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Increase Worker Engagement, Increase Business Performance

Increase Worker Engagement, Increase Business Performance

A recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) summarized a longitudinal study conducted across six years in 80 hospitals, including info from 92,000 health workers, in Western Australia that found increased worker engagement led to positive outcomes for the hospital, including hospital costs, treatment effectiveness, and the level of hospital-acquired infections. For example, our longitudinal analysis revealed that a small (1%) increase in employee engagement leads to a 3% reduction in hospital-acquired complications and a 7% reduction in hospital readmissions. They attributed increased engagement to: Prioritize Patient and Staff Safety When workers felt their safety was important to the hospital, they engaged more Build a Culture of Accountability When workers were held accountable for their actions, safety increased. Paradoxically, this didn't just come from punishment, but from the ability to openly discuss failures and provide training to improve. Provide Proof that New Practices will be Worthwhile Workers engaged more in new health care practices when evidence of the value was circulated and discussion was encouraged prior to roll out. At MKThink, our work often intersects with employee engagement as we strategize and design environments for employees to work, whether that be at home or at the office or somewhere else. One of the factors involved in figuring out the right working arrangement for an organization is what type of engagement they want from their teams. Space design is one way to encourage certain types of engagement, so are scheduling, virtual/physical requirements, team diversity and more. To read more of the article, click here. To learn more about MKThink, drop us a note here. Thanks! #community #workplace

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Fewer days in the office -- peak occupancy falls from 60 to 40%

Fewer days in the office -- peak occupancy falls from 60 to 40%

A recent article in wtopNews interviewed a moving and logistic specialist about the future of workplace post-pandemic. Among other thoughts, she notes that peak occupancy is falling from an already low level of 60% down to 40%. It's amazing to think that we invest all this money into our buildings just to achieve a 40% occupancy level. Compound that with the fact that that occupancy only lasts a couple hours a day. Most of the day it's even lower, falling to 0% at night, which means 20-50% of the occupiable time has no one there. That's about 15-20 years of low-to-no occupancy over the course of a 50 year building life. At MKThink we work with our clients to better use their spaces. Before they need to build anything more, we assess how they're currently using their space and how they want to grow into the future. We then give them options that can flex with a changing world, while achieving upwards of 80% occupancy levels at a reduced capital and operational cost -- because that money should go to more productive uses, not to buildings sitting half empty. To read more of the article and how companies are shifting to more outside space, etc., click here. To drop us a note at MKThink, email our CEO at miller@mkthink.com or drop us a note here. #optimization #systemoptimization #strategy #workplace

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Railroads to Community Engagement

Railroads to Community Engagement

(photo courtesy of City of Durham via the linked article) Many cities are taking their old railroad or rail car lines and turning them into pedestrian trails that connect their communities. Most recently, the city of Durham, NC, has received $9mil in federal funding to build a 1.75-mile trail connecting West Village, Duke Park and Old North Durham. “It will serve people commuting, biking to work, to school, going out to shop or eat, but it will also be a place where on weekends it is going to be packed with people,” Barnes said. “I think this could be the most visited park in all of Durham, once it’s built.” Building these trails not only connects neighborhoods and promotes community engagement, it creates valuable real estate all along its line. "Murdock chose her apartment in Research Triangle Park in part because it’s close to the American Tobacco Trail, the 22-mile greenway built on a former railroad line. She said trails and greenways became more popular than ever as people looked for ways to exercise outside during the coronavirus pandemic." At MKThink we love reusing old things. Old buildings. Old neighborhoods. Old railroad lines. And thinking about how everything presents an opportunity to create more human engagement, especially as we move out of cars and try to reconnect our cities at the pedestrian level. To learn more about work, drop us a note. To learn more about the Durham project, click here: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article257656338.html#storylink=cpy #communitystrength #community #outdoors

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"Superdays" are here! How the world of work has reversed

