5 minutes with… Mark Eltringham

For Magenta’s latest ‘5 minutes with’ we sat down with Workplace Insight’s Mark Eltringham, who started the company back in 2013, to mark the launch of Workplace Insight’s first magazine, In. The magazine is due to launch later this month in both digital and print format, becoming a bi-monthly addition to Workplace Insight.

Workplaceinsight.com is a successful site. Why publish a print magazine now?

Primarily, I think it’s because magazines are better at hosting certain content than online platforms because the content is perceived by the reader differently. Online, we don’t tend to do features on specific issues, and I think this is something we can really deliver in print, alongside case studies. Images are incredibly important in helping get messages across about projects, and I think images in magazines work better, or perhaps in different ways, than they do online.

Workplace Insight is a popular source of ideas, news and information about office design and management sector, so what can we expect to see featured in the magazine that differs from the website?

We’re going to take a multi-platform approach in order to encourage people to engage with us in different ways. In our first issue we have an interview with Sandra Gritti, the director of Edge Technologies in Amsterdam but there’s also a new podcast with Sandra online. People can listen to the podcasts and engage not just with us but also with each other on social media forums. It’s creating new ways of communicating on complex issues and that’s the real aim.

You’ve launched three of the UK’s major magazines and in that time have seen a lot of change in the print world. How has that impacted your strategy to starting a magazine?

Most obviously, there is much broader availability of information with content available across several media. Twenty years ago, people got most of their information from trade magazines and to a certain extent still do. They are very straightforward beasts and even now don’t always work well on the Internet. The best magazines now offer different but related content online, events, awards, podcasts and perhaps even YouTube channels as part of a package to attract audiences. However, B2B publishers have different challenges to consumer titles. Most recently we’ve seen Marie Claire go exclusively digital but the challenges they face are different to B2B titles.

What are the key trends in 2020?

I see a lot of momentum for things we’re already talking about at the moment such as coworking, wellbeing, the meaning of work and so on. I also think there’s going to be a lot of talk about automation. Not in the sense of robots which is how it is often perceived, but in the algorithms, which are embedded into our current technology and are already more prevalent than we know. Wellbeing touches on everything. But I do think some people use it as part of a bandwagon and the word could eventually become meaningless unless we are more precise. One of my goals in the magazine is to show people a smarter way of talking about subjects like wellbeing that will always be there, as they have for thousands of years.

Who do you want to hear from? End-users? People top of their game? Employees?

We’re going to work on keeping things in line with Workplace Insight online, maintain focus on the employer, occupier and the people doing the work. We’re going to talk to suppliers more in the magazine than we do online but that is because of the focus on case studies and features. However, I still want to tackle subjects in an informed and challenging way and not settle for standard narratives.

What are you most excited about?

I think people will be genuinely surprised with the approach we’re taking. We’re going to cover so many different marketplaces for readers: tech, design, HR and certain aspects of FM. There are so many people who are involved in decisions about the workplace these days and we’re going to highlight those aspects. I’m also excited to publish a magazine which is going to appeal to managers as well as the trade.

What would you put into room 101?

The Killers – just awful. Human is the worst record ever made.

Laura Thorpe