Change of ways needed to tackle ailing UK workforce

Staff ill health

The best way of tackling ill health is to stop workers from getting ill in the first place, suggests new guidance from the TUC. It may seem as if the union is stating the obvious, until you reflect on the news, reported exclusively by HR magazine earlier this week that the UK was among the 10 worst performing countries for employee wellbeing last year, according to the Workforce Quality of Life Index (WQLI) report  by Kenex, which measures wellbeing from the employee’s perspective. Now the TUC report, Work and well-being, provides evidence that employers who create healthy workplaces can reduce employee absence and boost productivity. More →

Industry collaborates on revised Design Review guidance

design_review_117

New guidelines aimed at ensuring the consistency and quality of advice offered by design review panels across the UK have been published by the Cabe team at the Design Council in collaboration with the Landscape Institute, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA). Welcoming the launch of the revised guidance; ‘Design Review, Principles and PracticeRIBA President Angela Brady said: “Design review is a hugely valuable tool, which has had a proven track record of improving the quality of schemes.”

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UK government to ban tax cheats from winning public sector work

white-hall-placeThe UK Treasury yesterday announced new rules that would mean that it can ban firms who avoid tax illegally from winning public sector contracts. The new system will come into force as early as April 1 of this year, leaving little time for consultation and are outlined in draft guidance published for consultation by the Government. It will require potential suppliers to notify contracting departments of their recent tax compliance history and to tell the department if any tax return has recently been found to be incorrect and if they have been convicted for tax related offences or subject to a penalty for civil fraud or evasion. Departments will be able to disqualify any bidder meeting these criteria from the procurement process.

Long awaited plans submitted for Smithfield development

SmithfieldThe controversial and long-awaited plans for the redevelopment of the derelict sections of Smithfield in London have been submitted by Henederson Global Investors.  While the existing meat market will remain untouched, the £160m plan for the rest of the site includes the refurbishment of the former General Market, Fish Market and Red House Buildings, as well as the original engine house.  Originally built between 1886 and 1883 by the architect of Tower Bridge Horace Jones, the historic site has been the subject of previous proposals including a controversial scheme by architects KPF which was thrown out after a 4 year battle in 2008. More →

Flexible working seen as of more benefit to employers than staff

Flexible working

Nine in ten UK professionals think that flexible working will become the dominant employment model – but half think it will be adopted for business reasons rather than to benefit the workforce. According to research from specialist HR recruiter Ortus, just one in ten professionals (12 per cent) actually deem flexible working to be a vital benefit – lower than the proportion who said a free company mobile phone is vital to them. And just 1 in 10 said they thought it was being implemented to help with gender equality. In the survey conducted among 450 professionals across a variety of sectors, 51 one per cent felt the reason behind the growth of flexible working is efficiency and productivity – not to help people manage the number of hours they work. More →

Global corporates boosting social media engagement

social media

The massive rise in prominence of social media has led many major global organisations to increase their so far limited investment into social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in order to attract and engage talent. Senior Resourcing and HR directors at a recent roundtable event facilitated by hyphen, the recruitment process outsourcer agreed that social media is fast becoming a critical part of the recruitment and employee engagement tool kit as major organisations adapt to the new digital age – and this investment is starting to drive internal change towards a focus on digital within organisations. More →

Report shows global range of policy on BYOD

BYODA new report from Dell has indicated the differing approaches firms take to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies around the world.  According to the survey of 1,500 senior IT managers in 10 countries including the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Singapore, India and China, companies in Singapore are the most proactive in using digital rights to manage the dissemination of potentially sensitive company information. Nearly two thirds of respondents in Singapore said their firms focus more on the management of users than devices, an approach seen as the best way of ensuring the benefits of BYOD. More →

Net-Zero buildings top measure of sustainability success

the Crystal

Net-zero commercial buildings, i.e. those that produce at least as much energy as they consume should be the long-term aim of corporate energy strategies, says a CoreNet Global statement. “Smart and responsible energy policies and practices reduce corporate carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions, (and) we encourage our members’ companies to drive energy efficiency to optimal levels with net-zero buildings as a top measure of long-term success.” The global real estate association calls on governments around the world to incentivise building owners, investors and occupiers who proactively reduce their carbon footprints. More →

Video: demolishing a building from the inside

 

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Amazing time lapse footage of the internal destruction of the 140m tall Grand Prince Hotel in Akasaka, Japan. While not as exciting and crowd pleasing as the traditional method of blowing the building up, the company responsible, Taisei Corporation, claims the new method decreases dust by up to 90 percent and reduces noise by around 20 decibels and can be used on a wide range of building types and structures.

Tech and media companies continue to reshape the world’s cities

google-doodleTech and media companies continue to shape the world’s cities and local property markets according to a recent report from BNP Paribas. While this is a global phenomenon, some of the most dramatic developments will take place in London, not least a shift of tech firms in the city away from their heartland towards Kings Cross following Google’s $1bn purchase of 2.4 acres of land within a major new development in the area. The new development may become a hothouse for technology companies in spite of the UK Government’s focus on promoting Tech City and surrounding areas in East London.  More →

EU commission launches low-carbon contest

City hall

The EU Commissioner for Climate Action has today launched a low-carbon contest, calling on creative and innovative ideas from across the EU. The World You Like Challenge is part of the European Commission’s climate action campaign: A world you like, launched at London City Hall [pictured] in October 2012. Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “The Challenge is a great opportunity to move beyond mere talking about climate change. By submitting your project, you help us show that building a world we like with a climate we like is both feasible and affordable.” More →

British investors still see Dubai as an attractive proposition

DubaiBritish investors continue to see the property market in Dubai as a good bet, according to new statistics from the Emirate’s Land Department. Of the $16 billion invested in Dubai properties last year, over $12 billion came from overseas investors. Indians led the field with total investments of $2.5 billion followed by Britons ($1.36 billion) Pakistanis ($1.09 billion) and Russians only $545 million – roughly the amount Roman Abramovich hides in his sock drawer for emergencies.  The department’s director-general, Sultan Butti Bin Mejrin, said this showed how Dubai had recovered from global financial crisis with the help of support from local government.

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