About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

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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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Overbury delivers new head office for iconic British brand Fred Perry

Overbury delivers new head office for iconic British brand Fred Perry 0

Fit out firm Overbury has completed the interiors of a new head office and showroom for iconic British brand Fred Perry in Clerkenwell, London.  The refurbishment of 27,000 sq ft in a historic Victorian warehouse supports Fred Perry’s move from its long-term address in Covent Garden to a fashionable corner of London. In 2015, the company leased two 19th century warehouse buildings on the corner of Mount Pleasant and Warner Street, opposite a former Royal Mail Sorting Office. Working with architects Buckley Gray Yeoman, Overbury delivered the fit out of seven floors, which included the installation of new floors, ceilings, walls and mechanical and electrical systems. Following a four month programme, the result is a space that reflects the brand’s British identity and brings the brand’s head office and showroom under one roof.

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London businesses lead the way in uptake of flexible working

London businesses lead the way in uptake of flexible working 0

London-based businesses are leading the way in flexible working in the UK, according to a new report from conference call provider Powwownow. The study of 2,000 people claims  that business leaders in the capital let their staff spend the most time working out of the office during an average week – a total of 3 hours and 31 minutes, compared to the UK average of 2 hours and 34 minutes. The survey also suggests that young people, many of whom are graduates with sought-after skills such as digital and cybersecurity expertise, are the most likely to consider flexible working a main attraction of a new job, with three quarters (76 percent) agreeing. While young people in London (18 – 24 year olds) are the most likely to want flexible working (85 percent), they are the least likely to be offered it by businesses. Over half of young people (53 percent) are not proactively offered flexible working, compared to just a third (33 percent) of 35-44 year olds who also have to ask for it.

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Many workers believe AI and automation will increase employment and flexible working

Many workers believe AI and automation will increase employment and flexible working 0

A new study from Adecco suggests that a large number of employees have a generally positive attitude towards technology in the workplace with many seeing it as increasing employment opportunities and nearly half believing that the advent of artificial intelligence and automation will enable a greater uptake in levels of flexible working. According to the Humans vs Robots report, two-thirds (65 percent) of employees believe that overall, technology has actually increased the number of jobs available to them, 54 percent believe that advances in technology will continue to create more jobs than it destroys over the next decade, 48 percent think AI will positively benefit them, by helping them to work more flexibly and a large majority of workers (87 percent) think that computers will make their role easier within the next ten years

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US telecommuting cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 3.6 million tons a year

US telecommuting cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 3.6 million tons a year 0

Ahead of Earth Day this Saturday, FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics have released new data on the environmental impact of the existing flexible workforce of ‘telecommuters’ in the US. Assuming they work from home around half of the time (2.5 days out of a 5 day working week), these flexible workers cut the distance travelled in cars by around 7.8 billion miles a year and the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by 3.6 million tons per year, according to the report. The study claims that the environmental impact of telecommuting is seen in a number of ways because commuting contributes greatly to driving, the second largest source of US greenhouse gas emissions, while company offices are a part of the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

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Number of data scientist jobs soars as Big Data moves up the corporate agenda

Number of data scientist jobs soars as Big Data moves up the corporate agenda 0

Advances in tech have boosted Data Scientist roles by 57 percent globally in one year, according to a Big Data Analytics and Business Intelligence Observatory run by Politecnico di Milano School of Management. Advances in big data analytics are encouraging increasing numbers of industries – including banking, media and big pharma – to maximise this tool by employing more data scientists. The research, which surveyed 280 international data scientists, revealed the 57 percent annual increase in positions allocated, as well as role availability in nearly a third of companies. The research suggests that international businesses will increasingly be looking to integrate Data Scientist roles into their hiring strategies.

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Apple granted permit to trial driverless cars in California

Apple granted permit to trial driverless cars in California 0

Apple has been given permission to test a range of driverless cars in California. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads, ending a period of speculation about its plans for the autonomous technology. The permit covers three vehicles, which will be 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs, and six individual drivers. However, the plan does not seem to suggest that Apple will become a car maker any time soon and instead will focus on the development of the technology itself rather than the hardware.

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Despite Brexit, UK remains most attractive commercial real estate market

Despite Brexit, UK remains most attractive commercial real estate market 0

The UK remains the preferred region to invest in commercial real estate despite seeing a slight dip in popularity since Brexit, according to the latest BrickVest commercial property investment barometer. In March 2017 nearly one in three (30 percent) selected the UK as their preferred commercial real estate investment location, down slightly from 31 percent in March 2016. BrickVest’s quarterly survey of 3,000 investors found that a quarter (25 percent) of respondents favour Germany as their second location of choice for commercial real estate opportunities, the same as last year. Less than one in five (18 percent) selected the US which represents a fall from 21 percent last year. The same number (18 percent) also selected France although this is an increase from 14 percent in 2016.

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New OECD study sets out link between a dynamic business environment and productivity

New OECD study sets out link between a dynamic business environment and productivity 0

The OECD has published a new report which uses data from firms in eight countries (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom) to assess the link between ‘business dynamics’ and productivity. The study, Business Dynamics and Productivity, claims that a dynamic business environment plays ‘an important role not only as a key driver of job creation but also as an engine of productivity growth. A growing body of research highlights significant differences in business dynamics across countries and over time, in particular over the different phases of the business cycle.’ Although the definition of ‘dynamic’ remains vague, the report suggests that firms who go beyond the average that is expected of them are not only better equipped to capitalise on the good times but also better at dealing with major economic shocks. The report looks in depth at the question of whether business growth and productivity are best served by organic growth through job creation or non-organic growth through mergers and acquisitions.

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