About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

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New book offers a roadmap for workers in the age of smart machines

New book offers a roadmap for workers in the age of smart machines 0

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Ed Hess and Katherine Ludwig have released a new book, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Berrett-Koehler, January 2017), where they wrestle with the defining workplace question of our era and offer workable solutions for employees to stay relevant. In the book, Hess and Ludwig argue that workers of the world stand at the brink of an unprecedented transformation, as a coming age of smart machines promises to eliminate tens of millions of jobs across the socioeconomic spectrum. The transition to an era of widespread automation will be tumultuous for both companies and employees, and its effects on the fabric of society have not yet been fully considered by workers, government entities or global corporations.

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Older workers increasingly marginalised at work despite their growing numbers

Older workers increasingly marginalised at work despite their growing numbers 0

Older workers are at risk of being marginalised in the workplace according to a new survey of office workers from workplace consultants Peldon Rose, which claims that there are significant differences in the wellbeing, attitudes and motivations of the workplace’s oldest and youngest employees. The over 50s now account for more than 30 percent of the UK’s working population (9.4million people), but according to the study older workers are the least content of all employees with less than a quarter (23 percent) of the 55+ age group feeling appreciated by their company and 80 percent suffering from or having suffered from workplace stress.   In contrast, the workplace’s newest recruits, the under 25 year olds, are the office’s most positive employees with over half (55 percent) feeling appreciated by their company and 60 percent – the lowest of all age groups – suffering or having suffered from workplace stress.

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Managers waste three days a year in unnecessary and unproductive meetings

Managers waste three days a year in unnecessary and unproductive meetings 0

Badly prepared, unnecessary and over-running meetings are harming businesses while directors and managers waste almost three days on average a year in them, according to a survey from technology firm Perivan. Over a half (51 percent) of UK business managers say they have been to a meeting where documents were found to be missing or else incorrect or out-of-date papers were presented. Close to a third (31 percent) said they are aware of erroneous decisions having been made as a direct result. On average, respondents said they participate in three meetings each week, though a quarter stated more than five per week. Around 42 percent said they believe they are attending too many, while 47 percent pointed out that the number they are being asked to attend has increased in the last three years.

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HR set to be the powerhouse of business in the open economy of 2020

HR set to be the powerhouse of business in the open economy of 2020 0

A new report commissioned by Samsung claims that by 2020, the impact that changes in society and technology will have upon the future of the workplace will elevate Human Resources (HR) to a powerful new role. The arrival of what Samsung calls the open economy will create a new environment in which a breed of ultra-flexible freelancers will prosper. Their arrival will present great opportunities for those organisations that embrace them but there will be significant challenges as well. Automation will be increasingly prevalent, but human skills will also rise in value as whole new job categories will be created around creativity, human judgement and intuition capabilities –positioning HR at the forefront of dealing with the significant industry changes. Emerging technology and artificial intelligence will undoubtedly create great change in many industries but it will also release human workers from mundane and repetitive tasks, liberating a workforce where human judgement and expertise becomes the centre of any organisation’s human resources.

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Demanding working culture in City of London creates ticking stress timebomb

Demanding working culture in City of London creates ticking stress timebomb 0

Demanding bosses and increased work pressures are turning up the pressure and stress levels for City workers with staff expected to be always available, new research from MetLife claims. Its study of 104 senior decision makers from financial institutions and investment banks found 95 percent say they are expected to be always available for work with weekends seen as a continuation of the normal working week. They work on average 23 weekends a year, with 50 percent of executives saying weekends have been disturbed by work at least 25 times in the past year. Complaining about stress makes no difference – just one in seven (14 percent) of those questioned say bosses have taken action when they have complained about pressure at work.

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UK workers not significantly concerned about robots taking their jobs

UK workers not significantly concerned about robots taking their jobs 0

Despite recent research suggesting that no job is safe from the introduction of robots to the workplace, the majority of British workers don’t seem to be overly concerned about the impact of new technology on their roles. In fact, more than two thirds (68 percent) are positive about the possible impacts of technology at work over the next ten years. This is according to a survey from Epson, which takes a closer look at UK workers’ attitudes. More than three quarters (76 percent) believe technology will open new possibilities for growth, and three quarters (75 percent) think it will increase organisations’ profits. Another 77 percent thinks new technologies will kill certain jobs, but more than half (55 percent) are ready to learn new skills and adapt. Just 16 percent of UK workers think companies are ‘excellent’ at monitoring technology advancements, and 12 percent think their companies are excellent at engaging with employees in the process of making decisions.

More people will have smartphones than running water or bank accounts by 2021, claims report

More people will have smartphones than running water or bank accounts by 2021, claims report 0

By 2021, more members of the global population will be using mobile phones (5.5 billion) than bank accounts (5.4 billion), running water (5.3 billion), or landlines (2.9 billion), according to the 11th annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2016 to 2021. Strong growth in mobile users, smartphones and Internet of Things connections as well as network speed improvements and mobile video consumption are projected to increase mobile data traffic seven-fold over the next five years.

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UK cyber workforce grows 160 percent in five years, new report claims

UK cyber workforce grows 160 percent in five years, new report claims 0

The UK ‘cyber workforce’ has grown by 160 percent in the five years to 2016, according to new Tech Partnership research. Around 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15 percent higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7 percent on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12 percent. The figures, derived from analysis of bespoke data from IT Jobs Watch and supporting information from the Office of National Statistics’ Quarterly Labour Force Survey, are published in the Tech Partnership’s most recent Fact Sheet, Cyber Security Specialists in the UK.

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Connectivity, innovation and uncertainty are driving workplace change, claims report

Connectivity, innovation and uncertainty are driving workplace change, claims report 0

Sodexo has published its 2017 Global Workplace Trends report, which claims to define the most critical factors affecting the world’s workers and employers. According to the report, the trends portray a workplace that blends work life with outside life, catering to employee needs through improvements in wellness, space design and learning programs. “With this piece, we’ve distilled key findings from different sectors, generations and countries to produce a report that provides a holistic view of the global workplace,” said Sylvia Metayer, CEO, Worldwide Corporate Services segment, Sodexo. “It’s critical for business leaders to recognise the underlying trends driving change, to evaluate their significance and stay ahead of—rather than follow—them.”

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New guidance issued on assessing health and wellbeing in buildings

New guidance issued on assessing health and wellbeing in buildings 0

BRE and the International WELL Building Institute have published a joint briefing paper outlining how certified BREEAM credits could be used to demonstrate compliance with the WELL Building Standard (WELL) post-occupation. Following the 2016 announcement of an agreement between the two organisations to ‘pursue alignments between WELL and BREEAM’, the document, Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings, has been created to make it easier for those wishing to obtain both a certified BREEAM rating and a WELL Certified rating. The document claims to provide guidance on how the process for pursuing dual certification may be streamlined, and offers information for architects and designers to better understand the requirements and how the two standards relate. It also sets out the areas where WELL requirements are addressed by UK and/or EU regulations, and where these can be omitted from an assessment for buildings undergoing a WELL assessment in these territories.

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Excessive unpaid overtime contributing to worker’s stress levels, claims survey

Excessive unpaid overtime contributing to worker’s stress levels, claims survey 0

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.

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One in five people say the workplace is where they are most unhappy

One in five people say the workplace is where they are most unhappy 0

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.

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