"Superdays" are here! How the world of work has reversed

The recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article In the Hybrid Era, On-Sites Are the New Off-Sites explores the global shift from working everyday at the office to working everyday at home and coming to the office when it makes sense. While this not be the future for every organization, many will continue forward like this after the pandemic. One of those continuing forward is EA Markets, a company that decided to get rid of its HQ and let employees work from anywhere. But its leader also want his team to be together physically, for "intentional on-sites", so he rents a space monthly to bring everyone together for "SuperDays". Here are the author's tips to make those on-sites successful as shared by HBR: Align to Values Make sure that each on site has a theme or implicit aspects that connect to your organization's values. For EA Markets those were: Health, Wealth & Growth. "Health, which includes flexible office choices, commute limits, and team-building, as well as taking care of employees’ wellness. Wealth, which includes cross-functional meetings, sprint-like work sessions, and team lunches and events. Growth, which is the time for personal and professional development." Focus on Professional Development Working from anywhere can also challenge some of the traditional modes of professional development. Growth isn’t an afterthought or something an employee can only do on their own time, which is why during our working session, employees brainstormed ideas that included: having lunch-and-learns, interviewing senior leaders about their career paths, bringing in outside speakers, and hosting book clubs. Retain and Enhance Rituals Look for opportunities to bring back rituals that have been lost not being in the office or to develop new ones that bond the team together. Ask yourself and your team: When do you feel most ________-ish? The answer to the question will give you insight into some rituals that already exist in your company and how to get started building your own rituals roadmap At MKThink We know that the future is going to be very different than the past. Many organizations are going to need to radically rethink how they work, and that will mean making big decisions around what space is needed, when and where. That's what we do: Figure out all of the ways you reorganize for the future, how to test those new solutions and how to implement with high user buy-in. To read more of the article, click here. To learn more about MKThink and our work, please contact Nate Goore at goore@mkthink.com or visit our page here. #assetoptimization #systemoptimization #strategy

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Forest schools and the Future of Outdoor Learning

Forest schools and the Future of Outdoor Learning

(Photo Credit: Chermaine Lee, BBC article) The BBC recently published an article How Asia Fell in Love with Forest Schools that chronicled the rise of forest schools around the world, more recently in Asia. As schools are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been trying to get more outside air in through increased ventilation, which has led to many more considering how their classes might be taught outside to avoid the issues of poor air quality and masks inside. While this is a response to a new and pressing global need, the idea of school outside is not new. In fact, Europe has been leading the development of forest schools since the 1950's, and many parents and teachers have encouraged it due to the various skills it develops -- curiosity, physical coordination, sensory tolerance. "There are skills and knowledge that are vital to develop and practice alongside the academic skills in order for it all to become embedded, practiced and investigated," Jones says, observing her open-air classroom. "These are skills for life." At MKThink we've worked with many schools to figure out how they can "wild the tame" through programmatic and physical space changes that connect students more to the outdoors. From simply designing classrooms to spill outside when whether permits, to intentionally designing outdoor experiences, we feel that the outdoors has a lot to offer our educational programs -- and it even does so at a minimum of resource and energy use. To learn more about the rise of forest schools globally, read the BBC article here. To learn more about MKThink's work to improve learning outcomes visit our page here or email smit@mkthink.com #learningoutcomes #latest

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Signing on to Carbon Neutrality

Signing on to Carbon Neutrality

In a recent article in dezeen, they cover how a number of large A&E firms are signing on to a commitment to reduce Carbon Emissions by 2050. Among those firms who have signed on are world-renowned firms such as ARUP, SOM and now Buro Happold, the British professional services firm working in over 24 locations globally. Each of these firms will focus on how they can reduce embodied carbon (the carbon emitted through the process of material extraction, delivery and use in construction), primarily in the structural systems used in buildings (steel and concrete). The ambitious commitment seeks to eliminate embodied carbon from projects by 2050. Of course not all carbon emissions will be eliminated, so those that can't be will be offset through other carbon negative activities. But this is still a dramatic commitment that will start with measurement of existing embodied carbon in projects and track yearly until the final goal is achieved. MKThink has been a leader in reducing carbon emissions by avoiding the need to build new buildings that no one needs. Instead, we focus on how we can better use the buildings we already have, understanding usage patterns and latent capacity to increase building performance. We tend to think if you built it, you'd better be using it to its fullest potential before you build something else. We call this Build Less. Solve More. To read more, visit the original dezeen article here. #spatialintelligence #latest #news

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Informal learning environments: the catalysers for social and emotional development of children

Informal learning environments: the catalysers for social and emotional development of children

