January 6, 2017
Topical workplace issues featured prominently at this week’s British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference held in Liverpool. Four of the key takeaways from the event deal with issues such as the right to disconnect when working from home – a right recently enshrined in law in France, the way different personality types deal with emails, the toxic relationship between employers and employees and even how managers can learn to show their staff more love. The focus at teh event underlines a growing awareness of the complexities of our new relationship with work and workplaces.
January 6, 2017
Over half of graduate employers are struggling to fill their graduate vacancies, partly due to students reneging on offers. A poll by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) claims that 52 percent of employers did not fill all of their graduate vacancies last year and while one in five offers were declined, 7.1 percent of offers made were accepted and then reneged. The size of the challenge differs by sector. Accountancy, banking and engineering firms are the most likely to find reneging an issue. It is less of a problem in the public sector and among law, utility and IT businesses. However, employers are finding ways to tackle the issue with 97 percent communicating and 78 percent holding events for graduates between offer and join date. As a result the proportion of job offers reneged is falling – in the AGR’s 2015 poll 8.2 percent were reneged. Employers are also being advised to take more of a digital approach to reaching ‘tech savvy’ graduates.
January 5, 2017
Worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) is forecast to reach $737 billion for the past year (2016) as organisations invest in the hardware, software, services, and connectivity that enable the IoT. According to a new update to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide, global IoT spending will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6 percent over the 2015-2020 forecast period, reaching $1.29 trillion in 2020. The industries forecast to make the largest IoT investments in 2016 are Manufacturing ($178 billion), Transportation ($78 billion), and Utilities ($69 billion). Consumer IoT purchases, the fourth largest market segment in 2016, will become the third largest segment by 2020. Meanwhile, cross-industry IoT, such as that for connected vehicles and smart buildings, will rank among the top segments throughout the five-year forecast.
January 3, 2017
Working with colleagues across different geographies and time zones has become the norm since an increasing number of organisations now integrate and seek collaboration at a global level. Interestingly, according to Cisco, 62 percent of workers now regularly collaborate with people in other countries. These globally integrated enterprises (GIE) aim to draw in the best talent from across the world, delivering maximum innovation and efficiency. The rise of global and distributed teams has been further encouraged by the popularity of remote working, with 71 percent of office workers now choosing greater flexibility to work from various locations instead of travelling to the office everyday . And the trend only looks set to gain pace, with 56 percent of senior leaders in large global companies expecting global teams to increase in the next one to three years.
January 3, 2017
Over the last few years there has been something of a widespread backlash to the idea that we need to have constant access to information and our colleagues to work effectively. The touchstone for this movement is of course the open plan office but it has become something of a scapegoat given the universality of the problems of interruptions and distractions. One of the most vocal proponents of the idea that sometimes we need to work quietly and alone is Susan Cain, the author of Quiet and the person responsible for the TED Talk presented below on sound and acoustics. But she is not alone, as we suggested in this feature. Nor is the message new. Nearly 70 years ago, Aldous Huxley bemoaned the din of technology in his 1946 essay Science, Liberty and Peace, which covers a range of topics including this prescient piece on silence:
January 2, 2017
Brexit negotiations will ‘fire the starting gun’ on a decade of change for the UK, claims a new report from think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The study, Future Proof: Britain in the 2020s, sets out the key challenges it claims will shape the UK in the period up to 2030 and the ‘choices that must be made now if these changes are to lead to a fairer and more equal society’. Among the issues covered in the report are the challenges directly related to Brexit, alongside factors such as an ageing population, other demographic changes, the risk to jobs posed by automation, the shift of the globalised economy towards Asia and the enduring problems associated with wage inequalities and the environment.
December 29, 2016
We know, and have for a long time, that the workplace is in a state of near constant flux and so we often fall into the trap of assuming that there is some sort of evolution towards an idealised version of it. That is why we see so many people routinely willing to suspend their critical facilities to make extravagant and even absurd predictions about the office of the future or even the death of the office. This is perniciously faulty thinking. However we can frame a number of workplace related ideas in terms of evolutionary theory, so long as we accept one of the central precepts about evolution. Namely that there is no end game, just types progressing and sometimes dying out along the distinct branches of a complex ecosystem. As a nerdy sort of guy of a certain age, I’ve tended to frame my thoughts on all of this with reference to an idea from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by the great Douglas Adams.
December 26, 2016
The Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. In this edition… Neil Usher, Workplace Director at Sky offers a first hand account of the story behind the firm’s remarkable new offices at the Osterley campus in London; Kate Langan explores some of the implications of the growing digitisation of the workplace; Jim Ware looks at how the challenge of creating effective meeting spaces is now a strategic concern; John Blackwell tries to make sense of falling productivity levels when we have all the tools and know how to increase it; David Woolf makes the case for designing better collaborative spaces; Mark Eltringham looks forward to an almost entirely unpredictable future for workplaces in the 21st Century; and Karen Plum and Andrew Mawson set out the factors that drive knowledge worker productivity. The PDF edition is available to view and download here. Or view online here.
December 19, 2016
The UK’s patchy and frequently shoddy broadband network has held back the country for a long time. According to a new report from industry regulator Ofcom, however, there are signs of improvement with the number of UK domestic and commercial properties unable to get a decent broadband connection falling by one million over the past year. Even so, around 5 percent of offices and homes are unable to enjoy broadband speeds over 10 Mbit/s, the speed Ofcom claims is required to meet a typical household’s digital needs. The findings are part of Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2016 report – an in-depth look at the state of the UK’s telecoms and wireless networks. This year’s report shows good progress on the availability and take-up of communications services, which are crucial to people’s personal and working lives.
December 5, 2016
A new study by Oxford Economics and SAP claims that just one in every 100 organisations in the UK is capitalising on the digital economy, significantly fewer than in comparable European countries such as Germany where the figure is more than 2 in 5 and Spain (22 percent). According to the study, the benefits of digital readiness include greater workforce diversity. The ‘digital winners’ defined by the report have higher female representation at mid-management level level and slightly more women overall. Four in ten of the study’s digital winners globally reported effective diversity programmes, compared to 36 percent of all companies in France, 33 percent in Russia, 30 percent in the UK and 23 percent in Spain.
December 5, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham dissects the current obsession with engagement and motivation; and from the Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place which is now available to view online; discusses the future of work and place in the 21st century. We discover why creativity in the workplace is a prime engagement tool; that 85 percent of employers believe workplace automation will create more jobs than it will replace; however, in the now, technology issues cause the most lost time for SMEs. One in three lawyers would not feel comfortable even beginning the conversation about flexible working with their employer; a fifth of employees are distressed by political discussions in the workplace and employers urged to develop strategies to help retain older workers. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
December 2, 2016
However much we know about the forces we expect to come into play in our time and however much we understand the various social, commercial, legislative, cultural and economic parameters we expect to direct them, most predictions of the future tend to come out as refractions or extrapolations of the present. This is a fact tacitly acknowledged by George Orwell’s title for 1984, written in 1948, and is always the pinch of salt we can apply to science fiction and most of the predictions we come across. This is the fundamental reason why a typical report or feature looking to explore the future of work and workplaces invariably produces a hyped-up office of the present. This has sufficed to some degree up till now because the major driving force of change – technology – has developed in linear ways. Its major driver since Gordon Moore produced his eponymous law in 1965 has been miniaturisation. If we can expect computing power to double every 18 months, as Moore predicted, we at least have a degree of certainty about technological disruption. Of course, this has already had a profound effect on the way we work and the way we use buildings. So too has the secondary prime technological driver of the early 21st Century, the digitisation of the past and present.