Yahoo and HP “seeing success” by taking a stand against flexible working

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Yahoo! Sunnyvale headquarters. October 28, 2001 (Y! Photo / Brian McGuiness)

Yahoo has had some successes since curtailing its work from home policies, global corporate real estate leaders were told at this week’s CoreNet Global Summit in Las Vegas. Continuing the industry conversation around balancing an organisation’s need to foster work and collaboration in person (aka: presenteeism) against the needs of employees to work off site, the discussion centred on how employees can “be present” in an increasingly virtual world, and where should leaders in corporate real estate place their focus? Julie Ford-Tempesta, Senior Director, Real Estate & Workplace at Yahoo said despite predictions of “epic policy failure” following the announcement that all employees must work in the office; employee engagement is up, product launches have increased significantly, and teams are thriving. More →

RIBA reports a surge in confidence and headcount for UK architects

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RIBA Logo

The good news keeps on coming for the UK’s architects. Following a number of reports of increased activity in the sector earlier in the year, the latest RIBA Future Trends survey reports that architects are increasingly confident about their future workloads. The Index used by RIBA to measure confidence rose by four points in September to +26. The number represents the difference between those expecting an increase in work and those expecting  decrease. Encouragingly, the increase in confidence was seen across all of the sectors surveyed and in every part of the UK. The survey also recorded an increase in headcount in architectural practices as firms gear up to meet the demands of their increased order book.

Over 40 percent of refurbishment projects fail September health and safety checks

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Working at HeightFollowing the extensive enforcement action it took against construction sites in March, the latest Health and Safety Executive ‘swoop’ on refurbishment projects in September found that more than 42 percent of them failed the subsequent inspection.  During the month, HSE inspectors paid unannounced visits to 2,607 construction sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place and reported that 1,100 of them failed the safety checks. On 644 of the sites, practices were deemed so poor that enforcement action was taken to protect workers. More seriously, 539 prohibition notices were served to put an immediate end to dangerous activities and inspectors issued 414 improvement notices requiring standards to improve.

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Co-op’s One Angel Square in Manchester wins RICS’ Project of the Year

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RICS Award Winner - 1 Angel Square

One Angel Square in Manchester has been awarded Project of the Year in the RICS Awards that celebrate the built and natural environment. More than 600 building projects entered the awards which also saw category awards presented for building conservation, community benefit, design and innovation, and regeneration. The overall winning project – a £100 million new headquarters for The Co-operative Group – is the largest commercial office building in Manchester and has also achieved the highest scoring BREEAM ‘outstanding’ office rating in the country, setting a new national benchmark in sustainable design in the commercial sector. RICS judges said every aspect of the building has been constructed with sustainability at heart. More →

Job satisfaction keeps employees motivated more than bonuses

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Job satisfaction keeps employees motivated more than bonusesThe reported levels of stress felt by banking employees already suggests that generous bonuses do not necessarily equate loving the job. Now a new study published today by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) confirms that across the business sector, the single most effective motivator is job satisfaction (59%), with just 13 per cent saying the prospect of receiving a bonus or other financial incentive motivates them to work harder in their role. The survey of over 1,000 employees found that a competitive salary and a good pension are highly effective motivators (49%) but getting on with colleagues (42%) is nearly as important. The report also highlights how important good managers are to ensuring happy and motivated staff. More →

RICS is first professional body to introduce BIM standard

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RICS is first global professional body to introduce BIM standardThe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has become the first global professional body to introduce the first recognisable building information modelling (BIM) standard. Employers and clients are struggling to find industry accepted criteria on which to base knowledge of practitioners’ BIM skills, while BIM competent professionals lack a single indicator that will demonstrate their abilities to the sector. This has resulted in different assessment methods being used across the industry. RICS’ BIM Manager Certification aims to assure contractors, consultants and investors that the professionals and firms delivering construction and infrastructure projects have the relevant knowledge, experience and skills to implement BIM at an industry tested and approved level. More →