Indian Express released a recent article about Social and Emotional Learning and its importance for helping preschool children on several aspects such as: understand and manage their emotions, empathy, healthy relationships and other… “There has been much emphasis given to the importance of children attending early childhood education centres as it prepares them in early literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills, or School Readiness as some call it. However, we often lose sight that ‘Life Readiness’ is the ultimate goal of education; the process of building important everyday practical and socio-emotional skills that your child will leverage throughout their life should begin in preschool years”. But the interesting question to address is how to trigger Social and Emotional Learning? According to the article, it can be developed by creating environments that encourage all students to interact with other children and also adults. Beyond classrooms, we are talking about nature, school playground, parks and “even museums being apt catalysts”. Let’s revise some key ideas: Why Playgrounds? These learning environments support free play “especially in groups where children learn important lessons in collaboration, conflict management, problem-solving”. At age of four, kids are beginning to develop awareness about other people's feelings and viewpoints that differ from their own. These areas encourages them to develop “this ability to see things from another perspective is essential for a child to make friends”. Parks: In this type of learning scenario, kids acquire important social skills: “children learn many accepted social scripts, like inviting others to play with them, expressing their opinions or disagreements, and even accepting others’ viewpoints”. Museums: these learning spaces are pretty dynamic and they engage adults and children of different ages and generations to establish conversations. “The interactions one can have at museums extends to listening to others’ perspectives, and even to the realm of wonderment and imagination. Such interactions stretch children’s thinking, offering opportunities to explain what they know, and to hear about other people’s ideas. These are important Social Emotional Learning experiences”. The difference, for example, between playgrounds and museums is that adults, in the case of playgrounds, often are mere observers. On the other hand, museums are high engagement spaces. At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and safety. To read more about the article discussed above: https://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/blog/catalysing-social-and-emotional-learning-through-informal-learning-environments-parenting-7706417/ #learningenvironments #learningspaces

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Community Centers: How to engage sustainability and community’s resilience through design?

Community Centers: How to engage sustainability and community’s resilience through design?

According to an article of Canadian Architect, now, more than ever, design should focus on community and the mitigation of climate change. The design sector, especially space’s design, should promote health and security for communities, by strengthening them and by fostering resilience. “As architects and designers behind civic facilities, we have the unique opportunity to radically influence the strength of a community. These are facilities, after all, that specifically touch various facets of one’s life. They are commonly defined by their programmatic offerings, be it sports, learning, recreation, or leisure. But we also identify them as the places where we gather, celebrate or seek refuge. They are, by nature, spaces that are well positioned to foster community resiliency”. Community Centers are starting the reopening process and now there are new challenges to overcome, for example, “navigating the latest in health policies and applying it to decades-old programming”. But at the same time, these challenges go in parallel with “evolving societal challenges to address social inequity and inclusion in such public spaces”. “What’s more, mounting pressures due to the climate crisis and economic uncertainty call for a proactive response to integrating social and environmental resilience into every community center moving forward”. According to the article there are three main aspects that can support and encourage community’s resilience: planning, engagement, and sustainability. - Engagement: “respect the input of all voices”. Community centers should be places that hear voices but also reinforce equality, inclusivity, and respect. Consultation and accessibility are the keys of this point. - Planning: “flexibility and strategic growth, unlocking potential”. Planning needs to be adapted to reality. It is important to optimize and rethink the typical recreation center floor plate by “creating multi-storey facilities, and flexible community spaces” (Vertical spaces). - Sustainability: taking responsibility for what is happening to the planet and the future of the neighborhoods. Nowadays, “the new thinking on community centers requires them to be more efficient and strive for net-zero status in carbon and energy”. The principal role of the designers is to address climate changes issues, and work with clients to achieve these goals. According to the article there are more institutions that are demanding an extensive exploration of net-zero approaches, including passive design, photovoltaic array, geothermal, advanced building enclosures in the design strategies. At MKThink we are also working on projects that look to involve urban design and planning with the needs of today such as health. To read more: https://www.canadianarchitect.com/how-can-we-design-for-greater-community-resiliency/ #community #communitycenters #resilience

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Healthy Places and Wellness: The essential things for the return to workspaces

