March 10, 2017
The number of days taken as sick leave in the UK has fallen to the lowest rate since records began, according to the latest release of data from the Office for National Statistics. In 2016, about 137 million working days were lost to illness, equivalent to 4.3 days per worker. The latest figures represent the lowest number of days lost since reporting began in 1993. Days lost have been falling since 2003 and particularly since the economic downturn of 2007-8, notes the ONS. This might suggest people are struggling in to work when ill out of fear, but that may be only part of the story as the growth in flexible working will also have had a significant impact. As always, the data throws up some interesting comparisons between demographic groups and sectors although the context is not always as clear or as straightforward as is commonly supposed.
March 10, 2017
A majority (84 percent) of British employees use their smartphones at work, with 78 percent regularly responding to text messages during working hours and on average spending as many as 120 hours per year using their smartphones during the working day claims new research. The data, compiled by LaptopsDirect.co.uk, also found that 59 percent regularly take personal phone calls whilst working; 52 percent admit to answering instant messages via platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook, and 9 percent have sent a Snapchat from their workplace. Employers are not completely against the use of smartphones, though under half (44 percent) permit the reasonable use of smartphones, according to the research; but 14 percent of respondents admit to having been told off for using smartphones at work, and 4 percent have been disciplined for use of their own tech during work time. Of most concern for employers is the fact that more than a third (38 percent) of respondents regularly check their social media accounts while at work.
March 9, 2017
If European employers want to attract the best job candidates, they need to utilise the latest mobile technologies to attract the right talent pool, a new report commissioned by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry, has claimed. In a digital and mobile-first world, where candidates browse potential jobs and apply via mobile devices, just 20 percent of respondents in EMEA use mobile technology tools for recruitment – the lowest usage rates in the global study. In addition, just 45 percent say they use video interviewing, while only 46 percent use online assessment tools. According to Talent Forecast, the second part of a major global survey into recruitment and engagement which polled more than 1,100 hiring professionals this represents a missed opportunity as these can help make the talent acquisition process streamlined and more efficient.
March 8, 2017
A new report to mark International Women’s Day claims that the proportion of senior business roles held by women in the UK has fallen from 21 percent in 2016 to 19 percent in 2017. The report, based on Grant Thornton’s annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies, also found that the percentage of businesses in the UK with no women in senior management has also risen from 36 percent in 2016 to 41 percent in 2017. This is still an improvement on other EU countries with a lower proportion of senior roles held by women: Germany (18 percent), UK (19 percent), Greece (20 percent) and Netherlands (20 percent)Globally, the proportion of senior business roles held by women has hit a high of 25 percent. However, the findings suggest that progress is slow, with an increase of only 1 percent compared to 2016. Globally, the proportion of senior business roles held by women increased 1 percent from 2016, but that’s only up 6 percent since start of research 13 years ago, in 2004 (18 percent), showing how little progress has been made over the past decade. The research claims that the countries with the highest proportion of senior roles held by women are Russia (47 percent), Indonesia (46 percent) and Estonia (40 percent). The UK had the fifth lowest proportion of women in senior business roles, with Japan recording the lowest (7 percent) and Argentina second lowest (15 percent). more…
March 8, 2017
Employees aged 35 and under lose the highest average amount of productive time due to absenteeism and presenteeism, are the least physically active in the workforce, have a high proportion of smokers and eat the least fruit and vegetables each day. This is according to data from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW) which claims that these same employees, many of whom entered the workforce following the recent global financial crisis, already suffer from social mobility challenges and tough economic conditions, which is having a considerable impact on their health and wellbeing. Data from BHW shows that high stress levels can have major impacts on employee productivity at work, which in turn has cost implications for the employer. Almost 35 percent of 26-30 year old employees are physically inactive, completing less than 150 minutes of exercise a week, and on top of this nearly 14 percent of this age group smoke. Comparatively, the same data shows that older employees have healthier habits, with 22.5 percent of 56-60 year olds being physically inactive and only a small proportion (6.1 percent) smoking.
March 3, 2017
The average amount of overtime workers put in equates to around 68 working days a year and the fact that only one third are paid for this means the majority of people are essentially working for free until the 9th of March each year, claims a new study. The research by TotallyMoney.com with OnePoll, which looked into overtime in the UK in 2017 found that unsurprisingly 60 percent of British workers say they don’t have a good work-life balance. Common reasons given for working overtime were pressures from colleague and excessive workloads; with almost 65 percent of people surveyed not being paid for overtime worked. Only a third of British workers say they typically leave work on time; which ties in with recent TUC analysis which revealed that the number of employees working longer hours grew by 15 percent over the last five years. Working longer hours, warns the union, not only has negative impacts on health, but can actually lead to workers being less productive.
