About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

Posts by Neil Franklin:

Employees rate the best UK companies for work life balance

Employees rate the best UK companies for work life balance

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Jobsite Glassdoor has today identified the UK employers which offer the best work-life balance, according to individuals on the Glassdoor website. Winners are ranked based on their overall work-life balance rating from employees in the UK during the past year. For reporting simplicity, ratings are rounded to one decimal place though actual calculations extend beyond the thousandth to determine rank. According to the rankings, the five best employers in 2017 are Expedia, Lookers, American Express, HomeServe and Peninsula.

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UK ranks thirty-first worldwide for broadband speeds, claims year long study

UK ranks thirty-first worldwide for broadband speeds, claims year long study

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An analysis of over 63 million broadband speeds worldwide carried out by comparison site Cable.co.uk claims that the UK sits in 31st place, with an average speed of 16.51 Mbps. The data was collected for the 12 months up to 10 May this year by M-Lab, a partnership between New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research, Princeton University’s PlanetLab, and other supporting partners, and compiled by Cable.co.uk. The UK manages to beat 158 other countries, yet falls behind 30 others, coming in behind 20 European countries, 17 of which are in the European Union (EU).  The five fastest countries have download speeds around 40 times faster than the five slowest. Singapore tops the table at 55.13Mbps, compared to Yemen, which is more than 162 times slower at just 0.34Mbps.

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Workplace menopause study claims women need more support from employers

Workplace menopause study claims women need more support from employers

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A new report from the UK Government and University of Leicester has called for menopause-friendly workplaces and culture change programmes. In what the authors claims is the most comprehensive study of its kind, the report claims that ‘many women tend to feel that they need to cope alone’ – because of ‘a reluctance to speak up at work’. The report ‘The effects of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK’ was funded by the Government’s Equalities Office. The research, published by the Department for Education, was carried out by Joanna Brewis, Andrea Davies and Jesse Matheson of the University of Leicester School of Business and Vanessa Beck of the University of Bristol School of Economics, Finance and Management.

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The most successful business leaders adopt a courageous approach to technology and the future of work

The most successful business leaders adopt a courageous approach to technology and the future of work

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Software consultancy ThoughtWorks has published a new report which claims that the best business leaders share a particular approach to the running of their organisations that the report characterises as ‘courage’. The Next Big Disruption: Courageous Executives claims to revealing what sets top business leaders apart from their competition. The report profiles a segment of leaders referred to as “Courageous Executives” in the US, the UK, Australia and India and the findings ‘underscore the critical role technology plays in business strategy, from navigating the chaos of digital transformation to how they’re setting their business up for future success.’ The report also claims to shed light on the leadership styles of Courageous Executives including their tolerance for risk and failure, their use of customer insights and the ways leaders in all four countries are preparing for the future of work.

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Potential job creation will replace only fifth of jobs lost to artificial intelligence and automation

Potential job creation will replace only fifth of jobs lost to artificial intelligence and automation

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The debate surrounding the threat from artificial intelligence (AI) and automation leading to the loss of jobs has been highly publicised. Most recently, tech titans Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have locked horns over the issue, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has estimated that by the early 2030’s 30 percent of British jobs will be lost to automation. Job meta-search engine Joblift has analysed the field of automation and AI in the UK, comparing potential job creation with jobs lost by the early 2030’s. Its meta-analysis based on jobs listings and the research from PwC suggest that newly created positions in the field of AI and automation would only replace around 19 percent of the jobs lost to robotics.

 

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Government framework win for BW includes HMRC contract

Government framework win for BW includes HMRC contract

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Fit out and refurbishment firm BW has been awarded a position on the government framework agreement for the Southern lot of the UK Government Hubs Fit-Out Framework. One government department to use the framework will be HMRC; their current estate of 140 offices will be re-orientated into 13 modern regional centres. This is a 4-year framework that covers the South of the UK (South of Peterborough and Birmingham inclusive) for projects with a construction value of under £25m. Anthony Brown, Sales and Marketing Director at BW, says: “Alongside the City University framework, this appointment further underpins our determination to secure several significant formal frameworks, taking the BW business to the next level.”

UK commercial property market remains largely resilient

UK commercial property market remains largely resilient

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Although the commercial property market in the UK is proving largely resilient, demand to rent levelled off for the first time in almost five years during the past three months, according to a study from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Its gauge of commercial tenants’ demand for property fell to -2 for the second quarter of 2017, its lowest reading since the third quarter of 2012. Demand varies across market sectors, however, with occupier demand declining in the office and retail sectors of the UK commercial property market, but conditions in the industrial segment remain firm, according to the survey.

