New Internet of Things consortium aims to set new global standards

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Where the wild Internet of Things areThe familiar sight of companies scrabbling to define a standard global technology format on their own terms is evident with the announcement of yet another consortium intent on becoming the de facto  standard for the Internet of Things (IoT). The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) includes heavyweights such as Samsung, Intel, Dell and Broadcom and is intent on defining ‘connectivity requirements to ensure the interoperability of the more than 30 billion devices projected to come online by 2020’. It joins the AllSeen Alliance and the Industrial Internet Consortium as one of a triumvirate of organisations, some with shared member companies, intent on cutting through the mish-mash of protocols associated with the Internet of Things. The principle will see a growing number of products and materials connected directly to the Internet and so able to exchange data. The adoption of the technology will have a profound impact in many areas of our lives, including workplace design and management.

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Mental health friendly workplaces will lead to a state of wellbeing says report

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Make workplaces mental health friendly to create a state of wellbeingMaking places of work mental health friendly with government leading the way as an employer is one of the key recommendations of a landmark study on the state of mental health in England published today. Concluding the 12 month study on the state of wellbeing in England the CentreForum Mental Health Commission report reveals that mental health related sickness absence and lost productivity costs business up to £23.5 billion annually, and says that government must take the lead in tackling this problem by ensuring all public sector enterprises become mental health friendly employers. It also urges organisations with more than 500 employees to work towards that status. The Commission says the “pursuit of happiness” must become an explicit and measurable goal of government if the £105 billion annual cost of mental illness in England is to be reduced and identifies five key priorities between now and 2020. More →

CIPD publishes manifesto on how next Government could shape future of work

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CIPD manifesto on how next Government should shape the future of workA sustainable recovery and successful future economic performance depends on future governments adopting policies that address fundamental skills and productivity issues, as well as looking at other agendas which will actively shape the future of work. This is according to the CIPD ‘Manifesto for Work,’ published today, which calls on the UK’s political parties to focus on the key issues facing employers and the workforce in the run up to the General Election 2015. Amongst a set of proposals, the HR body is calling on the Government to take a “good practice” approach to employment regulation and policy by supporting the creation of a Workplace Commission, with the aim of helping employers raise standards of people management. CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese, says a better focus and understanding of the changing nature of work, the requirements and needs of the workforce, and the changing workplace will be needed to meet the future challenges. More →

UK’s men and women have significantly different attitudes toward flexible working

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Attitudes to flexible workingAs we have seen, the implementation of new flexible working legislation in the UK at the end of June has already shone a spotlight into some intriguing corners of the nation’s workplace. The latest revelation, according to a new survey from recruitment firm Kelly Services, is that men and women have markedly different attitudes towards the idea. While just over half (51 percent)of the UK’s female workers believe that the chance of flexible working would make an organisation a more attractive employer, just over a third of their male counterparts (36 percent) feel the same way. Similarly, a fifth of women surveyed (20  percent) would consider moving job in search of flexible working arrangements compared 15 percent of men and nearly two thirds of women (62 percent) believe  their ideal working environment would include flexible working arrangements compared to under half of men (49 percent).

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Green building design ‘goes mainstream’ in major US cities

Green building design ‘goes mainstream’ in major US cities

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Green building design

Minneapolis – the home of US green building design

It’s not just Europe that is experiencing an explosion of interest in green building design. According to a new report from CBRE and Maastricht University, the past ten years have seen a transformation in the way the US corporate real estate market approaches the environmental performance of buildings. According to the National Green Building Adoption Index for 2014, produced by CBRE there has been a remarkable increase in the  application of green building standards in the thirty most important regional commercial property markets in the US. Based on data from the US Green Building Council,  the number of office buildings which are LEED* or Energy Star** certified has surged since 2005. The proportion of LEED certified buildings in America now stands at 5 percent, up from under 0.5 percent over the course of the survey period. The total proportion  of office space which now has some form of green accreditation is just under a fifth.

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A third of BYOD use is invisible to the organisation, claims new report

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Invisible BYODIn spite of the ongoing effort by companies to manage the use of employees’ own technology through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, around a third of all BYOD activity is invisible to the IT department, according to new research from Ovum and Samsung. The report also claims that while over half of employees now use their own devices to work and access information, nearly two thirds of them are not subject to any formal IT policy. According to the report, the problem centres on the issue of ‘multi-screening’, whereby people decide which device is appropriate for whatever they are doing and don’t much care what the IT department thinks. In addition, nearly a quarter (22 percent) of employees use their own software and apps to work, which means that this is not a problem restricted to hardware. The upshot is that between 30-35 percent of BYOD is invisible to the organisation, although that represents a marked improvement on the situation a couple of years ago, when the proportion was around half.

