About Sara Bean

Sara Bean is one of the UK's best known and most widely respected workplace and facilities management journalists. She is a regular contributor to IN Magazine and the editor of FMJ.

Posts by Sara Bean:

Neither bosses nor staff feel confident about future UK business environment

Neither bosses nor staff feel confident about future UK business environment

Two new reports published this week, show a lack of confidence amongst employers and employees within the UK business environment. The latest data in Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor report shows employee confidence in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects reaching an index score of 55.6 for the last quarter of 2018, a decline of 7.5 percent from an index score of 60.09 in 3Q18. These results follow a worldwide trend that has seen global business confidence sink to its lowest point since the fourth quarter of 2017. Meanwhile a survey of business leaders in the UK by management consultancy Lane4 found that bosses do not feel prepared to lead through future challenges like artificial intelligence and political volatility. More →

Noisy workplaces regularly distract and stress out staff

Noisy workplaces regularly distract and stress out staff

Over half (52 percent) of workers are interrupted by noise distractions more than five times in a working day, with 17 percent stating that they are interrupted by noise more than 10 times. This is according to the Noise and Wellbeing at Work 2019 survey conducted by The Remark Group, and supported by environmental psychologist and workplace strategist Dr Nigel Oseland, an honorary senior lecturer at UCL’s Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering.  In the survey of 1,000 UK-based office workers, 65 percent reported that noise in the workplace impacted on their ability to complete work in an accurate and timely manner. More →

UK jobs boom set to end as finance and business sectors lose confidence

UK jobs boom set to end as finance and business sectors lose confidence

The boom in the UK jobs market is coming to an end just as the Brexit countdown reaches its final stages. According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, the national Outlook for the second quarter of 2019 has fallen to +4 percent, on a par with the weakest levels of confidence seen in recent years. More worryingly, the negative Outlook in the Business and Financial services sector – which employs nearly a fifth of all UK workers – suggests jobs are set to be lost in Britain’s most important sector. The report found that the Finance and Business Services sector has fallen five points to -1 percent, only the second time in the last decade it has been in negative territory.

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UK employers struggling with recruitment and retention of service workers

UK employers struggling with recruitment and retention of service workers

UK employers struggling with recruitment and retention of service workersThe recruitment and retention of manual and elementary service workers has become a significant challenge for UK employers, claims a new study. The research by Quinyx in collaboration with Development Economics and Censuswide, found that factors such as low pay and a lack of flexibility are key issue, resulting in nearly half (49 percent) of UK employers finding it difficult to recruit these workers, and the same percentage reporting challenges around retention. Issues with recruitment and retention were discovered to be most acute in industries such as hospitality, catering & leisure and retail. In addition, larger businesses (those with a workforce of 250 to 500) are more likely to face challenges compared to smaller-sized businesses. Regionally, businesses in London and the East of England are most likely to struggle to recruit workers into manual or elementary service roles. The findings come at a time when UK employers are expressing growing concern around access to manual and elementary service workers post-Brexit.

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On International Woman’s Day – why advancing women is still not a business priority

On International Woman’s Day – why advancing women is still not a business priority

It has probably not escaped your notice that today is International Woman’s Day, which for Workplace Insight means a plethora of studies on the topic of women/jobs/salaries and ways women might work differently to men. We’ve decided not to waste anyone’s time and ignored most of them (particularly the patronizing ones on how ladies are so intuitive) but managed to find a few kernels of information. First, the good news that women have doubled their share of top jobs at technology companies, pulling in higher salaries than men last year, according to executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. More →

RICS and CIBRE to publish new book on diversity in the real estate sector

RICS and CIBRE to publish new book on diversity in the real estate sector

RICS and CIBRE to publish new guide to diversity in real estate sectorRICS and CBRE have announced the publication of a new book: Managing Diversity and Inclusion in the Real Estate Sector, which will be launched at MIPIM 2019 in Cannes. Co-authored by real estate veterans, Amanda Clack, Head of Strategic Advisory at CBRE and Judith Gabler, Acting Managing Director, Europe for RICS, the book places diversity and inclusion (D&I) at the centre of successful real estate and construction organisations. The book provides guidance to, and most importantly actions for professionals in the sector who want to make D&I an inherent part of the culture of their organisation. The book aims to educate the real estate sector about what D&I entails and how a D&I strategy can be implemented to secure future success. It presents a practical and easy-to-read guide that can help organisations and their leaders engage with and apply this agenda to win the war for talent in real estate and construction. It seeks to be about action not words and help those in the sector #BeTheChange.

