About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

Posts by Neil Franklin:

Long commutes cost firms a week’s worth of staff productivity each year

Long commutes cost firms a week’s worth of staff productivity each year 0

Long commutes are causing poor health and productivity outcomes for the UK’s employees, according to a study of more than 34,000 workers, developed by VitalityHealth in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer, examined the impact of commuting as well as flexible and home working on employee health and productivity. The study found that employees commuting less than half an hour to get to work gain an additional seven days’ worth of productive time each year compared to those with commutes of 60 minutes or more. Longer commutes appear to have a significant impact on mental wellbeing, with longer-commuting workers 33 percent more likely to suffer from depression, 37 percent more likely to have financial concerns and 12 percent more likely to report multiple dimensions of work-related stress. These workers were also 46 percent more likely to get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night and 21 percent more likely to be obese.
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Inventing the Future: techUK launches 2017 manifesto

Inventing the Future: techUK launches 2017 manifesto 0

techUK, the association that represents a large part of the UK’s technology sector, has published a new manifesto ahead of the General Election which it claims ‘sets out a bold and ambitious vision for the next Government to create a modern and dynamic digital economy that works for everyone’. The organisation has set out a series of recommendation that aim to show how Britain can remain at the forefront of global tech innovation while it navigates Brexit and other forces. Its objectives include: boosting the UK’s productivity; harnessing digital transformation to build a smarter state; creating new jobs and a new skilled, adaptable workforce; and protecting and empowering people in a digital age.

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Only one in four people with a long-term mental health issue are in work

Only one in four people with a long-term mental health issue are in work 0

Only a quarter of people with a long term mental health issue are in work, according to a report published by the TUC to coincide with its Disabled Workers’ Conference yesterday. The report, Mental health and employment, contains new analysis of official employment statistics, which finds that while 4 in 5 (80.4 percent) non-disabled people are in work, people with mental illness, anxiety or depression have substantially lower employment rates. Only one in four (26.2 percent) people with a mental illness lasting (or expected to last) more than a year are in work. Less than half (45.5 percent) of people with depression or anxiety lasting more than 12 months are in work. The TUC is concerned that this suggests employers are failing to make adequate changes in the workplace to enable people with mental illnesses, anxiety or depression to get a job, or stay in work. Mental health problems can often be ‘invisible’ to others, so a lack of mental health awareness amongst managers and employers is also likely to be a factor.

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Senior public sector managers feel more able to enjoy flexible working

Senior public sector managers feel more able to enjoy flexible working 0

A growing number of senior managers in the UK public sector feel they are able to enjoy flexible working, although workloads remain a constraining factor, claims a new study by the FDA Union which represents senior civil servants. The study found that nearly all public sector bodies now offer some form of flexible working, but uptake is held back by job pressures.  More than one in six managers now say they are able to work flexibly, according to a survey by the FDA union, a figure which has risen markedly over the last year. Nearly all respondents (95 percent) said their employer had flexible working policies in place, a slight increase from the previous year’s survey, when 93 percent of respondents said such policies were in place.

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Male managers command less authority in female stereotyped jobs

Male managers command less authority in female stereotyped jobs 0

People ascribe less authority to male managers in jobs that are stereotypically associated with women, accoring to a study led by Professor Laura Doering of the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University and set to be published in the journal American Sociological Review. When men fill male-stereotyped roles, they experience high levels of authority. In female-stereotyped roles, they experience significantly less. By comparison, women experience similar levels of authority in male- and female-stereotyped roles. Professor Doering, together with Professor Sarah Thébaud of UC Santa Barbara, evaluated the repayments of clients at a bank to reach these conclusions. They began by evaluating missed payments when clients were paired with male or female managers. Doering says: “Overall, people were more likely to miss payments with female managers than male managers. This finding is consistent with previous research showing that people tend to afford more authority to male managers.”

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Automation starting to generate productivity gains, but no major job losses yet

Automation starting to generate productivity gains, but no major job losses yet 0

Business process automation is enabling companies to realise significant productivity gains in such areas as finance, accounting and HR, but it is not yet leading to broad job losses, according to a new study from tech research firm Information Services Group (ISG). Beyond automation’s impact on enterprises, the first ISG Automation Index report also claims that IT service providers are extensively introducing automation into their offerings, leading to dramatic improvements in productivity and service levels. This accelerated pace of change is prompting the vast majority of IT and business leaders to say that IT will be the business function most impacted by automation in the next two years.

