Sensory response to workplace environment influences performance

Sensory response to workplace environment influences performance 0

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Sensory experiences in the officeImproving employees’ physical and emotional response to their working environment – from the look and feel of a workplace to non-visual sensory inputs such as smell, noise and temperature – can significantly improve productivity and cognitive performance, a new report suggests. According to Decoding the workplace experience: how the working environment shapes views, behaviours and performanceexperience is not just about how well the workplace satisfies functional needs, it is about the overall impression it leaves on the user and the way an employee experiences an environment is emotional and occurs potentially at a subconscious level. Sensory influences such as the smell, noise and temperature of the working environment are among the main factors that influence employees’ experiences of the workplace and impact thier performance. Expectations of the workplace also change depending on personality, background and numerous other factors; which is why understanding your workforce is the key to creating an effective workplace experience.

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How climate change may be affecting us in more ways than we suppose

How climate change may be affecting us in more ways than we suppose 0

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commercial propertyJust how affected we all are by what is going on in our surroundings is confirmed by a new academic studies which links the environment to to our moods, physical wellbeing and performance. Although we are increasingly aware of the impact the working environment has on our productivity and wellbeing, the new study from researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute suggests we are more influenced by the global environment and climate than we might suppose. The meta-analysis of over 200 papers published in Science magazine concludes that while climate change concerns are largely focussed on its long term and worldwide effects, we should also pay attention to the effects over the short term and at local level because of the impact on individuals, businesses, society and the national economy. As well as slowing the global economy by 0.25 percent each year, it also has a profound additional effect at local levels.

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Working from home just as unproductive and frustrating as working in an office

Working from home just as unproductive and frustrating as working in an office 0

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working from homeIt’s always good to see academic research supporting ideas that would appear pretty obvious but go against a widely accepted narrative. So we should all welcome the results of a new study from researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science, which found that the perceived benefits of working from home disappear over time for both employees and organisations when homeworking is a full-time arrangement. The report concludes that while previous studies have demonstrated how home workers are more productive than office-based workers, the LSE study of more than 500 employees shows that on a long term basis, there are no differences between home and office workers. The reason, according to Dr Esther Canonico from LSE’s Department of Management, the lead author of the report, is that employees no longer see home working as a discretionary benefit or a privilege when it becomes the norm in an organisation.

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Institute for Employment Studies launches new Brexit Observatory

Institute for Employment Studies launches new Brexit Observatory 0

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BrexitThe Institute for Employment Studies, a human resources and employment think tank, has launched what it calls a Brexit Observatory, which will aim to track the effects of the UK’s vote to leave the EU on employment levels and issues. According to the IES, the Observatory will ‘provide a space to collate evidence, share relevant research and commentary, track datasets, and link to sources of independent information as the debate continues and the terms of the UK’s departure are revealed. It will build over the following weeks, months and years as events unfold and data surfaces. In addition to content originating from IES, the pages will feature guest blogs and links to external sources.’ The IES says that it hopes the Observatory will stimulate and facilitate debates on key topics, such as the labour market; education and skills; migration (including the impact on the UK’s nursing workforce); the impact on HR; workforce planning and recruitment; employment law; and employee engagement.

Learning with a stranger as effective as learning with a close friend or relation

Learning with a stranger as effective as learning with a close friend or relation 0

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working togetherA partner helps you learn – even if you don’t know them. That is the conclusion of research being presented today by Catherine Crompton from the University of Edinburgh to the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Cognitive Psychology Section in Barcelona. In the research for her PhD, Catherine carried out two studies that each paired 48 people and asked them to learn an unfamiliar task. In both studies, half the pairs knew each other and half did not. Both older and younger participants were tested, each paired with a partner of similar age. In the first study, the pairs were asked to arrange abstract tangram shapes in a specific order on a grid. In the second, the pairs were asked to learn a route on a map and then recall it one hour and one week later. The first study showed that the pairs got better at the task with practice, whether or not the pairs had known each other before the study. The effects were the same, regardless of age.

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BSRIA publishes new downloadable guide to indoor air quality

BSRIA publishes new downloadable guide to indoor air quality 0

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indoor air qualityThe Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has released a new topic guide on indoor air quality (IAQ), which is now available to download free from the association’s website. The guide is written for those seeking some introductory information about indoor air quality including prevalence, history and definition, along with information on types of contaminants and their exposure limits, while readers are also provided with a useful site map. BSRIA’s asset performance team leader, Blanca Beato-Arribas, said: “People spend approximately 80 per cent of their time indoors. There is enough evidence that links poor air quality with permanent damages to health or even death. Therefore, we should be aware of the quality of the air that we breathe both at home and at work, and ensuring good indoor air quality at work should be a priority for employers.” The guide will provide insight into the most common contaminants, both from indoor sources and external sources as well as a summary of the current legislation and a guide map of what contaminants to investigate.

