The Coolest Offices From Around the World

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Imagine a typical office. Is it boring and stuffy? Is it filled with grey cubicles, with harsh lighting thanks to the ceiling strips overhead? You may think that this is how all offices look, but thankfully that isn’t the case. In fact, some offices are even cool! Around the world, companies are breaking free from the mould to create workspaces that are inspiring, comfortable, and above all, fun.

Here are some of the best offices around the world:

Autodesk

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Autodesk is a software company, renowned for their work with 3D design. In fact, the designers actually used Autodesk technology to develop their designs of the office space. They wanted the office to reflect the minimalist yet futuristic nature of 3D printing, which is why you’ll find a simple colour scheme and plenty of geometric shapes throughout the building. Different teams and parts of the office are connected to one another via the community tunnels, the walls of which double as whiteboards. Meanwhile, the adorably named ‘Cozy Corridor’ is instead a place filled with quiet nooks, for those in search of a tranquil spot to get in the zone. The office is made all the more special by the company’s quest to keep things environmentally friendly, with chairs made from 100% recycled materials and many other pieces of furniture sourced from local suppliers.

Airbnb

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Each Airbnb office around the world has its own unique vibe, and nowhere is this more true than at the company’s international headquarters in Dublin. Airbnb is a global platform that allows individuals to rent out spare rooms or even entire homes to travellers. The décor of their HQ pays homage to the company’s purpose, with each meeting room offering a completely different style. Local staff provided the finishing touches to the décor, putting a personal stamp on their work environment.  In terms of desks, the design follows a ‘neighbourhood’ concept, with 29 separate (and yet connected) work areas designed to give employees a bit of privacy. Alternatively, teams can gather in the central space and work collaboratively. The ample choice of seating means staff can socialize and engage with members of different teams.

Pixar

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For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pixar is a film studio that specializes in computer animation. The team at Pixar are responsible for creative classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. With so much creativity involved in their day-to-day work, the top dogs at the company decided that the office should be a place of inspiration. In reality, it’s much more than that! The Pixar office in California is made up of a lap pool, beautiful gardens and open plan steel frame buildings that look more like aircraft hangers than office spaces. When do I start?

WeWork

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WeWork offices are co-working spaces, designed for companies and individuals to come together and be inspired by their surroundings. The company has work spaces in the UK, US and China. Shanghai’s office sits within what was previously a series of laneway houses. The building’s past is honoured in design features throughout. Visitors will also be impressed by the play of light and shadows, and the way such an open space can somehow feel enclosed and private. In honour of the local community, motifs from the streets of Shanghai are displayed within, while the wallpaper in each meeting room gives a nod to traditional Chinese games that are popular in the area.

Urban Outfitters

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The company was previously spread across Philadelphia in six different buildings, but can now be found on one giant campus in the city, which was once a navy shipyard. If you’ve visited an Urban Outfitters store then the office interior will seem familiar. It boasts the same mixture of the old and the new, meeting in a pared back, open and airy design. However, that doesn’t mean it feels empty. Instead, bursts of colour give the place a homely feel, and can be found everywhere from the giant sofas and the office chairs, to the spacious canteen. Since moving to the new premises, Urban Outfitters have reported an increase in staff morale and a decrease in the amount of sick leave being taken. It’s also lowered the staff turnover by 11%. Evidently, it’s a place that employees are happy to

Selgas Cano

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As an architecture firm, Selgas Cano decided that their office should be an example of their expertise. And their office in Madrid, Spain, surely delivers. It’s sleek and futuristic, and in direct contrast with the surrounding nature. The north-facing wall comprises a 20mm thick curved acrylic window, while the opaque south-facing wall is made of layers of fiber-glass and polyester, offering employees shade, and a touch of privacy from the outside world. At one end of the building, a hinged mechanism allows for the wall to be lifted, giving the office a natural ventilation system. Due to its size, the office has limited space for employees, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s cramped. Instead, employees enjoy giant desks, and control of their own lighting.

Cisco-Meraki

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Bright colours and open spaces are in great abundance at the Cisco-Meraki office in San Francisco. The company is a world leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. When the company moves offices in 2013, they began by asking employees what they enjoyed about their current workspace, and any requests they had for the future office. Taking on-board their feedback, Cisco-Meraki moved into a spacious, hangar-sized complex, with meeting rooms ranging from formal and fancy to relaxed and homely. Yurts, cabanas and phone rooms found within the building offer employees a moment respite from the lively atmosphere, while giant chalkboards and corkboards promote collaboration. To get from space to space, staff are welcome to walk, or hop onto one of the company unicycles and pedal. Colour plays an important role in the Cisco-Meraki office, working as a space separator, as there are few walls.

The Essential need for a Business Continuity Management Team

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Corporations Worldwide are becoming more aware of the essential need for a BCM Team

In the wake of various natural disasters, man-made distributive/destructive events such as 9/11, car bombings, etc. Corporations are becoming increasingly aware of the vital importance and need for a Business Continuity Management Team or BCM Team.

