September 11, 2013
The latest Occupier Density Study from the British Council for Offices reveals that London and the South East of England have some of the most spacious workplaces in the UK, in spite of the fact that London has the most expensive office space on Earth. The BCO research found that the South West has the highest density at 8.6 sq. m. per workstation while London (11.3 sq. m.) and the South East (12.7 sq. m.) have lower densities than all UK regions apart from Wales (11.4 sq. m.). Yet recent research from Cushman and Wakefield has identified London as the world’s most expensive city to rent office space and a report last week from BNP Paribas revealed the large disparities in total occupancy costs between London and the rest of the UK.
September 6, 2013
The news this week that Microsoft is to purchase Nokia’s mobile phone business for £4.6bn is a reminder of how rapidly app-based communications tools have transformed mobile phones and computer devices. Within the workplace, fragmentation and lack of standardisation of the technologies have resulted in organisations often using multiple tools, including that of employees’ own consumer smartphones and tablets. According to analysts Gartner most collaboration applications will be equally available on desktops, mobile phones, tablets and browsers by 2016. Over the next three to five years it predicts, every business will be using mobile collaboration tools – boosted by BYOD, personal cloud file sharing and the increasing availability of mobile applications. more…
September 5, 2013
Open-plan offices are now the most popular workplace layout, primarily because they save on space, enable flexible working and, it’s argued, foster better communication and collaboration between employees. Yet open-plan still has some way to go to convince occupants of its merits. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, of over 42,000 US office workers in 303 office buildings, workers in private offices remain the most satisfied with their surroundings. However, what constitutes a satisfactory workspace differed, according to the employee’s current office layout. So while noise was the most important consideration for open-plan workers, light and ease of interaction topped the satisfaction list for those housed in cellular offices. more…
August 30, 2013
Flexible working and part time working tend to conjure up different images, with the former perceived as the preserve of the professional/management class and the latter associated with administrative/semi-skilled workers. That impression has been reinforced by trade unions’ complaints over the increase in the use of casual or Zero Hour Contracts that allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work. Yet new data shows that a significant share of those on casual contracts (43%) are in the top three occupational groups (managers, professionals and associate/technical staff), just a fifth (17%) are in manual skilled or semi-skilled jobs, only one in ten are unskilled and one in ten in administrative; and just 18 per cent are looking for a new job. more…
August 27, 2013
There is quite possibly more guff talked about the impact of Gen Y on businesses and the workplace than any other management topic. However, it’s not only wrong to characterise the people of Generation Y as some homogeneous blob with stereotyped attitudes that set them apart from the rest of humanity, but also to miss the point that the workplace is and will remain multigenerational. In fact, according to new data from the Department of Work and Pensions, there have never been more over 50s in work in the UK than there are right now. There are 2 million more over-50s in jobs than there were 15 years ago and they will form a third of the workforce by 2020. And they will want their own say on things just as much as the much talked about millennials.
August 19, 2013
The UK’s large organisations are missing out on some of the opportunities presented to them by mobile working methodologies according to a new survey from Deloitte and (what else?) telecoms provider EE. The Upwardly Mobile report questioned more than 1,000 employees of firms with more than 1,000 staff including Kier, Royal Mail, Oxfam and BP and found that this situation would change as Generation Y employees assumed the power needed to introduce a more flexible working culture. The report goes on to predict that by 2016, at least one FTSE 350 company will have a Gen Y CEO at the helm.
August 13, 2013
Worldwide office space standards are now moving closer to the norm seen in the UK according to a new survey from CoreNet Global. According to the CoreNet survey of real estate managers, the average amount of space per office worker globally has dropped to 150 sq. ft (14 sq.m.) , from 225 sq. ft. (21 sq.m.). This is still well outside the standards from the British Council for Offices Specification Guide which reported a fall to 11.8 sq. m. in 2009 and which will be revised downwards even further with the publication of the new guide which has been promised soon. Even this figure might be seen as high and makes assumptions about the relevance of such space standards given the way some firms now work.
August 13, 2013
Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, which includes Wall’s Ice Cream, Dove beauty products, Lipton and Knorr brands has announced a three year extension to its IT outsourcing contract with BT. It’s part of the firm’s Sustainable Living Plan to grow its business, while reducing its environmental footprint and increasing its social impact. BT, which first won its first contract with the Anglo-Dutch company in November 2002, delivers a fully integrated network providing voice, data, video and mobility services to the company’s 173,000 employees across nearly 100 countries. This includes the delivery of collaborative services such as audio-conferencing and video-conferencing, which is helping Unilever introduce more sustainable ways of working. more…
August 9, 2013
One of the big problems with the way some people talk about the term ‘ergonomic’ is that they tend to use it to describe the design of objects when really it’s about the relationship between a person and the things around them. It’s an abstract idea, about the relationships between design, facilities and management, so is dependent on a number of variables. When those variables change, what we understand to be good ergonomics changes too. The principle of ergonomics as we now understand it first came to prominence in the wake of the intensive growth in the use of computers. The legacy of this fixed view can be an approach based on an idea of desk-bound employees with a computer, whereas how we work now bears little resemblance to how we worked 20 years ago.
July 22, 2013
A new week and a new raft of surveys. Thankfully some of them throw up some rather interesting juxtapositions. Take the latest from Virgin Media which claims nearly half of UK office workers are now significantly free to choose how and where they work with over two thirds of organisations convinced that offering more technological choices and flexible working results in happier and more productive staff. Meanwhile, another survey from tech firm (what else?) VMware claims that over a third of UK employees would consider leaving their jobs if they couldn’t get their own way over using mobile devices at work.
July 17, 2013
While we may have grown accustomed in many ways to the world’s addiction to connectivity, and even expressed our own frustration that people are more interested in the contents of their phones than us, things are clearly going way too far if you believe the news that nearly 1 in 10 Americans have confessed to using their smartphones while having sex. While that may be extreme, the manifestation of this addiction is now routine with nearly three in four smartphone users surveyed by Harris Interactive for the Jumio 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits survey admitting that they are rarely more than five feet away from their devices.
July 16, 2013
The latest salvo in the battle to get Britain to adopt even more flexible working comes in a report that carries more weight than some because it is not solely the work of a technology company but sponsored by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). True, it’s co-sponsored by Vodafone but that is the way of these things. The RSA study estimates that flexible working practices shaped around the personal circumstances of the individual and designed to minimise the routine grind of commuting could give people around 5 more hours per week in which to work.