Open and honest communication boosts staff engagement levels

Open and honest communication boosts staff engagement levels 0

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

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

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

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

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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Working in an office is NOT as bad as smoking, whatever you might read

Working in an office is NOT as bad as smoking, whatever you might read 0

sitting is the new smokingThere is a lurid headline in today’s Telegraph proclaiming that ‘Working in an office is as bad as smoking’. It’s been picked up by a number of other news outlets, has been splashed all over search engines and will no doubt join the stream of misleading narrative that distorts the subject and encourages designers to come up with nonsense like this. So, in an almost certainly vain attempt to close the sluice gates, we would encourage people to read the source material. In this case that is a piece of research in The Lancet medical journal published yesterday. What the report actually concludes is that ‘in addition to morbidity and premature mortality, physical inactivity is responsible for a substantial economic burden. This paper provides further justification to prioritise promotion of regular physical activity worldwide as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce non-communicable diseases’. In other words, it supports an existing, well understood conclusion.

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Seven ways managers and employers can build trust in the workplace

Seven ways managers and employers can build trust in the workplace 0

TrustHow many people in the workplace genuinely trust their managers and employers? It’s a question that we should ask because the answer unfortunately is not as many as you might think. It’s almost certainly well below what an organisation supposes or expects. For example, a recent study by strategic communications firm Edelman found that one in three employees don’t trust their employer. Another related study by consultants EY found that the number might well be even lower, with only 46 percent having trust in their organisation, and 49 percent in their line manager and team mates. This situation has been allowed to develop in spite of the fact that trust is one of the most important things we all need in the workplace. Without it we won’t have the environment we need for an effective feedback culture to grow and for people to feel engaged with what they do and for whom they work. So how can you help close the trust gap between employees and managers?

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Working with people and on complex tasks slows cognitive decline

Working with people and on complex tasks slows cognitive decline 0

hands-heroWorking on complex tasks and work that is based on interactions with other people rather than data or things appear to protect against cognitive decline, according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Toronto. Researchers in two separate studies claim that people whose work requires complex thinking and activities are better able to withstand the wider causes of cognitive decline. The results suggest that working with people, rather than data or physical things, contributed the most to the protective effect and could offset the widely reported effects of a Western diet on cognitive ability. Researchers found that people with increased white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) – white spots that appear on brain scans and are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline – could better tolerate WMH-related damage if they worked primarily with other people rather than with things or data.

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Workplace design that hands people control is the key to their wellbeing

Workplace design that hands people control is the key to their wellbeing 0

Workplace DesignGiving employees more control over workplace design is the single most important contributing factor to their wellbeing, according to a new study. The Workplace & Wellbeing report examines the workplace design factors that influence wellbeing. The research team discovered that an invitation to participate in the design of the work environment raised levels of wellbeing, although increasing the level of participation did not necessarily increase the level of wellbeing. The research was led by the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in partnership with architects Gensler and supported by a consortium of leading industry names: Milliken, Bupa, Royal Bank of Scotland, Kinnarps and Shell. The context for this project lies with a current ‘wellbeing deficit’ in the workplace which means absence from work costs the UK economy more than £14 billion a year according to the Confederation of British Industry.

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UK should avoid severe recession and property crash after Brexit vote

UK should avoid severe recession and property crash after Brexit vote 0

BrexitUK growth had already eased from around 3 percent in 2014 to around 2 percent before the EU referendum due primarily to slower global growth, but the Brexit vote to leave the EU is likely to lead to a significant further slowdown. UK GDP growth is forecast to decelerate to around 1.6 percent in 2016 and 0.6 percent in 2017 according to PwC’s main scenario in its latest UK Economic Outlook report. Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth could fall to close to zero in late 2016 and early 2017 in this main scenario, but is then projected to recover gradually later in 2017 as the immediate post-referendum shock starts to fade. The UK would avoid recession in this scenario, although the report notes that uncertainties around this view are significant, with alternative scenarios showing GDP growth in 2017 of anywhere between +1.5 percent and -1 percent. But even this latter relatively pessimistic scenario would not be a severe recession of the kind seen in the early 1980s or in 2008-9.

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Multi-tasking and workplace distractions don’t allow us to focus on the essentials

Multi-tasking and workplace distractions don’t allow us to focus on the essentials

workplaceAlthough the structure of our brains is largely the same as that of our hunter-gatherer prehistoric ancestors, that does not mean they are immutable. Research shows that the way our brains change in response to technology and the changing workplace suggests they are subject to a certain degree of ‘rewiring’. For example, a recent study found that the emotional response of adults to smileys in emails and texts is exactly the same as they would have to real faces. Tellingly, however, this appears to be learned behaviour because babies do not exhibit the same response. One other aspect of working life that is now proven to change the way our brains work – and not in a good way – is multitasking. Research published by Kep Kee Loh and Ryota Kanai of the University of Sussex found that “Individuals who engage in heavier media-multitasking are found to perform worse on cognitive control tasks and exhibit more socio-emotional difficulties”.

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Momentum grows to make BIM standard for global construction industry

Momentum grows to make BIM standard for global construction industry 0

BIM Level 2According to a new survey from research firm Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), momentum is growing towards the universal implementation of Building Information Modelling across the construction industry worldwide, with the highest percentage of respondents claiming that it will be the future of the industry. In related news, the UK BIM Alliance will be launched in October and will take over from the UK BIM Task Group as the emphasis is now on making Building Information Modelling the standard approach to construction. The industry alliance has been set up to respond to the UK Government’s challenges in meeting Level 2 requirements. The group will be branded the UK BIM Alliance, and is planned to be officially launched this October. The challenge now faced is to transform from industry mobilisation for Level 2 to make BIM, the standard approach to construction for the entire UK Construction Industry.

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