UK surveyors remain slow to adopt BIM despite awareness of risks

Key to success of BIM implementation is collaboration says RICSAccording to a new survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, around a half (49 percent) of surveyors do not use Building Information Modelling (BIM) on a regular basis, despite the fact that a significant majority (74 percent) have considered the business case and a similar proportion (73 percent) acknowledge that non-adoption will create significant challenges for the UK construction sector. When asked for the reason for non-adoption. around two thirds (68 percent) feel  they lack the information to adopt BIM properly, a third (31 percent) claim there is no need for their own firm and a quarter (26 percent) say they lack the technical skills needed for adoption. This is in spite of that fact that over half of all respondents (55 percent) say that they are currently working with architects that use BIM.

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Unconscious bias can adversely affect recruitment and retention says CIPD

Employers' unconscious biasNew research from the CIPD has revealed that both male and female managers tend to favour men over women in hiring decisions; while there is an unconscious tendency to hire people like ourselves. The report A Head for Hiring: The Behavioural Science of Recruitment shows that initial perceptions of whether a person will be a good fit can be determined by factors which have no real impact on performance, including visual, cultural, demographic and situational factors. Worryingly, identical CVs seem to get more call-backs when the applicant is typically deemed to have a ‘white’ name as opposed to one that can obviously be associated with an ethnic minority. The report makes a number of recommendations to ensure that employers have consistent hiring practices.  Meanwhile, Acas has also published two new free practical guides for employers and managers on how to recruit and settle in staff.

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Flexible working plea to support parents of younger school age children

Little Children Hands doing FingerpaintingAlthough workers with school age children may find things easier now that the summer holidays are drawing to a close, according to the TUC, there are new challenges ahead for the work-life balance of the estimated 400,000 working mothers whose children start primary school across England and Wales this September. Most primary schools in the UK operate a staggered start for children entering reception classes, with youngsters required to attend just for morning or afternoon sessions for the first few weeks and the union is calling on employers to be supportive of working parents and allow them to work flexibly to help manage their childcare over this period. Over half of the working mothers who took part in a joint poll by the Guardian and Netmums earlier this year had decided to take time out from work or go part time when their children started school.

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Three quarters of US workers avoid the office to get important work done

Office

Three quarters (76 percent) of US workers surveyed by online job site FlexJobs say that when they need to get important work done, they avoid the office completely. Of over 2,600 respondents, 50 percent reported that their home is their location of choice to be most productive on important work-related projects. Another 12 percent said they would choose a coffee shop, coworking space, library, or other place besides the office. Fourteen percent would choose the office but only outside standard hours, leaving less than a quarter who prefer the actual office during regular working hours as a place to complete important work. The main reasons for fleeing the corporate embrace were to avoid interruptions from colleagues (cited by 76 percent), escape distractions (74 percent), evade office politics (71 percent), reduce the stress of commuting (68 percent) and work in more comfortable surroundings (65 percent).

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Traffic congestion costing UK firms £4.5 billion a year, claims report

The daily grind of commuting to work is not only taking its toll on the health, wellbeing and fuses of employees, it is also costing businesses billions of pounds a year in lost working hours, claims a new report from fleet management firm Lex Autolease. The study, part of the firm’s annual survey of trends in corporate car use, estimates that employees spend around 13 percent of their work-related journey times held up by jams and congestion and that the 1,041 people surveyed also spent an average of 70 minutes each day in their car travelling to and from work. In addition, around one in twenty (5 percent) of people commute for more than three hours each day, while just 8 percent said they were based from home so commuting wasn’t an issue. The study concludes that this costs UK employers some £4.5 billion each year.

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People are holding more meetings, including at weekends claims report

CaptureThe increasingly globalised nature of work, greater workforce mobility and the development of new technology are the main forces influencing the way people meet, claims a new study from Blue Jeans Network, a US based provider of video-conferencing systems. The firm’s State of the Modern Meeting Report , draws on its own data from more than five million online meetings in 177 countries to explore the way meetings are evolving. One of the report’s more intriguing claims is that weekend meetings have become far more frequent over the past two years with an increase of 49 percent in the number of meetings  taking place on Saturdays, and an 84 percent increase in those taking place on Sundays. The report suggests that while on-site video-conferencing is becoming more popular, around a quarter of meetings have at least one video caller who is away from the office.

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Flexible working key to counteracting female workers’ ‘baby shame’

Flexible working key to counteracting female workers' 'baby shame'Whether the gender pay gap is more of a motherhood gap is an ongoing debate, but now a new survey has found that when even planning to have children, one in five (18 percent) working women hide their family plans from their employers. In an interview with the BBC yesterday, Labour Party leader candidate Yvette Cooper revealed that when she took maternity leave from her ministerial job in 2001, there was no procedure in place and when she sought maternity leave a couple of years later, things were made very difficult for her. If that’s how a high powered government minister is treated then it is no wonder over half (58 percent) of women feel they would have to alter their career in order to have a child, and why three quarters feel flexible working which doesn’t leave women feeling ‘baby shame’ for working child friendly hours is essential.

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And the unsurprising winner of the Carbuncle Cup this year is…

Walkie Talkie, winner of the Carbuncle CupIn one of the least surprising announcements of the year so far, Building Design magazine has announced that this year’s winner of its annual Carbuncle Cup is London’s Walkie Talkie. The building, officially 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, was always the frontrunner. Its bulbous 37-storey design has always been a source of contention with the Government, UNESCO and English Heritage raising objections to its impact on the London skyline. During its construction it raised practical concerns in addition to its undeniable aesthetic challenges and the shaky design of its ‘sky garden’, most notably by reflecting and concentrating sunlight to fry the street below (a problem solved by a multi-million pound investment in alterations to the facade) and by funnelling strong winds around its base (an issue that has prompted a wider look into the impact of tall buildings at street level).

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We need to do more than pay lip service to workplace wellbeing

BlakeEnvelopes-WorkSpace1Too many companies continue to talk about employees as their ‘greatest asset’ yet their fine words are not always not borne out in their behaviour, be that through working culture, remuneration or environment. With more and more investors using employee wellness and engagement as a barometer for the health, stability and culture of the business – the concept of workplace wellbeing is finally garnering the attention it deserves. Our workplace behaviours, cultures and environments are not keeping us fit, well, productive, happy or profitable. Finally businesses are accepting their moral responsibility to take better care of their people. So what affects employee productivity, creativity and happiness and how can changes to the workplace promote the best financial and moral outcomes for businesses and employees alike?

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Government announces plans to improve national levels of fair pay

North south divideA package of measures designed to improve levels of fair pay have been announced by the Government  today; including doubling the penalties for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage; increasing the enforcement budget and setting up a new team in HMRC to take forward criminal prosecutions for those who deliberately do not comply. A new team of compliance officers in HMRC will investigate the most serious cases of employers not paying the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage when it is introduced in April 2016. This team will have the power to use all available sanctions, including penalties, prosecutions and naming and shaming the most exploitative employers. Employers who fail to pay staff at least the minimum wage they are legally entitled to will have to pay double what they do now.

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