March 2, 2017
In the two years running up to the Brexit vote, London vied with New York and Hong Kong for the title of most expensive world city to accommodate employees and last year it was crowned the most expensive world class city for international businesses to rent office and living space for their employees. Now Brexit’s impact has made the UK look much better value on a world stage as the devaluation of sterling means it now ranks closer to Paris and Tokyo, leaving New York and Hong Kong in a league of their own with much higher accommodation costs. It now costs an average of US$88,800 per person to rent office and housing space in London, well below the price tag of June 2014 of US$124,500, according to the latest Savills Live-Work Index which measures annual accommodation costs per worker in leading world cities. By this measure, London is now 10 per cent cheaper in these terms than it was in December 2008.
March 1, 2017
Very few organisations are ready to manage a workforce where the latest technologies and people work side by side. Just 13 percent of UK companies are ready to respond to digital disruption and create “the organisation of the future”; despite 88 per cent believing this has become a priority. This is according to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, which tracks the top trends shaping the agenda for HR and business leaders. However, while UK companies believe they are ill-prepared for the change brought by digital disruption, this has not stopped many of them from embracing disruptive technologies. 42 per cent report that they have adopted robotics, cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies within all or parts of their workforce. Another 42 per cent are running pilots in certain areas of their organisation. But only 16 per cent say they are ready to manage a workforce with people, robots and AI working side by side.
February 28, 2017
I’ve wanted to write this piece for a while. I suspect it’ll piss a few people off. But I need to get it off my chest. I’ve held off writing it because I have been worried that it will be seen as disrespectful to the memory of a well-liked and respected member of the facilities management community, Chris Stoddart. I never knew Chris. But from what I’ve heard from those who did, his reputation is well deserved. I hope that Chris’ friends, colleagues and family will understand what I have to say and why I’m saying it. I was at last year’s Think FM event where the BIFM launched The Stoddart Review in Chris’ memory. The aim was to explore the link between workplace design and management and productivity.
February 28, 2017
New and updated guidance s being published today by Acas to help employers and their staff understand the many different types of employment arrangements that exist in the modern workplace and their legal entitlements. The revised guidance is released against the backdrop of Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the Royal Society of the Arts) review which considers the implications of new forms of work driven by digital platforms, for employee rights and responsibilities, employer freedoms and obligations, and the existing regulatory framework surrounding employment. The new Acas guidance reflects these changes to the way in which people work, are expected to work in the future, and follows recent legal cases about employment status; including the Pimlico Plumber and Uber decisions.
February 21, 2017
Business rates are a substantial overhead for many businesses, and therefore those occupying a property need to be aware of the impact of the 1 April rates revaluation and the forthcoming changes to the rates valuation appeals process. The revaluation may affect the level of compensation payable to some business tenants seeking to renew their leases. Current business rateable values took effect in England and Wales on 1 April 2010, based on rateable values on 1 April 2008. However, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is revising rateable values on 1 April 2017. While the rateable value of some properties is reducing, others (for example many London retail and restaurant premises) face a significant increase. You can check the draft values on the VOA website to see whether your property is due to change.
February 21, 2017
Leaders would have and even greater incentive to improve health and safety if their performance was more transparent and executive pay and bonuses were linked to it, suggests the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). This is one of nine summary recommendations made by IOSH in its response to the UK Government’s Corporate Governance Reform Green Paper proposals, which follow public concern about serious failures, such as those at Sports Direct. IOSH agrees with the Prime Minister’s views, expressed in her foreword to the green paper published last November, where she said: “…big business must earn and keep the trust and confidence of their customers, employees and the wider public”. The suggestions IOSH makes contribute constructively to those aims.
February 20, 2017
Shifting digital dynamics are reshaping the way organisations operate and are recasting the traditional route to business success, claims new research into the rise of the digital workplace. Ricoh’s new report into digital workplace trends produced in partnership with polling company Censuswide, argues that the latest technology strategies are rendered useless without proper commitment to skills training and the empowerment of those workers who will be making use of it. It advises that businesses need to work on improving the workforce’s digital dexterity by creating an office culture fit for sharing ideas and skills across social, video and digital platforms. The report identifies digital skills training as a key differentiator for employees seeking a new job. Over a third of UK office workers (37 per cent) say they would move jobs to a company which offered better digital skills in the workplace. Likewise a modest 18 per cent of respondents rated their skills as ‘excellent’ whilst 51 per cent said ‘good’ and 30 per cent considered themselves ‘average.’
