About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

Posts by Neil Franklin:

Workplace design continues to lag behind the needs of modern working life

Workplace design continues to lag behind the needs of modern working life

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Companies around the world waste potentially billions of dollars on under-utilised office spaces that are unfit for purpose and do not reflect the needs of modern workers, a recent benchmark study of over 100 workplaces claims. The study, Optimaze Workplace Review, from Finland based workplace analyst Rapal Oy took place during 2016, aggregates space utilisation data collected from 15 countries. The 330 observational space utilisation studies involved more than 6,600 walk-throughs of 111 buildings and 53,600 work spaces around the world to explore the working practices and environments of more than 23,000 people. It also includes a dataset of around 354 million observations of workstation use in total. The report’s main conclusion is that leadership teams are increasingly placing workplace management issues higher on their agendas, aware of the need to align spaces with new working cultures.

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Saudi Arabia announces plans for $500 billion mega city in region

Saudi Arabia announces plans for $500 billion mega city in region

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Following last week’s announcement that Toronto is to create a digital city along its waterfront, Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to build a $500 billion ‘mega-city’ spanning parts of several countries. The plans announced this week are a response to the need for the kingdom to produce a more diverse economic base and will create a zone that will run on alternative energy and have its own legal system and employment laws. The region will be known as Neom, a name derived from terminology meaning ‘New Future’ and will span parts of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan along the Red Sea coastline as a 26,500 square kilometre development of previously untouched land (pictured). Plans inevitably include technologies such as driverless cars, drones and robots, and were unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh this week. The zone is expected to cost around $500 billion (£380.5 billion) and will be powered entirely by renewable energy and focus on industries including energy, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment.

Wellbeing named as top priority for 2018 by human resources managers

Wellbeing named as top priority for 2018 by human resources managers

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A vox pop poll carried out by  employee engagement firm Reward Gateway at a recent conference claims that wellbeing, pay and benefits and recognition will be the top employee engagement priorities for HR professionals in 2018. The research, which polled 565 HR professionals at Employee Benefits Live 2017, echoes two studies undertaken by the same firm earlier this year. These studies found that companies are looking to invest in areas which UK employees have said are crucial to them, but don’t feel as though their employers are adequately providing: wellbeing and recognition. As the top agenda point, the importance of wellbeing in the workplace was echoed in a study conducted in September 2017, which claimed that 22 million British workers, or 7 in 10 employees (71 percent), have felt stress or financial strain in the last five years. Despite these numbers, the same research also claims that a third of respondents said that their company currently offers no wellbeing programmes.

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Government outlines plan to become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020

Government outlines plan to become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020

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The Government has today announced its plans for how it says it will become ‘the most inclusive employer in the UK’ by 2020. The Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Strategy outlines a range of ambitious proposals to achieve this aim, including: building a dedicated ethnic minority programme to improve the representation of ethnic minority staff at the most senior levels across the Civil Service; creating a Diverse Leadership Task Force that will report to the Cabinet Secretary; publishing a data dashboard tracking progress on diversity and inclusion targets by April 2018; establishing a new framework for measuring inclusion; and ’embedding’ diversity and inclusion in Single Departmental Plans.

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Progress on gender equality at work moving at a snail’s pace, report claims

Progress on gender equality at work moving at a snail’s pace, report claims

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The UK’s gender equality at work has barely budged in ten years, a new report claims. The Gender Equality Index 2017, which has been published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), also claims that gender equality across the EU improved little between 2005 and 2015. The index measures gender equality at work using several factors, including the proportion of women in full-time employment, the availability of flexible-working arrangements and career prospects. According to the report, the EU’s score is just four points higher than ten years ago, now 66.2 out of 100. The top performing country is Sweden with a score of 82.6, while Greece moved to the bottom with 50 points. The award for the most improved country goes to Italy, which made a big leap and gained 12.9 points to place itself at rank 14 on the ladder.

