About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

Posts by Neil Franklin:

People judge the actions of robots based on their appearance

People judge the actions of robots based on their appearance

If a robot worker makes a mistake on the job, or annoys customers, businesses may not give it a pink slip and a cardboard box for its office belongings, but companies may be forced to shut down these expensive machines, according to a team of researchers. Knowing how to better design and manage these robots may help service industry firms both avoid losing their investments in the robots, as well as secure an increasingly necessary source of extra help, the team added. More →

Working from home surveillance drives rise of digital presenteeism

Working from home surveillance drives rise of digital presenteeism

Lockdown has meant the majority of UK office-based employees have taken up working from home arrangements over the last year, and it seems that many employers lack trust in their employees when they can’t physically see them. Last year saw a rise in the implementation of surveillance software, to ensure that workers are acting in best corporate interests. However, this is having a negative impact on some employees – who are feeling forced to work longer hours due to a new perceived need to remain visible to their manager or team leader, revealed in a survey by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. With remote working set to stay post-COVID, these findings indicate a worrying growing trend around broken working from home employee trust. More →

UK civil service signs up to hybrid working deal

UK civil service signs up to hybrid working deal

The UK civil service is set to pioneer a widespread hybrid working strategy with the announcement of a new deal with serviced office provider IWG. The details of the deal, reported first in The Telegraph newspaper (paywall), will include the creation of a nationwide network of ten coworking spaces for the use of civil servants when they are not in London. The report suggests that up to 430,000 employees could now have a better chance of adopting a hybrid working culture.  More →

Workplace interruptions may help people feel a sense of belonging

Workplace interruptions may help people feel a sense of belonging

In those heady pre-lockdown days, the most common complaint about office life, and especially open plan office life, was the inability to get work done without distraction. Now a new paper from researchers at the University of Illinois suggests that the interruptions may have served some purpose in the way they helped people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. More →

Government makes it easier to convert unused offices into homes

Government makes it easier to convert unused offices into homes

New rules allowing commercial premises to be converted into homes come into force as part of a package of measures the UK government claims will help to revitalise England’s high streets and town centres. It believes the new rules will help “support the creation of much-needed homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life – removing eyesores, transforming unused buildings and making the most of brownfield land.” More →

‘Healthy buildings’ enjoy a surge in demand worldwide

‘Healthy buildings’ enjoy a surge in demand worldwide

healthy buildings SiemensA new survey of many of the world’s leading real estate investors finds that 92 percent of respondents expect demand for healthy buildings to grow in the next three years. The report claims that this is a compelling signal of the direction the real estate sector is heading. This finding, among others, is captured in a report titled A New Investor Consensus: The Rising Demand for Healthy Buildings (registration) which claims to be a comprehensive health and wellness study of global real estate investment managers and stakeholders representing aggregate AUM of $5.75 trillion and portfolio investments in real estate totalling approximately US$1.03 trillion. More →

New normal looking more and more like old normal, say facilities managers

New normal looking more and more like old normal, say facilities managers

Workers across the UK could return to offices faster than anticipated, according to a new RICS survey of facilities managers. According to the poll, a growing number of respondents say that up to 80 percent of employees will head back once the pandemic is resolved. This is up from less than 60 percent expected in the same poll from the previous quarter ending November 2020. As evidence suggests the UK vaccination programme is taking hold across the country, results to the RICS UK Facilities Management Survey show more respondents starting to believe employees could return to the office in greater numbers than many initially expected in the previous quarter. More →

Major firms lose appetite for office downsizing as they plan what happens next

Major firms lose appetite for office downsizing as they plan what happens next

office downsizingA new report from KPMG suggests that half of major corporations do not expect to see a return to any sort of ‘normality’ until 2022 when half of the general population has been vaccinated. The report also claims that there has been a steep decline in the appetite of the global executives who took part in the survey for office downsizing as the firms reconsider the need for in-person business to resume when countries emerge from the pandemic. More →

Hybrid working must be at heart of plans for regeneration and growth, claims new report

Hybrid working must be at heart of plans for regeneration and growth, claims new report

hybrid workingA new report from think tank Demos and Legal & General calls on the UK Government to back policy change that supports growth of hybrid working and local offices to drive forward its plans for regeneration and economic growth. The report, Post Pandemic Places, claims that huge increases in home working, coupled with a desire for continued flexibility, could support significant increases in local spending. On the back of the findings, the report calls on the government to incentivise the establishment of more local offices and hybrid working initiatives. More →

BCO offers new guidance on indoor air quality

BCO offers new guidance on indoor air quality

indoor air qualityA new BCO research paper, Thoughts on ventilation design and operation post COVID-19, has called for UK offices to ensure they have adequate ventilation ahead of the return to work. The paper highlights that while most offices that follow good practice guidelines do benefit from indoor air quality, there are also many examples of poorly ventilated offices that fall short of the best practice guidelines set out in the BCO’s 2019 Guide to Specification. Poorly ventilated indoor spaces have been linked to COVID-19 super spreader events and the paper states that ventilation in these offices must be “addressed urgently.” More →

Zoom fatigue is real and has four basic causes

Zoom fatigue is real and has four basic causes

zoom fatigueThe much discussed idea of Zoom fatigue turns out to be a real phenomenon according to new peer reviewed research from Stanford academics. The study published in the American Psychological Association’s journal Technology, Mind, and Behaviour found that meetings conducted via video calls leave participants feeling more exhausted and emotionally drained than those held face to face. The study found the four most important factors that make video calls so exhausting; the constant need for eye contact, the ability to see one’s own face constantly during meetings, the need to sit still for long periods and difficulties in interpreting or communicating via body language. More →

Gig economy workers to make up fifth of employees in financial services firms, claims report

Gig economy workers to make up fifth of employees in financial services firms, claims report

gig economyMore than half of financial institutions say they expect to have more ‘gig economy’ based employees over the next three to five years, according to PwC’s report, Productivity 2021 and beyond: Upskilling the workforce of the future to create a competitive advantage in financial services. The second iteration of PwC’s productivity research, that surveyed over 500 financial services businesses globally, and received over 60 percent of responses from C-suite leaders, looked at some key workstreams implemented by financial services businesses and evaluated its impact on productivity. More →

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