December 28, 2016
The growth of flexible working practices coupled with the extension of parental leave tights to fathers is are partly intended to reduce the differences between levels of pay and career progression for men and women. Yet a study published in the European Sociological Review suggests that men and women experience different outcomes when given control of their working hours and may even lead to the reinforcement of traditional gender roles. The study by Yvonne Lott and Heejung Chung of the Hans-Böckler Foundation, Düsseldorf and the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent respectively found that while the adoption of flexible working meant all people worked longer hours on average, only men enjoyed higher incomes as a direct result.
December 26, 2016
The Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. In this edition… Neil Usher, Workplace Director at Sky offers a first hand account of the story behind the firm’s remarkable new offices at the Osterley campus in London; Kate Langan explores some of the implications of the growing digitisation of the workplace; Jim Ware looks at how the challenge of creating effective meeting spaces is now a strategic concern; John Blackwell tries to make sense of falling productivity levels when we have all the tools and know how to increase it; David Woolf makes the case for designing better collaborative spaces; Mark Eltringham looks forward to an almost entirely unpredictable future for workplaces in the 21st Century; and Karen Plum and Andrew Mawson set out the factors that drive knowledge worker productivity. The PDF edition is available to view and download here. Or view online here.
December 23, 2016
At this time of year, the days are short, the morning commute can be hellish and traffic grid-locked. Wouldn’t it be ideal if more employers recognised this and offered a solution involving flexible hours, remote collaboration or even home-working? And not just at Christmas, but the whole year round? More and more companies are switching on to the benefits this can bring in terms of their employees’ well-being and productivity. Firms can allow colleagues to occasionally work from home or a third place, provide tools that enable them to work remotely and support an agile working agenda. This can be done in parallel with making provision for a hi-tech and collaborative workplace where colleagues can get together regularly to connect, get work done and be part of an effective team.
December 22, 2016
A large proportion of British workers are struggling to switch off from work when they finish for the day, according to new research. The study of 1,011 UK adults in full or part-time employment, conducted by Cascade HR as part of the firm’s The Stress Report, claims that more than three quarters (76 percent) are unable to unwind immediately and instead experience residual stress after leaving the office. The data found it takes on average 1 hour and 39 minutes for UK workers to relax after they have left work for the day, while almost a fifth say they often take work home with them and so don’t ever fully unwind. This residual work stress isn’t just encroaching on employees’ free time after work, but time spent on annual leave, according to the study. When they go on annual leave, it takes UK workers an average of 2.63 days for them to relax, and 10.31 days of annual leave for them to return to work feeling truly refreshed. This equates to just over half of the UK’s statutory allocation of annual leave per person, per year.
December 20, 2016
New research from My Family Care and global recruitment firm Hydrogen claims that when compared with all other industries, the technology sector has the most number of employees taking advantage of flexible working practices. Over four in five (81 percent) of employees who work in tech say they work flexibly to some degree – around 15 percent higher than the average of 66 percent and over half of the 265 people surveyed said they worked remotely at least one day last week – 18 percent higher than the average for all employees. The research also claims that people who work in tech put a high value on flexible working when considering a job offer, with 88 percent of professionals considering it to be more important than other benefits like private healthcare insurance, enhanced pension scheme or commission or bonuses.
December 15, 2016
Unless you work at home you will have to commute to work in some form or another and for many people this part of the day can become such a negative factor it can impact on productivity, job satisfaction and even cause depression. However, what if we tried to look at commuting in a different light? What if we took a step back and attempted to turn all those wasted hours into something good and maybe even something productive? Depending on what source you read and when the study was done the average commute in the UK is between 50 minutes and 1 hour 38 minutes. This mean in any given working week most people are spending around 10 to 16 hours getting to and from work. If this amount of “down time” appeared during the working day business owners and managers would take it very seriously indeed. However, as the time falls outside of the employees work remit and essentially the company doesn’t need that person before and after work it is not discussed. The problem is, employees do feel like it is part of the working day and this leads to resentment, stress, fatigue and possible depression not to mention lower productivity.
