January 27, 2017
Flexible working hours and being their own boss makes the UK’s self-employed much happier than those in traditional employment a new survey claims. According to the latest set of findings from the ‘Definitive Study of the Self-Employed,’ commissioned by Intuit QuickBooks, the self-employed generated mean annual revenues of £32,623 (£5,000 more than the average UK salary), despite working 10 hours less per week. Of those who have been a salaried worker, two thirds (66 percent) claim to be financially better off or the same and 65 percent also feel better off in terms of ‘life satisfaction’. When the research considered nuanced reasons for choosing to work for oneself ;control of schedule (77 percent), more flexibility to work to one’s own terms (68 percent) and liking being one’s own boss (65 percent) were leading reasons, with not worrying about workplace politics (47 percent) also regularly referenced.
January 25, 2017
Only one in five workers in the UK still take the traditional lunch hour break; a stark contrast to France, which sees the lunch hour as a key part of the working day, a new survey by commercial property agency Savoystewart.co.uk claims. Digital marketers take the shortest breaks, taking a meagre average of 14-minutes, followed by recruiters and those in telesales. At the opposite end of the spectrum are media & communication professionals, who take almost their whole hour at 55 minutes. Some of the reasons cited for the shorter break were to please the boss, too much work to do, other colleagues don’t take lunch, there’s nowhere to go or one hour is too long. Half of those polled work right through their lunch break, 30 percent will take under 30 minutes off, 52 percent admit to eating over their desk most days and 27 percent deliberately take a shorter break to please their boss. Yet UK legislation actually allows for a 1 hour interrupted 20-minute rest break after working 6 hours+, and those who are under 18 are entitled to 30 minutes if working above 4.5 hours. Some work contracts may even allow for additional breaks alongside lunch, like tea breaks.
January 24, 2017
The three main drivers of positive employee experiences are wellbeing, culture and engagement claims the latest State of the Industry Survey by Virgin Pulse. The report goes on to suggest that organisations that invest in these three key areas will see a measurable impact on business performance and outcomes. For example, the results revealed that 78 percent of organisations view employee wellbeing as a critical component of their business strategy; and 74 percent of employers with strategic, holistic wellbeing programs saw improvements in employee satisfaction and 65 percent saw improvements in organisational culture. In fact, 95 percent of organisations view culture as important for driving business outcomes; while 80 percent of organisations plan to improve corporate culture in the coming year. Engagement investments also have a strong impact on business results.
January 20, 2017
Toss a sliver of information into the great stream of accepted public narrative and see what happens to it. There it goes, briefly visible on the surface then consumed; part of the stream but no longer to be seen. A perfect example of this is provided by a recent piece of research carried out by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health into the effects of standing at work on a small sample of call centre workers. While the results of the study are impressive, notably a 46 percent increase in productivity, by the time the story was reported on Inc.com, the 167 call centre workers had suddenly morphed into ‘everybody’. It should go without saying that the headline ‘Your Productivity Will Increase by 46 percent if You Stand at Your Desk’ does not reflect the conclusions of the original research. The statements by the researchers suggesting that the study is significant with regard to call centre staff but merely indicative of a wider issue go ignored.
January 20, 2017
More than half of the workforce (53 percent) report that they have felt physically unwell due to a poor work-life balance, and a similar number (52 percent) go so far as to say that work makes them more unwell than anything in their personal lives, claims new research from Bupa UK. In addition to physical sickness, work stress is keeping half (51 percent) of employees awake at night. Two fifths (42 percent) even state it is ‘ruining their life’.The research revealed that people find workplace demands such as presenting at an important meeting (71 percent) or managing a project (65 percent) just as stressful as buying a first house (69 percent) or getting married (66 percent). The research indicated that there is a pressing business need for organisations to better understand and address the wellbeing needs of their employees, as it is impacting profitability.
January 19, 2017
A new report from the charity Central YMCA claims to highlight the major role employers have to play in supporting the nation’s wellbeing. The report is based on a study of 1,000 UK adults undertaken by the charity which found that being at work is the most common situation in which people feel their happiness is decreased – with a fifth of people stating this. The research also found that finding free time for leisure, family and friends, and socialising was key to achieving good levels of wellbeing. Respondents stated they feel wellbeing at its highest when on holiday (66 percent), when spending time with family (56 percent), or whilst socialising with friends (49 percent) – signalling the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance. Despite these stats, recent studies show that the average British worker puts in the equivalent of 38 working days over and above their contracted annual hours.
