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:

Businesses leaving themselves vulnerable to a failing of business continuity

Businesses leaving themselves vulnerable to a failing of business continuity

Organisations failing to prepare for disasters with business continuity planningBy failing to properly explore what service provision is offered in the event of a serious incident such as flood or fire, businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to a failing of business continuity, a new survey from Regus suggests. The survey found that 40 percent of businesses rely solely on what their workplace recovery provider tells them, or what is in their contract to protect them from a crisis. The lack of testing of recovery facilities by businesses also leaves them open to further disruption, with businesses at risk of finding that, in reality, the location they have been allocated is too small, with seats only available on a first-come-first-served basis, leaving business-critical staff unable to work.

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Digital and mobile tech at work is still not being used to full advantage

Digital and mobile tech at work is still not being used to full advantage

Digital and mobile tech is still not being used to full advantage

Just a third of businesses are using mobile technologies for their administration tasks, and as organisations struggle to digitise, many employees admit to finding pen and paper simpler to use. The vast majority (91 percent) of workers still prefer to use a desktop or laptop for administrative tasks, according to the research commissioned by ABBYY, as only one third (35 percent) use mobiles for admin, despite 43 percent of workers wanting to use it for this purpose. Millennials in particular are keen to use mobiles, with 55 percent wanting to use mobiles for admin – yet only 43 percent currently do. Older generations are also open to using mobile for admin, with 35 percent of Gen X currently doing so, and 41 percent wanting to. However, it’s clear that some employees are finding the latest technologies, such as mobile, too difficult to use – 28 percent still want to use pen and paper for admin tasks, as 46 percent find it simpler than other means. Desktop still runs the workplace in the UK, regardless of today’s remote working climate. Almost half of workers (48 percent) use a desktop or laptop because it’s easier, and 41 percent because it’s faster.

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Survey suggests that all age groups are similarly motivated at work

Survey suggests that all age groups are similarly motivated at work

Survey proves that all age groups are similarly motivated at workWhen comparing the results of 18 – 29-year-olds with other age brackets, we often find that researchers are bending over backwards to find some kind of pattern. Now a new survey a new study from Automatic Data Processing (ADP) finds unsurprisingly, that there is actually little difference between the age groups regarding those who go to work because they like their company and feel that they’re on the same mission. Of those aged 30 – 49 years old, 9 percent choose this option as did 11 percent of 50 – 64-year-olds.

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Growth of flexible working locations in London is lowering the costs of office space

Growth of flexible working locations in London is lowering the costs of office space

Growth of flexible working locations in London is lowering the costs of office spaces

There is a boom in the number of new flexible working locations opening in Central London, which has seen a growth of 42 percent year-on-year. According to the new report by Office Freedom this growth is driving ever more competitive rates and lowering the cost of all kinds of office spaces within the capital. Over the last two years, office prices in Hammersmith have fallen by 29 percent, whilst Paddington is 32 percent cheaper as a direct result of greater flexible space availability. The rates in prestigious Knightsbridge are still amongst the highest in Central London, but have dropped by 38 percent between 2014 and 2018. More →

Managers blame cost of adjustments for reluctance to hire disabled workers

Managers blame cost of adjustments for reluctance to hire disabled workers

Managers blame cost of reasonable adjustments for not hiring disabled workers

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of UK employers admit they would be less likely to hire someone with a disability, new data from disability charity Leonard Cheshire shows, and over two thirds (66 percent) of managers cite the cost of workplace adjustments as the barrier to employing a disabled person, up from 60 percent in 2017. Seventeen percent of disabled candidates that had applied for a job in the past five years said the employer withdrew the job offer as a result of their disability. Attitudinal barriers continually featured in the latest research. Of the employers across the UK that said they were less likely to employ someone because they were disabled, 60 percent were concerned that a disabled person wouldn’t be able to do the job. Of the disabled people in the UK who applied for a job in the last five years, 30 percent said they felt like the employer had not taken them seriously as a candidate.

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Employees put off seeking medical advice due to worries over missing work

Employees put off seeking medical advice due to worries over missing work

Although the majority (85 percent) of all business decision-makers agree that workplace health is a top priority, employees still aren’t being as open as they should, often playing down their illness or injury (32 percent) or feeling too busy to miss office hours (27 percent), a new survey by Bupa and Babylon Health has claimed. Worry over missing work is a key driver in avoiding appointments as seven in 10 employees (70%) have delayed or put off seeking medical advice when they should, despite the majority of business leaders having no issue with colleagues taking time off to deal with health issues. Men, young workers (18-34), Londoners and those employed in SMEs are all more likely than average to delay or put off seeking help. The data also shows that those in manual roles (vs. clerical) are more likely to shrug off illness or injury. Mark Allan, Commercial Director, Bupa UK, said: “As much as those in decision-making positions really want their employees to put their health first, they’re competing against a strong resistance from those who will strive to soldier on. This is particularly the case with those employees in SME businesses, amongst others.”