Android users perceived to be nicer people than iPhone users, research suggests

Android users perceived to be nicer people than iPhone users, research suggests 0

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androidf6oOur choice of smartphone may provide valuable information about our personalities. That is one of the findings of a doctoral study conducted by Heather Shaw from University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology. She is presenting her work today to the British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section annual conference in Cardiff. Heather and her fellow researchers conducted two studies of personality differences between iPhone and Android smartphone users. In the first study the researchers asked 240 participants to complete a questionnaire about characteristics they associate with users of each smartphone brand. In the second study they tested these stereotypes against actual personality traits of 530 Android and iPhone smartphone users. The results from the first study showed that Android users are perceived to have greater levels of honesty and humility, agreeableness and openness personality traits but are seen as less extroverted than iPhone users.

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Open and honest communication boosts staff engagement levels

Open and honest communication boosts staff engagement levels 0

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staff engagementEmployees who feel communication within their organisation is open and honest are nearly 15 times more likely to be engaged, and those who are encouraged to share ideas and opinions are 11 times more likely, claims a survey which suggests that staff want a more human experience, grounded in loyalty, recognition, respect, and honesty. Areas viewed as the best opportunities to differentiate in terms of staff engagement include above-average pay and benefits, a fun place to work, workplace flexibility, a strong fit with individual values, stimulating work, and a spirit of innovation. But according to results of the survey from Aon Hewitt what employees want in a workplace is not what they experience. And these gaps are having an impact on employees’ intent to stay. Of the 52 percent who would leave their current company for another job, 44 percent are actively looking. Opinions about what makes an employer stand out from other companies are similar across generations.

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Addressing the five negative influences on organisational culture

Addressing the five negative influences on organisational culture 0

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Organisational cultureOrganisational culture should represent a clear vision from a firm about its very nature and identity as well as its values. A culture one that everybody within the organisation should understand and share. But this is not always the case as a growing number of firms are discovering to their cost. According to a paper published last year by Deloitte University Press, only 12 percent of employees believe their company is effective at driving their desired culture. Another study from employee feedback software provider Stackhands, around two thirds of people (64 percent) feel they do not have a strong work culture within their organisation. Even so, whether people are aware of it or not, their company has its own culture. Without direction and positive influences, negative factors can take hold, shaping culture in a way that can become harmful for a business. These elements can hinder your company’s development of an effective culture:

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More organisations worldwide offering parental leave rights to employees

More organisations worldwide offering parental leave rights to employees 0

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parental leaveDespite the complexities of parental leave legislation, a  growing number of organisations worldwide are making the benefit available to their workforce, according to the new Global Parental Leave report from human resources consultancy Mercer. According to the study – which is behind a paywall – more than one third of organisations have one centralised global policy. Around 38 percent provide paid paternity leave above the statutory minimum and several countries mandate a parental leave programme that may be used by either parent or carers. A growing number of organisations have extended the right to part time employees and see it as a valuable tool for attracting and retaining talent regardless of the gender or contract of employees. While almost two-thirds (64 percent) of companies provide maternity leave for only the birth mother, 24 percent of companies provide this leave to a primary caregiver.

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Flexible working patterns may make us more susceptible to infection

Flexible working patterns may make us more susceptible to infection 0

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Flexible working herpes infectionWe are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day as our body clock affects the ability of viruses to replicate and spread between cells, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help to explain why people who work outside normal working hours are more prone to health problems, including infections and chronic disease. The time of day of infection can have a major influence on how susceptible we are to the disease, or at least on the viral replication, meaning that infection at the wrong time of day could cause a much more severe acute infection. According to the study, when a virus enters our body, it hijacks the machinery and resources in our cells to help it replicate and spread throughout the body. But, the resources our body has to fight infection fluctuate throughout the day, partly in response to our circadian rhythms – in effect, our body clock.

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Corporate real estate sector needs to step up to meet new challenges

Corporate real estate sector needs to step up to meet new challenges 0

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US corporate real estateThe corporate real estate profession will be influenced, disrupted and transformed in the years ahead by a powerful combination of forces that are re-shaping business strategy and operations, consumer preferences, and how and where people want to live and work, according to a new report from CoreNet Global. The Bigger Picture: The Future of Corporate Real Estate draws on the expertise of more than 30 thought leaders to provide insights from multiple perspectives beyond CRE: technology and the internet of things; risk mitigation; cyber security; environment, energy and sustainability; corporate social responsibility; the global economy; people, talent, wellbeing; and the future of cities. The report argues that CRE must deliver greater value in this dynamic business environment and a world that is changing rapidly, is more interconnected than ever before, is constantly disrupted by technological innovation, and is replete with both risks and opportunities.

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