February 7, 2017
Employers should provide full and equal access to flexible working arrangements, occupational health support and appropriate workplace adaptations to help older workers to manage health conditions at work. This is according to a new report from the Centre for Ageing Better, Fulfilling work: what do older workers value about work and why? which identifies the characteristics of work that are important to people aged 50 and over, and explores actions employers can take to attract and retain them. Understanding what older workers want is the first step in helping employers, policy makers and others create age-friendly workplaces. By 2020, one in three workers will be over 50 but while the employment rate for all working age adults remains at a record high of nearly 75%, for people over 60, this falls to around 50%. and there are currently 12 million people heading towards an insufficient retirement income. Ageing Better commissioned the Institute of Employment Studies to carry out the study as to ways of helping people stay at work and the report finds that health is the most important factor affecting older workers’ decisions to continue in work, ahead of job satisfaction and job quality.
February 3, 2017
We are all futurologists now. We all have our 2020 visions. But there was a time, not so long ago, when the title was reserved for a few people who would be able to shake and shape the world with a single idea and a book. Yes, a book. Nowadays a book has to go hand in hand with a Ted Talk, blogs on the Huff Post and a speaking tour to get you anywhere at all. But within living memory it was possible to shift the thinking of the planet with a book. This is a past just as exotic as the future once described by the likes of Charles Handy, James Gleick and Alvin Toffler who died on Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 87. Toffler’s 1970 blockbuster Future Shock created not just an enduring expression of an idea but also set the standard for all subsequent futurologists. His ideas and the terms he used to encapsulate them continue to resonate as we now understand how the future world he described so memorably has come to pass.
February 2, 2017
We’re only just out of January but new research claims that one in ten employed Britons in the UK has already pulled a sickie from work in 2017. The poll by online travel agency www.sunshine.co.uk also looked into previous bogus sick leave and found that 21 percent of grown adults have had a parent, partner or friend call in sick for them so that they didn’t have to on a past occasion. Respondents answered questions about any time they’d taken off sick from work in the last 12 months, were asked ‘How frequently have you taken sick days from work over the past year?’, the majority (57 percent) said ‘once a month’. 22 percent said ‘hardly ever’ and 16 percent said ‘only once or twice’. Everyone was then asked how many of the sick days they took were false (i.e. they weren’t genuinely unwell when they called in sick). From this, the research suggests approximately 1 in every 4 sick days taken by Britons is a false ‘sickie’.
February 1, 2017
Almost three quarters (71 percent) of office staff are so overwhelmed with work they have to put in an 180 extra unpaid hours every year, according to a survey from Printerland. British workers spend on average, an extra 44 minutes every week – that’s 36 hours annually – checking emails, answering phone calls and completing other tasks outside their contracted hours. Over 51 hours a year are spent working late, with two thirds (63 percent) of staff still in the office after hours at least once a week, while 6 percent never go home on time. Many employees are also dining ‘al desko’, with average through lunchtime 2 days a week totalling 93 hours a year, while over half (53 percent) don’t escape the office for the entire day and 16 percent don’t get any screen breaks all day.
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.