Over half of workers admit to arguments about the office temperature

Over half of workers admit to arguments about the office temperature

Over half of workers admit to arguments about the office temperature

Almost two thirds (59 percent) of UK employees say that the office temperature is a controversial topic amongst colleagues, with over half (52 percent) admitting that it causes regular arguments. Now new research conducted by Boiler Plan highlights the extreme lengths that some office workers are willing to go to in the battle of the thermostat. More than one in seven (14.5 percent) workers have gone as far as making a formal complaint to their HR department due to the temperature in their office and almost one in eight (12.3 percent) have taken it as far as actually damaging the temperature control unit.

Female office workers are more than twice as likely to vandalise the thermostat as their male colleagues, and one in five (20 percent) women have requested a desk move because of this issue. Six percent of men say they have fallen out with a colleague and 7 percent admit to sending passive aggressive emails due to the temperature in the office.

 

SMEs intend to increase their headcount by over a fifth this year

SMEs intend to grow their headcount by over a fifth this year

Although official figures from the ONS show a decline in consumer spending throughout much of 2018, optimism amongst small businesses remains high, with UK SMEs hoping to grow their headcount by an average of 21 percent over the next 12 months. The new research from Opus Energy claims that half (51 percent) intend to grow their business in terms of people, with some even predicting they’ll increase their workforce by 50 percent. IT (39 percent), health (33 percent) and financial services (28 percent) were the sectors expecting the most growth. Even in the worst affected sectors, growth was still predicted. Half (50 percent) of retailers still expected to grow in 2019, at an average of 19 percent. 65 percent of food and beverage producers predicted an average headcount increase of 18 percent and 69 percent of manufacturers expected to grow at an average of 14 percent; despite facing the uncertainty of Brexit and the “death of the high street”.

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Employers have a poor understanding of what actually motivates their employees

Employers have a poor understanding of what actually motivates their employees

Almost half of companies (45 percent) still believe that an attractive salary and package is what motivates their workforce, despite the fact that employees cite ‘soft benefits’ such a flexi-working, work-life balance, and ‘being valued’ as key to feeling fulfilled in their job role. The findings come from recent research ‘Meeting demands through the job offering’, by recruiter Robert Walters and job board CV-Library that highlight the disparity between what employees want and what companies are offering to staff. While 60 percent of professionals’ state career development as an important part of a job offering, less than 10 percent of companies believe that a lack of career progression and development would be a key reason for losing talent. The report also found that although companies claim that ‘staff being stuck in their ways’ is the main reason behind the lack of quality applicants, over 40 percent of professionals state that they would be willing to take up a role in another field where skills would be transferable, or work in a new sector to broaden their skills.

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Productivity only a priority for a third of employers as skills shortages persist

Productivity only a priority for a third of employers as skills shortages persist

Despite its importance to the economy, productivity is only a priority for 36 percent of employers and only half (50 percent) use the term when discussing organisational performance according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And LMO data suggests that employers are overconfident when it comes to assessing their own productivity, with just 7 percent believing their organisation’s productivity is below average. More →

Gendered label of maternity leave may contribute to parental earnings gap

Gendered label of maternity leave may contribute to parental earnings gap

Gendered title of maternity leave contributes to male & female pay gapIt’s been argued that one of the main drivers behind the gender pay gap and inequality in the workplace is when it comes to having children. Now new research from Money Guru has revealed that 70 percent of UK employers believe that women should declare their pregnancy during the recruitment process with one in seven (14 percent) of employers admitting to being reluctant to hire someone who may go on to have children. Studies show that 39 percent of young mothers have been illegally asked in job interviews about how being a mother would affect their ability to work.

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A sense of belonging is crucial factor for employee engagement

A sense of belonging is crucial factor for employee engagement

A sense of belonging is just as important an employee retention tool as good pay and benefits, a new academic paper has found.  In his paper Creating a committed workforce: Using social exchange and social identity to enhance psychological attachment within an ever-changing workplace, Dr Ali Fenwick of Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, the Netherlands., argues that identifying with the team, leader, brand and organisation is paramount to workplace commitment as well as work performance. More →

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