Service providers taking desperate measures to combat “loaded dice” procurement

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Loaded dice

Building rapport with a potential client is an important part of the procurement process, but how far do you go? According to new research, some service providers have resorted to desperate measures to bag new business, including hiring the client’s daughter; bringing in actors and equipment to make their organisation seem larger than it is and even helping the prospect write the Request for Proposal to ensure that it matched the services they could deliver. The reason, according to findings unveiled today by blur Group is that despite the majority of decision makers believing there are better service providers available than their existing network, the vast majority (89%) were still likely to approach their existing service providers when a new project arose. More →

Sound design: a debate on openness and privacy at work, 100% Design, 18 September

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Insight publisher Mark Eltringham will be chairing a debate at 100% Design on Wednesday the 18 September on the ever topical and ever changing issue of designing for sound. The discussion will consider whether we have the balance right when it comes to providing people with a mixture of spaces to work quietly and privately and others in which they can work with colleagues and even- dare we admit it – enjoy the racket they create? The panel includes noted workplace experts Tim Oldman of Leesman, Monica Parker of Morgan Lovell and Colin Rawlings of Icon who will discuss the conflicting forces involved and challenge with examples and data the lazy assumptions and received wisdom that can distort decision making on this most sensitive of topics.

New research sheds light on why executives persist in stressful work habits

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New research sheds light on why executives persist with stressful work habits

There’s a fine line between enjoying the stimulation of a demanding job and feeling burnt out. Lloyds’ chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio made headline news in 2011 after being signed off sick with stress and exhaustion. As the recent suicides of two Swiss banking executives have shown, it’s often difficult for pressurised workaholics to admit the job has become too much. A recent US academic study provides some clues as to why senior executives persist in working to unhealthy levels; while research by serviced office provider Business Environment reveals how UK office workers are also prone to stressful work habits. One fifth (21%) take work home at least one to two times a week, and one in five employees (19.6%) have taken time off work due to stress. More →

Record number of managers in the UK, but who or what are they all managing?

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quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodesThe number of managers in the UK has reached record levels according to a new report. But who or what they are all managing is slightly less clear as structural changes in the UK economy mean there are fewer people in full time and skilled work, especially in the public sector, as well as a growing number of the self-employed. An analysis of ONS statistics by the Jobs Economist reveals the number of people defined as managers in the UK is now 3.1 million, up 7.8% in just two years and now more than 10% of the entire workforce. By contrast the number of skilled trades people has fallen by 2.2%, the number of people working full time has fallen to 21.4 million, public sector employment has fallen by 437,000 in three years while the number of self-employed has grown by 367,000 since the 2008 downturn.

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Businesses report a growing appetite for social media work tools

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Social media, as politicians and celebrities are all too aware is a double edged sword. Just last week David Cameron read out a Twitter message during Prime Minister’s Questions sent to a Labour MP, who had asked people for suggestions about what to ask at PMQs. The first reply was “how happy are you that the Labour leader will still be in place at the next election?” And Cameron himself has not been exempt to the odd twitter gaffe. Social media is such a powerful tool however, that employers can’t afford to ignore it – so demand for enterprise social networks – business tools that use Facebook-style features to allow staff to interact with one another on work projects are on the increase. More →

World Green Building week launches with a breath of fresh air

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World Green building week launches with a breath of fresh airMaking sustainability sexy is a tall order. Look up the topic “green building” and you’ll invariably come across in depth descriptions of energy saving schemes and achieving a BREEAM rating. All these considerations are of course very important, but they make it difficult to engage building occupants. With the theme “Greener buildings, better places, healthier people”, World Green Building Week, which begins today (16-20 September), should do just that, by concentrating on the tangible benefits to building occupants of a green office. Paul King, Chief Executive of UK-GBC, said: We often hear about the environmental and financial benefits of green buildings, but less attention is paid to the impact on those who live and work in them.” More →

