About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

Posts by Neil Franklin:

One in five people say the workplace is where they are most unhappy

One in five people say the workplace is where they are most unhappy 0

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A new report from the charity Central YMCA claims to highlight the major role employers have to play in supporting the nation’s wellbeing. The report is based on a study of 1,000 UK adults undertaken by the charity which found that being at work is the most common situation in which people feel their happiness is decreased – with a fifth of people stating this. The research also found that finding free time for leisure, family and friends, and socialising was key to achieving good levels of wellbeing.  Respondents stated they feel wellbeing at its highest when on holiday (66 percent), when spending time with family (56 percent), or whilst socialising with friends (49 percent) – signalling the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance.  Despite these stats, recent studies show that the average British worker puts in the equivalent of 38 working days over and above their contracted annual hours.

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Interaction completes transformation of Grade II listed Victorian castle into new office

Interaction completes transformation of Grade II listed Victorian castle into new office 0

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Design and build firm Interaction, has completed the design and fit out of a Grade II listed Victorian ‘castle’ in Cirencester as the new head office of financial comparison website money.co.uk. In 2015 the firm was ranked the second fastest growing business in the UK by The Sunday Times and needed its workplace to reflect this growth, convey its culture and attract new talent. The core concept was a juxtaposition of the traditional architecture of The Castle with a contemporary interior. The design features include a bespoke Star Wars themed cinema complete with popcorn machine, two gyms, hand painted suits of armour as well as ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘Steam Punk’ themed bathrooms. The new office incorporates a number of settings for informal meetings, private work, training, relaxing or socialising. This includes an ‘ice cave’ which can be used for an informal meeting, or to eat and socialise. There is also a ‘ski lodge’, which can be accessed through a secret door. More →

The truth about artificial intelligence and the hype of job losses

The truth about artificial intelligence and the hype of job losses 0

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Much of the current focus of the debate about the impact of artificial intelligence has been on how the ‘rise of the robots’ will spend the end for many job roles. Yet that mischaracterises the true effects according to a new report from Infosys, released today, to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos. The report, Amplifying Human Potential: Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence, concludes that the implementation of AI doesn’t necessarily mean job losses. In fact, 80 percent of businesses adopting AI which have replaced, or plan to replace, workers with technology, will be far more likely to retain, retrain and upskill those employees impacted. The study also claims that the adoption of AI will mean a number of other important benefits for organisations including a predicted 39 percent revenue rise by 2020 as a result of the implementation.

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Fathers’ careers stifled by modern workplace culture, claims report

Fathers’ careers stifled by modern workplace culture, claims report 0

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The UK is running the risk of creating a ‘fatherhood penalty’ – as fathers consider stalling or side-lining their careers to find roles they can better combine with family life, according to a new study. The 2017 Modern Families Index, published today by work-life charity Working Families and Bright Horizons, captures a broad picture – of fathers wanting to take an active part in childcare and the workplace failing to adapt and support their aspirations. Family is the highest priority for fathers. A quarter of fathers that took part in the study drop their children at school or nursery every day; with just over a quarter (26 percent) collecting them more than half the time. Seven out of ten fathers work flexibly to fulfil their caring responsibilities. However, for half of the fathers we spoke to their work-life balance is increasingly a source of stress.  A third of fathers feel burnt out regularly and one in five fathers are doing extra hours in the evening or weekends all the time.

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UK Green Building Council announces launch of first Innovation Lab

UK Green Building Council announces launch of first Innovation Lab 0

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The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has announced the launch of its first Innovation Lab, which it claims offers ‘a radical new approach to innovation in the built environment’. The Lead Partners for the programme are: Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer. The Innovation Lab aims to identify and address what it calls the systemic challenges facing businesses within the sector, and co-create innovative and highly sustainable solutions.

Head of Leadership and Innovation at UK-GBC, Cat Hirst, said: “Research and Development levels across our industry are painfully low; the UK currently only spends £43m on construction R&D. The risks to a single company of investing in developing a solution for such a high-cost industry is often seen as prohibitive. But we desperately need to find ways of working together to achieve radical change if we are to challenge business as usual and transition to a sustainable way of working.

“At UK-GBC we’re seeking to catalyse this change by using our unique position to convene our member organisations to work together to address the issues our industry faces. We want to ensure there is the time, space, and structure for open innovation to occur for the built environment.

“The Innovation Lab is not just about finding one solution to one problem, it’s about fostering a more open and collaborative approach to problem solving as an industry. We need to build the capacity of our industry to innovate and find the right approach to being creative and collaborative within a commercial setting.”

The Innovation Lab began last month with a workshop to identify the ‘breakthrough challenge’ which will form the focus of a 9-month programme of work. In order to arrive at the challenge, the UK Green Building Council is working with the Lead Partners and thought leaders from the wider UK-GBC membership to explore future trends for the built environment as well as key environmental and social challenges, and pain points for business. The initial workshop highlighted key industry challenges around climate change resilience, resource use, shifting demographics, technological advancement and health and wellbeing.

Over the coming weeks, the breakthrough challenge will be refined in consultation with the Lead Partners. The next workshop will be on 1 February, where Innovation Lab participants will begin to respond to this challenge by mapping existing innovations and, where a gap is identified, generating new innovative solutions to solve the challenge.

