Latest issue of Insight newsletter is now available to view online

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2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn the latest issue of our weekly newsletter, Insight, available to view online: the news that one of the new tranche of landmark buildings in London has become its own death ray; why open-plan offices need to include places of sanctuary; challenging the common misperception that facilities management is a tactical and responsive profession; poll finds UK workers would rather work for a tyrant than a fool; the CBI argues for a more integrated Government approach to energy efficiency policies, including those relevant for the UK’s commercial buildings; new guidance from the BIFM on legislative and regulatory changes for achieving reasonable access for all; and a major new report warns EU countries urgently need to address the particular issues associated with employing older workers.

EU Governments urged to maximise the potential of older workers

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EU Governments urged to maximise the potential of older workers

The rise in the number of older workers in the UK has been well documented, and the reason is clear, they are a much needed resource. Over the next ten years there are 13.5 million job vacancies which need to be filled, but only seven million young people predicted to join the job market in that time. And the UK is not alone; the EU faces significant skills gaps due to demographic change. But according to a new International Longevity Centre –UK (ILC-UK) report, Working Longer: An EU perspective, supported by Prudential, EU countries urgently need to skill up the older workforce, support more older women in work and address the particular health issues associated with employing older workers. More →

BIFM publishes renewed guidance on creating an inclusive workplace

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BIFM publishes renewed guidance on creating an inclusive workplace

The recent revelation that there are 2 million more over-50s in jobs than there were 15 years ago means that creating an inclusive workplace is more critical than ever. Access and inclusive design impacts on every aspect of facilities management, from strategic procurement and design of space, to appropriate selection of lighting, finishes and fittings, which is why the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has now updated its Good Practice Guide (GPG) providing practical guidance for facilities management professionals on the issue. Inclusive Access, Disability and the Equality Act gives a summary of all the relevant legislative and regulatory changes and gives practical tips on achieving reasonable access for all. More →

New City of London skyscraper melts parked car

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Walkie TalkieIn Philip Kerr’s 1995 novel Gridiron, a smart building which is programmed to function as its own facilities manager goes rogue and starts bumping off its occupants in a number of interesting and spectacularly violent ways. This might sound like the perfect wish fulfilment fantasy of your average FM, but looks prescient with the news that one of the new tranche of landmark buildings in London has become its own death ray. The Walkie Talkie in Fenchurch Street has been blamed for reflecting and magnifying light from the sun, (literally) glaring at the neighbours and melting parts of a car parked in a nearby street.

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Office environmentalists experiencing “green rage” over apathetic colleagues

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new Green rage afflictionFacilities managers engaged in efforts to convince apathetic colleagues to adopt greener office working practices may relate to the news of a new workplace affliction – “green rage”. Dr Rebecca Whittle of Lancaster University told delegates at the recent annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society in London that there is a lot of silent conflict at work between people trying to do the right thing environmentally, and those who don’t care. She said that a light being left on in an unoccupied office or a recyclable item put in the wrong bin can provoke emotions as strong as guilt, rage or despair. More →

Worst UK bosses are those trying too hard to be liked, finds poll

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Machiavelli's assertion that it's better for a leader to be feared than loved borne out in new poll -

Machiavelli’s assertion that it’s better for a leader to be feared than loved is borne out in a new poll – on this side of the Atlantic at any rate. In a vote for the worst bosses depicted in film or on television carried out by Video Arts, David Brent from The Office was voted Britain’s “boss from hell” while Americans choose Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada. Martin Addison, CEO of Video Arts, said: “500 years ago, Machiavelli posed the question of whether it is better to be loved or feared as a leader. Interestingly, when asked who they would least like to work for, British workers chose a boss who strives to be loved by those around him, whereas US workers opted for someone who wants to be feared.” More →

New standard published on costs of owning and operating buildings

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New guidance published on costs of owning and operating buildingsA new standard is being published by BSI offering expert guidance on estimating the long term costs of owning and occupying a building. BS 8544 Guide for life-cycle costing of maintenance during the in-use phases of buildings extends the guidance already provided by the existing standard PD 156865:2008, for buildings which are already operational, allowing users of the existing guidance to develop the life-cycle plans into the operational phase. To launch the standard, BSI is running a free half-day event on Wednesday 18 September to explain what the standard’s all about and its benefits. You’ll be able to hear case studies from leading professionals who are already using the principles of the standard, as well as a panel discussion with industry experts. Click here for more information.

UK nominations for European Awards in green building leadership announced

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The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has announced the organisations it will put forward for the European Regional Network Awards, part of the World Green Building Council Leadership Awards 2013, which honour best practice and excellence in green building policy. From the entries it has received, the UK-GBC is nominating; Brighton & Hove City Council for the “Excellence in City Policy for Green Building” award; British Land for the “Business Leadership in Sustainability” award; Cundall for the “Leadership in Building Design and Performance” and “Business Leadership in Sustainability” awards; Sika for the “Business Leadership in Sustainability” award and Tishman Speyer for the “Business Leadership in Sustainability” award. Winners will be announced by the WorldGBW as part of World Green Building week in September.

Flexibility doesn’t equal insecurity suggests new report into casual working

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Flexibility doesn't equal insecurity finds new report into casual workersFlexible working and part time working tend to conjure up different images, with the former perceived as the preserve of the professional/management class and the latter associated with administrative/semi-skilled workers. That impression has been reinforced by trade unions’ complaints over the increase in the use of casual or Zero Hour Contracts that allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work. Yet new data shows that a significant share of those on casual contracts (43%) are in the top three occupational groups (managers, professionals and associate/technical staff), just a fifth (17%) are in manual skilled or semi-skilled jobs, only one in ten are unskilled and one in ten in administrative; and just 18 per cent are looking for a new job. More →

Latest issue of Insight newsletter is now available to view online

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2.Insight_twitter_logo smThe latest issue of our weekly newsletter, Insight, is now available to view online. This week:  with more over 50s in the workforce than ever before, forget Gen Y, the workplace is and will remain multigenerational; the challenge for larger organisations in creating a productive “buzz” in the office; why we propose a version of the Darwin Awards for health and safety; advice on improving the performance of low energy designed buildings; the BIFM bows out of negotiations to merge with fellow trade associations; investor confidence in commercial property reaches the highest level in five years; and we list the seven ways in which flexible working has actually made our lives more rigid.

Smells like team spirit. Strong influence of scent in the workplace

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Smells like team spirit. The influence of scent in the workplaceWhen Ireland became the first country in the world to impose an outright smoking ban in public places, it wasn’t long before a hitherto uncharted problem emerged – the smell of body odour in crowded pubs, which it was rumoured at the time – was solved by piping in the smell of smoke to recreate that ‘pub atmosphere,’ but without the carcinogenic effects. Aside from washrooms, how an office smells isn’t a factor which merits as much attention as how it looks or the level of noise, yet olfactory perception can have a powerful effect on our mood, how we regard our surroundings and of course our response to those with which we have to share our space. More →

Dull corporate offices with no “buzz” inhibit productivity, complain staff

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Dull corporate offices are stifling productivity

Creating a dynamic and creative workplace is dependent on a number of factors; the office layout and design, the style of management and the wider company culture. Get these elements right and, says workplace consultants Morgan Lovell you hit the “Buzz Barometer” – a combination of a good atmosphere, energy and teamwork which encourages productivity and high levels of employee engagement. However, according to their recent research, three quarters (78 per cent) of employees say they would be significantly more productive if their workplace had more buzz. And worryingly for larger organisations, corporates are failing to match small company buzz, with four-fifths (81 per cent) saying SMEs offer a better working atmosphere than large companies.

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