February 24, 2015
The much discussed ‘fit note’ legislation introduced in the UK in 2010 may have resulted in a sharp reduction in the number of people taking long terms absences from work, according to a new study, which also revealed a starkly growing number of people taking time off work to deal with mental health issues. Researchers from the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool claim to have found evidence that the UK ‘fit note,’ which replaced the ‘sick note’ in 2010 in the UK, is linked to fewer people taking long term sick leave of 12 or more weeks. A report based on the same study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine also found that the proportion of people off sick with depression, anxiety, and stress has increased noticeably.
February 17, 2015
In this week’s issue; Mark Eltringham observes the shattering of any fixed idea we may once have had of a time and a place to work, and highlights the remarkable growth in the number of one person businesses; Sara Bean welcomes the publication of Kinnarps’ Trend report which offers informed views of the shape of the future workplace; Jonathan Hindle examines the true value of workplace art and Paul Goodchild suggests there may be better ways of designing offices that balance the advantages of the open plan, while mitigating its drawbacks. In news; the latest initiative between the BIFM and the CIPD, Government plans to attract the US tech sector to the UK, and new evidence of the impact of stress on the workforce. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
February 16, 2015
Millions of the UK’s workforce feel they’re putting their heart health at risk due to the pressures of their job, according to a new survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation during the charity’s Heart Month. The survey shows that a large number of employees feel their working life leads them to eat a poor diet, not doing enough exercise and drinking and smoking more than is good for them. The BHF is calling for employers to encourage their workforce to spend at least 10 minutes a day improving their lifestyle during February. The survey found two in five (41 percent) people feel their job has had a negative impact on their health in the last five years, with more than half (55 percent) saying they have become more stressed as a result of their job over the same time period.
February 7, 2015
In this week’s issue; the UK takes a leading role in the development of the Internet of Things and the government publishes a guide to digital economy clusters; news that Europe’s commercial property market ‘sizzled’ during 2014 while a report suggests city leaders are the main obstacles to the implementation of urban infrastructure. Mark Eltringham derides more attempts to define the workplace of the future; Sara Bean warns that employers need to consider whether their workplace has an inclusive design; and as the winners of the first ever employee engagement awards are announced research reveals the cost of disengaged employees. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
February 6, 2015
Hotel management company The Dorchester Collection has picked up The Investors in People Company of the Year Award, in the inaugural Employee Engagement Awards. Although awards programmes are as much about marketing and revenue as recognising talent and achievement, it’s clear that the launch of the first ever awards that recognise employee engagement reflects a growing realisation by employers that it’s an area to be taken seriously. As the economy improves, the labour market grows more competitive and businesses have to offer and be seen to be doing things differently, to create an engaging and rewarding working environment. Other notable winners include The University of Sheffield, which won the Wellness Award and Transport for London, for Project of the Year Award (Public sector).
February 2, 2015
If your office seems strangely quiet this morning it might be due to the fact today is ‘national sickie day’. The first Monday in February is the day of the year which traditionally sees the highest number of workers calling in sick. It’s been argued that many of these people could in fact be looking for a new job, but whether your staff are sick or on a job interview, these absences may be indicative of a deeper problem, and it in all probability lies with the quality of their managers. According to recent research, one in seven people (16%) have had to take sick leave due to a bad manager and a fifth of people would turn down a job offer if their new manager had a bad reputation. The research also found that those who find themselves being poorly managed are more likely to take radical action and leave a job than tackle the issue with their HR department.
January 29, 2015
Far from making employees healthier, a corporate focus on their wellness may actually be making them unhappier and more prone to illnesses. That is the conclusion of a new book published by two researchers at Cass Business School and Stockholm University. In the book, The Wellness Syndrome, the authors Andre Spicer and Carl Cederström claim that the fixation with monitoring wellbeing and initiating wellness programmes may be having the obverse effect to that intended. The book argues that an obsession with wellness obliges some people to pretend to be happy at work, even when they are not and that the pressure to fit with a corporate notion of what constitutes a ‘well’ person makes them depressed and anxious that they will be labelled by their employer and colleagues if they don’t fit an ideal.
January 28, 2015
Nearly half (46%) of employers believe their company is a great place to work compared with less than a third (31%) of staff, and UK staff have alarmingly low energy levels, a new survey has revealed. The data from MetLife’s UK Employee Benefits Trends Survey shows how highly employers rate recruitment and retention. Forty percent of UK companies say they will be affected by talent shortages over the next year and their key benefits challenges are retaining (41%) and hiring talent (37%). However, the greatest recruitment and retention challenge is the gap between employer and employee views. Although 32 percent of employees say they are loyal to their employer – just 22 percent believe their employer is loyal to them. In contrast 39 percent of employers’ believe their employees are loyal and 40 percent believe they are loyal to employees.
January 26, 2015
Giving employees more control over their work schedules may help curb sleep deficiency, according to health researchers in the US. A team led by Orfeu M. Buxton, associate professor of bio-behavioural health at Penn State University set out to explore the question of whether family-friendly work practices and other forms of flexible working had any impact on the quantity and quality of sleep. They results are published this month in the journal Sleep Health. Of the nearly 500 employees from an IT company surveyed over a period of a year, the researchers found that employees who were able to enjoy more control over their working day also enjoyed an average of eight minutes more sleep per night than those with rigid working hours. The research also found that participants’ perceptions of their sleep quality also improved.
January 26, 2015
Anybody who thinks that regular gym visits mitigate the ill effects of prolonged sitting at work is likely to be dead wrong. That is the key finding of a new study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine. The meta-analysis of 47 studies set out to explore the possible correlation between physical activity and the conditions most commonly associated with sedentary lifestyles including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. The results of the analysis showed that the crucial factor was not the level of physical activity away from the workplace but rather the length of time spent sitting while at work. The Canadian academics behind the study are calling for more research to establish just how much sedentary work is too much as a way of reducing the risks which they identify as a 15 to 20 percent higher risk of heart disease and cancer and up to a 90 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.
January 23, 2015
Last week the HSE marked its 40th anniversary with a series of warnings about the continuing importance of maintaining health and safety. While the number of people killed at work has fallen dramatically since the HSE was launched, it’s important employers don’t get complacent. A lack of education among the workforce about the adequate measures to take when considering health and safety can still make a huge difference. Good communication is vital, so provide in depth, yet cohesive and easy to follow Health and Safety guides, including useful information like fire blanket locations, fire exits, what to do in an emergency and emergency phone numbers which are handed out to all employees. Regular talks about the importance of health and safety should be conducted every few months to reiterate health and safety messages.
January 19, 2015
One of the particular and often unspoken issues that shadows in any debate about flexible working is what we mean by the term. We’ve been talking about new ways of working for a good quarter of a century now and what is generally understood about the practice has evolved considerably. The very idea was conceived at the birth of the new online era so is inextricably tied up with the Internet and new technology. That is why it first became a significant business issue in the mid 1990s as we felt the pre-shocks of the coming seismic disruption of the Internet. Laptops became commercially viable for the first time in the early 1990s and the UK’s first text message was sent in 1992. Authors such as Charles Handy were popularising the notion that our entire relationship with work was about to change.