Yet another report into the Future of Work that is really about the present 0

Future of WorkJust a few days ago, a survey from Morgan Lovell and the British Council for Offices highlighted the value British workers placed on having somewhere to work, regardless of its drawbacks, privations and distractions. Now a new report from consultants PwC seems to draw the opposite conclusion. Heralded by predictably tedious headlines declaring the office to be dead or dying, The Future of Work: A Journey to 2022 claims that a quarter of the 10,000 people surveyed believe the traditional job will disappear and around a fifth claim to have already had enough of the 9 to 5 in a fixed physical space and would prefer to work in a ‘virtual place’ – which seems to mean anywhere with WiFi.  As ever, any report addressing ‘The Future of Work’ is primarily and perhaps unwittingly about the present.

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The Insight newsletter is available to view online 0

2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn the latest edition of the Workplace Insight newsletter available to view online; ‘standing room only’ as Mark Eltringham reviews the Outstanding Landscape of Affordances, commissioned by the Netherlands’ Chief Government Architect; Justin Miller says any natural scepticism regarding the workplace of the future shouldn’t blind us to predictions that we know will largely come true; and James Sutton CEO of BIFM explains why increasing collaboration between FM and HR can benefit both disciplines. In news we reveal that advances in workplace connectivity means senior executives are far more satisfied with their work-life balance than ever; three of the most talked about UK office developments are given the go ahead within the space of a few days; and a BCO study espouses the continued importance of the office as the best place to do business. We also include a link to the new issue of Work&Place, the journal we publish in partnership with Occupiers Journal.

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A vision of office design that is the exact opposite of all it claims to be 0

Outstanding Landscape of Affordances 3The currently voguish idea that ‘sitting kills’ finds an interesting interpretation in this conceptual office design by Dutch architects RAAAF and the artist Barbra Visser. Designed with the good intentions of encouraging movement, the hellish outcome has the aesthetics of a stealth bomber crossed with an underpass in Peterborough reimagined by MC Escher, the functionality and appeal of a Snowdonian potholing weekend and is populated by 21st Century hipsters and band members of Kraftwerk. This is the Outstanding Landscape of Affordances, commissioned by the Netherlands’ Chief Government Architect and set to become a real installation in Amsterdam next year. To be fair, the blurb does describe the idea as ‘a first step towards a future in which standing at work is the new norm’, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore its catastrophic shortcomings, even as a talking point.

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Employees embracing flexible working law change, finds survey 0

Employees enthusiastic about flexible working law changeThere has been a rush of people looking to take advantage of the new flexible working laws which came into place on June 30. A survey among office workers around the country found that seven out of 10 people were aware of the change in the law, with many of them considering making requests for flexible hours. The survey by Powwownow found that, within a week of the rule change, 8 per cent of respondents had already filed a request for flexible hours, with a further 11 per cent saying they wanted to follow suit. Just over one in three people in the survey said that in the future, flexible working was something they would consider. The most popular request made to date was for a change in working times; 52 per cent opted for this and 47 per cent said they wanted to change their working hours, possibly to allow for other commitments outside of work. …more

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We may not know what the future holds, but we can certainly be prepared for it 0

unknown-futureGiven the track record of people when it comes to making predictions about the future, it’s easy to grow cynical, especially when it involves a profession as subject to the vagaries of technological and cultural change as facilities management. But while we should be wary of more fanciful and long term thinking, any natural scepticism shouldn’t blind us to those predictions that we know will largely come true, especially those based on what we know is happening already. For example, recent research carried out by Cass Business School and Henley Business School and presented in the book Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work found that two-thirds of managers believe there would be a revolution in working practices over the coming ten years. Given what we’ve seen over the past ten years, it’s impossible to argue any different. In fact the only quibble we should have with this is that it won’t take another ten years for this to happen because the process is already well underway.

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Global executives value work-life balance benefits of connected workplace 0

Global executives value work-life balance that technology allowsSenior global executives are working more hours and in more locations now ever, but advances in workplace connectivity mean they are far more satisfied with their work-life balance. According to the 2014 BlueSteps Work-Life Balance Report, by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), over half (52%) are satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance. In comparison, four years ago, 55 per cent did not believe their current work-life balance was satisfactory. Global executives work an average of 58.5 hours per week, with 39 per cent working over 60 hours per week; but the majority (81%) of those polled consider work-life balance when deciding on whether or not to accept a new position.Over one quarter (28%) rate their work-life ratio as more important than their potential earnings and 31 per cent would refuse a promotion or new job offer if it negatively affected their preferred work-life balance ratio. …more

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The collaboration between BIFM and CIPD unites the workplace tribes 0

workplace tribesThe world of work and the workplace is always changing. We know it. You know it. In fact, there are a whole host of people that know it, but depending on what side of the professional fence you sit on, you might approach it in different ways, looking through a different lens or with a specific focus. Or are you already bridging the professional gap? Workplace change and the numerous ramifications of it are well documented. In a world that is changing, at frightening pace, it is strange to think that many of the ways in which we work are so entrenched in 20th century thinking. We need to break away from this and outline what the future is going to look like and how we should adapt. Or do we already have the answers? This ground is well trodden. However, it could be time to reassess our thinking and the way we approach this challenge, ensuring it becomes the norm for organisations around the world.

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There is a moral imperative to meet global standards in workplace performance 0

International evolution in global standards of workplace managementMany corporate organisations now operate on a global scale, with operations spread across a number of countries and continents. But while they are geographically diverse, they nevertheless have a requirement to meet measurable standards of performance, delivered on a consistent basis regardless of location. If something works well in one country, companies want to be able to replicate it in all others. Wherever standards relating to compliance, health and safety, sustainability, leadership or management are most rigorous, it makes good business sense to employ those same standards wherever they have a presence. But from the collapse of a building full of factory workers in Bangladesh to the death of hundreds of construction workers in Qatar, the need to promote and adhere to international standards is more than a matter of mere commerciality.

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Three major UK office developments get green light following months of talk 0

UK office developments

Plans for the new Astra Zeneca facility in Cambridge by Herzog & de Meuron

Three of the most talked about UK office developments have been given the go ahead within the space of a few days. The Government has finally announced that the new construction headquarters for HS2 will be in Birmingham, rather than London. Meanwhile, following all of the wrangling about its proposed takeover by Pfizer, Astra Zeneca has announced that the controversial move of its research facility from Cheshire to a new base in Cambridge will involve the creation of a new £330 million complex designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.  Finally, planning consent has been granted for the  4.9 million sq ft Wood Wharf development in docklands including nearly 2 million sq ft of office space which the developer claims will be aimed at the thriving London technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector.

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Corporate social reponsibility remains a vital part of the business armoury 0

Corporate Social responsibilityThere is now an unstoppable energy for radical change in the way that companies of all sizes conduct their Corporate Social Responsibility duties. There are compelling economic and social reasons for companies to construct new ways of thinking and practice around CSR that go way beyond just doing something worthy or nice, from building effective partnerships to attracting top employees. Some companies prefer terms like ‘corporate responsibility’, ‘corporate conscience’, ‘corporate citizenship’, ‘social performance’, ‘sustainability’ or even ‘future-proofing’ over CSR. But the core CSR principles are that a business voluntarily commits to embracing responsibility for its actions and to impacting positively on the environment, on society and on consumers, employees and other stakeholders. …more

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