Value of offices and property rental income across the UK hit two year high

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Manchester Media CityThe value of commercial real estate in the UK rose for the fourth consecutive month during August, led by increases in the average value of offices, according to a report from Investment Property Databank (IPD). The average value of offices, warehouses, retail and industrial rose by a 0.4 percent across the country. Office buildings rose by 0.6 percent during the month while total return, which combines changes in real estate values and rental income, was 0.9 percent, to reach the highest level since March 2011. The report claims the upturn is down to the wider economic upturn and persistent  low interest rates which incentivise investors to acquire high income generating assets. The report also notes that investors are looking to acquire more property outside of London as the economic recovery spreads across the UK. More →

The latest issue of Insight newsletter is now available to view online

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Oof for newsletterIn our weekly newsletter, Insight, now available to view online; a preview [pictured] of 100% Design, (Earl’s Court 18 -21 Sept) featuring the latest designs from some of the world’s most progressive suppliers of office products; BCO research into the way space and budgets within buildings are allocated; how widespread adoption of BYOD can leave organisations’ data vulnerable; confusion amongst FMs at to what BIM actually does; and advice on compiling a list of the world’s coolest offices. Andrew Mawson argues it’s still possible to deliver a pleasurable and effective workplace whilst achieving economic objectives; and reflecting on the BBC Head of HR’s grilling at the hands of the Public Accounts Committee, Simon Heath asks would your business bear the same scrutiny unscathed?

UK’s leading political parties criticised for a lack of environmental leadership

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UK's leading political parties criticised for a lack of environmental leadership Britain’s leading political parties are failing to provide visible and consistent green leadership, threatening two decades of steady environmental policy progress in the UK, warns an influential group of charities today. In The Green Standard 2013, seven leading charities, including WWF, the Green Alliance, Greenpeace and Campaign for Better Transport, assess the green performance of coalition ministers and Labour shadow ministers since the last general election, reviewing the parties on four key areas: the economy, communities, nature and international leadership. The report concludes that none of the parties has a coherent environmental programme and there is no consistent public leadership on the environment from any of the party leaders. More →

UK staff showing higher levels of happiness – except those in finance sector

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Happiness at work in increasingFresh evidence that those working within the financial sector must be in it for the money as, following the news earlier this week that they get the least amount of sleep, they’re also the most unhappy with their work. A third (32%) describe themselves as unhappy at work compared to the 78 per cent of those working in sales, media, and marketing who class themselves as happy. Overall, the number of British workers who are happy at work has jumped by a fifth (20%) compared to this time last year according to Office Angels’ ‘Happiness at Work’ study. More than half (56%) of workers stated they were happy at work during quarter two 2013, compared to just a third (36%) during quarter two 2012.  More →

Growing commercial occupier demand set to price firms out of the City fringe

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Growing commercial occupier demand set to price firms out of the City fringeA “west-to-east” migration, focussing predominantly on Clerkenwell and the western City core, is continuing amongst media and service sector businesses seeking more affordable London rents. But according to Cluttons’ latest West End Office Market report, many firms seeking the combination of value and idiosyncratic space are set to be priced out of the current City fringe. The area between the City and West End – branded Noho by estate agents – is attracting a new wave of private equity and extraction firms, willing to pay premium rents for new or pipeline space just north of Oxford Street. Meanwhile, prime office rents in Mayfair / St James’s have broken through the £100 per sq ft ceiling once again as a handful of tenants continue to favour location over quality. More →

Almost half of UK workers now work remotely for half the time, claims poll

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Remote WorkingA new poll of 4,000 UK workers by Regus claims that 42 percent of respondents now work remotely from their main place of work for at least half the week. The proportion is up from 39 percent last year with employers citing improved productivity, increased staff retention and autonomy as well as lower operating costs as their main drivers for encouraging its uptake. However the research also suggests that many firms are slow to address the associated management challenges with half of those polled saying that managers do not trust them to remain focused on work. Only a quarter of firms have a system that allows managers to monitor remote teams while a third of managers now use video calls.

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