Modern office design principles favour extroverts, study claims

Modern office design principles favour extroverts, study claims 0

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Open plan officesThis week’s British Psychological Society Occupational Psychology Division annual conference in Nottingham has proved to be a fruitful hunting ground for insights into the nature of modern work and workplaces. The week culminates today with the presentation of a new study from business psychologists OPP which claims that personality has a big impact on the type of office environment people prefer to work in. Modern features such as shared space and open-plan floors appeal mainly to extroverted workers and made introverts uncomfortable. Over 300 people (71 per cent female and average age 47 years) completed an online survey about their current workplace. The participants had previously completed a personality test to ascertain their personality type. The results showed that many features of the modern office were more likely to be preferred by extroverts than by introverts.

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Two new studies that highlight the complexities of gender at work

Two new studies that highlight the complexities of gender at work 0

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gender at workThe increasingly complex nature of the career and workplace choices made by men and women and the specific challenges they face is the subject of two pieces of research presented at this week’s British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham. The authors of the admittedly small scale studies conclude respectively that men in what are generally considered typically female-dominated occupations tend to value the social aspects of their career more than financial rewards and that ambitious professional women would benefit from a better understanding of how to build, maintain and use their social capital to succeed in their attempts at reaching the top of their professions. Both topics have been raised before but it’s interesting to see yet more research which challenges the often overly simplistic assumptions that seem to go hand in hand with gender issues at work.

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How planning can help people detach from work in the evening

How planning can help people detach from work in the evening 0

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We all know from personal experience just how difficult it can be to switch off from work. New research published in the Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology suggests that the best mechanisms to cope with round the clock working include planning how to resolve incomplete work tasks. The study, conducted by Dr Brandon Smit of Ball State University suggests that the root of the problem is uncompleted tasks, especially for certain personality types. It used a questionnaire to gauge the working patterns of 103 employees pursuing 1,127 goals. It found they had more difficulty detaching from tasks that had been left uncompleted, especially when these were important. However, one group were encouraged to create plans by writing down where, when, and how they would complete these tasks. Dr Smit found they detached themselves from work more effectively than employees who did not create plans.

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Global salaries will rise to highest levels for three years in 2016

Global salaries will rise to highest levels for three years in 2016 0

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Global payWorkers around the world will see real wage increases of 2.5 percent, the highest in three years in 2016, as pay increases combined with historically low inflation leave employees better off. The forecast issued by Korn Ferry Hay Group found that workers across Europe are set to see an average salary increase of 2.8 percent in 2016 and, with inflation at 0.5 percent, will see real wages rise by 2.3 percent. While salary rises will stay at 2.5 percent in the UK (the same as the last two years), low inflation means that real wages are to increase by 2.3 percent in 2016 – above the Western European average. In Asia, salaries are forecast to increase by 6.4 percent – with real wages expected to rise by 4.2 percent – the highest globally. In the United States, with low inflation (0.3 percent), employees will experience real income growth of 2.7 percent.

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Concentrating on visual tasks can lead to temporary deafness

Concentrating on visual tasks can lead to temporary deafness 0

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SwitchA new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience has found that when people concentrate more on visual tasks, they can go deaf momentarily. Based on brain scans from 13 volunteers, the researchers from UCL, the Wellcome Trust and Newcastle University concluded that the senses of hearing and vision share a limited neural resource. So, when people are focussed on a demanding visual task, the brain’s response to sound can be significantly reduced. Examination of people’s ability to detect sounds during the visual demanding task also showed a higher rate of failures to detect sounds, even though the sounds were clearly audible and people did detect them when the visual task was easy.  Lead researcher Dr Maria Chait said the phenomenon of ‘inattentional deafness’, where we fail to notice sounds when concentrating on other things, confirms earlier research.

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When performance management really can produce positive results

When performance management really can produce positive results 0

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Performance management examplesPerformance management processes have come under regular fire for being ineffective, time consuming, and quite frankly not fit for purpose. And it’s no surprise to discover exactly why employers are so justifiably disappointed in outdated performance management processes. Recent research from Towers Watson demonstrated that only 36 percent of companies consider their performance management process to be valuable, and some companies have even decided to scrap performance management altogether. While many of us don’t disagree that as a whole performance management processes aren’t producing the results that they should be, that doesn’t mean companies should be eliminating performance management from their organisation altogether. Instead, companies need to take steps to find a performance management process that gets positive results.

