About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

Posts by Neil Franklin:

ICE makes the case for infrastructure ahead of Brexit negotiations

ICE makes the case for infrastructure ahead of Brexit negotiations 0

HS2 Euston InfrasructureIn a new report Brexit – The Case for Infrastructure, the Institution of  Civil Engineers has set out the business case for the valuable contribution which infrastructure makes to the economy and argues that the UK should not lose sight of this as it begins negotiations for Brexit as it leaves the European Union. The report claims that high quality, high performing infrastructure is vital for economic growth and improved quality of life. It points to transport, communications, energy and housing as being central to spreading opportunity across the whole country. It also makes the case that infrastructure acts as a catalyst for social and economic inclusion, encouraging greater participation in society from people of all walks of life. In particular, during uncertain or volatile economic times, continued investment in UK infrastructure can help provide economic stability, facilitate inward investment and drive economic growth.

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British workers’ patience with slow technology lasts just sixty seconds

British workers’ patience with slow technology lasts just sixty seconds 0

PatienceThe patience of British workers to put up with slow and malfunctioning technology lasts just sixty seconds on average before they lose their temper, according to new research from tech firm Crucial. The survey of 2,000 Brits claims that one in five (21 percent) lose their patience once a week, a fifth (19 percent) every couple of days, and 7 percent kicking off over slow technology every few hours. And when slow technology does strike, it takes 60 seconds on average before people lose patience. However, some Brits lose it even quicker, with 32 percent saying they lose patience with slow technology after just 30 seconds. While there is no one single reason cited for a PC freezing, almost half (46 percent) of respondents said that opening web pages caused their PC to freeze. Other causes include opening programmes and apps (27 percent), opening files (21 percent), loading videos (17 percent) and when saving down an important file (12 percent).

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Overwhelming majority of employees putting in unpaid extra hours

Overwhelming majority of employees putting in unpaid extra hours 0

Extra hoursThe overwhelming majority of  UK employees (81 percent) are working beyond their contracted hours, claims a report from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley. Overall, 81 percent of people put in the extra hours with senior staff most likely to work more than 10 hours over their contracted hours (42 percent) each week compared to 21 percent of those who had just started working. The Morgan McKinley Working Hours survey of 2,600 professionals in sectors such as banking and finance, claims that 75 percent of employees felt obliged to work beyond their contracted hours, yet just 13 percent of respondents to the survey say they are paid for working extra hours.  The study claims that only 32 percent of professionals believe that they are productive during the extra hours that they work. A third (34 percent) don’t take a lunch break of any kind, with Millennials (21 percent) being the largest group to have a working day without their lunch break.

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Sea and space: the final frontiers for remote working and connectivity

Sea and space: the final frontiers for remote working and connectivity 0

Captain_on_a_bridge_-_main2Tim Peake’s recent return home from space at the end of a six month stay in the International Space Station highlighted just how essential it is for people to stay in contact with their friends, family and the rest of the world, literally from wherever they may be. Of course, back on Earth we now take it for granted that we are in a state of constant connectedness to the rest of the world. So the idea of someone being out of contact, even for brief periods of time, strikes us as odd. Perhaps that partly explains our fascination with the experiences of astronauts and other people who cannot take connectivity for granted. But it’s not just astronauts who have to consider how to enjoy the connectedness that we normally assume to be ours by right. People who work at sea face the same challenge and you could argue that it is more important for such truly remote workers to be in contact with other people and the Internet. So who fares better when it comes to achieving connectivity?

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This Friday will be the UK’s least productive for the whole Summer

This Friday will be the UK’s least productive for the whole Summer 0

$_35This Friday will be the UK’s least productive day for the whole Summer, according to a study by HR and payroll firm Moorepay. The study is based on the plans UK workers say they have to watch the various sports events on that day, which include Wimbledon, the British Formula 1 Grand Prix practice and Tour de France. The previous evening sees the semi final between Germany and France at Euro 2016. The report claims that one-third of the staff are planning on watching events while at work, with one in six (17 percent) admitting their productivity will drop as a result. The authors suggest that firms are underestimating the impact, with 79 percent believing productivity in their company will be unaffected. With, on average, 10 per cent of staff on leave any given week and another one in ten planning on calling in sick to watch sport, businesses face staff shortages and prolonged dips in productivity, claims the report.

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People find meetings more productive than you might think

People find meetings more productive than you might think 0

Boardroom meetingsPeople generally find they don’t spend as much time in meetings as is commonly assumed and find them more productive than is widely reported, according to a study of global workers by unified communications firm Shoretel. The report sets out what it suggests are ten misconceptions about how people meet based on the results of an online questionnaire carried out earlier this year with 1,000 respondents worldwide. It claims that over three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) say they spend one hour or under each weekday in a meeting. Inevitably, the report breaks things down by age demographics, claiming that Generation X’ers,  are more likely than other generations to spend more time in weekly meets as were respondents working in the tech sectors. Only 11 percent of respondents found meetings a waste of time. Forty percent of respondents reported meetings were productive and another 48 percent said they were ‘sort of’ productive.

