July 5, 2013
The obituaries of Douglas Engelbart, who died on Tuesday, invariably characterised him as ‘the inventor of the mouse’ which is downplaying the contribution he made to our ability to interact with computers. He had the foresight to see that our relationship with technology would become one of the defining characteristics of modern life and he had it at a time when computers were the size of rooms and programmed using punched cards. He took part in the world’s first videoconference and developed ideas for early incarnations of word processors, the internet and email. He made no money from the mouse, the rights for which were sold to Apple for $40,000 in 1983 and the patent for which ran out in 1987. He was honoured in his lifetime however, winning the Lemelson-MIT prize in 1997 and a National Medal of Technology for ‘creating the foundations of personal computing’ in 2000.
July 4, 2013
The debate which ensued following the Yahoo ban on home working earlier this year was as much as about the level of trust felt towards home workers as it was about the importance of collaboration within the workplace. The fact is that for the majority of home workers, day to day life is easier. No commuting, work where you please, no irritating colleagues and the freedom to nip out to the dentist, doctors or parents meeting without having to book a half day off. As a result, while home workers enjoy the best mental health and wellbeing of four groups in a survey of contact centre workers, office workers, home workers and mobile professional workers, their distance from the office-based working population breeds suspicion between them and everybody else. more…
July 3, 2013
The key to a better work-life balance is not simply to work shorter hours or earn more money and working shorter hours does not necessarily make people happier. According to a new survey by recruiter Randstad those in the South East and Yorkshire & The Humber are most happy with their work-life balance, with 64 per cent saying they are content, despite those in the South East having one of the longest average working weeks in the UK. The survey also found that those working in property and construction (88%) were amongst the happiest with their work-life balance, coming third after the utilities and insurance sectors. Those least happy with their work-life balance were the East of England (51 per cent) and South West (55 per cent) – yet those in the South West have a shorter average working week than most of the UK. more…
June 27, 2013
Architecture firm Gensler has released the results of its 2013 US Workplace Survey. The report claims that under a quarter (24 percent) of US workers work in an optimised working environment with the remainder suffering from unnecessary lost productivity and a lack of innovation and engagement. The survey of more than 2,000 knowledge workers from across the US examined specific design factors across four work modes defined by Gensler: focus, collaboration, learning and socialising. The report concludes that the modern workplace has a number of new and increasingly important drivers including new technology, globalisation, generation Y and so on which define where, when and how workers perform their jobs and concludes that the ability to balance focus and collaboration with strategic workplace design is essential.
June 25, 2013
America’s corporate occupiers are not only reducing the amount of office space they use, they are changing their requirements too according to the latest Office Occupier View report from CBRE. Not only did overall demand for commercial space fall during the first quarter of 2013 compared to the last of 2012, the average amount of space allocated to each worker is falling below 225 sq.ft. (21 sq.m.) , and occupiers are demanding more open, ‘creative’ working environments in Class A buildings with large floor plates. Occupiers are also looking for space that is ideally located in central business districts (CBDs) with easy access to transport links and amenities and offers them flexible terms.
June 21, 2013
Two reports published this week show that a cultural change is needed to stop employers assuming only female workers have families or other personal concerns that could impact on their workplace performance. A report into workplace equality by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) has called on the UK Government to do more to tackle female underrepresentation in sectors of the economy and to dispel the myth that any type of flexible working is a ‘women’s issue,’ problematic and cannot work. In the US a study by employee assistance providers Bensinger, DuPont and Associates (BDA) into stress has found that men are more than twice as likely to receive formal disciplinary action when the stress of a personal problem impacts on their work performance. more…
June 20, 2013
The rise of BYOD as a near universal way of using smart devices in the workplace may be problematic for employers in some ways but is attractive in others. Not only does it save the cost of providing people with stuff in the first place, it is also driving the uptake of flexible working according to a survey from software developer (what else?) Cint. And in this case, when we say flexible working, we mean long hours. According to the report, significantly more than half of workers in both the UK and US do more work away from the traditional workplace as a direct result of using their own devices. In the UK, nearly a quarter of staff feel employers like them to use their own technology to encourage more out of hours working. IN the US it is nearly a third. Full infographic below.
June 18, 2013
Work. We all, with some noticeable exceptions, are obliged to do some. If we are lucky we receive remuneration for our labour. This for me is at the heart of work. We are professionals. specialists, generalists, doers, thinkers, strategists or the people on the front line – but we all go to work. So, shouldn’t the people in charge – and just as importantly, the consultants they talk to about us workers – find out what makes us tick? Obviously, that is exactly the argument that many workplace consultants are making via Office Insight, via Twitter and in the property and FM media. Engaging with employees, via workshops forums or surveys such as Leesman or the more intelligently crafted employee surveys – I agree with all of it, but I think we might be missing something. We need to get back to what work is about.