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:

UK employees confident they will benefit from a ‘buyers’ market for talent

UK employees confident they will benefit from a ‘buyers’ market for talent

UK employees confident they will benefit from a ‘buyers’ market for talentThis year is set to be a ‘buyers’ market’ for the UK’s top professionals, as the nation’s war for talent intensifies. This is according to new research from Robert Half UK, which found that nearly a third (32 percent) of those surveyed believe their skillset will be more desirable over the coming months – even against the current economic and political climate – as the supply/demand imbalance of the UK’s top talent heightens. The current skills in demand include data analysis and digital skills, as well as softer skills such as adaptability, resilience and critical thinking to help complement the evolution of the workplace. More →

Third of employers now offer agile working and this is set to rise

Third of employers now offer agile working and this is set to rise

Just over a third of employers now have an agile working policy, claims Aon’s Benefits and Trends Survey 2019 (registration required), with 98 percent of respondents saying employees now expect more flexible working hours and 89 percent saying staff expect agile/home working to be available. While currently a third (36 percent) of employers have agile working policies in place, where business requirements allow, Aon expects this to increase in popularity. Almost one-third of respondents do not know how many requests have been made for flexible working, but among the rest of the respondents, it is common for around 20 percent of employees to make a request. More →

Forty percent of UK businesses have experienced cyber security breach in past year

Forty percent of UK businesses have experienced cyber security breach in past year

Forty percent of UK businesses have experienced cyber security breach in past yearWell over a third (40 percent) of UK businesses have experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to new government figures as it announces the UK is set to become a world leader in the race to eradicate some of the most damaging cyber security threats. The Business Secretary Greg Clark has promised that  increased security and protections will be built into digital devices and online services with the help of up to £70 million in government investment through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and backed by further investment from industry.

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Central London office investment last year reached highest level since 2014

Central London office investment last year reached highest level since 2014

30 Gresham Street: Central London office investment last year reached highest level since 2014Investment in Central London offices totalled £5bn in the final quarter of 2018, bringing the year-end total to £17.6bn, a 10 percent rise from 2017 and the highest level since 2014, according to data from CBRE. The final quarter of 2018 saw a 16 percent quarterly rise in investment volumes compared to Q3 2018 and a 69 percent increase on Q4 2017. Over the course of the year, five deals over £500m transacted, including the £1bn sale of 5 Broadgate to CK Asset Holdings and the £1.3bn sale of leaseback of Goldman Sachs’ new European HQ. Whilst none of these larger transactions completed in the final quarter of 2018, Q4 was the most active of the year in terms of number of deals transacted. A total of 65 deals completed in the final quarter of 2018, highlighting the persistent demand for assets in Europe’s principal gateway city. The largest investment transaction in Q4 2018 was the £400m+ sale of 30 Gresham Street to Wing Tai and Manhattan Group from Samsung.

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MPs back plan to increase gender diversity in business

MPs back plan to increase gender diversity in business

MPs back new measure to increase gender diversity in business

A majority of MPs have backed a recommendation to increase gender diversity in business by extending the “Women in Finance Charter” to cover all businesses in the UK. The recommendation comes from the professional accountancy body AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). The Charter asks financial services firms to commit to implement four key industry actions; to have a named senior executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion; set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management positions; publish progress annually and ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity. More →

Regional office occupier markets enjoyed record breaking level of take-up in 2018

Regional office occupier markets enjoyed record breaking level of take-up in 2018

Regional office occupier markets enjoyed record breaking take-up in 2018: Credit Like ArchitectsThere was a record-breaking rate of take-up within the regional office occupier markets outside of London and the South East in 2018, with few signs of Brexit-related uncertainty, according to an analysis by CBRE. Across the ten regional cities monitored by CBRE, provisional analysis shows that overall take-up reached nearly 7.3m sq ft. This level was 16 percent above the five-year average and 6 percent higher than 2017, the previous record-breaking year. The majority of regional office demand has again been driven by the business and professional services sectors.  2018 saw record take-up from flexible office operators across the UK, representing the leading portion of business services take-up. This was the year the co-working revolution surged into regional cities. Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow were all stand out expansion locations. With more demand from flexible workspace operators – both from established and new entrants, further expansion is anticipated in 2019 albeit at a further pace as markets become more saturated.

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Working environment, not time of the year has most negative effect on staff wellbeing

Working environment, not time of the year has most negative effect on staff wellbeing

Working environment, not time of the year has most negative effect on staffHalf of employees say that their working environment has a negative effect on their mental health (51 percent) and wellbeing (49 percent) and two-thirds (67 percent) say that they only ‘sometimes, rarely or never’ feel valued at work. The research by Peldon Rose shows that two-thirds of employees (64 percent) currently have poor or below average mental wellbeing and that the majority (56 percent) claim increasing workloads, followed by a lack of time to focus on wellbeing and exercise (46 percent) are the leading causes of their stress.  While half of employees think introducing exercise facilities will help them to better tackle their workplace stress (50 percent) – less than a fifth of workplaces (16 percent) currently provide these facilities, something employers should consider when looking to boost the morale of their workforce.

