March 27, 2017
The latest report to examine the disruptive potential of robots in the workplace has been published by PwC as part of the firm’s regular Economic Outlook series. The study claims that up to 30 percent of existing UK jobs will be susceptible to automation by robots and Artificial Intelligence by the early 2030s, although in many cases the nature of jobs will change rather than disappear and the change will increase productivity and wealth. This is lower than the US at 38 percent and Germany at 35 percent, but higher than Japan at 21 percent. The report looks in detail at the composition of jobs in different industry sectors and occupations, using machine learning techniques to model the potential impact of AI in the future based on OECD data. The likelihood of automation appears highest in sectors such as transport, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail, and lower in education, health and social work.
March 27, 2017
The Institution of Civil Engineers has published its State of the Nation 2017 report, looking at how advances in digital technology and data are transforming how infrastructure is designed, delivered and operated. The report claims that digital transformation is bringing benefits to clients and end users as well as unlocking economic growth and productivity across the UK. The report, based on interviews with 350 organisations and industry figures discusses the practical steps firms and government need to take to maintain momentum and truly harness the benefits.
March 24, 2017
A new guide for facilities management professionals working with clients on BIM construction projects has been issued by the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management). Employer’s Information Requirements is a practical 47-page document to support clients using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to advise clients on how to specify their exact requirements for the design and construction phase of a built asset through to its full life-time operation. The purpose of the EIR is to support both FM professionals and clients by providing a template which can be edited and amended by the client or facilities manager to meet individual requirements for the project. Its guidance follows the publication of BIFM’s Operational Readiness Guide For Facilities Managers published in April 2016. Since April 2016, construction projects commissioned by Central Government have been required to use BIM for their procurement and delivery.
March 23, 2017
The increasing ability of machines to perform cognitive, physical, and social tasks has polarised labour markets by “hollowing out” demand for middle-skill jobs, claims a new report published by IZA World of Labor based on research from economist Michael Gibbs of Chicago Booth School of Business. It suggests that analytical, problem solving, and social and communication skills are likely to be most valued in employees in the future. The new report finds that the advance of technology has opposing effects on jobs. It facilitates automation, creating fewer and less motivating middle-skill jobs. Conversely, it complements social and innovation tasks, creating more interesting low- and high-skill jobs. This causes labour market polarisation, “hollowing out” demand for middle-skill jobs, and increasing wage inequality.
March 22, 2017
The market for smart cities technology and related infrastructure used in the world’s most advanced urban areas could expand to $1.6 trillion by 2020, but major cities around the world are showing signs of fragility claims a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The study, 21st Century Cities: Global Smart Cities Primer Picks, claims that the market for smart city technology such as 5G telecoms networks, artificial intelligence, building automation, ‘cleantech’, cybersecurity, self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things, sensors, surveillance and so on is already worth around $1 trillion. The report ranks Singapore (pictured), London, New York, Paris and Tokyo as the world’s smartest cities. Around 55 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities and account for around 85 percent of GDP.
March 22, 2017
HR leaders must take responsibility for bridging the gap between leadership and employees to help ensure organisations deal with the challenge of an increasingly digitised workplace and create a shared sense of direction, values and collaboration, a new piece of research suggests. According to the report, ‘Leadership Connections: HR’s role in business transformation’ from Ipsos LEAD and Cirrus, HR leaders are the crucial drivers of transformation in UK businesses through their roles of promoting devolved decision making, employee engagement and collaboration. Figures have shown that while half of CEOs expect their industries to be substantially or unrecognisably changed by digital, as of late 2016 10 percent of employees claim to have seen no significant change in their organisations at all – according to MORI’s Representative Employee Data (RED). This presents a significant difference between what we are being told by senior leadership and what employees believe to be the case.
March 21, 2017
Productivity and teamwork are both significantly improved when employees can choose where they work, a global survey of on global flexible working trends claims. The survey commissioned by Polycom, Inc. a global leader in enabling organisations new levels of teamwork, efficiency and productivity by unleashing the power of human collaboration. The survey of over 24,000 people found that 62 percent of the global working population now take advantage of flexible working practices. Nearly all respondents (98 percent) state that flexible working has a positive impact on productivity. Although many remain concerned that their absence from the office may have a negative effect on their careers, they are drawn to flexible working to increase their productivity, achieve a better work life balance and avoid the problem of commuting.
March 17, 2017
A new report by Tata Consultancy Services claims that 84 per cent of companies worldwide already see artificial intelligence as essential to their competitiveness while half see the technology as ‘transformative’. The study Getting Smarter by the Day: How AI is Elevating the Performance of Global Companies is based on interviews with 835 major businesses worldwide. It focuses on the current and future impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and found that the biggest adopters of AI today are, not surprisingly, IT departments, with two-thirds (67 percent) of survey respondents using AI to detect security intrusions, user issues and deliver automation. However, by 2020, almost a third (32 percent) of companies believe AI’s greatest impact will be in sales, marketing or customer service, while one in five (20 percent) see AI’s impact being largest in non-customer facing corporate functions, including finance, strategic planning, corporate development, and HR.
March 15, 2017
Cluttons has proposed that a mobile coverage rating should be added to lettable workspace criteria, because despite mobile and internet connections being the fifth essential utility for the modern environment they are often overlooked when leasing space. With the rise of dependence on SIM-based equipment, the property firm argues that workplaces should be let with a coverage rating, measuring connectivity within a property. It argues that given the fast-paced evolving nature of the sector, landlords who invest in excellent telephony infrastructure are likely to secure tenants for longer periods and potentially achieve higher rental values. The approach is being borne out by the government recognising the importance of better mobile and internet infrastructure, by making it a focal point to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017. This comes as no surprise given that several emerging markets are leap-frogging the adoption of technology and are quickly outpacing the UK in the sophistication of infrastructure on offer to occupiers. London is ranked near to the bottom of the internet connectivity league table when looking at Europe.
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
As has been the case with recent UK Government Budget announcements, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Budget addressed a number of issues related to the workplace, technology and infrastructure. It was the first Budget delivered in the post Brexit era and this clearly informed many of the announcements made. While most of the headlines over the past 24 hours have related to the changes to the tax status of the self-employed as a way of raising around £2 billion, the announcements also covered a broad range of topics related to the workplace, HR, technology and property sectors and have drawn an immediate response from key figures in the sector. These include nearly half a billion pounds relief on the vexed question of business rates reforms, a new focus on technical qualifications and a greater investment in 5G and other forms of digital infrastructure. We’ll be having our own say about the implications of the Budget in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s a rundown of the key announcements and the reaction of industry experts.
March 9, 2017
Google has revealed the latest designs for its new Mountain View office campus, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, the partnership that is also collaborating on Google’s new London offices. This is the third iteration of the designs which will now be presented at a public hearing pending approval by Mountain View City Council. The designs of the purpose built office complex and campus maintain the tent like structures from previous ideas as well as a heavily landscaped environment. The public spaces, pavilions, cafes, research labs, event spaces will be at ground level with offices on a mezzanine level. The new design for the roof incorporates curved metal shapes in grey which will discourage birds from flying into the structure.