Canary Wharf bucks London’s Brexit office market slow down

Canary WharfCanary Wharf has outperformed the Central London office market during the past 12 months, with rental growth reaching 26.7 percent, ahead of Mayfair and St James’. It seems Canary Wharf’s high quality purpose built space, coupled with its relative affordability when compared to the rest of London, has helped attract significant deals in recent months. The most notable deal during Q1 was Thomson Reuters take up of 300,000sq ft in St Martin’s 5 Canada Square. Faisal Durrani, Cluttons head of research, explained, “It was only a matter of time before the area began to draw in occupiers, particularly from the City and City fringes. It’s a market that has undersold itself and its full potential is yet to be realised but we may be approaching a significant turning point in its attractiveness. In recent months, the Central London market has experienced Brexit nervousness and general settling of the market but Canary Wharf has bucked this trend.”

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Digital mobility to work anytime, anywhere is key to job satisfaction

Mobile workersIn a further nod to the growing relevance of flexible working, the ability to work anytime, anywhere is now key to job satisfaction with well over a third (38 percent) of employees in a global survey rating this as the number one factor, with the UK (43 percent) scoring this the highest. According to the “Mobility, Performance and Engagement” report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Aruba, employees in Western countries report themselves to be happier in their jobs, more loyal to their employers and more productive in their work compared to their counterparts in Eastern markets. When it comes to securing loyalty, the ability to hot desk was seen as paramount by many employees, notably in Singapore (37 percent), UAE (31 percent) and the US (34 percent), while the ability to collaborate with other employees was the number one choice for employees in Germany (43 percent), France (37 percent) and Japan (35 percent).

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Two in five managers oppose employees working from home

Costs of homeworkingFlexible working may be growing in popularity among employees but there is evidence of a gap in expectations between employers and employees on where work should take place. A new report from Randstad found that only around a third of UK employees (35 percent) still want to work in the office every day of the week, with a majority (62 percent) wanting the option of working from home. Employers it seems feel very differently, as a report by Cornerstone OnDemand and IDC reveals that cultural attitudes are a major obstacle for the full acceptance of flexible ways of working, preventing employers from viewing it as a legitimate work practice. Two in five line managers (40 percent) admit that they do not want their employees to work from home, and crucially, even if a company facilitates remote working, bosses’ attitudes are keeping their employees in the office, with just 13 percent of employees actually choosing to work from home when given the option.

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Urban Millennials are worried about the same things as everybody else

MillennialsThe acid test for any survey of the attitudes and experiences of Millennials is whether you could replace its findings with those for another generation and come up with broadly the same results. The answer is very often ‘yes’, which can generally be explained by pointing out that, contrary to what you may have heard, Millennials are people too and not the Midwich Cuckoos. So, here we have a survey from an organisation called YouthfulCities which claims that Millennials living in the world’s major cities are concerned about the high cost of housing, employment opportunities, inadequate infrastructure, crime and their personal happiness. Just like everybody else then. Except that the conclusion the survey draws is that cities need to become more ‘youthful’. Presumably in exactly the same way that office occupiers are routinely told that they need to create youthful workplaces, which is not only patronising to Millennials but also ignores the fact they’re not the only people there.

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Limited budgets greatest challenge to wellness programmes at work

wellness at workSixty-five per cent of respondents in a new survey across Europe, the Middle East and Africa claim that stress and mental health are the health and wellness issues they are most concerned about. Fifty-three per cent say that employees’ physical health is the biggest issue, while unhealthy lifestyles are judged to be the biggest issue by 49 percent. However, according to the study from Aon, only 32 percent of employers have emotional or psychological health programmes in place and 69 percent say limited budgets are their biggest challenge. While 93 percent of employers see a correlation between health and employee performance, just 13 percent of respondents measure outcomes of health strategies. The findings pinpoint areas for improvement and make recommendations to increase health benefits take-up, improve measurement on the impact of health initiatives and to maximise the return on investment that firms make in employee health.

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An out of hours email ban and why we all need the ‘right to disconnect’

Working late at homeThe recent announcement from President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party that they plan to give French employees the “right to disconnect” by pushing through measures for an email ban out of hours has been the subject of great debate. Although many commentators have argued the need for employers to encourage people to ‘switch off’ when they aren’t in work, to date there have been no legal guidelines on this specific issue, despite several negative reports about modern technology blurring the boundaries between home and work, which some claim is creating a stress epidemic. In the UK, the Working Time Regulations specify that no worker should work more than 48 hours per week. However, there has been no case law as to whether or not checking work emails outside working hours would fall within this limit – and many UK staff check and respond to work emails outside work hours, even on holidays.

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HR failing to inform European staff on implications of Brexit

BrexitThe majority of non-British Europeans living in the UK don’t feel informed by HR about potential work policy changes caused by Brexit and nine out of ten are worried about what will happen should the referendum lead to an exit vote. The study of 1,000 Europeans by totaljobs also found that one in three (33 percent) would feel discriminated against if they were to look for a job in the UK in the current climate. Of those Europeans already living in the country, (87 percent) are worried about the potential impact of a Brexit vote, with half (49 percent) fearing for their job security and over a third (37 percent) for their personal lives. Worryingly for employers, nearly half (40 percent) of respondents said that the British decision to hold the Brexit referendum has negatively affected their opinion of the country and is forcing some (25 percent) to reconsider their career options outside of the UK.

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New standard for building wellbeing launched in US

wellbeingIf you’re still confused about the proliferation of green building standards worldwide, then brace yourself. A new standard that seeks to measure the wellbeing inducing characteristics of a building has been launched as a counterpart to the WELL Building Standard developed by the Green Building Certification Institute and the International WELL Building Institute. The new standard is called Fitwel, was designed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration and is overseen by the Centre for Active Design. The standard uses a scorecard that ranks buildings on over 60 criteria such as indoor air quality, fitness facilities and lobby and stairwell design. According to its proponents these criteria apply well-established scientific principles to address seven characteristics of a healthy working environment. The standard is very much a product of the US public sector at this stage and was piloted in 89 federal buildings during 2015. Its full launch is scheduled for next year. Image: Gensler / Hedrich Blessing

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A fifth of staff experience more stress at home than in the workplace

Amityville-HorrorHome may not be the haven we might assume, meaning that employers who encourage staff to work from home may actually be adding to their stress levels. Around a fifth of employees find their domestic lives more stressful than their working lives and many either don’t want to discuss it with managers or feel unable to, claims a new report from MetLife Employee Benefits. According to Building Resilience in the Workplace, 19 percent of employees overall are more stressed at home than at work, with slightly more female respondents to the study claiming to be stressed more by their home lives than the workplace. Around 21 percent of women say their home life is more stressful compared to 15 percent of men. The research claims that 67 percent of employees say domestic issues – including childcare, looking after elderly parents and financial pressures – are having an impact on their work performance.

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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.

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