About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

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White paper sets out challenges of Brexit for UK’s built environment sector

White paper sets out challenges of Brexit for UK’s built environment sector 0

BSRIA has published a new white paper to explore how issues related to Brexit will impact the UK’s built environment sector. The report highlights the ways in which the industry that supports the built environment has a major impact on the overall UK economy and plays a positive role in supporting the government’s climate change and emissions reduction objectives. According to the white paper, the sector is particularly sensitive to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit because it is technology intensive, requires a highly-skilled workforce, and is very dependent on international trade.

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New guide to creating an accessible and inclusive built environment

New guide to creating an accessible and inclusive built environment 0

The Construction Industry Council has published a new guide to creating an accessible and inclusive environment.  The guide sets out six principles as suggested by the Office for Disability Issues to ‘guide, support and motivate’ industry professionals. The guide is an initiative that emerged from the Built Environment Professional Education Project – a government project that has been championed by CIC. The aim is to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by helping to generate a change in the way skills related to inclusive design are taught in the UK. The aim is that all built environment professionals will receive mandatory, quality teaching about inclusive design so that they can help create inclusive building, places and spaces for future generations.

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Age remains the biggest obstacle to career progression in Europe

Age remains the biggest obstacle to career progression in Europe 0

European employees feel that age is the biggest factor preventing them from progressing in their career, according to research of nearly 10,000 European working adults by ADP. A fifth of employees name age as their biggest obstacle, followed by favouritism (7 percent), lack of opportunities with current employer (7 percent), qualifications (5 percent), and family needs (5 percent). Age is a particularly cited obstacle in the Netherlands (24 percent), Switzerland (21 percent) and the UK (20 percent). This issue increases as workers get older, with 46 percent of over 55s and 27 percent of those aged 45-54 feeling this way. This situation may reflect the increasing generational diversity of the workforce, as five generations of employees will soon be working side by side. Advancing technologies and more significant age differences in the workforce are likely to be isolating older workers, who may feel outdated by a younger, tech-ready generation.

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British workers reveal their pet peeves when commuting

British workers reveal their pet peeves when commuting 0

British workers have a range of pet peeves about their daily trip to work are unwilling to travel for more than 1 hour 14 minutes, even for their dream job, according to a survey of 1,002 UK adults, carried out by AllCarLeasing.co.uk, The study found that men are willing to travel up to 1 hour and 29 minutes to work in contrast to women who would prefer to travel for just 59. Londoners are willing to endure the longest commute at an hour and a half, while Manchester residents would be willing to commute just 23 minutes each day. When quizzed on the things that made commuting frustrating or annoying, respondents admitted that getting stuck in traffic infuriated them the most (63 percent). Other passengers not letting others off public transport before getting on (58 percent) and people playing loud music (55 percent) took the top three spots. Not standing to the right on escalators enraged 51 percent of commuters – this is purely a London thing – and taking up spare seats with feet or bags was found to be a big annoyance for 49 percent.

London, New York and Hong Kong are most expensive cities to rent office space

London, New York and Hong Kong are most expensive cities to rent office space 0

London has been named the third most expensive city in the world for office space, behind New York and Hong Kong, according to an analysis by Kit Out My Office on office rental prices. The analysis mirrors many similar studies that identify these cities as the most expensive on the planet in which to do business. The report looked at the cost of leasing office space of 10,000 square foot and associated business costs, such as property tax, service charges, and Internet access. However, all is not doom-and-gloom for businesses looking to relocate or start-up in London. Initiatives and grants are available for businesses, such as Enterprise Investment Schemes and R&D tax credits. The report claims that alongside being named the third most expensive city for office space, the decision by the UK to leave the EU has caused an air of uncertainty and posed many questions that are still unanswered. For example, how will EU workers be treated and will there be levies for companies that trade with Europe.

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US employers turn to perks and office design to increase employee retention

US employers turn to perks and office design to increase employee retention 0

Younger workers are less and less loyal to employers, which is driving firms to place greater emphasis on benefits, empowerment and a better working environment, according to a study from ReportLinker. The small scale online study of 500 people found that Millennials are less likely than older generations to say they’re highly committed to their employer, with just 40 percent saying they somewhat agree with this statement compared to 66 percent of older workers say they’re highly committed to their organisation. The report concludes that this is encouraging employers to introduce new ways of winning the loyalty of employees. For example, 87 percent of employees who are more involved in decision-making are also more likely to say they are committed to their employers although, as always, we should be wary of the distinction between correlation and causation.

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Over two thirds of people now use a smartphone, but sales are stalling

Over two thirds of people now use a smartphone, but sales are stalling 0

Google smartphone

Over two thirds of people in developed markets worldwide now own a smartphone, according to a study of 625,000 people by Google and researchers Kantar. But sales in major markets fell 2 percent last year as the market reached full maturity with consumers reluctant to change brands and vendors increasingly focussed on selling upgrades and replacing existing devices. The five-year study found that 70 percent now use a smartphone, up from 51 percent in 2012. Dependence on the devices is also growing with 54 percent preferring to carry out a task digitally, two-thirds (65 percent) use the smartphone to go online ‘at least as much’ as a computer, and 76 percent using their smartphones or other connected devices while watching TV.

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Europe’s happiest workers revealed in new report

Europe’s happiest workers revealed in new report 0

Levels of job satisfaction vary significantly across Europe, with Dutch, Polish and Swiss employees being the most satisfied, according to research by HR software firm ADP. The new study of nearly 10,000 European working adults explores how employees across Europe feel about the future of work. According to the research, Dutch, Polish and Swiss employees are the most satisfied, whilst the UK comes joint fifth. In the UK, satisfaction levels also differ greatly across regions; three quarters of those based in the East are satisfied (75 percent), whilst only 59 percent of employees in Northern Ireland are satisfied. In the UK, those working in Architecture, Engineering and Building are the most satisfied (84 percent), whilst IT & Telecoms workers fare well across Europe and the UK. In the UK, those working in financial services are the least satisfied (57 percent) – the lowest level of job satisfaction overall. In contrast, 71 percent of financial services employees in other European countries are satisfied.

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Working significantly past the state retirement age is a threat to recruitment and retention, claims study

Working significantly past the state retirement age is a threat to recruitment and retention, claims study 0

Rising numbers of employees working past traditional retirement ages is a potential threat to recruitment and retention, new research from employee benefits consultancy Portus claims. Its study of 103 HR executives and 1,043 employees claims 41 percent of HR managers believe they face looming problems in retaining and recruiting new staff if existing employees are unwilling to retire or can’t afford to. Employment data shows 1.19 million over-65s are still working – slightly down on the 1.202 million peak at the start of 2015 – but still nearly double the 635,000 over-65s in the workforce in 2006. Working past 65 is increasingly seen as an option by employees, the study claims. It found just 29 percent of employees have ruled out working past 65. Younger workers – who face higher state pension ages – are the most likely to work past 65 with just 23 percent of those aged 25 to 34 saying they will definitely stop work by 65.

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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