April 27, 2017
Employees are divided on whether remote access to the workplace is really a positive or negative development, with almost a third of UK workers (32 percent) feeling that having remote access to the workplace means they can’t switch off in their personal time. According to the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report, two-fifths of UK workers (40 percent) admit to actively checking their work mobile or emails at least five times a day outside of working hours. Nearly a fifth (18 percent) feel as though they are under surveillance with remote access to work, and 17 percent say it makes them feel anxious or even impacts their quality of sleep. However, almost a third (30 percent) of employees say they feel empowered by having remote access to the workplace, showing a divide in opinion. Indeed, more than half of employees (53 percent) say it helps them to work flexibly and more than a third (37 percent) say it makes them more productive.
April 26, 2017
A majority of workers (65 percent) now feel comfortable requesting to work from home, while a third (33 percent) of UK employees would decline a job offer if they weren’t able to work flexibly. This is according to a new study from Maintel which claims that today’s multi-generational workforce prefers flexible working to traditional office hours and location; with flexible work policies perceived as an important workplace benefit. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of respondents say the company they work for has good flexible work policies in place, 64 percent of remote workers don’t feel micromanaged, and 58 percent would take the opportunity to spend even less time in an office, if it were available. Well over half (60 percent) of respondents believe technology can replace in-person interaction in the workplace. Yet there remain challenges with flexible work, including indifference regarding the security of company data (66 percent) and distractions at home (31 percent).
April 25, 2017
New research into workplace culture has found that employees with higher levels of autonomy in their work reported positive effects on their overall wellbeing and higher levels of job satisfaction. Researchers at the University of Birmingham Business School examined changes in reported well-being relative to levels of autonomy using two separate years of data for 20,000 employees from the Understanding Society survey. The research, published in the journal Work and Occupations, found that levels of autonomy differed considerably between occupations and by gender. Those working in management reported the highest levels of autonomy in their work, with 90 percent reporting ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of autonomy in the workplace. The finding backs up research from Cass Business School, the German Institute for Economic Research, Abraham Maslow and elsewhere.
April 24, 2017
A new study from Adecco suggests that a large number of employees have a generally positive attitude towards technology in the workplace with many seeing it as increasing employment opportunities and nearly half believing that the advent of artificial intelligence and automation will enable a greater uptake in levels of flexible working. According to the Humans vs Robots report, two-thirds (65 percent) of employees believe that overall, technology has actually increased the number of jobs available to them, 54 percent believe that advances in technology will continue to create more jobs than it destroys over the next decade, 48 percent think AI will positively benefit them, by helping them to work more flexibly and a large majority of workers (87 percent) think that computers will make their role easier within the next ten years
April 20, 2017
Ahead of Earth Day this Saturday, FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics have released new data on the environmental impact of the existing flexible workforce of ‘telecommuters’ in the US. Assuming they work from home around half of the time (2.5 days out of a 5 day working week), these flexible workers cut the distance travelled in cars by around 7.8 billion miles a year and the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by 3.6 million tons per year, according to the report. The study claims that the environmental impact of telecommuting is seen in a number of ways because commuting contributes greatly to driving, the second largest source of US greenhouse gas emissions, while company offices are a part of the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
April 20, 2017
Apple has been given permission to test a range of driverless cars in California. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads, ending a period of speculation about its plans for the autonomous technology. The permit covers three vehicles, which will be 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs, and six individual drivers. However, the plan does not seem to suggest that Apple will become a car maker any time soon and instead will focus on the development of the technology itself rather than the hardware.
April 19, 2017
It’s not just the nascent fourth industrial revolution that is challenging our traditional views of work, but also the growing realisation that we could be doing things so much better anyway. The author Douglas Coupland and the World Economic Forum are already holding conversations about the fundamental issues with work and how we go about it. At the heart of this is the very design of jobs and what it means for us and our wellbeing. Only 28 percent of people in the UK are highly satisfied with their jobs, and yet, estimates suggest that an adult in work would spend an average of 57 percent of their waking hours working. A new international study from the University of East Anglia and the What Works Centre for Wellbeing based on a review of 4,000 pieces of research claims to show why organisations often fail to improve staff wellbeing. It suggests that employees should be encouraged to design their own jobs, and find ways to help managers better understand their concerns.
