Archive: Feb 2017

Built With: Millennials

Special thanks to our contributors: Tom Buckley, Core Five LLP; James Siederer, Gensler; Natalie Walker, TP Bennett; Harriet Wiseman, HLW International; Guru Thiru, Omobono; Rebecca Parish, Man Bites Dog; Becky Craddock, BW: Workplace Experts and Leanne Baird, BW: Workplace Experts.

According to bookmaker William Hill, if you’d put a £1 accumulator bet on Leicester City to win the Premiership, the Brexit vote and Donald Trump becoming President of the United States, you could now be sitting on £4.5m. There aren’t many years when three such major events were surrounded by so much unpredictability and attracted such long odds! It is for this reason why we decided to ask our millennials for their top 3 predictions for 2017; one probable, one unlikely and one wild card. There was also a lot of debate in the BW office in the New Year about the infamous out of office and whether, in our hyper-connected world, it is still relevant. Again, we thought the best people to debate this with our millennials.

The points raised throughout the discussion are concluded below.


What are your three market predictions for 2017?

Our millennials were united in predicting that inflation will rise and there will be a slowdown in construction with a focus on projects below 25,000 sq ft instead of major works. Larger businesses are having to more carefully evaluate risks and are less willing to take chances in this uncertain climate. It was suggested that London would be the city worst hit by Brexit, leaving other UK cities such as Birmingham and Manchester to pick up the work.

On a more positive note, the group hoped that house prices will become more affordable and healthcare will be improved. Easier immigration from non EU countries to the UK and more job opportunities outside the EU was also suggested as there will be less bias towards Europe.

With all the shocking political and social decisions of the last year, many of our millennials agreed that it is almost impossible to guess what could happen in the following year. Our millennials simultaneously agreed that everyone is simply riding the year still in shock after Trump and Brexit, unsure and nervous of what steps to take next.

The question of ‘who is going to fix the situation?’ was posed during the first course and the group agreed that we need to accept the challenges and develop our culture to adapt to the changes. It was also suggested that there was a social responsibility on millennials’ shoulders as they are the group likely to be most affected by the political changes. It was predicted that instead of mirroring the active 80s protests, millennials will grumble passively on social media.

Social media makes people feel as though they are contributing rather than just sitting at home, it’s dangerous. Millennials’ predictions are that technology will begin to take over our lives in the near future, covering every aspect of work and play. Disagreeing, some millennials felt that technology doesn’t yet offer the flexibility, design and creative abilities humans do, until they do so they’ll only act as aids not substitutes for people.


Do you think the out of office is dead? Do we need to evolve our work/life balance?

We are not machines. We cannot keep functioning forever without a break. Our millennials agreed with this statement and shared thoughts on other working cultures where they are not allowed to check their work phones after 5pm, for example, France.

The importance of taking time out and communicating with colleagues was stressed by the group as it allows you to develop crucial workplace relationships and friendships, and enables you to be more productive for the rest of the day. Efficient working relies on a balanced life.

The out of office is crucial for us to be able to separate our minds from work whilst being polite and courteous to the individuals contacting us. This is not only necessary but also fundamental to ensure our brains can completely relax and be invigorated to work hard with and create new innovative ideas.




The curious paradox of creativity and productivity

People don’t just have more and better ideas by simply working harder. This creates a paradox because the habits that are bad for productivity may be good for creativity.

In a recent Ted Talk, entitled ‘The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers’, the business psychologist Adam Grant identified the challenges associated with this paradox, not least that many of the most original thinkers are habitual procrastinators. “People who wait until the last minute are so busy goofing off that they don’t have any new ideas,” he says in his talk. “On the flip side, those who race in are in such a frenzy of anxiety that they don’t have original thoughts either. While trying to put these findings into a book, I decided to teach myself to procrastinate. I woke up early the next morning and made a to-do list of how to get nothing done. As was scheduled, I one day put the book away in mid-sentence for months. It was agony. But when I came back to it, I had new ideas.”

So, maybe one of the ultimate causes of the UK’s enduring productivity gap is the desire to put more hours in, to do more, to make ourselves busy when what we really should be focussed on is how to be more creative and have better ideas.

The welcome rise of a new and sophisticated approach to the supply chain

Buyers are no longer satisfied merely to know that the products they buy meet specific environmental standards and are made from recycled and sustainable materials. They want to know where those materials came from, who made the products, what processes were used, where they were made and how they were transported.

This is crystallising into a very sophisticated response from suppliers and manufacturers which means people and firms not only want to buy the most sustainable products in terms of materials, processes and recyclability, but also buy them from suppliers who can demonstrate a sustainable approach in all aspects of their business.

These are welcome developments. They challenge the cynicism that has grown up around the greenwashing of products and the mundane claims of some firms. They help to circumvent the homogeneity of standards that can reduce client briefs to box ticking exercises and instead allows everybody to work in partnership to create sophisticated, transparent and enlightened approaches to supply chain management.