February 20, 2017
Shifting digital dynamics are reshaping the way organisations operate and are recasting the traditional route to business success, claims new research into the rise of the digital workplace. Ricoh’s new report into digital workplace trends produced in partnership with polling company Censuswide, argues that the latest technology strategies are rendered useless without proper commitment to skills training and the empowerment of those workers who will be making use of it. It advises that businesses need to work on improving the workforce’s digital dexterity by creating an office culture fit for sharing ideas and skills across social, video and digital platforms. The report identifies digital skills training as a key differentiator for employees seeking a new job. Over a third of UK office workers (37 per cent) say they would move jobs to a company which offered better digital skills in the workplace. Likewise a modest 18 per cent of respondents rated their skills as ‘excellent’ whilst 51 per cent said ‘good’ and 30 per cent considered themselves ‘average.’
February 17, 2017
A new report commissioned by Samsung claims that by 2020, the impact that changes in society and technology will have upon the future of the workplace will elevate Human Resources (HR) to a powerful new role. The arrival of what Samsung calls the open economy will create a new environment in which a breed of ultra-flexible freelancers will prosper. Their arrival will present great opportunities for those organisations that embrace them but there will be significant challenges as well. Automation will be increasingly prevalent, but human skills will also rise in value as whole new job categories will be created around creativity, human judgement and intuition capabilities –positioning HR at the forefront of dealing with the significant industry changes. Emerging technology and artificial intelligence will undoubtedly create great change in many industries but it will also release human workers from mundane and repetitive tasks, liberating a workforce where human judgement and expertise becomes the centre of any organisation’s human resources.
February 16, 2017
The majority (79 percent) of workers say reliable and modern technology is more important to them than office aesthetics, while accessories such as ping pong tables, slides, hammocks and wacky office designs may look good in pictures, but they don’t necessarily make employees any happier or productive. The is according to a survey, conducted by storage firm Kiwi Movers, which found that 86 percent of UK adults who work in an office said fun features were of no specific value to their working life, 11 percent said they were nice-to-have and of some value and 3 percent said they were very valuable. The most popular office perks are those offer an immediate tangible benefit to the employee, but even so, as many as 23 percent don’t take advantage every day; while 71 percent overall said they’d like more space in their office and of those, 58 percent believe that could be achieved by removing non-essential items. The research also found that younger workers were more likely on average to take advantage of ‘environmental’ perks like chill out areas and recreational equipment.
February 15, 2017
In shows and the media, we are often invited to pass judgement on products and ideas that have been created by other people. The reviews that follow often cement some form of accepted view, even if we often outsource the decision making to people who are better placed to decide, or at least better enabled to express an opinion. Such judgements would not function at all in this regard unless there was some underlying consensus about what constitutes good and bad design at the same time that we all believed we know what good taste is and we all know a good piece of design when we see it. In so far as the consensus is universally accepted, we are all right. But how much do we really understand about the things that surround us and their design? And how meaningful is the consensus? In JG Ballard’s novel High Rise, recently made into a film, he writes of the disdain Anthony Royal, the architect of the eponymous tower has for the tastes of its residents.
February 14, 2017
Despite recent research suggesting that no job is safe from the introduction of robots to the workplace, the majority of British workers don’t seem to be overly concerned about the impact of new technology on their roles. In fact, more than two thirds (68 percent) are positive about the possible impacts of technology at work over the next ten years. This is according to a survey from Epson, which takes a closer look at UK workers’ attitudes. More than three quarters (76 percent) believe technology will open new possibilities for growth, and three quarters (75 percent) think it will increase organisations’ profits. Another 77 percent thinks new technologies will kill certain jobs, but more than half (55 percent) are ready to learn new skills and adapt. Just 16 percent of UK workers think companies are ‘excellent’ at monitoring technology advancements, and 12 percent think their companies are excellent at engaging with employees in the process of making decisions.
February 14, 2017
By 2021, more members of the global population will be using mobile phones (5.5 billion) than bank accounts (5.4 billion), running water (5.3 billion), or landlines (2.9 billion), according to the 11th annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2016 to 2021. Strong growth in mobile users, smartphones and Internet of Things connections as well as network speed improvements and mobile video consumption are projected to increase mobile data traffic seven-fold over the next five years.