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Employees want good tech and flexibility but stick with their own fixed desk

Employees want good tech and flexibility but stick with their own fixed desk

Almost two-thirds of those staff (60 percent) say inadequate technology is the biggest productivity blocker at work and by failing to do its job properly it is making life difficult for employees. This frustration trumps unnecessary bureaucracy, inefficient processes and annoying colleagues – other factors that stop employees from being productive, claims research from Cloudbooking. The research suggests that the digital piece of the employee experience puzzle is more prominent  and important than expected – it is in fact the single most important factor with 90 percent of UK office workers who said efficient technology is important to their overall experience. Currently fewer than one in ten UK employees are “extremely satisfied” with their workplace experience, indicating there is significant room for employers to improve it by delivering better technological resources. However, despite wanting to embrace more flexible working, staff still prefer their own fixed desk.

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London’s West End office market stays strong despite slow start to year

London’s West End office market stays strong despite slow start to year

The volume of transactions in London’s West End was down 45 percent, the lowest for January in over 10 years. This is to be expected with the continued ongoing Brexit negotiations, according to Savill’s, who expect to see a lower volume of transactions complete over the first quarter of this year. Despite this, space under offer still remains well above the long-term average, with 237,000 sq ft going under offer during the month. This held the overall total at just over 1.2m sq ft, giving a strong indication that leasing activity over the course of 2019 will remain robust. Pre-lets accounted for 42 percent of the overall sq ft let in January and there were five transactions to the Insurance & Financial sector and four to the Tech & Media sector.

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Overworking staff hurts productivity, says TUC on ‘work your proper hours day’

Overworking staff hurts productivity, says TUC on ‘work your proper hours day’

Overworking staff hurts productivity, says TUC on 'work your proper hours day'

Today is the TUC’s 15th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day, marking the fact that, according to the union, the average person doing unpaid overtime has effectively worked the year so far for free. A new analysis of official statistics published today by the TUC argues that UK companies claimed £32.7 billion of free labour last year because of workers’ doing unpaid overtime with more than 5 million people putting in an average of 7.5 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2018. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s not okay for bosses to steal their workers’ time. L More →

Businesses pledge to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

Businesses pledge to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

Businesses pledge to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reportingThe government is being encouraged to implement mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting when it announces the outcome of its ‘Ethnicity pay reporting’ consultation, which closed in January. Pre-empting that, fifteen companies have signed a commitment today to work towards mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. Signatories include the Bank of England, Deloitte, KPMG, WPP, Santander and EY. The commitment, driven by membership organisation INvolve, aims to get more businesses voluntarily reporting on their ethnicity pay gap. In 2018 The Resolution Foundation estimated the ethnicity pay gap at £3.2bn. A report from INvolve also showed that white people earn on average between £67 and £209 more per week compared to similarly qualified individuals of a different ethnic background, and that the most ethnically diverse workplaces are 35 percentage points more likely to financially outperform industry averages. 

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UKGBC claims built environment members are leading the way in sustainability

UKGBC claims built environment members are leading the way in sustainability

UKGBC reports ambitious approach to sustainability by built environment membersMany built environment businesses are adopting increasingly ambitious sustainability commitments reports the UK Green Building Council in its third annual report ‘Leading the Way’. This presents trends and analysis from research conducted as part of UKGBC’s annual Sustainability 360 Reviews, which look at sustainability trends and insights amongst UKGBC’s 50 industry-leading Gold Leaf member businesses.

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Digitisation and culture of uncertainty lead employees to seek stability

Digitisation and culture of uncertainty lead employees to seek stability

Impact of digitisation on the workplace lead employees to seek stabilityJob security is the top reason employees in the UK joined their company, and also the main reason they stay, according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends study. With close to one in three employees  being concerned that AI and automation will replace their job, senior managers are also worried about the effects of digitisation, with nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of executives in the UK predicting t significant disruption in the next three years, compared to 23 percent in 2018. Mercer’s global findings reveal a similar story finding that as executives focus on making their organisations “future-fit”, significant human capital risks – including the ability to close the skills gap and overcome employee change fatigue – can impede transformation progress. Addressing these concerns is paramount, given that less than one in three executives rate their company’s ability to mitigate the effect on employees as very effective.

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