Case Study: AutoTrader motors into its new Manchester digital playground

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_MG_0491smEven in the context of a rapidly declining print market, the decision to end AutoTrader’s 37-year history as a printed magazine was not an easy one to take. At its height, Auto Trader had a circulation of 368,000, but in June 2013 the final printed copy rolled off the presses and the business began its new incarnation as a purely digital platform. Of course, this transformation was a long time in the making and had actually begun ten years earlier.  By the time the print room lights went out, all of Auto Trader’s revenues had not only migrated online, but experienced significant growth too. It is Auto Trader’s growth during this process of transformation that is considered so unique in the publishing world and is proof that the business’ aspiration to be at the forefront of the digital marketplace is not just a wide-eyed intention. The website boasts 11.5million unique users, carrying out more than 140 million searches across mobile, table and desktop devices and the business is set to launch an extensive TV advertising campaign on boxing day.

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Current issue of Work&Place explores intersecting worlds of people, place and tech

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wandpcoverAs we prepare the upcoming issue of Work&Place (don’t forget to subscribe on our homepage), a reminder that the September issue of Work&Place is available to download or view as a PDF or now in an online edition. Amongst this issue’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s retrospective of last Summer’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the  firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement.

Stockholm is Europe’s top tech start up location, claims interactive report

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Tech start upA new study by videoconferencing firm Atomico shows that the European centre for billion dollar technology start ups in Europe is Stockholm, followed by London and Berlin. The interactive visualisation from the survey shows that Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley as a successful founding location for successful Internet businesses with a current market valuation of over $1 billion founded since 2003. Silicon Valley remains in a completely different league to locations on the rest of the planet with 53 startups, followed by Beijing with 17, New York with seven and Stockholm with five. London, meanwhile, has only three tech start up businesses in the £1 billion category despite its reputation as a hotbed of tech entrepreneurialism, the same number as Berlin. According to the report, Stockholm’s ability to foster successful tech startups is even more impressive based on its population of around one million, which makes it the second most prolific per capita location worldwide,with 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people compared to Silicon Valley with 6.9.

New report urges firms to protect against BYOD security breaches

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BYOD securityAccording to a new report from BT, security breaches related to the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and related forms of mobile working have affected 41 percent of UK organisations over the last year. Despite this, the report claims organisations are still not taking sufficient measures to protect themselves against threats such as lost or stolen devices and malware infections. The report reveals that at least one fifth of respondents’ organisations that suffered a mobile security breach, experienced more than four incidents in the last year. The research is based on a total of 640 interviews with IT decision makers from large sized organisations (1000 or more employees) across 11 regions: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Middle East, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, UK and USA. Respondents’ organisations were from the financial, retail and public sectors. It shows that uptake of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and COPE (Corporately Owned Personally-Enabled) devices is very high, with 95 percent of UK organisations allowing employees to use these devices for work purposes.

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BIM adoption set to soar in UK and US over next two years, claims report

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BIM Level 2Building owners are embracing building information modelling (BIM) as a powerful technology benefitting the design process, managing project schedules, controlling costs and minimizing project errors, according to the recent McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report “The Business Value of BIM for Owners”. The latest report focuses on the business value of BIM from the perspective of building owners in the United States and United Kingdom for whom the technology has been deployed. Initially adopted as a design tool and later evolving into an important tool for contractors, its adoption among building owners is expanding, the report claims, and that building owners are becoming more directly involved as “their power is even greater to align BIM use with their specific goals, engage more effectively with all stakeholders and extend the value of BIM beyond construction into facility management.” The study claims that 40 percent of US owners and 38 percent of UK owners expect that more than 75 percent of their projects will involve the technology in just two years.

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Majority of UK SMEs believe technology can help rebalance the economy

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North south divideThe UK’s small and medium sized businesses believe that the regional divide in the economy can be bridged to a large extent by technology, according to a new report from Brother UK. According to the report, Regional Attitudes to Growth and Competitiveness, carried out in conjunction with Cardiff University and based on a survey of 600 SMEs around the country, over half (57 percent) believe technology was the key driver of their region’s competitiveness and only one in ten say the competitiveness of their region has declined since the start of the recession. Over two thirds (71 percent) believe technology can improve regional competitiveness and slightly more (73 percent) believe it’s possible to service customers and clients across multiple regions efficiently from their current location. The survey also claims that because each company spends an average of 244 working days a year on business travel and the UK has the second highest annual business travel spend of any Western European nation, despite its comparatively small size, many firms are turning to technology to enhance their competitiveness.

