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:

Rise in number of employers that prioritise reduction of gender pay gap

Rise in number of employers that prioritise reduction of gender pay gap

Rise in number of employers prioritising closing the Gender Pay Gap

New research commissioned by the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has found that more companies are prioritising reducing their gender pay gap since the legislation was introduced in 2017. The research found that 69 percent of employers now view closing the gender pay gap as a high or medium priority, an increase of 8 percent on last year. With 10,000 companies reporting their pay gaps last year, the new research also showed that 67 percent of companies are having discussions at board-level to find ways of closing the gap. The GEO published the results as it announced two new pieces of guidance, providing step by step advice for employers which helps them to identify potential causes of the gender pay gap in their organisation and develop an effective action plan to tackle it.

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UK cyber threat intensifies within both the private and public sector

UK cyber threat intensifies within both the private and public sector

The UK’s cyber threat environment is intensifying, with over three quarters (88 percent) of organisations reporting they’d experienced a cyber breach in the last 12 months. The UK Threat Report from Carbon Black also claims attacks are growing in volume and the average number of breaches has increased. The average number of breaches per organisation over the past year was 3.67 and 87 percent of organisations saw an increase in attack volumes. In addition, 89 percent of organisations say attacks have become more sophisticated.

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Belfast office sector has enjoyed its most successful year ever

Belfast office sector has enjoyed its most successful year ever

Belfast office market enjoys its most successful year ever: pic Merchant SquareThe office sector in Belfast has enjoyed its most successful year on record, with 885,023 sq ft of take-up reported across 84 transactions, more than double that was achieved last year, according to CBRE’s Offices Marketview research. Notable office deals completed in 2018 include PwC’s move to Merchant Square, Northern Ireland Civil Service to 9 Lanyon Place, Allstate to Mays Meadow, TLT to River House and Baker McKenzie to City Quays 2. According to CBRE Northern Ireland Office the local office market’s record breaking year is an indicator of the resilience of the commercial property market as well as the wider Northern Ireland economy.

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Organisational innovation being stymied by lack of senior support

Organisational innovation being stymied by lack of senior support

Organisational innovation being stymied by lack of senior supportA lack of senior stakeholder support is the greatest inhibitor of change, new research suggests as despite considerable enthusiasm to innovate, organisations are being thwarted by tight resources and strong internal resistance. The data commissioned by KCOM found that organisations are also limiting themselves by turning away the specialist skills and experience that could help them advance, through overly predictive procurement processes. They are however, eager to be more competitive, which is why organisations are making big investments in innovation projects. Almost half (43 percent) consider driving digital transformation to improve competitive advantage to be their top priority in the next year. A further 32 percent are allocating at least 20 percent of their IT budget to new projects. Both public and private sector organisations are also taking an increasingly people-centric approach to digital transformation. In the next year, 80 percent said they would incentivise staff retention through training, accreditation and career development to deliver on their innovation strategy. This is compared to 71 percent who said they would do so by investing in new technologies.

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Stark levels of stress among small business owners as they struggle to stay solvent

Stark levels of stress among small business owners as they struggle to stay solvent

Chronic work-related stress has risen sharply among small business owners, with a fifth of small business owners look to taking a job elsewhere to stay afloat this year. This is according to new research from AXA, which reveals that many are adopting short-term planning and cutting reliance on external funding ahead of Brexit. Staying agile and light is a common strategy, but may not give businesses the best chance of survival if financial cushions are not in place too. The study finds a sharp increase in financial anxiety amongst business owners. Over the course of 2018, those reporting they felt chronically stressed about their businesses increased by almost 50 percent, reaching 29 percent by year end. More →

Lack of cohesion in many organisations on adoption of digital workplace

Lack of cohesion in many organisations on adoption of digital workplace

The majority of organisations (58 percent) do not have a have a clearly defined strategy in place when it comes to adopting and integrating digital workspace technology which suggests that implementing and making use of such technology is still being carried out in something of a haphazard manner. The findings of the research are summarised in SoftwareONE’s Building a Lean, Mean, Digital Machine report, which also claims that, despite the fact that almost all organisations (99 percent) employ some form of digital workspace technology, respondents have encountered a host of challenges when it comes to using them. These include higher security risks (cited by 47 percent) and a lack of employee knowledge in how best to use the solutions (45 percent).  More →

