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9 October 2015

Workplace design

Civic centre named best workplace in the country by the BCO

Civic centre named best workplace in the country by the BCO

Keynsham Civic Centre & One Stop Shop in Keynsham, near Bath, has been named the Best of the Best workplace in the country at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) annual Awards. The office was recognised as the Best Corporate Workplace in the UK, topping a list of six other award winners recognised for excellence in office space. The building provides an environmentally sustainable, low maintenance and flexible workspace, whilst acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the town. As a workplace for the local council, the judges praised the building's impressive use of natural light to create an 'uplifting workspace' as well as the design of the office floors which lend themselves toward flexibility and encourage collaborative working. The team behind the building was also commended for conducting a thorough and impressive stakeholder engagement process, from the inception of the project through to completion.

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Corporate real estate

Apple agrees deal for new tech palace and campus in California

Apple agrees deal for new tech palace and campus in California

According to a report published in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Apple is planning to add another tech palace to run alongside its Norman Foster designed campus in California. This time Apple is not commissioning a purpose made building but is buying one off the shelf, albeit one marked 'exactly the sort of place Apple would occupy'. The HOK designed Central and Wolfe campus in Sunnyvale will house 3,000 employees in three connected six storey offices set in landscaped grounds that include walks, bike paths and retail and leisure facilities. The campus is designed to achieve a LEED Platinum accreditation so includes green roofs, solar panelling and water reclamation technology. According to the report: "The campus promises to dramatically alter a neighborhood dominated by single-storey industrial and R&D buildings. While Apple has been snapping up existing buildings all over the neighborhood, the massive new campus could become a new icon for the region."

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Human resources

Why Jeremy Hunt is wrong about the need to work long hours

Why Jeremy Hunt is wrong about the need to work long hours

This week the UK's Health Secretary found himself at the centre of a storm because of some comments he'd made suggesting that eroding one of the UK's welfare platforms would encourage people to work as hard as the 'Chinese and Americans'. Most of the backlash against these comments was political, so make your own mind up on that score, but they don't stack up from a practical point of view either. The British already work some of the longest hours in Europe so encouraging people to work more will do little or nothing to resolve the productivity puzzle, as a 2014 report from the Bank of England confirms. Of course, we should all have worked out by now that long hours and productivity are not the same thing. It's been a longstanding issue in the UK where people manage to combine some of the longest working hours in Europe with levels of productivity that fall habitually behind those of our partners on the mainland.

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Workplace demographics

Millennial workers value variety over job security and tenure

Millennial workers value variety over job security and tenure

Employers may continuously be looking at ways to engage staff to ensure they still loyal to the organisation, but according to new research it seems they needn't bother. Over one third (37 percent) of US workers — regardless of their satisfaction level — are seriously considering leaving their organizations, up from 33 percent of the workforce who were considering leaving in 2011. According to Mercer’s latest Inside Employees’ Mind research, which surveyed 3,000 people representing a complete cross-section of the US workforce, nearly one out of two employees who said they are very satisfied with their organizations and their jobs (45 percent and 42 percent, respectively) are still looking to leave. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it's the Millennial workers who seem to value accelerated career paths and diversity (in the workplace and the work itself) over job security and tenure.

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Technology

Technology and Trends 15 events offer vision of the future of work

Technology and Trends 15 events offer vision of the future of work

A series of executive briefings taking place next week in Central London offers you the chance to learn about the next generation of technologies and their impact on the workplace, working practices and office design. Insight readers can enjoy a 15 percent discount by using this link. Tickets are going fast with some sessions already sold out, so we'd encourage …

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Flexible working

Employers admit to an ad-hoc approach to flexible working practices

Employers admit to an ad-hoc approach to flexible working practices

Organisations tend to take a flexible approach to the provision of flexible working a new global report into agile working trends claims. According to a study by WorldatWork and FlexJobs, while the majority of companies surveyed (80 percent) offer flexible work to employees, only 37 percent have a formal, written philosophy or policy to support employee flexibility options. From 2011 to 2015, flexibility programs have varied according to the type of programme offered and the organization’s demographics, industry and culture, with the most prevalent flexibility programmes being telework days on an ad-hoc basis, flex time and compressed workweeks. And according to the data, mastering a culture of workplace flexibility is not something that organizations do on the first or even second try. It’s an evolutionary process that occurs as employees tap into what they need to achieve work-life effectiveness.

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Check out our events page for your chance to engage with the best ideas, greatest minds and latest thinking available in the real world

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Office design

Workplace design alone cannot motivate us or make us happy at work

Workplace design alone cannot motivate us or make us happy at work

There’s a good reason why we find it hard to establish the causal links between our working lives and our personal happiness. It’s because it’s all very complicated. So complicated in fact that you can sidetrack any discussion on the subject by asking elementary questions such as: ‘what do you mean by happy?’ or ‘should it be the role of work to make us happy?’ A lot of suppliers would like us to think that there is a correlation between what they do and how happy people are at work, but the research shows that things are never that straightforward. It all depends not just on a stimulus but how we choose to respond to it.  One thing that seems evident is that the design of the workplace would be characterised as a ‘hygiene factor’ according to the work of Frederick Herzberg dating from the 1950s, which explained why the things that motivate us are not the mere opposites of those which make us unhappy.

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Human resources

Collaborative work goes hand in hand with better talent retention

Collaborative work goes hand in hand with better talent retention

Companies are rethinking the tools they use to keep employees engaged and loyal – especially at a time when flexibility and choice are increasingly important to an workforce that craves mobility and choice. A newly released survey from Jive Software claims that as the workforce continues to evolve and new future of work trends emerge, seven out of ten (72 percent) employees want to use more technology in the workplace that enables them to work from anywhere. Furthermore, the same percentage state that the freedom to try tools make them more effective in their job, with 43 percent finding it a powerful loyalty driver. According to the study of 1,000 US based employees, firms are also catching on to future of work trends and the impact that technology can have for employee retention. Eighty-four percent of employers want to implement technology that enable workplace flexibility.

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