Increasing numbers of over-65s will require flexible working rights 0

Increasing number of over-65s will require flexible working rightsWe can get so preoccupied with meeting the younger generation’s more flexible approach to work, that we miss the fact that a much greater challenge for employers is in managing the needs of the older workforce. Figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) show that nearly a quarter of a million more people aged 65 and over have remained at work since the default retirement age was abolished three years ago. This means that more than a million (103,000) over 65s now choose to stay in work, compared to 874,000 in the quarter October to December 2011 – an increase of 229,000. There are now 9.1 million people aged 50 plus at work, accounting for 29.7 per cent of all those in work aged 16 plus in the UK (30.6 million). This means employers not only need to accommodate an increasingly diverse range of ages but must enable older workers to work more flexibly as they wind down from working life. …more

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New London hotspots emerging as affordable office space runs dry 0

New London hotspots emerging as affordable office space runs dryFlexible working initiatives such as hot-desking and home working have done little to dampen demand for the right office space, finds Cluttons in its latest London property outlook guide, which reveals very few areas of central London are now able to offer good office space for less than £40/sq ft. Echoing research by JLL earlier this week Cluttons reports that for the third quarter of this year current office letting activity was 17 per cent above the long-term average with more than almost 9m sq ft already acquired this year. Occupiers are showing a taste for larger offices, with a total of 21 transactions so far this year measuring upwards of 50,000 sq ft, accounting for a quarter of the space acquired. This is further eroding the supply pipeline, and is leading areas such as Aldgate and Whitechapel, Bethnal Green in the east, and Vauxhall in the south, to emerge as the next peripheral hotspots for those requiring offices on a more affordable basis.

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UK Government urged to do more to support country’s technology sector 0

technology sector

Silicon Fen in Cambridge

The technology sector trade association techUK has published a new report urging politicians and policy makers to acknowledge the UK’s role in the global technology market, create the conditions in which it can thrive and  oversee the roll-out of new digital services across the public sector and beyond. The body, which has more than 850 members employing 500,000, claims that Securing our Digital Future: the techUK manifesto for growth and jobs 2015-2020 offers a blueprint for jobs growth in the tech sector and the chance for the UK to establish a reputation as a world leader in the global digital revolution. The report coincides with the announcement that the UK Government has commissioned a report to explore how Britain can lead the development of the sharing economy based on the success of firms such as Airbnb and Zipcar. Ahead of next year’s General Election, the techUK report calls on the next government to use technology to improve the quality and accessibility of public services, increase productivity and secure a million new jobs.

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Multi-tasking and workplace distractions don’t allow us to focus on the essentials 0

workplaceAlthough the structure of our brains is largely the same as that of our hunter-gatherer prehistoric ancestors, that does not mean they are immutable. Research shows that the way our brains change in response to technology and the changing workplace suggests they are subject to a certain degree of ‘rewiring’. For example, a recent study published in the journal Social Neuroscience found that the emotional response of adults to smileys in emails and texts is exactly the same as they would have to real faces. Tellingly, however, this appears to be learned behaviour because babies do not exhibit the same response. One other aspect of modern working life that is now proven to change the way our brains work – and not in a good way – is multi-tasking. Research published in September by Kep Kee Loh and Ryota Kanai of the University of Sussex found that “Individuals who engage in heavier media-multitasking are found to perform worse on cognitive control tasks and exhibit more socio-emotional difficulties”.

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Global Workplace Solutions to leave Johnson Controls’ portfolio 0

Global Workplace Solutions to leave Johnson Controls' portfolioFacilities services provider Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) is to leave the Johnson Controls portfolio following the parent company’s decision to concentrate on manufacturing, engineering and product-based, rather than services-based businesses. GWS, which provides facilities, corporate real estate and energy management, has been part of Johnson Controls’ portfolio for more than 20 years, and currently manages more than 1.8 billion square feet of corporate real estate. “We have a strong reputation in the market, an incredibly talented team of employees, and a portfolio of long-standing high-quality clients,” said John Murphy, vice president and president, GWS. “Our business has only just begun to realize its full potential. With a new owner we will have access to the capital and resources required to continue to strengthen our business and be a formidable force in the market.” …more