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This might be the reason why firms are failing to fully engage their employees

This might be the reason why firms are failing to fully engage their employees 0

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EngagedOne of the enduring quests organisations continue to undertake is that for the fully engaged employee. They do this for very good business reasons. Managers who understand the benefits of employee engagement can expect to reap the substantial benefits of a more collaborative work environment. In turn, this will lead to an engaging and productive workspace. However, in a majority of organisations, employee engagement remains lower than 35 percent. In light of this principle, Impraise has conducted a study based on over 30 000 feedback interactions between hundreds of managers and employees to see how they would differ from each other when asking for feedback. The results that were found resulted to be interesting and gave a better understanding of the how engaged employees are, and what firms can do to address the chronic levels of disengagement.

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Two thirds of employers disappointed in performance management process

Two thirds of employers disappointed in performance management process 0

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Performance managementAs the economy recovers and the so-called ‘war for talent’ increases, there is a renewed focus on performance management, with 87 percent of companies in the latest research from Towers Watson, saying it is their primary method for aligning individual performance objectives with strategic priorities. However, only a third (36 percent) of companies actually consider their performance management process to be effective, and one in three managers and employees are shown to be dissatisfied with their process. According to the survey, 45 percent say managers don’t see the value in it and 53 percent say managers don’t have the time to do it well. Under 10 percent of companies have scrapped performance management altogether, or plan to do so, and though 30 percent of companies are considering eliminating performance ratings or scores, just 7 percent have already taken the step to do this.

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Research reveals the main reasons why people still go to work when ill

Research reveals the main reasons why people still go to work when ill 0

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High job demands, stress and job insecurity are among the main reasons why people go to work when they are ill and should probably stay home, according to new research from the University of East Anglia. The study sets out to improve understanding of the key causes of employees going to work when sick, which is known as one of the main forms of presenteeism, and to help make managers more aware of the existence of the phenomenon, what triggers the behaviour and what can be done to improve employees’ health and productivity. A key finding of the study, published yesterday in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, is that presenteeism not only stems from ill health and stress, but from raised motivation, for example high job satisfaction and a strong sense of commitment to the organisation. This may motivate people to ‘go the extra-mile’, causing them to work more intensively, even when sick.

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US sees biggest jump in working from home since 2008, claims study

US sees biggest jump in working from home since 2008, claims study 0

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working from homeAccording to an analysis of the just-released 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, approximately 3.7 million US employees (2.5 percent of the workforce) called home their primary place of work in 2014. This represents a 6.5 percent increase and the largest year over year growth in the number of people working from home since before the recession. The ACS data is based on a nationwide survey of answers to the question “What was your primary means of travel to work during the survey week—’Worked at Home’ is one of the choices. The count only includes those who work at home at least half of the time. According to Global Workplace Analytics far more people work at home on a less frequent basis and many work in “third places” such as coffee shops, co-working facilities, libraries, and just about anywhere there’s an internet connection.

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Generation Z is the smart generation that will redefine work, claims report

Generation Z is the smart generation that will redefine work, claims report 0

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Generation ZThe trade association BSRIA has launched a White Paper called Products and Systems for Generation Z in Reduced Carbon Buildings to explore the future needs of buildings designed for what it calls the ‘smart generation’. It considers ways in which the value of buildings might be improved in order to raise productivity and wellbeing for occupiers and at the same time generate new revenue streams for suppliers. Authored by Jeremy Towler and based on data collected in March of this year, it suggests that Generation Z  are the “first tribe of true digital natives” and are ‘smarter and more prudent than Generation Y. They are empowered, have more job choices, seek freedom of movement and flexible working policies. They are the ‘see it – want it’, ‘touch it – get it now’ generation.’ The report claims this will define their relationship with work and drive demand for flexible working and on-demand offices.

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Changing behaviour and fidgeting reduce problems linked to sedentary work

Changing behaviour and fidgeting reduce problems linked to sedentary work 0

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fidgetingThere are a number of well established strategies for reducing the incidence of the back problems associated with sedentary worker. Two new studies have identified important ways that can be used to address the challenges. One will be familiar – training and encouraging people to be aware of and modify their behaviour; the other less so- fidgeting. The first study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that combining sound ergonomic practice with behaviour modification strategies led to a 60 percent reduction lower back pain compared to ergonomics in isolation. The second study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that fidgeting may also reduce the harmful effects of sedentary working across a range of health issues, with the authors concluding that “fidgeting may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality associated with excessive sitting time”.

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