UK firms not planning on relocation as a result of Brexit, claims survey

UK firms not planning on relocation as a result of Brexit, claims survey 0

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brexit relocationA new survey commissioned by relocation firm Saunders 1865 claims that fears of a mass exodus of UK businesses in the wake of the Brexit vote are unfounded. Its study of 100 UK based multinationals with up to 350,000 employees found that none are planning to relocate their main operations overseas as a result of Brexit. Respondents included banks, consulting firms, technology companies and other organisations with a global presence. The study concludes that this indicates that the UK remains an appealing location within which to base international business. Saunders 1865’s CEO, Tony Coe said, “While anecdotal evidence from corporate clients suggested that the reports of a post-Brexit exodus by companies were overblown, we were frankly shocked that we didn’t receive a single response indicating that a move out of the UK was even being considered.”

One in five working millennials in the UK have two or more jobs

One in five working millennials in the UK have two or more jobs 0

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New research from recruitment app Coople, claims that British millennials are a generation of career jugglers, seeking ‘varied lifestyles and accelerated multi-skilled growth’. The survey of 2,000 employed millennials in the UK, carried out by OnePoll, claims that there is a growing “slash culture”, in which workers take on more than one job simultaneously. The new statistics claim that one in five (19 per cent) employed young people have two or more jobs, more than any other generation. Some of the main reasons cited by millennials for taking on multiple roles include to learn new skills (47 per cent) and for variety and experience (27 per cent). By comparison, older generations put more onus on increased earnings when stating their purpose for working within multiple roles. The study also claims one in three millennials (29 per cent) plan on changing industry within the next two years, 13 per cent intend to change industries within the next year and 45 per cent will be looking to move within three years.

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Control over working hours leads to different outcomes for mothers and fathers

Control over working hours leads to different outcomes for mothers and fathers 0

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The growth of flexible working practices coupled with the extension of parental leave tights to fathers is are partly intended to reduce the differences between levels of pay and career progression for men and women. Yet a study published in the European Sociological Review suggests that men and women experience different outcomes when given control of their working hours and may even lead to the reinforcement of traditional gender roles. The study  by Yvonne Lott and Heejung Chung of the Hans-Böckler Foundation, Düsseldorf and the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent respectively found that while the adoption of flexible working meant all people worked longer hours on average, only men enjoyed higher incomes as a direct result.

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Majority of British workers will work at some point over Christmas and New Year

Majority of British workers will work at some point over Christmas and New Year 0

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Three in five UK employees will work at some point over the Christmas period, a third of staff will curtail their break to return on Tuesday 27th December and 45 percent say working over Christmas is mandatory. These are the key findings of research from Hudson. The firm suggests that growing pressure pressure on companies to meet year round demand is causing employees to work over the traditional holiday period. The quarterly UK office-based workforce survey claims that the majority of workers (61.5 percent), including three quarters of millennials (76 percent), will cut short their festivities to work at some point between Christmas Eve and the January Bank Holiday. More than one third of staff (34 percent) will have to work at least one day between Christmas and New Year, causing problems for the many employees who’ve travelled home to be with their families over the festive period.

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Magic wands, muggles and the quiet nobility of workplace professionals

Magic wands, muggles and the quiet nobility of workplace professionals 0

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Insight publisher Mark Eltringham recently took part in a conversation with Ian Ellison of 3edges. The podcast was recorded before the recent publication of The Workplace Advantage from the Stoddart Review but looks at its potential opportunities and challenges. The range of topics also include the growing role of workplace professionals in shaping workplace thinking, the differences between the FM and workplace disciplines, the trouble at the BIFM, the self image of various professions and why it’s unwise to believe that the most interesting examples of workplace design are indicative of how most people work. You can listen to the podcast online on Acast or iTunes. Other editions of the podcast are available here. Image: Sky Central designed by Hassell. Photographer Mark Cocksedge.

British workers find it increasingly difficult to unwind after work

British workers find it increasingly difficult to unwind after work 0

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A large proportion of British workers are struggling to switch off from work when they finish for the day, according to new research.  The study of 1,011 UK adults in full or part-time employment, conducted by Cascade HR as part of the firm’s The Stress Report, claims that more than three quarters (76 percent) are unable to unwind immediately and instead experience residual stress after leaving the office. The data found it takes on average 1 hour and 39 minutes for UK workers to relax after they have left work for the day, while almost a fifth say they often take work home with them and so don’t ever fully unwind. This residual work stress isn’t just encroaching on employees’ free time after work, but time spent on annual leave, according to the study. When they go on annual leave, it takes UK workers an average of 2.63 days for them to relax, and 10.31 days of annual leave for them to return to work feeling truly refreshed.  This equates to just over half of the UK’s statutory allocation of annual leave per person, per year.

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Brexit could lead to a freeze of over a third of UK commercial property investment

Brexit could lead to a freeze of over a third of UK commercial property investment 0

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22-Bishopsgate_London_PLP-Architecture_Hayes-Davidson_dezeen_936_0 (1)The unexpected political events of 2016 will lead to a rise in caution and risk aversion among real estate investors in 2017, making secure income streams more highly prized among core investors globally. This is expected to benefit the UK market, where high levels of transparency and stable legal structures make real estate a safety play, according to a report from real estate advisor Savills. The firm unveiled its predictions for UK real estate at its annual cross-sector briefing this week, taking a detailed look at the commercial property, residential and agricultural markets. The overall story for UK real estate is one of slower growth. In the commercial market, average total returns on UK property investments are likely to be approximately 5.6 percent per annum during 2017-2021, with a 1.6 percent five year capital growth forecast for office values and a 4.4 percent growth forecast for office income returns. The report claims that there will be a fall of around 30 to 40 percent overall, and possibly up to 50 percent in Central London.

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