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Occupiers’ expansion plans fuel demand for Central London office space 0

Principal Place office space

Amazon to move to Foster & Partners’ designed development Principal Place

The already intense levels of competition for prime Central London office space look set to increase. New data by JLL reports that leasing figures in the Central London office market are set to top those reached in 2013, with City lettings showing potential to reach over 7 million sq ft for the second year in a row and the West End on track for 3.3 million sq ft by the close of 2014. Strong take-up in these markets, combined with a resurged market in the Docklands, will see Central London take-up figures on track to exceed last year’s total of 11 million sq ft. While consolidation and lease expiries have been main drivers up to now, a buoyant economy means occupiers expansion plans are bringing new requirements to the market. Amazon’s recent decision to take a 400,000 sq ft pre-let at mixed-used development Principal Place at Shoreditch, is an early example of this and it’s expected more occupiers will follow suit.

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Research reveals associations between multitasking and lack of grey matter 0

MultitaskingSimultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Sussex. A study published last week in PLOS ONE reveals that people who frequently use several media devices at the same time have lower grey-matter density in one particular region of the brain compared to those who use just one device occasionally. The research supports earlier studies showing connections between high media multitasking activity and poor attention in the face of distractions, along with emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. But neuroscientists Kep Kee Loh and Dr Ryota Kanai point out that their study reveals a link rather than causality and that a long-term study needs to be carried out to understand whether high concurrent media usage leads to changes in the brain structure, or whether those with less-dense grey matter are more attracted to media multitasking.

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The weekly Insight newsletter is now available to view online 0

wandpcoverIn the latest edition of the weekly Insight newsletter, now available to view online; Mark Eltringham describes some of the most readily identifiable themes at this year’s 100% design, while Sara Bean hails Richard Branson’s adoption of a flexible working policy for his personal staff. The British Council for Offices (BCO) launches the much awaited new edition of its Specification Guide; a new report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) claims “overwhelming evidence” that office design significantly impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff; and research by Steelcase discovers nearly a third (31%) of occupants now routinely leave the office to get work done in private. Justin Miller discusses the challenge of balancing sustainable building design with the need to ensure a comfortable workplace; and from the latest issue of Work&Place, the journal we publish in partnership with Occupiers Journal, Dr. Agustin Chevez lists the thirteen ways the physical environment shapes knowledge management .

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European airlines now free to allow use of electronic devices during flights 0

electronic devices during flightsOne of the few remaining refuges from the gaze of the unblinking digital eye is now under threat following news that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has concluded electronic devices do not pose a safety risk so can be left on during flights. Airlines are now free to permit the use of devices during flights. In an announcement EASA has confirmed that, although each airline would have to go through its own safety checks and an assessment process, they are now free to establish their own policies based on its new guidelines.  Of course there remain technical barriers, not least the lack of a signal six miles up, but experience tells us that technology – like nature – always finds a way. The only remaining hope for those passengers who don’t want to be connected themselves or share a confined space with others who are, is cultural. British Airways already allows browsing and texting in wi-fi enabled business class flights, but prohibit voice calls because they understand from surveys how objectionable they are to other passengers.

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RICS Scotland officially opens its new Edinburgh offices 0

New HQ for RICS ScotlandRICS new Scottish headquarters were officially opened this week at Edinburgh’s iconic Princes Street by Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay, MSP. The new, state of the art offices, located at 125 Princes Street, will also host Planning Aid Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland and the Scottish Arbitration Centre, with the idea being to create collaborative built environment hub in the heart of Scotland’s capital city. Explained Sarah Speirs, Director RICS Scotland: “Throughout this process we have been very keen to recognise and utilise the professional skills and expertise of our members, including the talents of our building surveying members, who we have now been working on the design and fit out of our transformational space at 125 Princes Street for the past couple of months.” The new open plan offices, which benefit from views of Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle were designed using BIM technology as a best practice example for the sector. …more

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