February 16, 2017
The majority (79 percent) of workers say reliable and modern technology is more important to them than office aesthetics, while accessories such as ping pong tables, slides, hammocks and wacky office designs may look good in pictures, but they don’t necessarily make employees any happier or productive. The is according to a survey, conducted by storage firm Kiwi Movers, which found that 86 percent of UK adults who work in an office said fun features were of no specific value to their working life, 11 percent said they were nice-to-have and of some value and 3 percent said they were very valuable. The most popular office perks are those offer an immediate tangible benefit to the employee, but even so, as many as 23 percent don’t take advantage every day; while 71 percent overall said they’d like more space in their office and of those, 58 percent believe that could be achieved by removing non-essential items. The research also found that younger workers were more likely on average to take advantage of ‘environmental’ perks like chill out areas and recreational equipment.
February 10, 2017
This is the first of two responses to an excellent article by Antony Slumbers, in this instance offering that his views offer too conservative a view of how technology will shape the future of work. Dr Pangloss, the teacher of metaphysics in Candide, Voltaire’s hilariously sarcastic attack on Leibnizian optimism, offered a timeless and universal explanation of the most cruel and tragic events as “the best of all possible worlds”. I would argue however that far from creating a landscape of optimism, it facilitates a dismissal of all significant change as an irrelevance given that effectively we have no option other than to happily accept it. For example, whether property transitions to a service or remains locked in its existing institutional quagmire, it doesn’t matter. Either way its fine as it’s the best we can hope for. Accept it, happily. A Panglossian future only looks appealing if you’re –well, Dr Pangloss.
February 10, 2017
Sodexo has published its 2017 Global Workplace Trends report, which claims to define the most critical factors affecting the world’s workers and employers. According to the report, the trends portray a workplace that blends work life with outside life, catering to employee needs through improvements in wellness, space design and learning programs. “With this piece, we’ve distilled key findings from different sectors, generations and countries to produce a report that provides a holistic view of the global workplace,” said Sylvia Metayer, CEO, Worldwide Corporate Services segment, Sodexo. “It’s critical for business leaders to recognise the underlying trends driving change, to evaluate their significance and stay ahead of—rather than follow—them.”
February 3, 2017
Commercial construction activity in the UK for the 12 months to the end of 2016 fell to £16.7 billion, down 14.1 percent on the previous quarter, according to JLL and Glenigan’s Q4 2016 UK Commercial Construction Activity Index. In London, activity declined in a quarterly comparison but increased 2.7 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Construction started at 22 Bishopsgate in London City which will provide a total of 1.3 million sq ft of office space, and is scheduled to complete in 2019. The 70,000 sq ft office refurbishment of 33 Gutter Lane also commenced in Q4 with completion scheduled for the second half of the year. Elsewhere it was a mixed picture across the regions with commercial construction activity increasing in the North East, South West and Wales, albeit from a relatively low base; but activity was more subdued in other regions, particularly in Yorkshire and the Humber were the level of construction activity fell 22.0 percent y-o-y.
January 26, 2017
Workers across the globe are excited by the potential for technology to enhance their work lives and create new career opportunities, but over a third (40 percent) fear that they won’t be able to keep up with the rate of change required by digital business, claims a new survey. Across Europe 77 percent of workers acknowledge that disruption and increased competition will require more people with digital skills in order to compete on a global scale; however, the level of encouragement employees believe they are currently receiving to drive change in the workplace varies greatly throughout the world. Only 64 percent of respondents in the US saying they feel empowered by their company culture to lead innovation, whereas 90 percent of employees in Mexico feel their workplaces encourages them to drive change. The BMC study of over 3,200 office workers in 12 countries worldwide found that 88 percent of office workers across the world strongly believe that employers must create an innovative culture to retain staff and enable them to be successful with increasingly digital roles and responsibilities.