Healthy Places and Wellness: The essential things for the return to workspaces

According to an article from GlobeSt, there are some essentials that workspaces should consider for the return to work or hybrid models: corporate gardens, outdoor areas, and water features. Chuck Schreiber, CEO and co-founder at KBS, believes that people should return to their offices but what is important is how those office spaces can convince them to do so. The key for this relies on showing how these spaces are healthy and promote their well-being. In this sense, features such as gardens, outdoor areas and water features have become incredibly popular during the pandemic for their sense of well-being and can be the key to the pleasant return of employees. “Since the pandemic, health and wellness have become top priorities for office users, said Mr. Schreiber”. According to the article the amenities should include: Biophilia (plants and natural lighting). Corporate gardens, water features and landscaping. Upgrade of HVAC systems that sanitize indoor air more effectively Include protocols that reinforce social distancing to reduce viral transmission. KBS is in the top of companies that recently committed to invest on class-A office space in its client’s portfolio to “achieve the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air”. Other considerations to take into account are: concierge services and on-site gourmet dining options. To incorporate the hospitality model to the workspaces and corporate places is a new rising trend, by doing so, these areas turn more into a social club rather than a “normal workplace”. These features will satisfy the necessity that people developed after the pandemic of looking for a “socializing aspect” in every activity they commit to. At MKThink we are also looking at how places can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as sustainability, wellbeing and safety. To read more: https://www.globest.com/2021/12/13/health-and-wellness-are-encouraging-a-return-to-the-office/ #officemarket #healthyplaces #trends #wellness

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How to optimize and promote healthy buildings through  technology and data analysis

How to optimize and promote healthy buildings through technology and data analysis

According to Buildings Magazine, there is some important things to think about in our future regarding the improvement of life quality. There is some essential areas that need to be taken into account in order to optimize design and space planning: Healthy people, related to air quality, environmental personalization, and better security for the people in their houses; Healthy places about using building systems containing high levels automation including preventive maintenance, integrate controls; and Healthy planet which means building reducing carbon footprint. Buildings Magazine emphasizes on how owners and operators are managing new technologies and data analysis capabilities to ensure healthier people, places, and planet.The question that needs to be addressed is: How to be a building operator that promotes appropriate goals while achieving customer satisfaction and sustainability expectations? According to the article there are many tools and strategies to achieve health in homes and offices such as: sensors, streams of data and automatization in operations and other services. It is important for owners and operators to consider the following basic concepts to ensure healthy people, places, and a healthy planet: Recognize the Power of Data: the central element of any healthy building is the essential contribution that data reveals to develop intelligent predictions to achieve productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in new buildings. It is important to standardize data so that it can be rationalized through a centralized operations platform, the information comes from a variety of systems and is analyzed to maximize efficiency. In this sense “Brick Schema is an ideal data normalization method for as-built environments”. Understand the Value of a Digital Twin (DT): Usually, digital twins are applicated to show the past and present state of products or systems and them answering “what if questions” to visualize buildings systems in use, define assumptions through predictive analytics, troubleshoot issues and manage complexities. See the Link Between Personalization, Safety and Occupant Satisfaction: This point is about the satisfaction and health as critical factors to productivity, meeting business goals, and creating an overall healthy environment that retains the best talent. The most important ways that building owners or operators can serve their customers are: Addressing comfort needs (preferred temperature, sound, and lighting levels); Amplifying safety (face recognition, phone as badge or fob-tracking technology); Supporting interaction (easy booking of collaboration spaces, finding teammate desks, and calendar synchronization promote further connection and innovation). Gather Occupant Data to Improve Operations: Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do activities such as self- training to respond situations better and use resources more efficiently. This technology is monitoring occupant activities to learn how the space is used, adjusting system settings to adjust on future needs. At MKThink we're developing technologies and strategies to help clients optimize their resources for the future. To read more: https://www.buildings.com/articles/43138/5-concepts-next-generation-buildings #healthcare #systemoptimization #realestate

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Smarter buildings: how to tackle health and energy saving