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EU sustainable building proposals will raise green credentials of property

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sustainable buildingEU proposals to raise the sustainability of new and renovated buildings by increasing resource efficiency and improving information on their environmental performance have been welcomed by the World Green Building Council. Under the proposals, set out in Communication “Resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector”, builders, architects, product manufacturers, or anyone wanting to rent or buy a building will have access to better information about its environmental performance. The Commission will develop a framework for assessing environmental performance with the aim of providing a tool which can be used across Europe, by both private actors and public authorities in the development of sustainable building stock. The first set of indicators should be available in two to three years. Efforts to recycle construction and demolition waste, and to re-use it when constructing new buildings or renovating existing ones, will also be made easier under the plans.

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Flexible work could dissuade the one in three workers that pull a sickie

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One in three British workers admit to having pulled a ‘sickie’ – according to new research by PwC – and it’s costing UK business £9bn a year. As part of the research PwC surveyed over 2,000 UK adults and found that the most popular reasons for why people pulled a ‘sickie’ are hangovers (32%), to watch a sporting event (8%), being bored with your job (26%), interviews (26%) and Mondays (11%). One in 10 people said they have lied to take time off work due to good weather. A flexible working approach by employers is the measure that would most likely put people off from pulling a ‘sickie’, followed by initiatives such as ‘duvet mornings’ (where employees are allowed to take a couple of last minute lie ins a year). One in ten employees said that having to report the reason for their absence over the phone to their manager would put them off lying.Illness is by far the most common excuse used, but the research has revealed that some employees go to very creative lengths to cover up why they are taking off unauthorised time from work, including I was attacked by ants, my dog has eaten my keys, I got a rash from eating too many strawberries, and a male employee who told his boss that he had started the menopause.

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RIBA calls on next Government to put built environment centre stage

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RIBA calls on next Government to put architecture and built environment centre stageA new report from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) sets out a number of recommendations for the next UK Government and calls for greater economic leadership from English cities to rebalance the UK economy and take some of the pressure off London and the South East. RIBA’s report, Building Better Britain: A vision for the next Government, advises that by focusing on architecture and the built environment, the next Government will be better placed to address a sluggish economy, a shortage of new homes, an aging population and the effects of climate change. Building on the findings of the Farrell Review, the report is intended to provide policy makers with a greater understanding of the impact of how places are designed, planned and built and how they affect our day to day lives.

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Executive search firms launch new code of conduct to support women on boards

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Executive search firms' new code of conduct to support women on boardsAn Enhanced Code of Conduct for executive search firms to support more women appointments to FTSE 350 boards has been announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable. Over 70 firms signed up to the original voluntary code of conduct launched in 2011. In response to the independent Sweeney review in February 2014, the search industry has now developed a new Enhanced Voluntary Code of Conduct, which builds on the terms of the standard voluntary code and is intended to recognise the efforts of search firms working to build the pipeline of FTSE board directors of the future. The Code was drawn up by the search firms themselves working with the Davies Steering Group. It contains 10 new provisions, from launching initiatives to support aspiring women to sharing of best practice and running awareness programmes within their own firms. More →

First female President in RICS’ history will focus on diversity

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RICS' first female president in 146-history to focus on diversityThe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has confirmed the first female President in the Institution’s 146 year history. New President of RICS Louise Brooke-Smith will give her inaugural speech today (1 July) during RICS’ Governing Council meeting in London. Alongside her presidency of RICS, Brooke-Smith will continue to be involved with the Birmingham based planning and development consultancy, Brooke Smith Planning. RICS accredits over 118,000 qualified professionals across the globe in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. She succeeds outgoing RICS President, Michael Newey and during her year-long presidency, will focus on three core areas; diversity, Africa and her professional specialisms, planning and land economics. Commenting on her diversity plans for the year Louise Brooke-Smith, RICS President said: “Chartered Surveying is a globally recognised profession, and we must ensure that it is open to all, whatever their background, or gender. More →

Living longer, still working but earning more – the changing world of the UK’s older workers

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Older workersA new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies challenges some of the most commonly held misconceptions about the UK’s older workers, their health, income and status. The Changing Face of Retirement has been produced by the IFS in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council. Over the next ten years, it claims that changes to the pension provision, a rise in the retirement age, improving levels of long term health and the fact that many more people will remain in relationships as the life expectancy of men improves will mean more and more older people will supplement their pension incomes with paid work. The report also suggests that there will be more women between the ages of 65 and 69 in work than men by 2021 but both groups will see significant increases as the proportion of the total population aged over 65 increases by over a fifth.

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