February 14, 2017
The UK ‘cyber workforce’ has grown by 160 percent in the five years to 2016, according to new Tech Partnership research. Around 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15 percent higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7 percent on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12 percent. The figures, derived from analysis of bespoke data from IT Jobs Watch and supporting information from the Office of National Statistics’ Quarterly Labour Force Survey, are published in the Tech Partnership’s most recent Fact Sheet, Cyber Security Specialists in the UK.
February 10, 2017
This is the first of two responses to an excellent article by Antony Slumbers, in this instance offering that his views offer too conservative a view of how technology will shape the future of work. Dr Pangloss, the teacher of metaphysics in Candide, Voltaire’s hilariously sarcastic attack on Leibnizian optimism, offered a timeless and universal explanation of the most cruel and tragic events as “the best of all possible worlds”. I would argue however that far from creating a landscape of optimism, it facilitates a dismissal of all significant change as an irrelevance given that effectively we have no option other than to happily accept it. For example, whether property transitions to a service or remains locked in its existing institutional quagmire, it doesn’t matter. Either way its fine as it’s the best we can hope for. Accept it, happily. A Panglossian future only looks appealing if you’re –well, Dr Pangloss.
February 10, 2017
Sodexo has published its 2017 Global Workplace Trends report, which claims to define the most critical factors affecting the world’s workers and employers. According to the report, the trends portray a workplace that blends work life with outside life, catering to employee needs through improvements in wellness, space design and learning programs. “With this piece, we’ve distilled key findings from different sectors, generations and countries to produce a report that provides a holistic view of the global workplace,” said Sylvia Metayer, CEO, Worldwide Corporate Services segment, Sodexo. “It’s critical for business leaders to recognise the underlying trends driving change, to evaluate their significance and stay ahead of—rather than follow—them.”
February 9, 2017
Over a third (35 percent) of businesses targeted in a cyber-attack in the past 12 months have taken no extra measures to protect themselves in the future, claims a new report. The study of 3,000 companies in the UK, US and Germany, conducted for Hiscox says that more than half (53 percent) of businesses in the three countries are ill-prepared to deal with cyber-attacks. It also found that more than half (57 percent) of companies surveyed admit they have been the target of at least one cyber-attack in the past 12 months, while one in four (26 percent) companies has been targeted three times or more with the average cost per incident to UK businesses estimated to be £42,779. Although three out of five businesses (62 percent) took less than 24 hours to uncover their biggest cyber incident in the past 12 months, and a quarter (26 percent) did so within an hour of its occurrence, nearly half (46 percent) of businesses took two days or more to get back to business as usual.
February 7, 2017
With the UK facing at best, very slow growth, or even shrinkage, of the working population, future changes to migration levels into the UK due to Brexit could exacerbate the financial stresses and strains caused by the UK’s aging workforce. This is according to the Mercer Workforce Monitor™ which claims that companies will need to invest heavily in automation, sectors of society historically under-represented in the workforce and look at ways of increasing productivity. According to the analysis, since 2013, the levels of EU and non-EU born immigration into the UK workforce has filled a gap left by the aging of the nation’s UK-born workforce which sees more in this group leave the workforce – through retirement, emigration or death – than enter it. National growth is closely linked to workforce growth; so reducing its future size would create major headwinds for the UK economy and since another 3.4 million people will reach the age of 65 in 2030; unless the UK decides to make drastic changes to the funding of pensions, health and social care, this smaller working population will be required to proportionally spend more of their income to care for their older citizens.
February 6, 2017
Two new reports have highlighted the ways in which a new generation of robots could transform the workforce, opening up opportunities while also threatening existing jobs. A study from Oxford Martin School claims that 35 percent of jobs in the UK are at risk of automation, and not necessarily those of the low skilled and unskilled. The study analyses which jobs commanding a salary of more than £40,000 are most at threat. It found that top of the “at risk” ranking are insurance underwriters, with a rating of 98.9 percent, followed by loan officers at 98.4 percent, motor insurance assessors (98.3 percent) and credit analysts (97.9 percent). A second report from think tank Reform suggests that robots should be proactively brought in to the workplace to replace 90 per cent of Whitehall’s 137,000 administrative staff with “artificially intelligent chatbots” by 2030, saving £2.6 billion a year.