The Business Continuity Management (BCM) Team

It is imperativethat the correct BCM team is assembled, a BCM Manager and a full governance structure put in place.
To ensure company-wide visibility and success the BCM team need the full co-operation support from senior management.

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It is the responsibility of the BCM Manager / Executive to:

  • Implement and ensure company awareness of the Business Continuity Plan
  • Coordinate the BCM planning throughout the various departments in the organization
  • Ensure the BCM team have adequate funding, financial support, resources and support tools
  • Analyze past incident effectiveness of programs and coordinate the BCM planning
  • Build awareness as to the importance of the of BCM to the company and staff members alongside the impact not having or inadequate support or management can have on the company.
  • Aid in the support and guidance of the management and assessment of risk.

A comprehensive BCM Plan should include many different events, scenarios and disasters such as:

  • Power outages
  • Theft
  • Senior more public figures scandals
  • Facilities damage
  • Various threats
  • Product safety
  • Interruptions to supply chain
  • IT incidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Physical security threats
  • Severe weather

Once these events, disasters, threats, etc. have been identified it is easier to select the BCM team members.  Most BCM Teams are made up of the following roles:

  • Executive Sponsor
  • Key Suppliers
  • Team members can be broken into various departments each with the following members:
  • Risk Management
  • Administration
  • Customer support
  • Business Continuity Manager
  • Executive Sponsor
  • Production
  • IT
  • HR
  • Logistics and or Operations
  • Quality
  • Buildings Maintenance

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Defining Roles and Responsibilities

Once the team is in place it is wise to put virtual communications tools in place because you never know where the next disaster is going to occur, and most large companies are widespread through the country or world.

Once the systems are in place the next step is to define the roles and responsibilities of each team member.  Before this is set it is essential that each team member understands the BCM model the company has put into practice.

Conclusion

The incident management process usually starts with a Threat assessment, Impact Assessment per department, Communications protocol, recovery management and the post-threat analysis.

Live-Feed Business Broadcasts

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Business broadcasting

There are many live podcasts and or radio shows that have up-to-date information on business, risk assessment and various global economy influences, impacts, security and various technology sectors.

Some interesting live feed broadcasts

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Live Radio from Bloomberg

Bloomberg Radio’s Live Radio Podcasts are first class information and the siteswell-structured and laid out.

With various hosts and well written/narrated posts with topics broken down into Politics, Pursuits, Tech, Market, Businessweek and their Opinion Podcast it is one of the best podcasts for Boniness and Finance endeavors.

Wake Up to Money from BBC Radio 5

BBC Radio 5 presents “Wake Up to Money” in true Radio 5 style the shows offer quirky information, news and reviews of the various financial markets, personal finance, business finance and general news from local sources and all around the world.

Always easily accessible for live shows, archived and fresh downloads or to stream online at a person’s convenience.

In the Balance – Business Finance and economics podcasts from BBC World Services

BBC World Services In the Balance podcast offers In the Balance, Business Daily and Peter Day’s World of Business podcasts.  Each section with its list of current and archived podcasts that one can download or listen to online.
In the Balance – has some of the biggest breaking and archived financial stories
Business Daily – all the daily updates on the current monetary affairs both in the UK and worldwide as well as the job sectors.
Peter Day’s World of Business–Featuring global and local business insights and tidbits, debates on various current and backdated affairs that have been discussed on other BBC channels and worldwide.

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Podcasts from the Financial Times

With regular updated hard-hitting finance, economic and market news these podcasts are a valuable source of information for any businessman and technology expert.
Regular and guest hosts on the shows which are downloadable for convenience.

Live Different Podcast – Business by iTunes

These shows are broadcast by entrepreneur and adventurer Matt Willson.
With unique and inspiring tips and tricks to not only motivate a person in the growth of their company but how to mentally and physically prepare oneself to get into better shape.  Helping you to perform at your peak and enjoy your business.
All podcasts are available to download on iTunes.

In Business – BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 offers the “In Business” show with highlights from various BBC channels and business news and insights from around the world.

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It has various live broadcasts throughout the day and the index shows what is currently on air, the next scheduled show and past broadcasts that you can download to listen to at your convenience. It has various guests and hosts on the show.

Conclusion

Podcasts and the live streaming are more convenient ways to get the latest trending information, news and advice on the business and finance sectors.  These shows can be watched/listened to whilst live or downloaded to be listened to at a person’s convenience.

The Mobile Business Continuity Solution

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Mobile Communications Centers

Loading various vehicles with navigation, testing and computer equipment is not a new concept.  For years now, various expedition trucks have been custom built and fitted out with various testing and transmitting equipment for expeditions.  Vehicles such as the “Ice Broker”, a 170bhp Toyota Hilux 6×6 which was custom built and fitted out by Arctic Trucks in Iceland! The truck was kitted out as a communications center for the expedition across the Antarctic to the South Pole.  The truck was kitted out with two iridium pilot systems and remote camera built in to provide all the logistical support, live video streaming of the race and the transmitting of various data for scientific research to various facilities.