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Religious leaders have their say on ongoing work-life balance debate

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chief rabbi work-life balanceThe UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has appealed to people to free themselves from digital slavery for at least one day a week. Speaking in The Times, the Chief Rabbi (pictured above) calls on all people to give up their smartphones, tablets and other devices for at least a day a week as part of a campaign to revive adherence to the Jewish custom of the Shabbat in which people do not work between sunset on Friday and Saturday. He has been joined in his call by the Archbishop of Canterbury and The Pope, both of whom have urged people earlier this year to focus less time gazing into the unblinking eye of their devices and instead focussing on the real world, its issues and the people around them as a way of achieving a better work-life balance. The Chief Rabbi claims in the interview that the ceaseless need to respond to electronic messages distracts people from family life, communal living and spiritual reflection.

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If you want to reduce the cost of your office, move to a creative area

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If you want to reduce the cost of your office, move to a creative area

Clerkenwell Design Week

“First we shape our buildings, thereafter our buildings shape us.” Winston Churchill, House of Commons opening speech. Buildings do indeed shape us, but what seems to affect us even more is the neighbourhood. It’s the immediate environment as opposed to buildings that is much harder to create. It needs numerous factors to influence it, among them the two most precious components– the right people and enough time. Politicians all over the world dream of creating zones that will draw the most innovative companies. But it seems that most of them grow organically – the Silicon Valley in California, the Silicon Alley in New York and the Silicon Roundabout in London. The combination of low rents, proximity to the centre of a dynamic metropolis and interesting culture made the East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and Aldgate a perfect magnet for some of the world’s most exciting companies. So should you think about relocating there too? Here are some things to consider. More →

Google and Deloitte set out blueprint for collaborative work in Australia

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collaborative workDeloitte Digital has launched the final version of its report into the collaborative economy carried out on behalf of Google Australia. An interim report, published in July, estimated that the benefits of collaboration to the Australian economy is already $46 billion and could rise to $56 billion. The report also claims that collaboration could help to address specific structural problems including falling productivity and a comparative lack of innovation. The study claims that the average Australian worker spends just under half of a typical working day interacting with other people but that there remains considerable room for improvement in the way those interactions take place. The final version of the report also includes a toolkit to help individuals and organisations to gauge their level and success of their collaborative work. Tellingly, the test is weighted one-third to workplace design, one-third to technology and one-third to culture and governance.

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Awareness of benefits of BIM growing in US and UK, but implementation lags

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BIM Level 2Building owners on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly aware of the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM), even though they may not yet use it directly, according to a new report published by McGraw Hill Construction in partnership with Autodesk and Skanska. The report, The Business Value of BIM for Owners, suggests that this pent-up demand will be unleashed in the near future with 40 percent of US owners and 38 percent of UK owners predicting that more than 75 percent of their projects will involve BIM in just two years, with a particularly high level of growth in the US. Growth in the UK is being driven by the approaching implementation of a central government mandate requiring use of BIM on all national public projects by 2016, with over two thirds (67 percent) of UK owners reporting that the mandate is already having a high impact on their use of BIM. Owners in the UK are also more generally aware of the benefits of BIM and have more experience of it in practice.

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UK Government agency offers employers new guidance on BYOD

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BYOD leakThe UK Government’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance (CESG) has updated its official guidance on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), one of the most widely discussed workplace technology phenomena. While it’s tough enough for everybody else to keep up with the personal and cultural implications of technology, the slow but exceedingly fine grinding mills of Government can find it almost impossible to keep up. In an accompanying statement the CESG claims the update is essential because of the rapid uptake in flexible working in the UK and the associated increase in the use of personal mobile devices in a work context. The new guidance suggests that employers should consider the development of a formal BYOD policy, understand relevant legal issues and their potential consequences, manage information and the way it is shared and plan for inevitable security breaches.

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Few employers offer digital tools or support for flexible working

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Majority of staff not been given digital tools to work remotelyAs we reported recently, flexible working has become a massive recruitment incentive, and this is reflected in yet another survey which found nearly three quarters of parents rate flexible working as very important when they are looking for a new job. Homeworking remains the most popular form of flexi-work, yet according to the survey from Workingmums.co.uk of over 2,000 parents, relatively few employers supply equipment or technical support to enable people to work outside the office. It seems the desire amongst employers to accommodate home workers is there, but not the will to furnish them with the tools they need to do the job properly. In fact, the majority of homeworkers use their own equipment and have to deal with any problems themselves. Though 36 per cent can call on technical support if they get into trouble, unsurprisingly, the survey of over 2,000 parents, sponsored by BBC Future Media, found that many still lack full confidence in remote communications tools despite their desire to work from home. More →

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