January 18, 2017
Employees are more likely to pull a sickie in the first quarter (January to March) than any other time of year, causing increased stress for those who have to cover for their absent colleagues, a new survey claims. The research, which was conducted by Kronos found that over a third (37 percent) of respondents predicted that that they or a colleague would take unauthorised absences or fake a sickness within the first three months of the year. What’s more, they believe this will add up to a total of three to four days and 24 percent said it may stretch to five or six. When asked why they’re likely to pull a sickie, 31 percent blamed the post-Christmas blues, highlighting the challenge for employers to maintain motivation and morale throughout January. Meanwhile, 32 percent said they feel more pressure to keep productivity levels up in the first quarter so their employer could start the year on a good note, causing them to feel stressed and therefore more likely to bunk off work for a mental health day.
January 16, 2017
So here it is. Blue Monday. Officially the most depressing day of the year. We say ‘officially’, but like the idea of ‘Body Odour’ its common usage hides the fact that it was originally created as part of a 2005 PR campaign. For Sky’s travel channel. The whole idea of Blue Monday is couched in a pseudo-mathematical equation which includes factors like the weather, levels of debt, time since Christmas, low levels of motivation and, apparently, an unspecified variable known simply as ‘D’. Yet for many people, work always appears to get them down. Negative attitudes to our working lives have been consistent in the way work has been reflected by artists for at least the past hundred years.
January 16, 2017
Two-thirds (67 percent) of employees in small to medium employers (SMEs) are currently fed up at work and lack motivation, but the large majority of their employers (81 percent) believe they aren’t affected by the January blues, claims new research by Moorepay. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) feel their colleagues are also affected by the January blues, which sit in stark contrast to the perception of managers and small businesses owners, who are unaware of how their staff feel. Work-related stress is considered the primary reason for feeling demotivated by most employees (36 percent), followed by the long wait to pay day (17 percent) and the financial fallout of the Christmas celebrations (10 percent). Consequently, almost half (46 percent) of all employees say they are likely to look for a new job in the next three months. Only 19 percent of small to medium businesses (SMBs) realise what impact the January blues has on their business.
January 14, 2017
In this week’s Newsletter; Neil Usher describes the vision behind Sky Central’s new activity-based workplace in London; and Mark Eltringham argues the European Display Screen Equipment Regulations are no longer fit for purpose. CRE’s attempts to advance corporate strategic goals often take a back seat to cost savings targets; the Hushme voice masking device for mobile phones promises a quieter office; and organisations are encouraged to “detoxify” their work environments to improve employee wellbeing. Why employees are prepared to move jobs if employers fail to offer flexible work; a quarter of people with money problems say it undermines their work performance; and the World Economic Forum cites unregulated technological progress as one of the greatest threats to work. Download our 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.
January 12, 2017
While a fifth of respondents to a study commissioned by Cascade HR revealed the topics most likely to keep HR awake at night in 2017 said they don’t foresee any challenges as Brexit begins to unfold, the remainder highlighted recruitment, managing organisational change and staff morale as the overriding struggles they expect to encounter. While 80 percent of participants said their organisation is OK, good or excellent at managing major change, significant areas for improvement were also identified, with 61 percent stating better communication is required, 57 percent striving for greater staff involvement/engagement and 50 percent highlighting the need for improved planning. Of the 275 industry professionals questioned in the survey, to uncover their plans and fears surrounding Brexit and other significant economic developments, 59 percent said they will rely on technology to help them manage such change.
January 12, 2017
The January blues are well documented but aside from the usual clichés which abound around this time of year, there is some evidence of the impact of winter on people’s mental health and wellbeing, According to a new survey from Peldon Rose over two-fifths (44 percent) of employees say winter has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing, half (51 percent) believe it adversely affects their mood and 30 percent state winter affects their productivity. Over a third of respondents (35 percent) even identify themselves as suffering or having suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a type of depression that becomes more severe in the winter and three-quarters (76 percent) have experienced or are currently experiencing stress in the workplace. But the report concludes, effective workplace design can help combat some of these ill effects.