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A third of UK employees ready to quit their jobs as half their time is spent on “work about work”

A third of UK employees ready to quit their jobs as half their time is spent on “work about work”

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A new study claims that duplicated work, disorganisation, and micromanagement are widespread within UK businesses. The study claims that unproductive working practices in UK companies are rife, with 42 percent of employees saying they spend most of their time on futile “work about work” tasks, including status meetings, organising work, and tracking down information, as opposed to doing their actual work and moving projects forward. As well as impeding productivity, this is threatening staff retention: almost a third (31 percent) of UK employees admit they have either thought about leaving or actually left a job as a result of a culture which wastes their time on side issues.

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Extreme dedication to work and career could damage long-term success, study claims

Extreme dedication to work and career could damage long-term success, study claims

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People who feel their work is integral to their lives and identity and so exhibit extreme dedication to work may actually find it difficult to sustain productivity over long periods of time, new research from King’s Business School suggests. According to Dr Michael Clinton, who studied the working lives of 193 Church of England ministers, people who view their career as an intense calling are less able to successfully disengage from work in the evenings which limits their energy levels the following morning. One would assume that these people would dedicate more energy to their work. However, Clinton claims that having an intense career calling motivates people to work longer hours which directly limits their psychological detachment from work, in turn reducing sleep quality and their ability to focus.

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UK businesses continue to stifle personal creativity at work

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UK businesses are failing to support a culture of innovation despite employees believing that their companies would benefit from fresh ideas and innovative ways of working, new research claims. The study of 1,000 workplaces conducted by RADA in Business (the commercial subsidiary of the Royal Academy of Dramatic) found that 81 percent of workplaces had failed to create a culture of creativity at work that encourages new ideas and experimentation, according to their staff. Many employees feel that businesses are suffering as a result, with just under a quarter (24 percent) saying that their workplace is desperately in need of new ideas and fresh thinking to overcome current problems.

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Europe does not offer appropriate support for breast cancer survivors

Europe does not offer appropriate support for breast cancer survivors

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Although the rate of breast cancer diagnoses is rising in Europe and a higher proportion of women are surviving this particular  form of cancer,  returning to everyday aspects of life prove challenging with many survivors unable to return to work in full, due to a lack of support and consideration by employers. A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Pfizer investigates the challenges involved in returning to employment for a growing number of breast cancer patients and survivors of a working age.

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A quarter of workers do not take a day off to mourn following the death of a relative

A quarter of workers do not take a day off to mourn following the death of a relative

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One in four British workers do not take time off work following a family bereavement, a poll of 2,000 people claims. According to the survey from funeral service firm CPJ Field, a further 10 per cent took just one day off to grieve, with the remaining 65 per cent taking two or more days off following the death of a family member. However the survey also found that 98 percent respondents agree that people should take time off, suggesting that people are not doing the things they know they should in favour of returning to work. The most commonly cited reasons for this behaviour were that people were worried about their jobs or felt they had too much to do.

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Overwhelming majority of Scottish workers say flexible working improves the quality of their lives

Overwhelming majority of Scottish workers say flexible working improves the quality of their lives

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Around nine out of 10 Scots who work flexibly say it improves their quality of life and makes them happier, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by Family Friendly Working Scotland.  However, the study also found that fewer than half of Scottish workers (46 percent) said they are offered flexible working by their employer. The figures are published to coincide with National Work Life Week, which sets out to encourage firms to explore flexible working options and help their staff find a better work-life balance. The poll of more than 1,000 Scots claims that among those who already work flexibly, 77 percent say they are more productive and are willing to “go the extra mile” for their employer. Almost half of people who took part (49 percent) say changing their start and/or finish time would help while nearly a third (32 percent) would like occasional time off for family emergencies, deliveries or school events. Just one in five (21 percent) say reducing their hours, or going part time, would be valuable.

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Small business owners are overworked and struggle to take a break

Small business owners are overworked and struggle to take a break

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A poll from software firm FreeAgent, published to tie in with National Work Life Week, claims that many self-employed people in the UK are working excessively long hours without taking any holidays. In the poll of more than 500 freelancers and micro-business owners, nearly a third of respondents (30 percent) said they worked more than 48 hours per week on their business, while 5 percent admitted that they spent more than 64 hours each week working.  A separate poll carried out earlier this year by the same firm claimed that more than a third (38 percent) of respondents said they had not felt able to take a week or more’s worth of holiday in the previous six months.

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