August 29, 2014
The September issue of Work&Place has today been published and is available to download or view online. Amongst this month’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s review of June’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement
September 1, 2014
It seems likely that the much discussed German ban on out-of-hours emails is to be implemented. According to reports over the weekend, the German Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has agreed to the implementation of new legislation that aims to end the culture of people dealing with messages outside of their normal working hours and could lead to a total free time email ban. The opportunity to herald the new legislation came with the publication of a new report she had commissioned into mental health and work, which led her to claim that ‘there is an undeniable link between being constantly available for work and mental illness.’. However the new legislation has met with a degree of scepticism, especially in an article written over the weekend by Karl-Heinz Büschemann for Germany’s largest circulation national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
August 28, 2014
As the summer holidays draw to an end, many working parents will be appreciative of the benefits of flexible working. Now new research from Regus has highlighted the long-term benefits of agile working in helping employers to attract and retain staff. Prospective employees are increasingly demanding some form of flexi-working deal, while nine out of ten employers report that offering flexible working options – including flexi-location as well as flexi-hours – is proving a highly effective way of improving staff morale and helping them to achieve a better work-life balance. While the workplace provider is understandably in favour of the flexi-location concept, as a provider of ‘third-place’ workspaces, for instance at railway stations, this kind of multi-location working is undoubtably growing in popularity …more
August 28, 2014
Amongst the reported findings in the latest edition of the annual Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey is a growing belief amongst business leaders that information overload and the always on working culture are significantly undermining personal wellbeing, engagement and productivity. This challenge has been identified before in the same report, but the latest edition perhaps signals that despite the high level of awareness of the issue at both a personal and general level, little is being achieved in terms of stemming the inexorable erosion of personal time. The report is based on a survey of more than 2,500 business leaders. It found that over a third think that constant access to work is undermining employee productivity and engagement and fewer than one in ten feel they are dealing with the problem adequately. …more
August 27, 2014
Although construction is on an upward trend, the development of commercial property lags behind, and the situation is particularly challenging in the West Midlands. According to JLL and Glenigan’s inaugural Commercial Construction Index, total construction starts by value, year end Q2 of 2014 were 15 per cent down compared to Q2 of 2013 at £2.03 billion. Graham Taylor, director of JLL’s Birmingham Buildings & Construction team, explained that the volume of commercial property being started has not risen substantially since the recession. Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester are already experiencing a shortage of Grade A office space – with much of the shortfall due to a drop in construction activity compared to the early to mid 2000′s. He said: “Rising corporate confidence means that many companies are looking to upgrade their workplaces. The corporate world is increasingly recognising that well-designed modern offices can be a key driver of productivity and staff retention, two major strategic concerns.”
August 26, 2014
New research published in the British Medical Journal last week has confirmed the perhaps obvious fact that people who drive to work are generally less healthy and more overweight than those who get to work in other ways. More surprisingly, the report also found that using public transport to commute may be just as beneficial to healthy as cycling. The report suggests that with nearly 24 million people regularly commuting to work each day in England and Wales, its results based long term research with a sample of 16,000 people should have significant implications for Government infrastructure policy, urban design and individual workplace policies. “Policies designed to effect a population-level modal shift to more active modes of work commuting therefore present major opportunities for public health improvement”, it concludes.
August 25, 2014
The National Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, Kevin Fenton has recommended that staff should stand for at least an hour a day. He says the working day should be broken up by holding stand-up meetings, coffees or lunches or by simply setting aside a certain amount of time to work standing up; which could help lower obesity levels and improve staff’ general health, reports HR Grapevine. His advice echoes that of campaigners “Get Britain Standing” which warns that statistics showing that British people sit for 8.9 hours each day (on average) has been found to be detrimental to health. Describing being active as the “miracle cure we’ve been waiting for” to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and improving mental health, Fenton said: “Globally we’ve become more and more inactive, in part because our jobs are making us more sedentary. We spend too much time sitting down at our computers.” …more
August 21, 2014
Presenteeism isn’t restricted to the workplace. Growing demand from business travellers means hotels are increasing the amount of working and meeting space they provide in their facilities in cities across Europe and the rest of the world. Three quarters of British employees work while staying in a hotel according to the survey carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute on behalf of hotel business solutions firm HRS. Only Italians spend more time working in hotels (76 percent), followed the UK (75 percent), Poland and Switzerland (50 percent respectively), Germany (46 percent), China (45 percent), Russia (43 percent), Austria (42 percent) and France (25 percent). The firm has also identified a number of hotels around the world which it believes offers exemplars of the new working spaces available.
August 20, 2014
Raise your hand if you agree: “The workplace is obviously a strategic resource.” We facilities management professionals know that to be true. But if you often feel like a voice in the wilderness when speaking to anyone other than a fellow FM or workplace professional, you are certainly not alone. For many if not most senior executives, their facilities are a necessary evil that always – always! – cost too much. That reality frustrates me as much as it does you. So my colleague Paul Carder and I conducted two extensive research projects in 2012 and 2013 aimed at making the case (mostly to FM professionals themselves) that facilities and workplaces are incredibly strategic – and very poorly understood. And while we’ve gotten lot of positive feedback about our findings and conclusions, we haven’t seen much change in mindsets, management practices, or business outcomes.
August 20, 2014
We keep saying it but forget all the talk about Gen Y, the UK workforce is actually aging and becoming more diverse. New research from Saga shows that the number of employees over the age of 65 has increased by over a third over the last four years and the numbers of those between 50 and 64 has also increased – by nearly a tenth. The proportion of over 65s within the workforce is up from 3.4 percent to 3.6 percent over the same period but there have also been increases in employment in younger age groups meaning the workforce is more diverse. There are now 1.09 million over 65s still in work and around 8 million in the 50-64 age group. The Saga Monthly Employment report, published in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, also found that older age groups are now just as economically active as younger demographics