Staff are still largely sedentary and want benefits that will help improve wellbeing

Staff are still largely sedentary and want benefits that will help improve wellbeing

Staff are still largely sedentary but want benefits that help improve wellbeingDespite the fact that a large number of employees continue to be relatively sedentary during their working day, there a growing demand for benefits that could help them achieve a healthier lifestyle, claims new research from Personal Group. More than 40 percent of employees surveyed want health insurance to be added to their workplace benefits programme; more than a third (34 percent) would like their employer to introduce discounted gym memberships, and more than one in four (28 percent) want to have access to rewards linked to physical activity. Almost a quarter (24 percent) want physical health-based incentives, such as interdepartmental step challenges or competitions added to their company-wide benefits programme. However, data shows that 70 percent of those surveyed who sit down to work only get up from their desk or workstation every hour at best, and 38 percent only move every two hours or more. Furthermore, a large proportion of employees eat at their desk or workstation on a regular basis (32 percent) and the majority choose to drive to work (60 percent) over walking (15 percent) or cycling (3.5 percent).

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Staff wellbeing moves up the HR agenda and yes, includes the provision of free fruit

Staff wellbeing moves up the HR agenda and yes, includes the provision of free fruit

Employers have placed wellbeing high on their agenda in a bid to encourage employee engagement and reduce absence, claims new research from XpertHR. More than half of employers (54.4 percent) run informal employee wellbeing initiatives, while one-in-five (22 percent) has a formal programme in place. The majority of these formal employee wellbeing programmes (69.6 percent) have been in place for a year or more – demonstrating a high level of employer commitment but also that programmes have gained traction within organisations. More →

Employee use of apps at work puts their organisation at risk of cyber-attack

Employee use of apps at work puts their organisation at risk of cyber-attack

Employee use of apps at work leaves their organisation at risk of cyber-attackWorkers continued use of unapproved apps in the office, including Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, to communicate with colleagues as well as friends and family is putting their organisations at risk of cyber-attack, new research suggests. Four in ten employees (41 percent) admit to using Instagram for more than two hours each day, despite the app being banned in almost half of UK organisations. The majority of employees are well aware that certain apps are not approved for workplace use, but this hasn’t stopped them breaking the rules.

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Employees want to achieve a healthy work-life balance this year

Employees want to achieve a healthy work-life balance this year

Employees want to achieve a healthy work-life balance this year

A new Acas study of the key issues for working lives in 2019 claims that the biggest issues for employers will be finding skilled workers (53 percent), productivity (36 percent) and technological change (36 percent). On a more personal level, the most important issues in employees’ working life will be balancing work and home life (53 percent), staying healthy and feeling well (51 percent) and job security (44 percent). The poll found that despite people wanting a more flexible working life, nearly half of workers (49 percent) believe that the use of gig workers will stay about the same in the year ahead.

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A morning adrenaline rush improves workplace productivity

A morning adrenaline rush improves workplace productivity

A new academic study has found the benefits of taking part in adrenaline boosting activities before work. Researchers from the University of Essex School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Science, tested workers from the International Quarter London (IQL), the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and discovered that taking a 40 second ride down the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit improved levels of happiness, productivity, creativity, energy and focus in workers. The impacts of exercise on wellbeing have been well-documented; however, this is the first time that research has shown that similar affects can be achieved from a quick adrenaline boosting activity.

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Over three quarters of UK workers reluctant to ask for time off for a health-related issue

Over three quarters of UK workers reluctant to ask for time off for a health-related issue

Nearly a third of UK workers reluctant to ask for time off for a health-related issueMore than three quarters (79 percent) of UK workers admit to forcing themselves to go in to work despite feeling ill, two thirds (66 percent) still go to work when suffering from a cold or flu and over a fifth (22 percent) when suffering from stress, or an emotional crisis. Perhaps this is due to two fifths (40 percent) feeling their boss did not believe they were genuinely ill when they have previously taken a sick day. For those who are brave enough to bite the bullet and call in unwell, more than two thirds (67 percent) said they feel guilty for taking time off work due to illness, or health related issues. This could explain why so many are reluctant to speak to their employer about their health and wellbeing. Nearly a third (30 percent) admitted they are too scared to talk to their boss about needing time off for a health-related issue, whilst almost three quarters (72 percent) say there are times their current employer does not do enough to look after their physical and mental wellbeing. More →

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