Office design alone cannot motivate us or make us happy at work

Office design alone cannot motivate us or make us happy at work

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Office design and happinessThere’s a good reason why we find it hard to establish the causal links between our working lives, office design and our personal happiness. It’s because it’s all very complicated. So complicated in fact that you can sidetrack any discussion on the subject by asking elementary questions such as: ‘what do you mean by happy?’ or ‘should it be the role of work to make us happy?’ More →

Friday, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with staring out of the window

Friday, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with staring out of the window

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There is or was a running joke within IBM that their buildings don’t have windows, they have outside awareness ports. It’s an idea that not only reflects the culture of long hours spent staring at computer screens – something you don’t have to work for Big Blue to be aware of – but also one that acknowledges our need to be aware of the wider world when we are at work. Our gut instinct tells us that we are better off either outdoors or looking at it. More →

Neuroscience: the next great source of competitive advantage

Neuroscience: the next great source of competitive advantage 0

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The average worker is interrupted or distracted every three minutes and it takes them fully twenty-three minutes to return to a task after being interrupted. Office workers are overwhelmed by distractions, due mainly to a lack of understanding of how to manage attention. Distractions and the inability to focus negatively affects productivity, engagement, wellbeing and overall performance in organisations. We long to be more effective, but the harder we try, the more tired our brains become. Attention meltdowns are epidemic because workers do not understand what attention is, how to manage it or have access to the best places to support their tasks. In workplaces throughout the world scenarios of near constant distraction have become the norm, to such an extent that often people do not even feel compelled to comment on them and their consequences.

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Job polarisation is being driven by lack of access to technological skills, warns OECD

Job polarisation is being driven by lack of access to technological skills, warns OECD 0

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productivityThe employment rate throughout OECD areas is finally returning to pre-crisis levels, but people on low and middle incomes have seen their wages stagnate and share of middle-skilled jobs fall. This is according to the latest OECD Employment Outlook 2017 which finds that the employed share of the population aged 15 to 74 years rose for the third consecutive year, and is expected to reach 61.5 percent by the end of 2018, above its peak of 60.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. Its projections for the UK’s economy for 2017-18 anticipate that growth will ease as rising inflation weighs on real incomes and consumption, but business investment will weaken amidst uncertainty about the United Kingdom’s future trading relations with its partners.

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Study confirms effect of workplace autonomy on wellbeing and job satisfaction

Study confirms effect of workplace autonomy on wellbeing and job satisfaction 0

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New research into workplace culture has found that employees with higher levels of autonomy in their work reported positive effects on their overall wellbeing and higher levels of job satisfaction. Researchers at the University of Birmingham Business School examined changes in reported well-being relative to levels of autonomy using two separate years of data for 20,000 employees from the Understanding Society survey. The research, published in the journal Work and Occupations, found that levels of autonomy differed considerably between occupations and by gender. Those working in management reported the highest levels of autonomy in their work, with 90 percent reporting ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of autonomy in the workplace. The finding backs up research from Cass Business School, the German Institute for Economic Research, Abraham Maslow and elsewhere.

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Brexit impact on UK’s future workforce size could undermine productivity

Brexit impact on UK’s future workforce size could undermine productivity 0

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With the UK facing at best, very slow growth, or even shrinkage, of the working population, future changes to migration levels into the UK due to Brexit could exacerbate the financial stresses and strains caused by the UK’s aging workforce. This is according to the Mercer Workforce Monitor™ which claims that companies will need to invest heavily in automation, sectors of society historically under-represented in the workforce and look at ways of increasing productivity. According to the analysis, since 2013, the levels of EU and non-EU born immigration into the UK workforce has filled a gap left by the aging of the nation’s UK-born workforce which sees more in this group leave the workforce – through retirement, emigration or death – than enter it. National growth is closely linked to workforce growth; so reducing its future size would create major headwinds for the UK economy and since another 3.4 million people will reach the age of 65 in 2030; unless the UK decides to make drastic changes to the funding of pensions, health and social care, this smaller working population will be required to proportionally spend more of their income to care for their older citizens.

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The facts about sit stand work are already lost in the stream of narrative

The facts about sit stand work are already lost in the stream of narrative 0

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Toss a sliver of information into the great stream of accepted public narrative and see what happens to it. There it goes, briefly visible on the surface then consumed; part of the stream but no longer to be seen. A perfect example of this is provided by a recent piece of research carried out by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health into the effects of standing at work on a small sample of call centre workers. While the results of the study are impressive, notably a 46 percent increase in productivity, by the time the story was reported on Inc.com, the 167 call centre workers had suddenly morphed into ‘everybody’. It should go without saying that the headline ‘Your Productivity Will Increase by 46 percent if You Stand at Your Desk’ does not reflect the conclusions of the original research. The statements by the researchers suggesting that the study is significant with regard to call centre staff but merely indicative of a wider issue go ignored.