Employers should engage staff as active reputation builders in social media

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Employers should engage staff as active reputation builders in social media

Employers who discourage staff from spending time at work updating their status on Facebook or following twitter feeds would be better served in harnessing their social media habits to promote the organization according to an academic study. Joonas Rokka, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Neoma Business School, has published new research in the Journal of Marketing Management that shows how social media can accentuate the role of employee and corporate reputation management. According to findings drawn from multiple business sectors and different types of companies, the research claims that companies need to focus more on managing employees as active reputation builders and brand ambassadors in social media instead of conceiving them only as possible reputation risks. More →

Labour demand growing, but many employers prefer to increase hours not people

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Employment experts give cautious welcome to job increase figuresThere was a fall in unemployment of 18,000 to 2.49 million from March to May of this year according to the latest figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Between June and August 2013 the unemployment rate dropped from 7.8 per cent to 7.7 per cent, with a slight rise in total pay of 0.7 per cent. Although the news was welcomed by employment experts, Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies pointed out that while employment increased by 0.9 per cent in the last year, the number of hours worked in the economy grew faster; and CIPD Chief Economist Mark Beatson commented that there is no sign yet that increased demand for staff were leading to higher wages. More →

Business leaders’ taskforce presents Govt with bright ideas to cut EU red tape

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Cut EU red tape, advises influential business leaders' taskforce A Government-appointed taskforce, which comprises six leading business figures, including M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland, and Kingfisher CEO Ian Cheshire has presented the Cabinet with 30 ways of cutting back EU regulations that it says are holding back European businesses. According to the report, ‘Cut EU red tape’, the EU should promote enterprise and boost growth by sweeping away “poorly understood and burdensome rules and preventing similarly pointless legislation in the future”. The proposals, which followed a consultation with 100 businesses across Europe, says that cutting unnecessary and time-consuming health and safety regulations could save EU businesses around €2.7 billion, while reforming employment law would free up firms to create more jobs. More →

Leeds Council begins major office refurbishment and signs long term HQ lease

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Merrion House, Leeds

Merrion House, Leeds

Leeds City Council has signed a new 25 year lease on its headquarters building Merrion House as part of a programme aimed at consolidating its property portfolio and housing the majority of its staff under one roof. The council claims the long term deal will save it £15 million over the course of the lease following work on a complete office refurbishment and a consolidation of its estate in the city centre. The refurb includes the addition of a new 50,000 sq ft six-storey extension  bringing the total space to around 170,000 sq ft. The revamped HQ will be home to around 1,900 staff including 700 who will move from 13 other buildings around the city. The new agreements is thought to be the largest office pre-let in Leeds for more than 20 years.

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Task group launched to define zero carbon for non-domestic buildings

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New task group launched to define zero carbon for non-domestic buildings

A policy for all new non domestic buildings to be zero carbon from 2019 was introduced by the Labour government in 2008. Although the Coalition Government recommitted to this target, announcing in July it would strengthen energy efficiency standards for new non-domestic buildings from April 2014, they had yet to come up with a definition of zero carbon for non-domestic buildings.  The UK Green Building Council, whose membership includes the architects, developers, contractors, product manufacturers and others who will be tasked with delivering zero carbon buildings from 2019, is therefore launching a new Task Group to help define and build support for a definition of zero carbon for non-domestic buildings that works for industry.  More →

Demand in UK regional office markets beginning to outstrip supply

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GlasgowThe latest report from property consultancy Savill’s looking at trends in the UK’s commercial property market paints a now very familiar picture of an increasingly healthy market driven by a number of sectors in general and the tech and media industries in particular, but also of growing confidence outside of London. It also highlights a marked shift away from public sector to private sector employment. Although the upsurge in demand is putting pressure on the supply of appropriate office space in certain parts of the country, a new report published today by KPMG also highlights the growing order books of UK construction firms and an increase in confidence amongst builders.

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