December 9, 2016
A new report on the state of the public’s health and wellbeing, ‘Baby Boomers: Fit for the Future’, by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, advises that good quality work is good for baby boomers’ health and that employers have a role to play by helping their staff to remain healthy enough to stay in employment. According to the report on those aged between 50 and 70, there is an increasing body of evidence that for most people ‘good work’ is good for personal health, organisational productivity and economic prosperity. It also advises since many people define themselves and their position in society in terms of their job, staying in employment is also a significant contributor to self-esteem. The report also finds there is promising evidence that the continued social engagement that some people find in employment may defer the onset of cognitive decline and the risk of dementia.
December 8, 2016
In the United States where taking a sick day is frowned upon heavily and where the annual number of holiday days are around half of that of the UK, going to work when you’re ill is almost a mark of dedication. However, for the unfortunate colleagues of those who display such martyred behaviours, trying to avoid cold and flu in the workplace has reached desperate levels, as nearly half of people in a recent survey would give up a vacation day to a sick worker to ensure they don’t bring illness to the workplace. According to the seventh annual cold and flu season survey from Staples, while the workforce is keenly aware of the dangers as well as prevention tactics surrounding seasonal illness, personal accountability remains low, with nearly 80 percent of employees still going to work sick. This is despite the fact that employers increasingly appreciate that a sick employee at home is much preferable than one who has struggled into work.
December 6, 2016
Politicians and corporate bosses who seems to pride themselves on being able to function on less than six hours of sleep a night are sending out the wrong message to the workforce, as recent research suggests that a lack of sleep among UK workers is costing the economy up to £40 billion a year, 1.86 per cent of the country’s GDP. According to researchers at the not-for-profit research organisation RAND Europe, sleep deprivation leads to a higher mortality risk and lower productivity levels among the workforce, which, when combined, has a significant impact on a nation’s economy. A person who sleeps on average less than six hours a night has a 13 per cent higher mortality risk than someone sleeping between seven and nine hours, researchers found, while those sleeping between six and seven hours a day have a 7 per cent higher mortality risk. The report, Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep, describes sleeping between seven and nine hours per night as the “healthy daily sleep range”.
December 6, 2016
Record number of major companies and law firms are advancing vital policies and practices to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers around the world. This is according to the 2017 Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the US’ largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. This year, a record-breaking 517 businesses earned the CEI’s top score of 100, up from 407 last year. That’s a single-year increase of more than 25 percent — the largest jump in the 15-year history of the United State’s premiere benchmarking tool for LGBT workplace equality. Leadership demonstrated by these businesses, reflect more than a decade of work inside these companies to expand LGBT, and particularly transgender, workplace equality. The Corporate Equality Index (CEI), launched in 2002 to assess LGBT-inclusive policies and practices at Fortune 500 companies, also highlights how corporate leaders are increasingly stepping up to play a leading role in opposing anti-equality legislation. Through their actions, taken as LGBTQ workers and customers have been facing a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures across the US, business leaders are building on their longstanding commitment to expanding workplace equality for LGBTQ people.
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
It’s been a tumultuous year for political change, and in the UK, none more so than that of whether to stay or leave the European Union. We were still getting over the reactions to Brexit when Donald Trump secured the Presidential election. These events have made political discussions in the workplace near inescapable. But talking politics with colleagues can lead to all sorts of problems, particularly when there is a disagreement in political points of view. Probably more than any other year, the political results during 2016 have been increasingly divisive, with political discourse raised to an entirely new level of fractiousness and disagreement; leaving employees feeling stressed, more isolated from their colleagues, and less productive as a result. Unsurprisingly then, a survey of 1,000 employees conducted by HR and employment law specialist Peninsula claims that 1 in 5 employees are negatively affected by political talk in the workplace. The survey also discovered that 65 percent of employees avoid talking politics at work and 32 percent of employees reported that workplace hostility has increased because of political discussions at work.