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UK employers predict workforce growth in 2017 along with more inclusive hiring

UK employers predict workforce growth in 2017 along with more inclusive hiring 0

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Four in ten (41 percent) of firms across the UK will grow their workforce in 2017 but uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU has shaken overall business confidence in the labour market claims a new report. According to respondents to the 19th CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey, for the fourth year running, growth in permanent job opportunities will outstrip temporary recruitment. But the balance of those expecting the UK to be a more attractive place to employ people in the next five years has flipped from +16 percent in the 2015 survey to -21 percent in this year’s results. In terms of engagement, over three quarters (76 percent) of respondents reported that a diverse and inclusive workforce is vital or important to the future success of their organisation. They report a range of benefits of inclusive workplace practices including increased skills (73 percent), attraction and retention of staff (60 percent) and engagement levels (46 percent).

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Germany slides down rankings as one of world’s top employment talent hotspots

Germany slides down rankings as one of world’s top employment talent hotspots 0

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Germany falls down world rankings for talentGermany has slipped down the rankings as one of the world’s top employment talent hotspots, with other established economic powers such as the UK and France playing only minor roles in sustaining Europe’s pre-eminence. According to the World Talent Report by IMD Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands occupy the top five places in the rankings – the first two retaining their standings from last year. Finland, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg and Hong Kong complete the top 10, with Germany 11th, Iceland 16th, Ireland 18th, the UK 20th and France down in 28th. The objective of the World Talent Report is to assess how countries sustain the talent pool necessary for businesses to maximize their performances. Austria was one of the biggest movers over the past 12 months, climbing 11 places to break into the top 10, while Belgium rose by six positions to take third spot. By contrast, Germany slipped out of the elite, dropping from 7th to 11th, after being impacted especially heavily by the economic crisis affecting much of Europe.

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Vast majority of UK employers are against a ‘hard Brexit’ finds CIPD

Vast majority of UK employers are against a ‘hard Brexit’ finds CIPD 0

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Vast majority of UK employers are against a 'hard' Brexit' finds CIPD

The implications of Brexit are raising concerns over a reduction in employers’ intentions to invest in their staff and its effects on access to migrant labour. As a result, according to the latest quarterly CIPD/Adecco Group Labour Market Outlook, while employment growth looks set to continue in the UK, there are signs that this is beginning to slow and that real wages are likely to fall during 2017 for many employees. The data shows that the net employment balance, while remaining in positive territory at +22, based on the difference between the share of employers expanding their workforce and the share of employers reducing their workforce, has shown a slight negative decline from the previous quarter’s figure of +27. Although 42 percent of employers believe that future restrictions on EU labour could damage their UK operations, just 15 percent have started to prepare for this eventuality; which is probably why the vast majority are against a ‘hard Brexit’.

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The dramatic rise of the online gig economy revealed in new study

The dramatic rise of the online gig economy revealed in new study 0

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jobbureauThere has been a rapid increase in the online gig economy worldwide, according to new research from the University of Oxford. The study is based on the results of the University’s Online Labour Index which measures vacancies and activity on websites and apps related to the gig economy. It found that employers in the US are the biggest users of the online gig economy, defined as the use of workers procured over the internet for short term, piecemeal and project based work. Between May and September, US firms posted 52 percent of vacancies on the platforms followed by the UK at 6.3 percent, India at 5.9 percent, and Australia at 5.7 percent. The market grew by 9 percent over the tested period with growth fastest in the UK which saw a 14 percent increase in activity. The data also showed that software development and technology are currently the most sought-after skills. Creative and multimedia work is the second largest category, followed by clerical and data entry work.

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Study shows how a green city in the desert still has much to teach the world

Study shows how a green city in the desert still has much to teach the world 0

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masdar-green-cityA much publicised but occasionally troubled green city in the United Arab Emirates without light switches or water taps has much to teach people around the world about saving energy and precious resources, claims a new study from researchers at Birmingham University. With its low-rise and energy efficient buildings, smart metering, excellent public transport and extensive use of renewable energy, the 2,000 citizens of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, are living in a place which is a ‘green’ example to city planners around the globe, claims the report. There are no light switches or water taps in Masdar City. Movement sensors control lighting and water in order to cut electricity and water consumption by 51 percent and 55 percent respectively. Masdar is a mixed use development that is the world’s first city designed to be ‘zero carbon’ and ‘zero waste’. Masdar City is a large-scale mixed use development which lies 17 kilometres south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi.

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