Smarter buildings: how to tackle health and energy saving

A recent article of the AAP News reveals the different challenges of the smarter buildings of the future. Brian Turner, chief executive at Buildings IOT affirms that the returning back to workspaces needs to ensure: healthy spaces that guarantee adequate ventilation, temperature, and humidity conditions. “Think about any kind of space that's going to house humans, it's temperature, humidity, and air flow. Those three things have been shown to contribute to lower transmission rates”. Environmental mycologist Heike Neumeister-Kemp, agrees that there should be National standards on indoor air quality and incentives for keeping contaminants low. “The exposure with anything, particulates, whether they're alive or not, or viral, is reduced by simply maintaining buildings”. Neumeister-Kemp is worried people will be forced to work and live in dirty buildings without any policies on air quality. Let's review some key points from the article: Aeries scientist, Steven Kritzler, affirms that the Australian company Aeries provides an air filter treatment technology that is being used around the world to curb the spread of COVID-19 indoors, including on public transport. “The Aeris filter treatment can be applied now to most existing deep bed HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) filters in commercial buildings, schools, retail centres and various indoor venues.” He said the treatment contains a safe, readily biodegradable active biocide that kills 99,99 percent of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. Smart buildings use sensors to measure changes in temperature, humidity, CO2 and very volatile organic compounds, which are emissions from products used to construct and furnish the building. Those sensors can measure and capture data that is then assessed by software that can see if a particular area is becoming “less healthy”, and the control systems can send more fresh air to that space. Occupancy detection: which is a step up of lighting that determines when a person has entered a room and switches on or makes it brighter. New technologies using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors will enable more control of buildings, still achieve energy efficiency goals and less energy waste, but also maintain a good healthy environment. Governments are backing research into smart monitoring to help households and businesses to reduce the energy costs and emissions. The Data-Drivers Smart Buildings project, in Australia, aims to provide real-time data from buildings to better manage energy consumption and establish greater efficiency patterns. After the pandemic, investments turned in favor to projects that included Industry 4.0 with technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence, cloud applications in order to improve energy productivity and create safer places. MKThink is working with sensors in all of its projects to have good information to drive decision-making. Learn more by contacting us. Or to read more about today's article, click here: https://7news.com.au/business/smarter-buildings-tackle-health-and-energy-c-4795356 #sensors #spatialintelligence #safeplaces #safeenvironments.

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Emerging design trends for learning environments after pandemic

Emerging design trends for learning environments after pandemic

The Biz Journal posted a recent article about emerging design trends for learning spaces. Academic sector was always challenged by the achievement gap among students triggered by several factors such as: socioeconomic status, learning style, parental involvement and access to technology. Covid 19 the effects imposed by these factors have been magnified. Efforts to face and address many of these challenges were already underway, school districts are starting to adopt some design trends that promote student-centered spaces that accommodate a variety of learning leverage technology, styles and that promote inclusivity. “Beginning at the front door, innovations that reduce touch points and incorporate hygienic behaviors are likely here to stay. Strategies like visual cues on walls and floors, touchless bathrooms, and antimicrobial door hardware should become commonplace”. Let’s review some key points highlighted in the article: Technology: Instruction now must provide multiple technological formats, design should always plan for in person and remote learning. This can be ensured with technology tools such “ Wi-Fi and data infrastructure”. Classroom design should support “content creation by teachers and students, while mobile devices will continue to allow for learning in the classroom, the library, the hallway, outdoors or at home”. Student centered: “Guide on the side” is an approach where teachers facilitate individual and small-groups learning. To do so, it is vital to have flexible learning environments “with areas supporting project-based learning, small group instruction and collaborative work”. These learning areas provide ample space and flexible furniture ”to allow students to move from individual work to group activities, converted seamlessly to support hybrid teaching models, where content is taught remotely, and project-based work is accomplished on days when students are in the classroom”. Flexibility: Flexible spaces with movable walls, flexible furniture and seating that supports a range of uses “from one-on-one to small group to class or community meeting” is a design trend that is here to stay. Students will be able to “make greater use of comfortable spaces that provide an opportunity for a change of scenery that many schools have been investing in. The ability to relax while learning makes the school day less rigid and more enjoyable”. Evolution of school spaces: physical schools will always be very important for the students' development. “Beyond the classroom, the benefits at school include socialization, support services, extra-curricular activities, and yearly milestone events like concerts, art shows and graduations”. The value that schools spaces offer can not be replicated at home such as “science labs, sports facilities, playgrounds, art studios, maker spaces, and performance spaces” Design trends of the future will focus on these areas resulting in exciting innovations. At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and safety. To read more about the article discussed above: https://www.bizjournals.com/albany/news/2021/12/01/how-the-learning-environment-pivoted-post-pandemic.html #learningenvironments #classrooms #kids

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