Working ‘proper hours’ may no longer be possible

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I'm alright JackToday is the Trades Union Congress’s self-styled ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’. Last week the TUC announced that it had used Government statistics to calculate that more than 5 million UK employees put in an average of over 7 hours of unpaid overtime a week, adding around £28 billion a year to the economy. Like me, you might be surprised the figures are that low and certainly I think a lot of people would be delighted to only put in an extra 7 hours a week. You might also be dismayed the TUC is advocating workers add less of their time into the economy by clocking off on time today. However, the bigger problem is surely with the language and ideas put forward by the TUC.

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Yahoo case doesn’t tell the whole story of teleworking

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Yahoo! Sunnyvale headquarters.  October 28, 2001 (Y! Photo / Brian McGuiness)Yahoo! made headlines across the US and the rest of the world this week by announcing they are terminating the company’s telework program.  Does this signal, broadly, the pending demise of telework?  Here’s my take: this story is actually deeper than just about telework. Yahoo! has been wandering around aimlessly for a number of years, and it would appear that this particular measure is intended as some overdue shock therapy to jump-start a much needed culture shift and focus on what the company needs to survive in a world of rapid innovation and “big bang disruption” (see March 2013 HBR article by Larry Downes and Paul F. Nunes).

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Job dissatisfaction highest amongst Gen Y workers

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Gen YHot on the heels of the news this week that generation Y workers are more risk averse than older employees, it seems they’re also more dissatisfied with their jobs than other age groups. A new survey by Office Angels shows that over a quarter (27 per cent) of 25-34 year olds are unhappy in their current job, compared to just a fifth (20 per cent) of those aged over 55. This backs up the Monster.com survey, which found more than half of Gen Y employees (55 per cent) see their current employer as a mere stopping off point in their career path.

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Survey finds global support for wellness initiatives

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Working well

Wellness programs are no longer a “soft” issue for organisations around the globe with employers increasingly recognising the value of employees’ health and well-being to their organisations’ bottom line. According to the latest report from Buck Consultants, global employers – regardless of location, identify improving worker productivity and reducing presenteeism as one of their top wellness objectives. Wellness initiatives also continue to add value over time and while significant results can take years to realize, the survey shows how the impact of wellness programs differs by short-term and long-term payoff.

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Generation Y employees see themselves as risk averse

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Gen YThe Generation that put the Y in N-E-E-D-Y is the subject of yet another survey, this time one reporting that its members view themselves as less entrepreneurial and more risk averse than either Generation X (30-49 year olds) and the baby boomer generation (50-69). The survey of nearly 3,000 people by monster.com and Millennial Branding found that just under a third (32%) of Gen Y workers consider themselves to be entrepreneurial, compared to 41% of Gen X staff and 45% of baby boomers. Similarly 28% of Millennial respondents identified themselves as not being averse to risk compared to 40% of Gen X and 43% of boomers.

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Global confusion in managing employee “data deluge”

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Over a quarter of employers worldwide do not know how their workforce potential is affecting the company’s bottom line. A new report by talent measurement solutions provider SHL suggests HR managers are overwhelmed by the volume of employee data and struggle to elicit meaningful insight that will help drive businesses forward and deliver results. “Our research shows that even though organisations measure employee performance, they have historically focused on efficiency data, like how well an employee is performing versus data that allows them to make a strategic talent decision,” said Ken Lahti, vice president, Product Development and Innovation, SHL.

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Video: ‘We are not as endlessly predictable as you would think’

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An old one, but still my favourite from the RSA Animate series. It’s always worth reminding ourselves that the issue of motivation is very complex. People are not machines and function within the context of a whirl of emotions, relationships, influences, events, crises, stimuli, personal characteristics and thoughts.  That is why many of our assumptions about motivation are false. One of the presentation’s more important conclusions – that we are purpose maximisers as much as profit maximisers – is supported by the story we published this morning.

Companies must develop a social purpose to survive

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Company reputations could collapse in minutes and more firms will develop an explicit ‘social purpose’ according to a new report from Global corporate responsibility consultancy Corporate Citizenship. “Future Business: the four mega trends that every company needs to prepare for” identifies four mega-trends that it says are likely to shape the nature of business over the coming decade. According to the consultancy, over the last year the proportion of S&P 500 companies that report on sustainability performance has grown from one in five to over half and the over the coming decades, it expects at least as much change again.

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Are you working or shirking from home?

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Staff ill health

During recent weather-related travel disruption, I was inundated with various pieces of information on software that spies on home based employees to check that they really are working, not shirking from home. As Acas opens a consultation on a draft Code of Practice regarding the extended right to request flexible working; and figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the number of people working from home in the UK has risen to over 10 per cent – the advent of these systems begs the question: do employers really trust their staff enough to let them work remotely?

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Employee burnout commonplace in third of UK companies

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Burnout

Employee burnout is endemic within a third of UK organisations. According to new research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK three out of ten (30 per cent) UK HR directors reported high levels of employee burnout, which rises to more than a third (35 per cent) for those in London and the South East and publicly listed companies. Two thirds (67 per cent) of UK HR directors cite “workload” as the primary reason for employee burnout, although this figure rises to three quarters (75 per cent) for large and 73 per cent for public sector companies. More →

Yahoo is not the only firm that doesn’t like flexible working

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Yahoo! Sunnyvale headquarters.  October 28, 2001 (Y! Photo / Brian McGuiness)As news emerged over the weekend from Silicon Valley that Yahoo had introduced a new policy that insisted employees work from the company’s HQ, a survey from O2 in the UK highlighted just how many firms are not as keen on the practice of flexible working as they might claim in theory. The question we need to ask is whether this represents a genuine shift away from the assumption that we are moving towards more agile working practices, or is this just the last knockings of the old guard?

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Companies failing to communicate flexible working policies

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Less than one fifth of staff are being encouraged to work flexibly, with businesses failing to reap the rewards of increased productivity and employee well-being resulting from modern work practices and technology. New research by O2 reveals that whilst staff are ready to embrace new ways of working and understand the benefits, it is employers who are holding them back. More than three quarters (77 per cent) of employers say that flexible working is actively encouraged across their organisation but less than a fifth (19 per cent) of staff say their company encourages them to work flexibly. More →

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