Majority of UK workers concerned about their ability to retire

Man-with-empty-pockets-006A new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development claims that the majority of UK workers are concerned that their current pension arrangements won’t allow them to retire. It found that the average employee pension contribution to a workplace-defined contribution pension scheme is currently 5 percent, but most employees think they should be saving almost double that (9 percent). Four in ten (43 percent) think they should be contributing more than 10 percent of their salary to their retirement savings and almost a quarter (22 percent) admitted they didn’t know how much they should be contributing. The shortfall between what employees are paying in and what they think they should be paying is highlighted by the fact that over half of UK workers have considered how they might work past state pension age and one in ten people (13 percent) are worried that they will never be able to afford to leave paid employment.

more…

Share Button

The financial services sector leads the way in how we think about office design

Office design and the cityThe office as we know it may continue to change, but that doesn’t mean its vital role at the heart of the organisation will diminish. The recent downturn meant some tough decisions had to be taken by many companies. It certainly focussed more attention on the way firms design and manage their workplace, based on a clear understanding of their economics. It is one of the most commonly cited truisms about office design that after staff, buildings are easily the second highest item of expenditure for the majority of organisations. The conclusion often drawn from this is that there is a compulsion to reduce space through new working practices or more efficient office design and management. Which may be true but the challenge is to take advantage of these opportunities without adversely affecting the company’s most expensive and valuable asset; its staff.

more…

Share Button

The only thing worse than employing idiots is employing engaged idiots

Homer motivatedThe current obsession with ‘engagement’ in the world of human resources management is evident every time you read the discipline’s media. This is understandable in many ways but one thing that is often noticeable when a profession gets itself into a debate of this nature is the gap that can exist between practitioners and everybody else proffering a view. So while academics can talk about definitions and suppliers seek to apply their solutions to the issue, it is often down to those who work at the sharp end to dish up the truth, however unpalatable or cynical that can seem to be. One of the best and funniest quotes on the matter was something that once appeared in a small piece in Human Resources magazine, in which Vance Kearney the HR Director EMEA for Oracle said ‘the only thing worse than employing an idiot is employing an engaged and motivated idiot’.

more…

Share Button

People with mental-health issues should be helped to stay at work, says OECD

Over a third of sickness and disability in OECD countries related to mental ill-healthAround 30 percent to 40 percent of all sickness and disability caseloads in OECD countries are related to mental-health problems finds a new OECD report. Fit Mind, Fit Job: From Evidence to Practice in Mental Health and Work reveals that the total cost of mental illness is estimated at around 3.5 percent of GDP in Europe.  People with mild to moderate disorders, such as anxiety or depression, are twice as likely to become unemployed. They also run a much higher risk of living in poverty and social marginalisation.  But although most people with mental health problems are in work they struggle; with 7 in 10 of them in 21 countries of the European Union reporting that they are underperforming at work. While a heavy workload and stress may add to mental health problems, the evidence shows that staying at work is also part of the solution if appropriate support is provided.

more…

Share Button

Over half of workplace support staff are privy to confidential conversations

Over half of workplace support staff are privy to confidential conversationsFacilities managers often remark that ensuring their staff gain the recognition they deserve for a job well done is much less common than fielding criticism when something in the workplace goes wrong. The fact is that when support staff are doing their work well, they fade into the background. For many office workers, the people who clean the workplace, deliver the mail, keep the building secure and make sure everything in the office is running smoothly; are all but invisible. But, as a new US survey by CareerBuilder suggests – support staff may know more a lot more about the occupants of the workplace than would make those people comfortable. Fifty-three percent of support staff workers have overheard confidential conversations at work, and 11 percent of support staff workers have stumbled upon information that could cause someone to be fired.

more…

Share Button

Majority of UK workers happy with work life balance, claims report

work life balanceA new report from private bank Investec claims that three quarters of the UK’s professionals working in fields such as law, finance and healthcare are happy with the current balance between their work and personal life. The survey of 2,000 people suggests that just a quarter (25 percent) claim to be unhappy with their work life balance and a third (32 percent) say that their friends and family would describe them as ‘workaholics’. However, a third (33 percent) are also confident of an improvement in their work life balance over the next five years even though the same proportion also claim that the past five years have seen it decline since 2010. Workers in London are most optimistic despite the fact they are most likely to see themselves as workaholics with nearly half (45 percent) feeling optimistic about the future state of their working and personal lives.

more…

Share Button

Female empowerment within UK workforce on rise but too few in full time jobs

Women in work indexA strengthening economy has helped the UK to rise up to 14th position out of 27 OECD countries in PwC’s annual Women in Work Index, but it still lags well behind many other countries in overall female economic empowerment. The Nordic countries continue to lead the Index, with Norway maintaining pole position, followed by Denmark and Sweden. These three countries have consistently occupied the top three positions in the Index since 2000 and the reason is that they all have a much fairer balance between genders on managing work and family life. By comparison, although the UK is in the top 10 performing OECD countries on female participation in the labour force, this is negatively impacted due to the low proportion of women in full-time employment; suggesting that flexible working  is having a negative impact on many women’s career prospects.

more…

Share Button

Video and gallery: Google’s new Silicon Valley headquarters

google10cropGoogle may be having second thoughts about the design of its new London offices, but it is rather less reticent about that of its new Silicon Valley headquarters. It plans to transform a 2.5 million square foot site in the Californian city of Mountain View into a home for around 10,000 workers. The pastoral setting has been designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Engels and incorporates parkland dotted with glass buildings including some Eden Project like geodesic domes. Unsurprisingly the campus buildings have been designed to achieve a LEED platinum accreditation and cars are largely discouraged from the site. Heatherwick has described the plans as humanistic and the plans include a number of community facilities including a new public safety building, two new parks, an educational science centre and even a residential development on neighbouring land.

more…

Share Button

US FCC agrees net neutrality deal to classify Internet as a public utility

digiCord_t479The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a reclassification of the Internet as a public utility for the first time. It follows last month’s call from the UK Government for a similar approach to ensure that everybody has equal access to the online world. The FCC ruling specifically forbids Internet service providers creating a range of fast and slow services as a way – critics argued – of hijacking the Internet to gain monopolistic control over the digital economy and favour larger websites able to afford the higher rates. The ruling on ‘net neutrality’ has been broadly welcomed, not least by those campaigners who have argued for years that it would mean an end to the Internet as we have known it; an open platform that offers equal opportunities to all users and content providers and so fosters innovation.

more…

Share Button

Lack of sleep of over a third of workers could be costly to the US economy

pillow02Forty-two percent of U.S. adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep on a typical night, the minimum number of hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for those aged 18 and older. Gallup research reveals not getting enough sleep is not only linked to lower well-being for individuals, but it is also costly to the U.S. economy. Employees may not have enough time to sleep because of working long hours, family obligations, insomnia or having poor well-being in other areas. For example, poor physical well-being, social isolation or financial strain could adversely affect quantity of sleep. According to Gallup, employers should explore interventions to promote the value of sleep and its link to employees’ well-being, as this relates to engagement, healthcare costs and productivity. When possible, they may want to allow employees to work flexible hours, which could make it easier for workers to balance work and family demands with getting enough sleep.

more…

Share Button