March 3, 2017
Demand for construction workers in London looks set to grow due to the completion of Crossrail and the extension of the Northern Line alongside other infrastructure projects. But a new analysis reveals the Capital is struggling to attract and train the workforce needed; with London and the South East having a shortfall of 60,000 people in the construction industry. This is according to a first of its kind analysis of the role of migration on London’s economy by London First and PwC. ‘Facing Facts: the impact of migrants on London, its workforce and economy’ argues that London’s growing workforce is significantly contributing to economic growth and helping to create more jobs in the capital. The report, which draws on a comprehensive range of information, including detailed ONS Labour Force Survey data shows how London’s total workforce has grown from 4.3 million people in 2005 to just under 5.2 million, made up of people from around the UK, the EU and the rest of the world.
March 2, 2017
The ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside robots is something we will have to address very soon. It is a point well made in this conversation between Kate Darling of MIT and the neuroscientist Sam Harris. But we’ve had parts of this conversation before. For example, while most people will not have read the book from which it came, those with an interest in work, workplaces and their links with our happiness (or perceived lack of it) will know that the British philosopher Bertrand Russell once famously said that “one of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important”. This famous quote is taken from a short book he wrote in 1930 called The Conquest of Happiness. It’s worth going beyond that quote and reading the whole thing to see it in context and remind ourselves that a preoccupation with finding happiness is not current, but eternal. In fact, large passages could have been written today, especially those which consider our relationship with work, the time and energy we expend on it and the importance each of us attributes to what we do.
March 2, 2017
Fostering behavioural change among employees to encourage them to make healthier lifestyle choices could deliver both productivity gains and economic growth, a new report claims. According to Human-Centric Health: Behaviour Change and the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases, by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson, behavioural economics will be critical to encourage healthier lifestyles and reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, mental illness, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes) that account for approximately 16 million premature deaths annually and will cost an estimated cumulative loss of $47 trillion in economic activity worldwide over the next two decades. According to the analysis, technology such as mobile phones with accelerometers that make activity challenges easier and engage individuals in a community of supportive peers will improve people’s understanding of health-related knowledge and encourage them to reshape their behaviour. Linking individuals to ‘commitment contracts’ to exercise, quit smoking, or adhere to medicine prescription schedules will also be easier to monitor using sensors and mobile technology.
March 2, 2017
In the two years running up to the Brexit vote, London vied with New York and Hong Kong for the title of most expensive world city to accommodate employees and last year it was crowned the most expensive world class city for international businesses to rent office and living space for their employees. Now Brexit’s impact has made the UK look much better value on a world stage as the devaluation of sterling means it now ranks closer to Paris and Tokyo, leaving New York and Hong Kong in a league of their own with much higher accommodation costs. It now costs an average of US$88,800 per person to rent office and housing space in London, well below the price tag of June 2014 of US$124,500, according to the latest Savills Live-Work Index which measures annual accommodation costs per worker in leading world cities. By this measure, London is now 10 per cent cheaper in these terms than it was in December 2008.
March 1, 2017
Very few organisations are ready to manage a workforce where the latest technologies and people work side by side. Just 13 percent of UK companies are ready to respond to digital disruption and create “the organisation of the future”; despite 88 per cent believing this has become a priority. This is according to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, which tracks the top trends shaping the agenda for HR and business leaders. However, while UK companies believe they are ill-prepared for the change brought by digital disruption, this has not stopped many of them from embracing disruptive technologies. 42 per cent report that they have adopted robotics, cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies within all or parts of their workforce. Another 42 per cent are running pilots in certain areas of their organisation. But only 16 per cent say they are ready to manage a workforce with people, robots and AI working side by side.
March 1, 2017
Workplace wellbeing strategies are being implemented by employers at an unprecedented rate, with 45 percent of UK companies now having a clearly-defined wellbeing strategy in place, compared to less than a third (30 percent) in 2016, claims a new report. According to ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2017: The evolution of workplace wellbeing in the UK’ from Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), in association with Punter Southall Health & Protection, of those that don’t, virtually all plan or wish to implement one – with 46 percent planning on implementing one this year, 24 percent in the next few years and a quarter (25 percent) having it on their ‘wish list’. Over a third (37 percent) launched their wellbeing strategy to improve employee engagement, and just over a quarter (26 percent) to improve organisational culture. Other drivers included improving productivity levels (11 percent), reducing long and short-term sickness absence (6 percent & 5 percent) and retaining talent (5 percent).