December 14, 2016
Just 5 percent of new fathers and 8 percent of new mothers have opted for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) since its introduction in April 2015 a new report claims. Just one organisation in five (21 percent) said they had received requests from male employees to take up SPL since April 2015 and in two-thirds (67 percent) of organisations with mothers eligible for SPL, none have opted in. This low take-up of (SPL) and the lack of affordable childcare options for parents with 0-2 year-olds are both major problems that need to be addressed to support working parents more effectively, according to ‘Labour Market Outlook: Focus on Working Parents’ from the CIPD. The survey of over 1,000 HR professionals also suggests that the lack of free childcare for 0-2 year-olds could be having a negative impact on women returning to work after maternity leave.
December 13, 2016
By the year 2025, most workers (70 percent) and employers (68 percent) agree a majority of the workforce will be employed in an agile working capacity as contractors, consultants, temporary or freelance staff, according to a study released by Randstad US. The Workplace 2025 report of more than 3,100 workers and 1,500 HR and c-suite executives across the US found that as early as 2019, as much as 50 percent of the workforce will be comprised of agile workers, as nearly 4 in 10 (39 percent) workers say they are likely to consider shifting to an agile arrangement over the next two-to-three years. The study claims that this movement is fuelling an equally aggressive adoption of new workforce models that tap into both permanent and agile employees to combat staffing shortages, leverage globalisation and fuel greater innovation for organisations.
December 13, 2016
As more rail strikes grip the South East of England, a new study from Regus suggests that commuters are increasingly frustrated by the sheer tedium and disruption of getting to work in the first place and would like to adopt more flexible working practices as a result. In a study of 1,700 UK professionals carried out by the serviced office provider, 58 percent of respondents said they are looking to ‘work remotely in order to improve their travel schedule’ next year. The study cites recent reports which estimate that today’s average UK commute takes anywhere from 55 to 90 minutes with more than 3 million workers regularly facing journeys of two hours plus to get to and from work. Research has found that the commute has a detrimental effect on wellbeing, with the Office of National Statistics reporting that commuters have lower life satisfaction, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety.
December 9, 2016
A new report on the state of the public’s health and wellbeing, ‘Baby Boomers: Fit for the Future’, by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, advises that good quality work is good for baby boomers’ health and that employers have a role to play by helping their staff to remain healthy enough to stay in employment. According to the report on those aged between 50 and 70, there is an increasing body of evidence that for most people ‘good work’ is good for personal health, organisational productivity and economic prosperity. It also advises since many people define themselves and their position in society in terms of their job, staying in employment is also a significant contributor to self-esteem. The report also finds there is promising evidence that the continued social engagement that some people find in employment may defer the onset of cognitive decline and the risk of dementia.
December 8, 2016
For many people, the gig economy represents a race to the bottom, with a large number of freelancers asked to work for free by entitled clients on the vague promise of future work, breeding anxiety and disillusionment. That is the key finding of a new study by Approve.io which found that half of freelancers and self-employed creatives had been asked by clients said that work had caused them anxiety this year with three quarters citing client behaviour as the primary cause. Of these, 13 percent said that being asked to work pro bono was their biggest concern, just behind more widely understood areas of concern such as non payment and late payment. One in 20 of the 1,000 respondents said they had been ‘ghosted’ by a client, meaning the client cut off all communication without explanation. The issues appear to affect younger freelancers more, with 28 percent of freelancers aged 18-24 citing being asked to work for nothing as their main cause of anxiety.
December 8, 2016
We’re entering the office party season now so it’s time for the usual flurry of Christmas related research. We kick off the season with this from XpertHR which claims that the majority of companies it has polled will host company-wide parties (50.8 percent) or departmental Christmas lunches (47.2 percent), but there will be fewer Christmas gifts, bonuses awarded or additional time off for employees this year. Employers plan to spend an average of £93.33 and a median of £50 per employee on their Christmas celebrations – a figure which hasn’t changed significantly since the last time XpertHR conducted this survey in 2012/13, when the median spend was £42.82. However, fewer than one in five organisations (17.9 percent) will be offering employee gifts this year compared to 21.1 percent in 2012/2013 and just 18 employers will award Christmas bonuses, with no increases planned compared with last year.