New issue of Work&Place is now available to download and read online 0

Work&PlaceThe September issue of Work&Place has today been published and is available to download or view online. Amongst this month’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s review of June’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the  firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement

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BIM’s impact on future of built environment mapped out by construction experts 0

New report by construction group on digital future for built environmentA new report by an influential group of young construction professionals has been published today which illustrates the need for organisations to consider new skills, new processes and develop strategies around emerging technologies that will ensure that the UK stays ahead in embracing the digital construction future. The report by the BIM2050 Group, comprises a compilation of essays authored by BIM2050 work stream leads, and focuses on three key areas; education and skill; technology and process; and the culture of integration. Built Environment 2050: A report on our digital future, highlights the risks and challenges and the opportunities and benefits that come with large scale innovation and game-changing new technologies. Commented Graham Watts OBE, CIC Chief Executive: “It is an important discussion document of ideas and concepts that will, I hope, spark debate in the wider construction community.” …more

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Germany set to introduce evening email ban, but is it really needed? 2

email banIt seems likely that the much discussed German ban on out-of-hours emails is to be implemented. According to reports over the weekend,  the German Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has agreed to the implementation of new legislation that aims to end the culture of people dealing with messages outside of their normal working hours and could lead to a total free time email ban. The opportunity to herald the new legislation came with the publication of a new report she had commissioned into mental health and work, which led her to claim that ‘there is an undeniable link between being constantly available for work and mental illness.’. However the new legislation has met with a degree of scepticism, especially in an article written over the weekend by Karl-Heinz Büschemann for Germany’s largest circulation national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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Third-place workspaces as well as flexible hours are key to success, says workplace provider 0

Flexible people and place is key to success argues workplace providerAs the summer holidays draw to an end, many working parents will be appreciative of the benefits of flexible working. Now new research from Regus has highlighted the long-term benefits of agile working in helping employers to attract and retain staff. Prospective employees are increasingly demanding some form of flexi-working deal, while nine out of ten employers report that offering flexible working options – including flexi-location as well as flexi-hours – is proving a highly effective way of improving staff morale and helping them to achieve a better work-life balance. While the workplace provider is understandably in favour of the flexi-location concept, as a provider of ‘third-place’ workspaces, for instance at railway stations, this kind of multi-location working is undoubtably growing in popularity …more

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Business leaders seem powerless to stem tide of always on working, claims report 0

Always on workingAmongst the reported findings in the latest edition of the annual Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey is a growing belief amongst business leaders that information overload and the always on working culture are significantly undermining personal wellbeing, engagement and productivity. This challenge has been identified before in the same report, but the latest edition perhaps signals that despite the high level of awareness of the issue at both a personal and general level, little is being achieved in terms of stemming the inexorable erosion of personal time. The report is based on a survey of more than 2,500 business leaders. It found that over a third think that constant access to work is undermining employee productivity and engagement and fewer than one in ten feel they are dealing with the problem adequately. …more

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Lack of regional commercial property could hamper UK growth 0

commercial propertyAlthough construction is on an upward trend, the development of commercial property lags behind, and the situation is particularly challenging in the West Midlands. According to JLL and Glenigan’s inaugural Commercial Construction Index, total construction starts by value, year end Q2 of 2014 were 15 per cent down compared to Q2 of 2013 at £2.03 billion. Graham Taylor, director of JLL’s Birmingham Buildings & Construction team, explained that the volume of commercial property being started has not risen substantially since the recession. Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester are already experiencing a shortage of Grade A office space – with much of the shortfall due to a drop in construction activity compared to the early to mid 2000′s. He said: “Rising corporate confidence means that many companies are looking to upgrade their workplaces. The corporate world is increasingly recognising that well-designed modern offices can be a key driver of productivity and staff retention, two major strategic concerns.”

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Mode of transport when commuting determines health and happiness 0

CommutingNew research published in the British Medical Journal last week has confirmed the perhaps obvious fact that people who drive to work are generally less healthy and more overweight than those who get to work in other ways. More surprisingly, the report also found that using public transport to commute may be just as beneficial to healthy as cycling. The report suggests that with nearly 24 million people regularly commuting to work each day in England and Wales, its results based long term research with a sample of 16,000 people should have significant implications for Government infrastructure policy, urban design and individual workplace policies. “Policies designed to effect a population-level modal shift to more active modes of work commuting therefore present major opportunities for public health improvement”, it concludes.

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Encourage staff to stand up at work to improve wellbeing says health expert 0

More standing up at work would improve staff healthThe National Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, Kevin Fenton has recommended that staff should stand for at least an hour a day. He says the working day should be broken up by holding stand-up meetings, coffees or lunches or by simply setting aside a certain amount of time to work standing up; which could help lower obesity levels and improve staff’ general health, reports HR Grapevine. His advice echoes that of campaigners “Get Britain Standing” which warns that statistics showing that British people sit for 8.9 hours each day (on average) has been found to be detrimental to health. Describing being active as the “miracle cure we’ve been waiting for” to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and improving mental health, Fenton said: “Globally we’ve become more and more inactive, in part because our jobs are making us more sedentary. We spend too much time sitting down at our computers.” …more

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Hotels allocating more public space to meet the needs of business travellers 0

Business TravellersPresenteeism isn’t restricted to the workplace. Growing demand from business travellers means hotels are increasing the amount of working and meeting space they provide in their facilities in cities across Europe and the rest of the world. Three quarters of British employees work while staying in a hotel according to the survey carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute on behalf of hotel business solutions firm HRS. Only Italians spend more time working in hotels (76 percent), followed the UK (75 percent), Poland and Switzerland (50 percent respectively), Germany (46 percent), China (45 percent), Russia (43 percent), Austria (42 percent) and France (25 percent). The firm has also identified a number of hotels around the world which it believes offers exemplars of the new working spaces available.

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The workplace as a strategic resource: a real life CEO’s perspective 1

NEF today-3 workplace as a strategic resourceRaise your hand if you agree: “The workplace is obviously a strategic resource.” We facilities management professionals know that to be true. But if you often feel like a voice in the wilderness when speaking to anyone other than a fellow FM or workplace professional, you are certainly not alone. For many if not most senior executives, their facilities are a necessary evil that always – always! – cost too much. That reality frustrates me as much as it does you. So my colleague Paul Carder and I conducted two extensive research projects in 2012 and 2013 aimed at making the case (mostly to FM professionals themselves) that facilities and workplaces are incredibly strategic – and very poorly understood. And while we’ve gotten lot of positive feedback about our findings and conclusions, we haven’t seen much change in mindsets, management practices, or business outcomes.

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