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British businesses at risk of creativity crisis, according to new Microsoft research

British businesses at risk of creativity crisis, according to new Microsoft research

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British businesses are at risk of a creativity crisis due to workplace cultures that stifle innovation, according to new research launched by Microsoft Surface. Uninspiring workplaces (41 per cent), a stressful atmosphere (34 per cent) and a lack of appropriate spaces to focus and think alone (28 per cent) were all identified as major inhibitors to creativity.  Two in five workers surveyed (40 per cent) say that creativity and innovation are neither encouraged nor rewarded within their workplace – despite creativity being one of the top three skills workers will need to thrive by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum. The research, based on the views of more than 1,100 workers, found that whilst almost three quarters of respondents (73 per cent) consider themselves to be creative, demands of the modern workplace need rethinking, with symptoms such as overworking and stress stifling our ability to tackle problems and produce good ideas. Half of workers (50 per cent) feel least creative when tired, 45 per cent when stressed, while existing workloads (39 per cent) and organisational processes (32 per cent) were also cited as barriers to employees being more creative.

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Putting people at the centre of building design could provide large boost to the economy

Putting people at the centre of building design could provide large boost to the economy

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More thoughtfully designed workplaces, centred around people’s needs, could improve performance and help tackle the UK’s productivity gap, according to a new report. Applying design thinking to boost workplace productivity by 5-8 per cent could contribute up to £20 billion to GDP. The potential gain in productivity, equivalent to twice the annual contribution to UK GDP made by the aerospace industry, is revealed in research conducted by researchers from Imperial College London in partnership with Atkins. Atkins commissioned the research to better understand and quantify the economic benefit from human centred design. The research claims to examine the ripple down effect on productivity brought about by an human centred focus on health and wellbeing. This in turn has a benefit for future business growth and can enhance the position of the national economy, according to the report. The research claims to support the importance of employees’ experience of the building in which they work and confirms that steps to create the right working environment can have a material impact on staff productivity and wellbeing.

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Other UK cities must rebalance London-centric commercial property market

Other UK cities must rebalance London-centric commercial property market

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It is up to the UK’s other cities to rebalance the country’s London focussed commercial property market according to a new report, ‘What investors want: a guide for cities’, published by the think tank Centre for Cities with support from Capita. It examines the top priorities for investors when choosing which places to invest in, and offers practical advice for cities on how to make their places as attractive as possible for investors. The report shows that just over half of all investment in Britain’s commercial property market in 2016 – worth over £43bn in total – was spent in London. This was significantly more than the South East, the second most successful region, which secured nearly £5bn of investment, equivalent to 11% of the total share across Britain.

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Flexible working increasingly seen as top option, claims major new study

Flexible working increasingly seen as top option, claims major new study

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A new report from ManpowerGroup Solutions claims that 40 percent of job candidates cite flexible working as one of their three most important career considerations. The firm polled 14,000 people in 19 countries. Among the countries surveyed, the US had the highest percentage of job candidates who want work flexibility (45 percent). A majority (63 percent) of workers said they believe they can work outside the office, and the number of men who want flexibility has significantly increased according to the study. The report, Work, for Me: Understanding Candidate Preferences for Flexibility, Manpower Group Solutions claims to offer ‘both the immediate steps and the long-term actions that companies can take to better meet their prospective employees’ preferences around flexibility’.

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People who are not economically active should be helped into the gig economy claims think tank

People who are not economically active should be helped into the gig economy claims think tank

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Following last week’s publication of the Taylor Review into modern working practices, a new study from public sector think tank Reform makes recommendations for how government should help people into the gig economy, with a focus on those who are often economically inactive or restricted in the opportunities they have. In the report, Gainful Gigging, older and disabled people are explored as potential winners from recent growth in flexible working. Both groups are significantly less likely than average to be economically active, and many face significant work barriers. Around half of all 50-64 year olds manage at least one long-term health condition. Of the 3 million in this age group that are economically inactive, around 12 per cent spend over 20 hours per week looking after a sick, disabled or elderly person. Greater work flexibility could help them to enter the labour market, according to the report’s authors. In a survey of disability benefit claimants, many indicated that “flexible work, working from home [and] working less than 16 hours per week” would help them sustain employment. A review of the Work Capability Assessment for sickness benefits also found half of those deemed ‘fit for work’ require flexible work hours.

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