthI have just read that ‘post-truth’ was the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016. Although this and terms like ‘alternative facts’ have been gaining currency comparatively recently, they encapsulate something I have been pondering since long before the Brexit referendum and the Trump presidential campaign. In a society where growing numbers of people get their news from social media, how much can we ensure that the information we have is reliable? How can we be certain our business choices are evidence-based? It is probably fair to say we have always treated sales literature and marketing claims with at least a small ‘pinch of salt’ but, with the blurring of fact, exaggeration and downright lies, how can we be sure our commercial decisions are well founded? I shall be blogging about this soon but would love to hear from you if you have any strong views or particular experience of unreliable information.

 


WDM Newsletter – January/February 2017

January 23, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 19/01/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

LINKING WELLBEING AND ENGAGEMENT
(with a side order of Stealth Ergonomics)

wdmheader2017-01We work with many businesses where engagement levels are high and many clients where this is certainly not the case. As a result, our involvement impacts these organisations in different ways. Many factors affect personnel motivation and we find that health, safety and wellbeing can contribute significantly to corporate culture.

One of our current projects is with an employer where engagement levels are high and there is comprehensive strategic risk management but individual postural awareness is poor. Our project is exploring ways to improve productivity further by impacting this low awareness without shouting about ‘health & safety’ or ‘ergonomics’ (which are considered as boring and irrelevant by many on the trading floor!). We therefore plan to introduce a training programme, linked to the organisation’s Vision & Values, which introduces key issues about workplace postures and behaviours. Using a mix of formats, we plan to deliver Stealth Ergonomics (key training and information without making it obvious!), reducing musculoskeletal issues, enhancing performance and raising engagement levels even more. If this sounds interesting, we would be pleased to discuss how we can bring innovative thinking and a real impact into your own organisation.

SEQUESTER
Bluetooth seating pod

sequesterDesigned by Carsten Buhl for Elite, Sequester provides an enclosed environment where individuals can cocoon themselves in comfort with their own choice of enveloping sound. Built-in Bluetooth stereo enables the occupier to stream music from their laptop or handheld device directly to its concealed loudspeakers and the integral touch panel provides instant remote control of the dimmable LED lighting, volume and track selection. Of course, there is also a USB charger socket! The secure acoustics and elegant curves make this the ideal solo-pod for receptions, atriums and breakout zones. This is a statement piece offering functionality with panache. For premises with restricted access, it can even be delivered in modular form for assembly on site.

‘WOW FACTORS’ FOR SOFT SEATING
It may look fabulous but is it comfortable?

wow_factorsFor several years, we have operated a highly effective ‘WoW Factor’ review process to rate the ergonomics of task chairs. But what about other types of seating? In Issue 9, I mentioned that we were working on a comparable technique to rate everything else and this is now operational. We have reviewed almost 100 products from Elite, Nomique, Orangebox and Pledge. It is a subjective system but surprisingly effective. For example, the aesthetics of reception seating are crucial but long term comfort is probably not such a high priority. By contrast, good support is obviously essential for training room chairs. Horses for courses! Click here to find out more.

SEATINGEXPERTS.UK
Now fully functional

seatingexperts2Also in Issue 9, I referred to the work we have been doing on seatingexperts.uk, the web site for all the products referred to above. This is now complete as well. Divided into 14 categories, it showcases over 100 products for today’s agile workplace, including images and downloadable brochures for each one. Whether your next priority is the boardroom, the canteen, the labs or the training rooms, there is an abundance of products and information to explore. Alternatively, save yourself time and energy and invite us to survey your premises: with our WoW Factor insights, we offer a unique approach to your requirements.


WDM Newsletter – December 2016

December 16, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 15/12/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

OUR FIRST YEAR OF NEWSLETTERS
A volatile period for politics, business and the economy

wdmheader2016-12As the end of the year approaches, we can reflect on some dramatic events, welcome the festive season and celebrate the first twelve WDM issues. We thank you for valuing our commitment to customer service and quality products and, in a highly competitive market, we really appreciate your business. We also know that many of our regular newsletter readers are not customers themselves but do specify and recommend us to clients and colleagues. These are valuable introductions and we always welcome suggestions for new resources that you would like us to provide. Whether this time of year is important to you for religious or family reasons – or just the chance to eat and drink too much and fall asleep in front of the TV! – we wish you a very happy time and look forward to speaking to you in 2017.

MY FAVOURITE APPS OF 2016
A handful of handy tools to make your life a little easier

apps_2016This is a little off-piste compared to my usual items but I use a wide variety of tablet/smartphone apps (more than 150 at the last count) and I thought it might be of interest to share those I use most often or find most useful. This is not intended to be one of those ‘ten things that changed my life’ lists. If that is what you are looking for, try GQ’s 100 Best Things in the World Right Now. By contrast, I hope my short list contains at least one or two that you do not already know about that might potentially save you time or money or make your life a little easier. [more]

PEPI MESH
Simple, stylish design at a competitive price

pepi_meshPepi Mesh
has been designed to maximise user comfort and convenience. Its breathable, height-adjustable mesh back and synchronised balance mechanism (with auto weight adjustment) make Pepi ideal for today’s flexible work environments. Like the solid back version, it offers lumbar support and seat slide as standard, as well as optional height- and width-adjustable armrests. You can find the full technical specification here. For other project seating choices, please visit seatingexperts.co.uk.


CHRISTMAS DONATION

Helping save lives

air_ambulanceOur 2016 Christmas donation goes to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, selected by our team as a very worthy local cause. The average cost of each mission is £2,500 and most involve life-or-death situations. This excellent work receives no government funding and relies entirely on charitable donations from the general public. We are proud to help with our own small contribution.

PRICE REVIEWS
Currency impacts take their toll

price-reviewsI have mentioned before that recent £/$/€ fluctuations have impacted everyone. It is common for manufacturers to propose price rises at this time of year and we expect increases from all our suppliers. At up to 10%, some increases are significant (although all look trivial compared to Microsoft and Apple!). To minimise the impact, most manufacturers are looking at product-by-product reviews rather than a blanket percentage increase for their entire range. We shall be publishing all price updates once we have consolidated all the information but I would strongly recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if your are planning or budgeting for significant purchases in 2017. The sooner we know, the more we can do to help.


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