High urban rents and falling rural land prices drive flight of startups to countryside

Country_MouseWe’ve reported before on the flight of tech firms and other startups from the UK’s cities to the countryside. Now it appears that 2016 will see an acceleration in the exodus, as a consequence of the perfect storm of expensive rents in the cities, falling rural land prices and a growing number of people using technology  and improving digital infrastructure to live somewhere they feel they have a more balanced life. That is the striking conclusion of a new survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Royal Agricultural University (RAU) indicates. Over the second half of 2015, non-farmers, such as those starting-up cottage industries, accounted for around 25 per cent of rural land sales. This figure was up from just 18 per cent in the first half of 2015, according to the RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H2 2015 and the trend was strongest in South East England where non-farmers accounted for 32 per cent of all sales.

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CIPD joins forces with the UK Government to tackle workplace cyber security

data theftHuman resources has a key role to play in improving the cyber security of UK workplaces. That is the key challenge addressed by a new joint initiative from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and the Development and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Data breaches cost companies up to an average of £1.46 million are often a result of human error and malice, according to the CIPD. The initiative includes a free online course called Cyber Security for HR professionals as part of a wider initiative to promote the importance of cyber security at work, as well as the critical role that HR has to play in ‘mitigating the competency and behavioural risks present in the workplace’. Government figures released last year indicated that the costs associated with the most severe breaches now start at £1.46 million for large businesses, up from £600,000 in 2014, and can reach up to £310,000 for small businesses, up from £115,000.

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Robot’s rise + Shrinking public sector estate + Office of the future (not)

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s Insight newsletter; Gary Chandler envisages how automation will transform society and workplaces; Paul Goodchild explains why office life still attracts people; Mark Eltringham bemoans the narrow focus shown in predictions of the future office and Sara Bean says the HR discipline needs to evolve to support the changing workplace. A new report reveals 88 percent of British workers are regularly stressed at work; employees are increasingly keen to find jobs that offer them flexible working; and men are penalised for opting for a better work/life balance. Government plans to cut the size of its estate by 75 percent by 2023 and an expanding TMT sector increases demand in central London. Download the latest issue of Work&Place and access an Insight Briefing produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

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Embracing the inevitable rise of the robots in the workplace

387773-computers-circuit-board-hdWe often have reason these days to speculate on the truth of an idea known as Amara’s Law. First coined by the researcher Roy Amara it states that “we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”. But defining what we mean by short and long term can be very difficult when technology is changing so quickly. Nothing better illustrates this than the issue of how automation will transform society and workplaces. For the past few years, the effects have mainly been the subject of academic and scientific research alongside some lurid headlines in the mainstream media. So, a fairly typical 2013 paper from researchers at Oxford University assessed the risk faced by over 700 professions and discovered that nearly half of all jobs in the US could be categorised as at high risk of automation. Less academic studies such as a report published last year by Deloitte draw similar conclusions.

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What the commercial property market tells us about trends in office design

Hive by Connection

It’s become commonplace in recent years for certain people to foresee the death of the office. The problem with this argument is that, in spite of its drawbacks, office life maintains an attraction for both employers and employees and there will always be an upper limit on how long people want to spend away from other people. Things are changing but the death of the office is a myth. As we’ve known for at least a quarter of a century, there is no absolute need for us to go to work at all. Theoretically we could just do away with offices completely if we wanted to. But as we have seen, the fact we have evolved technology to the point where we could forget about bricks and mortar, doesn’t necessarily mean we will. Not only are there practical reasons for offices to continue to exist, there are emotive ones too. If you want evidence of this, look no further than the records currently being set by the UK’s commercial property markets.

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Employers believe Millennials are the most demanding workers

Younger workers less tolerant of flexible workers than you would thinkIt seems unfair to brand Millennials difficult, when you consider they are the less experienced generation of workers, but new research suggests they require more hand holding in the workplace. When asked about workers they’ve dealt with, 48 percent of bosses felt that millennials were more reliant on detailed targets and required regular progress meetings in order to stay motivated. However, the majority of bosses (89 percent) agreed that these demands indicated that millennials were highly career driven. Over one third (39 percent) named generation X as the most self-sufficient, as this group required less guidance, with Baby Boomers a close second (34 percent). Millennials were also cited as the generation most incentivised by reward and praise (41 percent), followed by Generation X (26 percent), Baby Boomers (22 percent) and Generation Z (11 percent), while Generation X had the biggest desire for a work life balance (37 percent).

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London’s ability to foster startups lagging behind other key UK cities

startupsThe UK’s largest regional cities have produced twice as many startups as London over the last two years, according to research based on Companies House Data. The report, commissioned by office broker Instant Offices, compares the number of startups in each city to create a list of the country’s most entrepreneurial cities. The authors claim that the UK is now Europe’s most entrepreneurial country with over 2,644,100 businesses started within the last two years alone, according to data gathered from Companies House. The report cites the example of Liverpool with an estimated population of 440,000 and 57,323 new companies starting over the past 2 years. This results in an entrepreneurial population percentage of 16 percent. Birmingham’s entrepreneurial population percentage was 14.5 percent followed closely by Manchester at 14 percent. These numbers are significantly higher than the UK average of 2 percent and London’s 7.5 percent.

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Maturing TMT sector fuels demand for office space in Central London

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The Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector was the largest source of demand for office space in Central London in 2015, for the fifth consecutive year finds the latest Knight Frank London Report, Canary Wharf is set to have the strongest Central London office rental growth in 2016 with an increase of 12.8 percent. This is followed by Shoreditch at 10 percent and Midtown at 9.6 percent.  Affordability is the main driver, along with the development of Crossrail, integrating Canary Wharf with the rest of Central London, and a general shortage of available offices across London pushing tenants seeking high quality affordable offices eastwards. Expansion by TMT firms is contributing to the shift, as they are increasingly seeking larger offices. Shoreditch’s increase in office rents will principally be driven by Tech sector expansion as the more mature, established heavy weight tech firms have firmly established a London rival for California’s ‘Silicon Valley’ in the area.

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Government plans to cut size of estate by 75 percent by 2023

Old_War_Office_Building_London_MOD_45137377The UK Government has today published the latest edition of its annual State of the Estate report, which gives an update on plans to consolidate, divest and modernise the central government property portfolio. Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock claims that the current administration has reduced the size of the estate by 2.4 million sq. m. since 2010. (As is the way of these things, the minister claims this is equivalent to 336football pitches, 43 Shards or more than the entire principality of Monaco. Presumably individual departments measured their own successes in blue whales and double decker buses.)  He claims that this means that the total central government estate has fallen below 5,000 holdings for the first time and could fit inside the area of West Finchley (which is a new measurement on us). The reduction has been achieved by selling property ranging from the historic Old War Office (top) to an old bakery and lighthouse.

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HR managers must innovate to stay relevant in the evolving workplace

HR innovation requiredAs the workplace moves from the traditional 9-5 model, management needs to adapt accordingly. Facilities managers are already being forced to think outside the box, and now human resources and line managers must do the same. The latest CIPD/Workday HR Outlook leaders’ survey spells out the challenge; that new ways of working and operating is an increasing reality for organisations. Yet while there is general agreement about overall strategic priorities it seems to be less clear to the wider business world how HR professionals will contribute to achieving these. Despite nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of HR leaders saying that their current people strategy will help the organisation achieve its future priorities, just a quarter (26 percent) of other business leaders agree. The CIPD recommends that the profession must look at ways in which it can innovate itself in order to stay relevant and more visibly demonstrate its ‘enabling role’ as the workplace evolves.

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