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Mobile Business Continuity Solutions

Everyone is familiar with the kitted-out ice-cream truck that plays its jolly music, mobile library units that bring books to the neighborhoods, mobile food trucks and now there are even mobile clothing’s stores, various mobile medical and blood donation labs!

But technology has gone even further with mobile units and some company’s the likes of Cisco, SunGard, IBM and some other large corporates have fitted out large mobile units with wireless connections, servers to match their land-based units, phones and workspaces with client’s pc/laptops.  These Mobile disaster recovery units are all fully equipped and ready to serve the area that goes down within one to two hours of the disaster or depending on the proximity of the office to the mobile unit’s location and the nature of the disaster.

Whilst the idea of having a mobile unit at the ready, and in some cases, is can be, these trucks are not always the best solution.

They have a quite a few limitations in that they are not very cost effective, as the maintenance and staff required to operate and maintain them is quite costly.  If the mobile unit is near the disaster it is very unlikely that the staff are going to want to be anywhere near where the disaster happened.  If the even has been forecasted such as that of severe storm conditions, it is more than likely that the staff have evacuated to a safer location.  So, trying to predict where to have the mobile unit to get the most from its recourses is a job on its own.

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As the outlay for these units is costly and most companies would hire the truck as and when needed there is still the issue of having to rebuild your servers and getting all the necessary data on to them.  This alone is time-consuming and can be costly to the organization in the downtime.

Conclusion

As a first responder in a disaster whereby there are no earthquake aftershocks or chemical spills, etc.  and the truck is quite safe at the office location a truck can be a valuable resource as a temporary first responder.  But the best solutions and most cost-effective for complete and robust business continuity and disaster recovery are the cloud-based solutions on offer these days.

A World Record was set by a 19-year-old Climate Change advocate

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The fastest walk to the South Pole in History

Nineteen-year-old Parker Liautaud led the fastest expedition to the South Pole ever.  He and his team beat the record of twenty-four days by six days!

That is not the only record he broke on his trek to the South Pole

Parker Liautaud with this team backed by the Willis Group broke the record for the fastest trip from the Antarctic shores to the South Pole.  Skiing across the three-hundred and forty-nine-mile trek pulling a sleigh with various items and equipment weighing eighty-two kilograms, in eighteen days.  Smashing the record held by the Norwegian Christian Eide by six whole days.

But Parker was not only the fastest person to reach the South Pole he now also holds the record for being the youngest man to do so!  Beaten only by a teenage girl of sixteen, Amelia Hempleman-Adams in 2011 who accompanied her father, adventurer David Hempleman-Adams on an expedition to the South Pole!

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On his journey in one of the most extreme climates on earth, new lightweight weather stations had to be deployed that measure and then transmit essential climate data back to scientists.  The process of deployment and collection of snow samples that had to be done along the testing route could take anywhere from two to three hours and had to be done with extreme care.
One purpose of these weather stations is to study the rate of Tritium which is a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen is released across the Antarctic.

Conclusion

This expedition was a very valuable one with the data which was captured from it helping scientist to better understand the effects and causes of climate change.  As the expedition served three different scientific studies, mainly to better understand the worldwide water cycle!
The Willis Research Network, now one of the largest partnerships between the business sector and science sector has in recent years increased the awareness for companies who have now found that approximately eighty-three percent of businesses are starting to identify the need for some form of business resilience and risk policy.

About Parker Liautaud

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Global Insurance Company funds Antarctic expedition

After the devastating effects of the natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then the various vicious storms and heat waves that swept across the US in 2012 that racked up damage control to the excess of hundreds of billions of dollars, a global insurance company, the Willis Group, funded an Antarctic climate change research project and a world record attempt.

A young man with a passion and the heart of an explorer

The young man who advocated for the expedition was Parker Liautaud, a nineteen-year-old with a passionate advocate of climate change.  At the age of fifteen. he had his first expedition to the North Pole with the sole purpose of wanting to bring the world attention to the dire need for immediate action in addressing the effects of climate change.

Parker was an ambassador for the “One Young World” organization that brings like-minded young individuals together to better help them make strong valuable connections to drive positive changes throughout the globe.

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This organization has seen the likes of guest speakers such of Sir Bob Geldof and Kofi Anan of which Parker has had the pleasure of sharing an arena with and has addressed his fair share of selected individuals from over one-hundred and eighty countries around the world.

Together with some research scientists and backing of Willis Group and EMC his adventurous spirit and concern for the planet as affected by climate change-fueled his drive to get to the Antarctic.

Conclusion

In the wake of the disasters since 2012 / 2013 it comes as no great surprise that companies such as the Willis Group and brave concerned individuals such as Parker Liautaud still work tirelessly to get the world to wake up and not only do their bit to act, but also to better prepare themselves with some form of climate-resilience plan for the impact of the events that are likely to transpire from the effects of climate change on the planet.