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Home workers happier, able to balance responsibilities despite long hours

Home workers happier, able to balance responsibilities despite long hours 0

flexible workingNew research claims that home-based employees are choosing to work more hours than those who work in traditional offices. According to the study carried out by homeworking agency Sensée, despite opting to work more hours daily, home workers are generally happier because they’re empowered to choose the hours they work so they can still attend to family responsibilities. Three quarters of home workers (77 percent) stated that working from home enables them to achieve more, including caring for family members or friends and exercising more. Time and money saved on commuting – along with more control over their day – were cited among the top three benefits of working from home. The research also claims there is a desire to work from home among office-based employees. Three-fifths (81 percent) of office-based employees said they would take the opportunity to work from home either full time or part time to care for a family member or friend.

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Mayor of London moves to open up more office spaces for startups

Mayor of London moves to open up more office spaces for startups 0

startupsIt is telling that one of the first issues to be addressed by incoming London Mayor Saddiq Khan is the problem the capital’s thriving startups have in simply finding a place to work. Although the measures outlined in the new London Plan are aimed primarily at addressing London’s housing crisis, they also include measures to deal with the reduction in the amount of viable office space available following the relaxation of planning rules which allow developers to more easily switch existing office stock to residential use. The costs of office space in London is a growing concern for all sectors, but falls especially hard on startups. According to a recent study by SpareOffice, even the use of coworking space is an issue, with average monthly fees of £357 per person. Now the mayor has announced that he will put new measures in place to help protect and expand office space for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in London.

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A fifth of staff experience more stress at home than in the workplace

A fifth of staff experience more stress at home than in the workplace 0

Amityville-HorrorHome may not be the haven we might assume, meaning that employers who encourage staff to work from home may actually be adding to their stress levels. Around a fifth of employees find their domestic lives more stressful than their working lives and many either don’t want to discuss it with managers or feel unable to, claims a new report from MetLife Employee Benefits. According to Building Resilience in the Workplace, 19 percent of employees overall are more stressed at home than at work, with slightly more female respondents to the study claiming to be stressed more by their home lives than the workplace. Around 21 percent of women say their home life is more stressful compared to 15 percent of men. The research claims that 67 percent of employees say domestic issues – including childcare, looking after elderly parents and financial pressures – are having an impact on their work performance.

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Many EU workers clinging to their fax machines and desktops, claims report

Many EU workers clinging to their fax machines and desktops, claims report 0

9d5c0df1bfd9da2178e869944ba0d87dIf you think the way people work is probably not quite as glossily portrayed in the media, then you’d probably be right. A lot more European workers than is commonly supposed still believe that fax machines are essential business tools, according to a new report from unified communications business Fuze. In a study of the working habits of 5,000 EU employees, it found that the fax machine is considered ‘essential’ by 30 percent of workers in the UK, 39 percent in Germany and 42 percent in France. The report also found that many also think that desktop computers are still more important in their day-to-day working lives that laptops, tablets or smartphones. Anybody horrified by the report’s findings will be heartened by its claim that the machines will die off in time as a new generation of people who don’t know what the hell a fax machine is supplant those who still cling to their battered, old, paper-based devices.

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Online immersion transforming the way people learn and develop

Online immersion transforming the way people learn and develop 0

df689c3017c066961bbac64f9a57d17d (1)According to a new report from The Open University, the UK’s near universal immersion in online behaviour is having a profound effect on the way employees learn and develop. The Trends in Learning 2016 report claims that businesses can do more to leverage these high rates of internet access, using online training solutions to ensure that they have a fully tech-savvy and highly-skilled workforce. The authors suggest that as individuals in the UK have become more used to accessing information online, demand for this access at work has also increased. According to research conducted by Towards Maturity, 57 per cent of workplace learners like to be able to access learning on-the-go and 18 per cent are now learning at their work desks. Organisations who can take advantage of this demand for mobile-optimised information will be able to develop a culture of learning in their workforces that boosts productivity and engagement.

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Yet more evidence that flexible working is now mainstream

Yet more evidence that flexible working is now mainstream 0

flexible workingAlthough flexible working remains an idea that is still often presented as some sort of novelty, challenge to the natural order of things, ‘trend’ or (spare us) a ‘craze’, at some point a lot of people will have to accept that it’s just the way an awful lot of people work nowadays. Earlier this year, The Work Foundation published a report suggesting that half of UK employers will offer flexible working by next year. Now, job site Monster.co.uk  has published its own survey suggesting pretty much the same thing. It found that around a third of British employers already offer their staff some sort of flexible working arrangements and 26 per cent already offer them to all employees as a matter of course although it tends to apply somewhat disproportionately to senior employees. However, the research also claims that more than a fifth (21 per cent) of employees don’t know what their company’s policy is which is obviously a major constraint on its uptake.

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