April 14, 2017
Of all the memes and narratives that corrupt public discourse about workplace design, the most pernicious is the one that suggests there is a linear evolution to some grand end point called the Office of the Future. There is a natural human inclination to buy this sort of idea, fed by an assumption that what we find most interesting, aspirational and hence what we read and talk about forms a goal. Read any style magazine and you’ll see the same process at work in every facet of our lives. This is why so many people are quick to consume and then regurgitate the idea that what we see happening in the world’s great tech palaces and creative offices represents the apogees of design to which the rest of us must one day succumb. It rests on misguided assumptions about what really goes on in such offices and what these assumptions mean for firms in other sectors. It is the great apex fallacy of workplace design and it is one we must constantly challenge.
April 13, 2017
A report from the US based Council on Contemporary Families claims that younger millennials have a much more complex and even traditional attitude than recent generations towards issues such as gender roles, workplace equality and working families arrangements. The study has monitored the attitudes of 50,000 18-25 year olds in the US since 1975. The most recent study, based on data from 2014, found that fewer of the current generation in that age category support egalitarian family arrangements than the same group 20 years ago. It suggests that while attitudes became uniformly more egalitarian throughout the 40 year period of the research, a more complex picture has now emerged in which positive attitudes towards traditional gender roles in families seem to be returning to the levels they were at the beginning of the 1980s, even though there is near universal agreement with ideals such as equality in the workplace and parental leave.
April 13, 2017
Much has been written about the inexorable rise of the gig economy. However, a new survey from jobsite Glassdoor, claims that only 13 per cent of workers across all employment types would even consider this route for future employment, and the vast majority of employees (76 percent) feel more secure sticking to permanent employment in 2017. As with any work arrangement, using temporary or “gig” workers has both benefits and drawbacks when set against traditional employment. The survey suggests that the major perceived benefit is flexibility, both for job seekers and employers. When asked the question, “What do you think would be the biggest advantage of working in the gig economy?”, most (35 percent) of employees selected “flexible working”, followed by “better work-life balance” (11 per cent) and the ability to “be my own boss” (10 percent). Furthermore, 39 percent of female employees feel that the biggest advantage of working in the gig economy would be the flexible working, compared to just 31 percent of men. However, 73 percent of women also reported they already enjoy a good work-life balance in their current roles.
April 12, 2017
A new piece of academic research provides more evidence that the underlying reason for the gender pay gap is the discrepancy between the way women with children are treated compared to men, and other women without children. According to new research from Université Paris-Saclay, mothers are paid 3 percent less for every child they have compared to their female colleagues who do not have children, while fathers suffer no such penalty at all. The figures were compiled from a 16-year study of data from organisations in the French private sector between 1995 and 2011 by Lionel Wilner, Director of Graduate Studies at engineering and statistics school ENSAE, a founding member of Université Paris-Saclay. He separated the effect of childbirth from other firm-specific wage determinants, and accounted for full-time and part-time work, to find that the difference between mothers and non-mothers is approximated a 3 percent lower hourly wage. The effect was found to be more pronounced after the birth of the first child. more…
April 11, 2017
London’s office workers are looking for shorter commutes, demanding more collaborative and networking opportunities while at work and better access to green space, retail, leisure and wellness; all of which could present a huge opportunity for the less congested outer London boroughs, a new report suggests. According to Savills latest London Mixed Use Development Spotlight, as employers and employees alike demand more from their workplace and their work- life balance, London’s outer boroughs could reap the benefits by providing greater flexible office space and affordable homes at a variety of price points. According to Oxford Economics, employment in sectors that tend to occupy co-working spaces is set to rise by 20,000 people in the outer London boroughs over the next five years, which equates to a gross additional need of 1.6 million sq ft (148,644 sq m) of office space.