January 25, 2017
The office of the future should be defined by the age of its inhabitants. But not in the way you think
The office of the future is most commonly seen as the habitat of Millennials. But there are all sorts of flaws in this assumption. Apart from the casual stereotyping of a diverse demographic of people, the most glaring is the fact that the workforce is ageing rather than getting younger, and that most offices must now meet the needs of a wider range of age groups than at any time in their history. A new report from Totaljobs seeks to redress the balance in this regard. It suggests that some of the key features of the office of the future will not be slides and ping pong tables but flexible working areas, quiet spaces, spas and private medical rooms. The study claims that the fixation with Millennials means that a large number of older workers now feel that the design of offices does not meet their needs.
January 25, 2017
In an era in which the digital workplace is just as prevalent as the physical office, organisations that create spaces, technologies and social networks specifically focused on enabling more collaborative work, perform above their direct competitors in their respective industries – in employee connectedness and responsive leadership. This is according to research conducted by Nick van der Meulen of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR). The report assessed on a basis of five indicators, including growth in market share, profit growth and employee satisfaction, and found that trusting employees by giving them autonomy is the key to making a success of the digital workplace. The survey of 313 organisations showed that the high-performing organisations have an integrated and company-wide approach to greater employee connectedness.
January 25, 2017
Only one in five workers in the UK still take the traditional lunch hour break; a stark contrast to France, which sees the lunch hour as a key part of the working day, a new survey by commercial property agency Savoystewart.co.uk claims. Digital marketers take the shortest breaks, taking a meagre average of 14-minutes, followed by recruiters and those in telesales. At the opposite end of the spectrum are media & communication professionals, who take almost their whole hour at 55 minutes. Some of the reasons cited for the shorter break were to please the boss, too much work to do, other colleagues don’t take lunch, there’s nowhere to go or one hour is too long. Half of those polled work right through their lunch break, 30 percent will take under 30 minutes off, 52 percent admit to eating over their desk most days and 27 percent deliberately take a shorter break to please their boss. Yet UK legislation actually allows for a 1 hour interrupted 20-minute rest break after working 6 hours+, and those who are under 18 are entitled to 30 minutes if working above 4.5 hours. Some work contracts may even allow for additional breaks alongside lunch, like tea breaks.
January 20, 2017
More than half of the workforce (53 percent) report that they have felt physically unwell due to a poor work-life balance, and a similar number (52 percent) go so far as to say that work makes them more unwell than anything in their personal lives, claims new research from Bupa UK. In addition to physical sickness, work stress is keeping half (51 percent) of employees awake at night. Two fifths (42 percent) even state it is ‘ruining their life’.The research revealed that people find workplace demands such as presenting at an important meeting (71 percent) or managing a project (65 percent) just as stressful as buying a first house (69 percent) or getting married (66 percent). The research indicated that there is a pressing business need for organisations to better understand and address the wellbeing needs of their employees, as it is impacting profitability.
January 19, 2017
Every physical setting sends distinct signals to meeting participants – signals that set the tone and provide a context for the conversation, even when they are subtle or not in anyone’s conscious awareness. You understand instinctively that the place where a meeting occurs has an impact on the nature of the conversation. Just imagine the difference between a conversation around a large formal conference table with expensive executive chairs and one that takes place in an informal employee lounge, with the participants seated in a circle on soft bean-bag chairs. Or consider the classic image of a boss seated behind a large desk, in front of a large window framing her silhouette as she delivers a performance review to a “lowly” subordinate sitting across the desk in a low, hard-back chair. Now think about that same performance review being conducted on two softer wing chairs of equal height, with a low coffee table between them. Or in a nearby restaurant or coffee shop. Or on a trail in the woods adjacent to the corporate office. Which of those conversations do you think will evolve in a more caring, respectful, and supportive mode?
January 19, 2017
Employers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are facing an increasingly competitive recruitment landscape in 2017, but what might help candidates choose one organisation over another will be more opportunities for flexible working, claims a new global study by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry. Specifying which qualities they thought would entice candidates to choose one organisation over another in five-years-time, respondents reflected that flexible working (27 percent) would likely lead the charge. In Part One of Talent Forecast Futurestep’s global survey of more than 1,100 hiring professionals almost half (48 percent) of EMEA respondents report that it has become harder to source qualified candidates over the past 12 months. Additional findings compiled for the report suggest that ongoing disruption and changing candidate demands will combine to create an increasingly volatile market for talent in 2017.