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Demand for office space in Edinburgh city centre augmented by a lack of supply

Demand for office space in Edinburgh city centre augmented by a lack of supply

Mint building: Demand for office space in Edinburgh city centre augmented by a lack of supplyAn acute lack of supply in Edinburgh’s city centre will push up office rents to over £35 per sq ft in 2019 according to the latest estimates by Savills, which suggests that rental increases and lack of supply may cause certain organisations to consider opportunities on the city’s western periphery. The latest research from the firm shows office take-up in Edinburgh in 2018 totalled 950,000 sq ft – 18 percent ahead of the 10-year annual average – as the city continues to see robust levels of demand from across a number of key sectors and a continued focus amongst occupiers on the city centre. However, despite strong occupier demand, there was a decline in office take-up in 2018, compared to 2017 (1.04 million sq ft) which the firm attributes to a lack of good quality, city centre office supply. Edinburgh’s city centre office availability has been reducing since 2012 and take-up activity during 2018 has seen the majority of new developments being wholly or partially pre-let. This lack of supply is forcing an increasing number of occupiers to re-gear leases on existing offices against a lack of alternative options.

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Mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

Mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

Reporting ethnicity pay levels could be ‘counterproductive’ if not done right

There is a ‘significant risk’ that the reporting ethnicity pay levels could be ‘counterproductive’ unless key differences between it and gender pay are recognised, said the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in its response to the UK Government’s consultation on ethnicity pay reporting. Although the IES supports the government’s proposals to introduce mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gap information, it suggests that cultural and practical barriers to collecting and reporting ethnicity data are greater than for gender pay. More time and greater government support are therefore needed to prepare for these changes. The consultation response voices specific concerns that measures to increase the recruitment of under-represented groups, for example through apprenticeships or paid internships, could serve to widen pay gaps initially. This could inadvertently discourage employers from taking positive action to improve their ethnic diversity. Reporting arrangements therefore need to also take account of changes in the levels of employment participation for different ethnic minority groups, as well as their pay.

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Flexible working mothers more likely to work the most unpaid hours

Flexible working mothers more likely to work the most unpaid hours

Flexible working mothers more likely to do most unpaid hoursFlexible working is supposed to be a boon to working parents, but it seems it’s not without its disadvantages, as a new academic study has found that part-time working mothers who have the ability to control their own schedule often end up working an increased amount of unpaid overtime.  The research from the University of Kent found that for those who gained schedule control over their work there was an increase in the amount of unpaid overtime worked, as on average in the UK men work an extra 2.2 hours a week in unpaid overtime while for women it is about 1.9 hours.

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Overstretched UK employees are disengaged and unproductive at work

Overstretched UK employees are disengaged and unproductive at work

Overstretched UK employees are disengaged and unproductive at workNew research has found that over 2 million UK workers think about quitting their job every day and this figure was significantly higher amongst younger workers, aged 18-24, with 12 percent of those surveyed stating they think about this daily. The research by CABA, a charity supporting the wellbeing of chartered accountants and their families, also highlighted that 38 percent of employees regularly encountered stressful situations at work. Women were most likely to feel this way, with 41 percent revealing they deal with stressful circumstances at least once a week. Comparatively, only 34 percent of male employees admitted to encountering such situations on at least a weekly basis. Many factors were cited as contributing to employees feeling stressed, including unrealistic expectations and unmanageable workloads. Regardless of how it manifests itself within the working environment it can have a negative impact on employee wellbeing, with over 1 in 10 (12 percent) missing at least 52 family events or personal commitments each year.

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Good managers shown to play a crucial role in enhancing worker performance

Good managers shown to play a crucial role in enhancing worker performance

Good managers play a crucial role in enhancing workers' performance

Employers make extensive investments in their employees; investing in hiring and retaining workers that match the firm’s needs. Now new research summarized by Kathryn Shaw, Stanford University, USA suggests that the hiring and training of good bosses may carry even more weight when it comes to workers’ performance. The study in the new IZA World of Labor Report shows a good boss can enhance the performance of their employees and can lower the quit rate. Good bosses have some universal traits: they coach and teach and offer insight into the strategy of the firm. According to Shaw economists are increasingly finding better data to measure the effects of bosses on workers’ performance, as well as the sources of these effects. A recent study of workers in a large firm that performs technology-based service (TBS) jobs found that the move from an average quality boss to one in the 90th percentile raised worker productivity by six units per hour, on a mean productivity of ten units per hour. Thus, when workers move from an average boss to a high-quality boss, productivity could rise by 50 percent. The study also showed that workers were more likely to quit when faced with bad bosses.

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