Facebook moves into new California campus headquarters

facebook1Facebook has moved into its much discussed new headquarters building and campus in Menlo Park, California. As is the way these days, the relocation to the Frank Gehry designed HQ was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his own Facebook page and heralded by a number of images shared on social media by staff. Zuckerberg also shared an aerial view of the 22 acre location included its landscaped roof and has promised that more images and video will emerge ‘once we’re fully unpacked’. Controversially – maybe – the building features what is claimed to be the world’s largest open plan office space which will be home to many of the new building’s 2,800 inhabitants. In this regard, the design is resolutely mainstream as are the array of breakout spaces and cafes used to supplement the open plan and give people the chance to take some time away.

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New safety regulations to affect even routine building maintenance tasks

New safety regs to affect even routine maintenance jobsAny organisation which intends to contract for construction work could risk fines or imprisonment if they do not comply with new legal safety regulations covering site management. Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com  is warning that The Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) Regulations, which come into force on 6 April, will affect all construction work in the UK. The regulations give ‘clients’, meaning anyone for whom a project is carried out, a greater role. Once in force, the regulations will require commercial firms to appoint a principal designer and principal contractor whenever any work involves more than one contractor – even where the work involved is very limited and over quickly. The scope of ‘construction work’ under the regulations is wide, covering everything from major infrastructure projects to installing new showers.

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CBRE acquires facilities management business from Johnson Controls

facilities managementProperty giant CBRE has reached an agreement to acquire the facilities management business of Johnson Controls for $1.47bn. The deal will see CBRE acquire the Global WorkPlace Solutions (GWS) FM arm of the business, allowing the new enterprise to manage nearly 5bn sq ft of commercial real estate worldwide consisting of 2.3bn sq ft in North and South America, 1.2bn sq ft in EMEA and 1.4 bn sq ft in Asia Pacific. GWS, currently employs around  16,000 people worldwide, and had a turnover of around $3.4bn in 2014.The deal also see the two firms enter into a ten year strategic relationship, with CBRE offering a range of real estate services with Johnson Controls offering HVAC equipment and a range of building automation systems and other products in return. Both firms will also share investment in research and development.

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Overwhelming majority of UK workers entirely unproductive, claims report

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The overwhelming majority of UK workers don’t do anything productive at all, according to a new report published today. The study of all available research into the illnesses, injuries, distractions, wastes of time, procrastinations, productivity drains and paralyses that afflict British workers found that the total annual cost to the economy is around £1.8 trillion, equivalent to 98.9 percent of GDP. The meta-analysis was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Salford led by Dr April Fullstay and Dr Juan Bornev-Ryminnid drawing on nearly five years of research and surveys across a range of issues to create the ‘most comprehensive overview of UK absenteeism and unproductive behaviours, their causes and consequences yet published’.

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SMEs provide the key to encouraging more women onto boards

SMEs should encourage more women onto boardsResearch from the Government, released last week, found that women now accounted for 23.5 percent of FTSE100 board members, up from 12.5 per cent in 2011. The target is 25 per cent by the end of this year, meaning that another 17 women need to be appointed. However the research showed that small companies are less diverse at the top, with woman accounting for 18 percent of directors of FTSE250 boards. As Chairman of a company which employs 220 people, I believe that unleashing the potential of women in the business is an excellent way to grow and develop organisations. The female perspective is very powerful in every issue within a business. It adds enormous value to clients, can often save money by offering a different way of doing things and creates a better working environment.

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Time to move on from the anachronistic display screen equipment regulations

Not much of a guide to milking a Fresian

Not much of a guide to milking a Friesian

The European Display Screen Equipment Regulations were introduced in 1992 as a way of improving the posture and wellbeing of people working on computers in the office. That’s a long time ago. Too long, in fact. Here’s a list of thing that have happened since then – 1. The Internet. Actually, we can stop there. Any piece of workplace legislation that predates the Internet almost certainly won’t be fit for purpose, not least one that is based on how we should work with computers. Yet there it all is on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. It’s all so hopelessly out of date, it’s like starting a farm using an Altamira cave painting as your guide. At the most straightforward level, you can take an image from one of the published guides such as this (below) and play a little game of spot the anachronism.

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How our noisy world was foreseen by the 20th Century’s great minds

noisy worldOver the past few years we’ve become more aware of the problems associated with the pace and clatter of modern life and not least among them its noise. Authors like Susan Cain have highlighted but only how distracting noise can be for everybody but how it affects different personality types in different ways. She is perhaps the world’s most high profile proponent of the idea that sometimes we need to work quietly and alone as the author of Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking and the person responsible for this now famous and archetypal TED Talk presented on the effects of sound and the need for more silence and privacy. But she is not alone in making these claims, nor is she the first person to do so and the warning signs have been around for quite some time.

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We shouldn’t be too quick to demonise the open plan office

Open planThere is a witch hunt on in the workplace. “Open plan” has become a dirty word and the national press are leading the mob in vilifying this so-called scourge. The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and Business Week have all reported that “we can’t get anything done in an open-plan office” as it affects our concentration, our performance and our health. These news items are all damning, but perhaps not as damming as the Wikipedia entry on open plan which states: “A systematic survey of research upon the effects of open plan offices found frequent negative effects in some traditional workplaces: high levels of noise, stress, conflict, high blood pressure and a high staff turnover… Most people prefer closed offices… there is a dearth of studies confirming positive impacts on productivity from open plan office designs”.

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Digital sector set to become ‘pivotal’ in Middle East over next five years

Dubai Perfect CityDeloitte has launched a new report into the Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector in the Middle East. Deloitte predicts that 2015 will be ‘pivotal’ for Digital Islamic Services as they start to take off across the Middle East region. The report estimates that within the next three to four years the region’s digital economy will nearly double in size from around US$15 billion currently to around $30 billion by 2018. The predictions are based on hundreds of discussions with industry executives, analysts and commentators, along with tens of thousands of individual interviews. The report also predicts that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will make significant open data advancements in 2015, and within the next three to five years, break into the top half of countries ranked the most ‘open’ in the world.

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Driverless cars will transform the UK economy by 2030, claims report

Driverless carsA new study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and KPMG claims that the development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320,000 jobs in the UK and deliver huge benefits to society and the economy. The first ever comprehensive analysis of the opportunities provided by the new technology claims that by 2030 driverless cars will deliver a £51 billion boost to the UK economy, reduce congestion and carbon emissions and cut serious road traffic accidents by more than 25,000. By that time all new cars will incorporate some form of connectivity, according to the report’s authors. It also predicts that the UK will be a global leader in the production of this next generation of vehicles, with the support of Government including financial backing. The study was presented at last week’s SMMT conference in London.

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