Are you working or shirking from home?

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Staff ill health

During recent weather-related travel disruption, I was inundated with various pieces of information on software that spies on home based employees to check that they really are working, not shirking from home. As Acas opens a consultation on a draft Code of Practice regarding the extended right to request flexible working; and figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the number of people working from home in the UK has risen to over 10 per cent – the advent of these systems begs the question: do employers really trust their staff enough to let them work remotely?

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Yahoo is not the only firm that doesn’t like flexible working

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Yahoo! Sunnyvale headquarters.  October 28, 2001 (Y! Photo / Brian McGuiness)As news emerged over the weekend from Silicon Valley that Yahoo had introduced a new policy that insisted employees work from the company’s HQ, a survey from O2 in the UK highlighted just how many firms are not as keen on the practice of flexible working as they might claim in theory. The question we need to ask is whether this represents a genuine shift away from the assumption that we are moving towards more agile working practices, or is this just the last knockings of the old guard?

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What gets measured in the workplace, gets managed

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MeasureAre we finally seeing the first signs of the end of the downturn?  Earlier this week the Government announced that UK unemployment had fallen. While I know there have been quibbles about what this all meant, other data from specific market sectors backs up the idea that we may be seeing some tentative causes for hope.  One of the most heartening was last week’s survey from Randstad which reported growing levels of optimism among financial services firms about their prospects and the fact that the majority would be increasing headcount this year.

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Companies failing to communicate flexible working policies

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consumerization-320x240

Less than one fifth of staff are being encouraged to work flexibly, with businesses failing to reap the rewards of increased productivity and employee well-being resulting from modern work practices and technology. New research by O2 reveals that whilst staff are ready to embrace new ways of working and understand the benefits, it is employers who are holding them back. More than three quarters (77 per cent) of employers say that flexible working is actively encouraged across their organisation but less than a fifth (19 per cent) of staff say their company encourages them to work flexibly. More →

Greenbiz publishes latest State of Green Business report

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Green Biz_0000Greenbiz has published its sixth annual State of Green Business report, setting out what it claims are the ten key environmental trends for organisations to look out for in 2013. Many focus on the overlap between pure business goals and corporate social responsibility, for example in terms of managing supply chains to reduce risk, making more efficient use of resources, the impact of new technology and working practices and the role of creating value through a healthy working environment.

Survey reveals UK’s total obsession with technology

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Square EyesGen Y may still be grabbing all the headlines but the full scale of the potential technological immersion of Gen Z is evident in the findings of a new report from Halifax Insurance. The Digital Home Index claims that the average child born in the UK today will spend around a quarter of their lives watching non-work related technology before the age of 80. The report also claims that three quarters of British people already claim they would struggle to get through a day without their technology. The full pervasiveness of smartphone, tablet, laptop and MP3 technology in modern British lives is apparent in some of the more jaw-dropping findings from the survey of 2,500 people.

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Model new site announced for BIM aficionados

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BIM

The UK’s BIM (Building Information Modelling) Task Group is launching a Digital Plans of Work site on February 28. The latest phase in the government’s plans to make the UK the world leader in BIM, the site will enable users to keep an online version of their work. BIM is also attracting support worldwide. Today, US construction giant ZMG Construction threw its weight behind the technology saying: “New technological developments continue to revolutionize the construction and design industries — and building information modelling, or BIM, is foremost on the list of these major technological advances.” More →

Tipping point reached in battle between tablets and PCs

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Surface proThe signs of the final showdown between the personal computer and the tablet are now all around us. It is evident in the launch of new products such as Microsoft’s Surface and the new generation of more powerful iPads which can (nearly) match the performance of Apple’s own laptops. It is also evident in the restructuring of firms like Dell, once the world’s most successful PC maker. The end result will not only be a new shape for the products on which we work but also a new shape for the places in which we work. Our postures will change and so too will the things we need to support us.  More →

Flexible working seen as of more benefit to employers than staff

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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

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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

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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 →

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

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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 →

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