The avocado hypothesis explains why we will always work in offices

Avocado cut in half  isolated on whitePeople have been talking about the death of the office for at least a quarter of a century. Leaving aside the often misleading conflation of flexible working with homeworking that is often involved, the underlying premise of such talk has been the same for all of that time. The main argument is, and always was, that there is an alternative to the tedium, aggravation and expense of travelling to an office solely to work inside its hermetically sealed and fluorescent-lit, blue-carpeted interior alongside people who can drive you spare, before you schlep home again. The problem with the argument is that, in spite of its evident 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 home alone. Things are changing but the death of the office is a myth.

more…

Share Button

Disparity in level of support from employers for first time mums

Pregnant workerThe level of support by employers towards new mums differs dramatically depending on seniority. According to AXA PPP healthcare, in a poll of new mums, over half of those who had been working in entry level positions (59 per cent) said that their employer hadn’t provided any support beyond what was legally required in the run up to their maternity leave. But, for new mums who had been working in senior positions, that figure dropped to one in five (21 per cent). While 23 per cent of entry level employees were offered ‘keeping in touch days’ during their maternity leave, this number doubled for management level staff (46 per cent) and senior executives (54 per cent). Only 19 per cent of entry level workers were given advice about going on maternity leave compared with nearly a third (30 per cent) of management level employees.

more…

Share Button

Crown Estate first national property company to be Living Wage accredited

Living wageThe Crown Estate has become the first national property business to accredit as a Living Wage employer. The Living Wage commitment aims to ensure that everyone working for The Crown Estate, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or contractors, receives a minimum hourly wage of £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 per hour outside of London, significantly above the national minimum wage of £6.50. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and is accredited by the national Living Wage Foundation (LWF). A study examining the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage policy in London found that more than 80 per cent of employers believe that the Living Wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by approximately 25 per cent.

more…

Share Button

Over two thirds of UK staff care about energy efficiency at work

energy efficiencyNew research claims that 68 percent of UK workers care about energy efficiency at work and of these, 22 per cent said they care a great deal. The survey by YouGov for British Gas Business found that Hospitality and Leisure workers care the most – 82 percent – about saving business energy. Other industries that ranked highly were Financial Services (77%) and Manufacturing (76%). With almost two thirds (62%) confirming that their workplace invests in saving energy, it is clear that it is important for companies and organisations to be energy efficient. Yet, less than half (43 %) of workers said that their company or organisation ensures that all lights and computer screens are switched off when not in use and less than 1 in 5 (18%) said they conduct a regular energy audit.

more…

Share Button

TMT and finance sectors drive demand for London office construction

London-cranes-3The total level of office construction in central London has increased over the past six months, fuelled by the greatest volume of new space to start since 2011, the latest Deloitte London Office Crane Survey has revealed. With a rise of 24 per cent over the past six months, a new wave of office construction in central London is under way across almost all submarkets. This comes at a time when the level of available office space is at its lowest for seven years, with current market conditions still suggesting a short-term supply shortage. However, the ramping up of new developments over the last six months has come too late to significantly alter the delivery of new space in 2015. TMT and the financial sector are driving up demand for more office space.

more…

Share Button

What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics at work

acoustics Over the last few years there has been something of a widespread backlash to the idea that we need to have constant access to information and our colleagues to work effectively. The touchstone for this movement is of course the open plan office but it has become something of a scapegoat given the universality of the problems of interruptions and distractions. One of the most vocal proponents of the idea that sometimes we need to work quietly and alone is Susan Cain, the author of Quiet and the person responsible for the TED Talk presented below on sound and acoustics. But she is not alone, as we suggested in this feature. Nor is the message new. Nearly 70 years ago, Aldous Huxley bemoaned the din of technology in his 1946 essay Science, Liberty and Peace, which covers a range of topics including this prescient piece on silence:

more…

Share Button

Collaborative work is the driving force behind the desk rental boom

collaborative workingIn the wake of the Smarter Working West Midlands project, which encouraged SMEs to try co-working for free, it is increasingly apparent the nation’s small businesses are prepared to embrace alternative office space options. Both serviced offices and desk-rental can offer the flexibility a long-term office lease often cannot because they involve rental agreements that may work monthly or quarterly, while a traditional lease will generally require a commitment of several years. Desk rental also offers a chance of skill-sharing, collaborative work and networking. In fact this was the key benefit for many businesses participating in Smarter Working West Midlands. For startups the ability to expand, contract or even relocate office can be invaluable. It’s this flexibility which allows them to mould a space to their brand and make the office feel like a true home.

more…

Share Button

Women over 55 most likely to be business strategists, finds report

mult generational workplaceA new report claims that only 8 percent of senior managers currently have ‘Strategist’ leadership capabilities and have the attributes and mind sets to lead transformational change and solve their most difficult problems. This is because employers don’t identify and empower their leaders with the right capabilities and attributes, says the report published by PwC’s Consulting practice. According to “The hidden talent: Ten ways to identify and retain transformational leaders,” the work of strategists is underpinned by inquiry-based experimentation. They see both the vision and detail, employ positive language and exercise power courageously. They understand the complexity of the environment in which they’re working and are able to employ passionate detachment. The report claims that the largest proportion of ‘Strategist’ leaders, are women over 55.

more…

Share Button

Broadband faults are more annoying than car breakdowns, claims study

breakdownFollowing last week’s report that people would rather lose an unspecified finger than their broadband connection, a new report from comparison site Cable.co.uk claims that people generallly believe that losing their broadband connection for any period of time is more annoying than their car breaking down. Based on a survey of 2,500 UK residents, users also voted broadband disruption more annoying than receiving bad customer service, their boiler failing, waiting in for a delivery that doesn’t turn up and transport delays. Broadband drop-outs were given an average score of 9 out of 10, with 10 being extremely annoying. Half of users rated it 10 out of 10. The report’s authors conclude that this is likely to be because of feelings of a lack of control and an inability to communicate, something we now take for granted.

more…

Share Button

Shared office space is redefining commercial property and the workplace

Hive by Connection

Hive by Connection

The changing way we work presents particular challenges for the development of commercial property as well as those who specify, design and occupy workplaces. As has been highlighted many times before, the days are gone when designing an office was largely determined by the number of people who occupy it and the main determinant of the space needed for them was the size of their desks based on their status and what they did. Now, those are just some of the characteristics that need to be taken into consideration when creating workplaces, alongside others such as how much meeting and shared office space is needed, whether certain people need a dedicated workstation at all, how to give them choices about where they work and with whom and how the building can adapt to changing teams and objectives.

more…

Share Button
Translate »