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A quarter of people have taken time off work with stress but blamed it on physical illness

A quarter of people have taken time off work with stress but blamed it on physical illness 0

New research from Aviva claims that there is a ‘startling’ number of people in the UK who are suffering from stress but who are hiding it from their employers. A quarter of 2,000 people (25 percent) surveyed admitted taking a day off work with stress but then blaming it on a physical illness. Based on the current number of people working in the UK, it indicates that almost eight million people are suffering from stress without their employer’s knowledge. Aviva’s research also claims that a third of people (33 percent) have taken a day off work with stress at some stage in their career. 25-34 year olds were the most likely to have taken time off (46 percent) with those aged over 55 seemingly the least likely to need time away from work (25 percent). More than half of men (53 percent) who had taken a day off work with stress at some stage in their career said they had done so in the last year, compared to a third of women (34 percent).

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Wellbeing strategies more commonplace in UK, but employees aren’t benefitting

Wellbeing strategies more commonplace in UK, but employees aren’t benefitting 0

A new study from consultancy Barnett Waddingham based on the firm’s UK Workplace Wellbeing Index claims that despite wellbeing strategies becoming more common practice in UK companies, the benefits are not yet reaching employees. According to the report, nearly three quarters of firms who responded to the study claim they already have introduced a strategy or are in the process of implementing one. However, 60 percent of participating organisations report their employee wellbeing as between moderate and very low. According to the study organisations need to ask themselves if they are providing the benefits and interventions that are most effective for their employees. The research shows that the top five widely offered benefits (rated by effectiveness) are flexible working or home working, carer support, health assessments, line manager training and cancer screening. However, those most commonly utilised are flexible working, line manager training, carer support, home working and occupational health.

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IFMA and RICS unveil combined qualifications platform

IFMA and RICS unveil combined qualifications platform 0

The collaboration between IFMA and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is, for the first time, offering a combined suite of credentials and professional qualifications for facilities management in a single, online academy platform at www.fm.training. IFMA and RICS first launched the platform in December 2016 as an initial step toward ‘leveraging the combined authority of two of the world’s premier built environment professional organisations for the support of FM education and career advancement’. IFMA centralised its professional credential training — the foundational Facility Management Professional, the targeted Sustainability Facility Professional and the Facility Management Learning System, which supports learning for the Certified Facility Manager certification — on the academy in early April. Now, RICS has added the final critical piece of the IFMA-RICS suite of credentials and professional qualifications to the platform: the internationally recognised AssocRICS and MRICS professional designations.

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Regional office take up in UK’s major cities hits five year low

Regional office take up in UK’s major cities hits five year low 0

The latest research from real estate adviser GVA claims that Q1 2017 office space take-up across the UK’s ‘Big Nine’ regional office markets was at its lowest level for five years. At 23 percent below average, activity was particularly low in the city centre market where only Cardiff recorded above average take-up. Out-of-town markets were more resilient however with Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Newcastle recording above average take-up. Professional services made up 28 percent of all take-up over 5,000 sq. ft. in the city centres during Q1, slightly higher than the usual profile, led by legal and engineering firms. Deals to universities in Cardiff and Bristol meant that the education sub-sector made up 15 percent of activity. It was a strong quarter for the Technology Media and Telecom (TMT) sector, which increased its share to 18 percent compared to an average of 13 percent, while recruitment companies were also very active (9 percent of take-up).

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Flexible working can be the key to lower stress levels at work 0

A survey of over 1,000 British workers by the Institute of Leadership & Management, claims that flexible working can be an important way to reduce stress and increasing general wellbeing among the workforce. The study (login required) claims that over 4 in 5 (85 percent) managers feel that allowing staff to work flexibly enhances staff wellbeing and reduces overall stress ; two thirds (65 percent) believe flexible working encourages more commitment and motivation amongst staff; and over three quarters (78 percent) say flexible working helps to retain staff. Speaking to 1,026 managers, the study claims that flexible working increases productivity and wellbeing. The study also claims that learning the tools or techniques of how to be happy in one’s working life can empower major breakthroughs for people and their wellbeing. The Institute claims its research means that there needs to be broader communication in the workplace regarding flexible working policies from senior management. Openness and honesty about flexible working policies can alleviate worries and uncertainty.

Europe needs national renovation strategies for buildings, coalition claims

Europe needs national renovation strategies for buildings, coalition claims 0

Europe must lead the world in cutting greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings if it is to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, claims BUILD UPON, a coalition of over 300 businesses and organisations from across the continent. The coalition – which includes cities, public authorities, property developers, manufacturers and energy utilities, as well as trade associations, NGOs and universities – is backing the need for ambitious ‘national renovation strategies’ that set out clear targets, milestones and measures on transforming existing buildings. The intervention comes as EU member states near the deadline to publish updated strategies to renovate their buildings, which account for around 36 percent of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and as political decision-makers grapple over the future of EU energy laws for the construction sector.

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