January 18, 2017
Employees are more likely to pull a sickie in the first quarter (January to March) than any other time of year, causing increased stress for those who have to cover for their absent colleagues, a new survey claims. The research, which was conducted by Kronos found that over a third (37 percent) of respondents predicted that that they or a colleague would take unauthorised absences or fake a sickness within the first three months of the year. What’s more, they believe this will add up to a total of three to four days and 24 percent said it may stretch to five or six. When asked why they’re likely to pull a sickie, 31 percent blamed the post-Christmas blues, highlighting the challenge for employers to maintain motivation and morale throughout January. Meanwhile, 32 percent said they feel more pressure to keep productivity levels up in the first quarter so their employer could start the year on a good note, causing them to feel stressed and therefore more likely to bunk off work for a mental health day.
January 17, 2017
The debate around designing a workplace that works for millennials and now Gen Z is a public one. Every week a new article highlights what is required to create a workplace that millennials want. However for large companies with a diverse workforce, more than the desires of just one generation must be considered to make the workforce effective. Is it possible to create a universal workforce that can work across generations to serve the needs of all employees, and should that be the goal for workplace design? Right now, we know that tech firms are drawing more top talent than they did before. It can be seen in the a comparison of Harvard MBAs in 2007 and again in 2014 that went into banking (13 percent down to 5 percent) vs tech (up from 7 percent to 17 percent). Following their lead, broader design has shifted to adopt a tech feel in their own offices, with open layouts trending upwards. Office amenities from ping pong tables to slides are also rising as companies try to bring a fresh approach to the workplace.
January 17, 2017
Nearly 60 per cent of parents rank breakfast clubs as ‘very important’ for their families survival and routine; and a third of working British mothers say they would have to give up work if they weren’t available, claims a new report. The Kellogg’s study ‘The Parent’s Lifeline’, which looks into the role school breakfast clubs play in the lives of working families reveals that just a fifth of working mums and dads claimed they found time to enjoy breakfast with their children – describing their mornings as ‘tiring’ and ‘stressful’. While more than a quarter (27 per cent) of parents felt the absence of a breakfast club would mean at least one parent would be forced out of work, it is working mothers who would bear the burden (33 per cent). One in five recognised the cost for alternative morning childcare would mean they would have to tighten their purse strings, with nearly 20 per cent of parents claiming they save more than £50 every week by sending their children to breakfast clubs.
January 16, 2017
The UK is running the risk of creating a ‘fatherhood penalty’ – as fathers consider stalling or side-lining their careers to find roles they can better combine with family life, according to a new study. The 2017 Modern Families Index, published today by work-life charity Working Families and Bright Horizons, captures a broad picture – of fathers wanting to take an active part in childcare and the workplace failing to adapt and support their aspirations. Family is the highest priority for fathers. A quarter of fathers that took part in the study drop their children at school or nursery every day; with just over a quarter (26 percent) collecting them more than half the time. Seven out of ten fathers work flexibly to fulfil their caring responsibilities. However, for half of the fathers we spoke to their work-life balance is increasingly a source of stress. A third of fathers feel burnt out regularly and one in five fathers are doing extra hours in the evening or weekends all the time.
January 14, 2017
In this week’s Newsletter; Neil Usher describes the vision behind Sky Central’s new activity-based workplace in London; and Mark Eltringham argues the European Display Screen Equipment Regulations are no longer fit for purpose. CRE’s attempts to advance corporate strategic goals often take a back seat to cost savings targets; the Hushme voice masking device for mobile phones promises a quieter office; and organisations are encouraged to “detoxify” their work environments to improve employee wellbeing. Why employees are prepared to move jobs if employers fail to offer flexible work; a quarter of people with money problems say it undermines their work performance; and the World Economic Forum cites unregulated technological progress as one of the greatest threats to work. Download our Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
January 13, 2017
A growing number of employees in the UK are prepared to move jobs unless their employers introduce more flexible working arrangements, according to a new study from ILM. The survey claims that over half (53 percent) of all British workers are considering a change of job unless things change. The study claims that three-quarters (74 percent) of UK employees want a more flexible working culture – citing more flexible hours and opportunities for creativity as part of an ideal working environment. The research also highlights a growing demand among employees for a greater say in business decisions with around two thirds of survey respondents claiming they want to have more of an influence at work. Around a third (34 percent) of workers claim that the working culture at their present employer is overly regulated and controlled. When asked how they would change the company culture, around a third (34 percent) said they would like more freedom and flexibility, and 32 percent said they’d like to see more innovation and creativity.