November 28, 2016
Employees over 50 still have a huge amount to offer, and that is why employers need to develop and implement strategies to find ways of managing and retaining them. The results of a three year study – led by Nottingham Trent University with Workplace Innovation Limited – aimed at preventing the loss of vital knowledge, skills and experience of increasingly ageing workforces indicate that measures should be taken by employers to ensure older workers don’t become demotivated and head into early retirement. The first-of-its-kind study follows findings which reveal that by 2030 the number of people aged over 55 in high-income countries will have grown to 500 million. As part of the study, researchers found that interventions which seek to improve job design and the way in which work is organised can lead to better engagement and retention of older workers – as well as producing wider benefits for the business and its employees. The project investigated work-related predictors of retirement for the over 50s, finding that manageable job demands and more control over roles were key factors in delaying a decision to retire.
November 26, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Ian Ellison says there are no silver bullets for workspace design, but it’s worth the effort; Justin Miller explores the workplace implications of seasonal affective disorder (SAD); and Jeff Flanagan explains why workplace design and management teams should look towards consumer-facing industries for inspiration. Asia set to lead the world in the uptake of artificial intelligence in the workplace; Staples announces tomorrow’s workplace design winners; and UK Government to invest properly in the next generation of technological infrastructure. One in seven UK employees now commute over two hours each day; Millennials reject the gig economy; Autumn statement could adversely affect London’s tech firms; and global report finds that flexible working is a necessity for younger 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.
November 22, 2016
We don’t know how readers in the rest of the world are doing but here in the UK we are slap bang in the depths of the British Winter, which means cold, damp and dark. There’s little doubt that this time of the year can get on top of people a little bit, leaving them feeling blue and that one of the most widely recognised causes of this is seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is directly linked to the lack of natural light we experience during the course of the day. SAD can affect each of us in different ways and to varying degrees but it is a common condition linked to the functioning of a part of our brain called the hypothalamus which controls our moods, appetite and sleep patterns. Lack of light affects us by interfering in the production of feel good hormone serotonin and disrupts the melatonin hormone and circadian rhythms that regulate our sleep.
November 22, 2016
One in seven UK employees commute over two hours or more each day. This represents an increase of nearly a third (31 percent) over the past five years, which claims the TUC, is due to a combination of low wages, high house/rental prices and the government’s lack of transport infrastructure spending, According to a new analysis by the union to mark Work Wise UK’s Commute Smart Week, in 2015 3.7 million workers had daily commutes of two hours or longer – an increase of 900,000 since 2010 (2.8 million). In 2015 one in seven UK employees (14 percent) travelled two hours or more each day to and from work, compared to one in nine in 2010 (11 percent). UK workers spent 10 hours extra, on average, commuting in 2015 than they did in 2010. This is the equivalent of an extra 2.7 minutes per day. London (930,000) has the highest number of employees who make long commutes, followed by the South East (623,000) and the East of England (409,000); while workers in Northern Ireland (+57 percent) have experienced the biggest rise in long commuting, followed by the South East (+37 percent) and the West Midlands (+27 percent).
November 17, 2016
Workplaces that create positive environments for mental health are more productive as they can reduce employee absences due to stress and anxiety at work, but managers need to learn the skills needed to help reduce stress and poor mental health among staff. This is according to a new report based on research by Essex Business School commissioned by Acas. The report makes the human case that employers should prioritise mental health in the workplace to include careful management of those with mental health conditions, making reasonable adjustments to working practices where appropriate, and educating their whole organisation to challenge stigma. Leaders and line managers have a crucial role to play in reducing anxiety levels claims the report, and those trained in ‘people skills’ are best equipped to build trust and respect among their teams and individuals. This trust can help staff to disclose their mental health conditions so that appropriate support can be provided. Alongside the report Acas has published specific advice for managers on how to manage anxiety in the workplace.
November 11, 2016
Any survey that sets out to establish what people believe cuts their productivity and annoys them most about their workplace almost invariably throws up the same result; the noise and distractions generated by other people. So it will come as no surprise to learn that the same surveys usually find that employees believe that peace and quiet and freedom from distractions is the most important factor when it comes to getting some decent work done. A survey of 90,000 people by architects Gensler carried out in 2013 found that ‘the most significant factor in workplace effectiveness is not collaboration, it’s individual focus work.’ So, it’s little wonder that how to provide peace and privacy has been one that occupies the thoughts of many workplace and product designers. Some of the solutions they have come up with have been great, some a little less so. Here is our pick of just ten of them.