Political focus on regulation misses real workplace issues, says CIPD 0

Politician's focus on regulations ignore the real workplace influencers says CIPDOne of the key policies of the Coalition Government is its Red Tape Challenge, intended to ‘roll back’ as many ‘restrictive’ employment regulations as possible. Such deregulation has been lambasted by the Labour party for its negative effect on employer / employee relations and workplace performance. As the parties gear up for the election May this argument looks set to intensify. Yet according to a major new report from the CIPD, Employment Regulation and the Labour Market, neither approach is likely to have any impact on UK labour market outcomes, suggesting there isn’t a case for the next Government to either deregulate or strengthen employment rights. Instead, the CIPD is urging policymakers to focus efforts on improving productivity through a much stronger focus on workplace practices, increasing awareness of existing rights and enforcing them more effectively.

…more

Share Button

British workers suffer in silence in noisy office environments 0

Hanging onNew research from Avanta Serviced Office Group claims that noise in the office environment is severely damaging the productivity of British businesses. The study of more than 1,000 UK office workers found that although over 80 percent of employees claim to being regularly distracted by noise in the workplace, fewer than half complain about it. Instead around a third admit they simply take themselves somewhere quieter such as their homes or a cafe or library. The study also identifies the distractions that bother people the most, most deriving directly from their colleagues including overheard conversations, ringtones, loud eating habits, whistling, music and even people talking to themselves. Compared to these human sources, the racket generated by inanimate objects features low down the list of irritants.

…more

Share Button

Wellness programmes may be causing more problems than they solve 4

wellness backfiresFar from making employees healthier, a corporate focus on their wellness may actually be making them unhappier and more prone to illnesses. That is the conclusion of a new book published by two researchers at Cass Business School and Stockholm University. In the book, The Wellness Syndrome, the authors Andre Spicer and Carl Cederström claim that the fixation with monitoring wellbeing and initiating wellness programmes may be having the obverse effect to that intended. The book argues that an obsession with wellness obliges some people to pretend to be happy at work, even when they are not and that the pressure to fit with a corporate notion of what constitutes a ‘well’ person makes them depressed and anxious that they will be labelled by their employer and colleagues if they don’t fit an ideal.

…more

Share Button

Latest commercial buildings listings illuminate changing world of work 1

30 Cannon StreetThe latest fourteen buildings to be listed as part of the Post-War Commercial Buildings Project have been announced by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The project was initiated by English Heritage in 2011 as a way of recognising the significance and diversity of commercial buildings and acknowledging their unique proneness to change. According to English Heritage the latest fourteen Grade II listed entries (as well as a number of others assessed but deemed of lesser significance) also highlight how the design of commercial buildings reflected the changing world of work up to the cut off point of 1984. Although the projects are predominantly in the South East, there are listings for commercial buildings in Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Birmingham.

…more

Share Button

Collaborative workspace concept is being embraced in the City 0

Collaborative workspace concept moves into the City of LondonIt looks like the collaborative workspace concept is gaining credence beyond the tech start-up fraternity. British Land has announced it is to partner with Central Working, a members’ club which provides growing businesses with infrastructure, support and tools, to open a new club, Central Working City, at 4 Crown Place, next to Liverpool Street station. The move reflects a growing demand from start-ups and entrepreneurs for more collaborative workspaces in the area.The new club will occupy 11,000 sq ft across three floors of the five storey building. Following an extensive fit out the new club will offer members a mixture of shared working space, break out rooms, permanent offices and outdoor space. Profits from the club will be shared between British Land and Central Working.

…more

Share Button

Sprinkling a little stardust on the workplace design debate 0

workplace design stardustThe idea that extraterrestrial organisms have throughout time seeded the surface of the Earth is not the sole preserve of loonies, mystics, conspiracy theorists, the stoned and wishful thinkers.  It has some pretty high profile and serious adherents. One of the most surprising was the astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle; pillar of the scientific community for much of his life, atheist, Darwinist and the man who coined the term Big Bang. Yet also a man who believed that the global 1918 flu pandemic, polio and HIV were each the result of micro-organisms that fell from the skies rather than developing here on Earth. The broader scientific community dismisses such thinking because it derives in part from either an incredulity at the processes involved – as was the case with Hoyle – or an ignorance of them.

…more

Share Button

New report aims to demystify successful workplace design strategies 0

workplace design

Still from Jacques Tati’s Playtime

A new report aims to demystify the debate about the factors that determine an effective workplace design strategy. The Workplace Evolutionaries group in partnership with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Workplace and IFMA Foundation have published what they claim is the definitive workplace guide: Applying What Scientists Know about WHERE and HOW people work best.  The author is Dr. Sally Augustin who argues that the study offers a comprehensive repository of research that ‘organises the tremendous body of empirical study that has been conducted in the social and physical sciences which is applicable to workplace managers and designers.’ The result is a study that looks to do away with black and white choices and considers workplace design and management issues with the sophistication they merit.

Share Button

Employers over-estimate levels of staff happiness and engagement 0

 Employers over-estimate levels of staff happiness and engagementNearly half (46%) of employers believe their company is a great place to work compared with less than a third (31%) of staff, and UK staff have alarmingly low energy levels, a new survey has revealed. The data from MetLife’s UK Employee Benefits Trends Survey shows how highly employers rate recruitment and retention. Forty percent of UK companies say they will be affected by talent shortages over the next year and their key benefits challenges are retaining (41%) and hiring talent (37%). However, the greatest recruitment and retention challenge is the gap between employer and employee views. Although 32 percent of employees say they are loyal to their employer – just 22 percent believe their employer is loyal to them. In contrast 39 percent of employers’ believe their employees are loyal and 40 percent believe they are loyal to employees.

…more

Share Button

Digital revolution continues to transform the way we work 0

Old-Street-TechhubThe full extent of the way digital technology is transforming British working life is apparent in new research published by Brunel University. The study – essentially a snapshot of the digital revolution in 2015 – found that 98 percent of the 830 businesses surveyed have a website, 8 in 10 manage finances online, 53 percent provide flexible working and 63 percent see innovation as a way to improve customer satisfaction. However, the study also reveals a major gulf between big business and SMEs, with larger firms significantly more digitised than their smaller contemporaries. This raises concerns over the preparedness  of the SME sector at a time when the Government’s growth agenda has prioritised nurturing and supporting new and evolving enterprises – and for whom the digital battleground has broken down traditional barriers to entry.

…more

Share Button

How well designed office hives can foster swarm intelligence 0

sourceimageA beehive in your back-garden is hardly ideal, nor is stumbling across an ants’ nest while searching for a picnic spot. However, these swarms have become the inspiration for a revolutionary new way of working. Swarm intelligence describes how a group of people find effective solutions to difficult problems and their ability to adapt automatically to changing environments and work as a team of equals. To get the full benefits of swarm intelligence, we need to make sure that our offices have areas where staff can collaborate. There can be no rigid structures or process chains that ideas have to go through. The flow of knowledge shouldn’t be restricted. It should be allowed to flood through our businesses and offices and take no account of whether the people sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions have been with a company for five days or five years.

…more

Share Button