October 6, 2017
October 4, 2017
When you think of a call centre you probably picture a line of people seated in row upon row of desks in a featureless room. But call centre design is changing. As companies recognise their growing importance, the boiler room approach is disappearing and call centres are beginning to morph into a corporate centrepiece. Dutch telecoms company Ziggo is a case in point. The company merged with Vodafone in 2017 and today offers broadband and mobile services to both residential and commercial customers across the Netherlands. It has a large call centre and like many companies invests significant resources in training call centre employees in both technology and interpersonal skills. VodafoneZiggo’s call centre in Rotterdam, designed by Evolution Design is spread over several large open plan areas, which were converted into series of smaller work spaces, using low cost solutions such as simple wooden frames, acoustic panelling or a change of flooring to demarcate different zones. Staff can now choose to work in areas as diverse as a plant covered ‘greenhouse’, open plan spaces with bright yellow accents and colourful floor tiles or in a more urban-style zone that uses reclaimed wooden pallets to divide and decorate. Throughout the centre, desks are height adjustable so employees can choose whether to sit or stand. There is also a central reception area with meeting and training rooms and a colourful break out space with comfortable sofas, a café and a games zone complete with table football and video games.
September 18, 2017
Last week, over 600 workplace and property experts met in London at the CoreNet Global Summit 2017 to discuss some of the most important trends affecting the sector. The debates underlined one important fact about property and workplaces, which is how they are shaped by major, globalised events as much as they are local needs and the objectives of specific organisations. This quickly became evident on day one, which demonstrated how dramatic shifts in the geopolitical landscape, all of which are impacting corporate real estate – from America First to Brexit – remain key talking points for the industry. Opening speaker Linda Yueh (University of Oxford and London Business School) explored several possible scenarios, including how the focus of ‘Trumpism’ would have a significant effect on the U.S. role on the world stage, with the priority on the domestic economy leaving little scope for global trade. She also predicted that a ‘hard Brexit’, with no new trade deal with the EU, will be the most likely outcome for the UK’s withdrawal process; and that businesses will need to focus on alternative WTO rules as an urgent priority. Other impacting factors covered by Yueh included the rise of a dominant global middle class, and China’s need to rebalance its economic growth drivers.
August 24, 2017
According to a widely reported government study in today’s news, 40 percent of middle aged English adults do not even manage a ten minute walk each month. The report from Public Health England says that so many people are sedentary that official activity guidelines are so unrealistic and people should be encouraged to walk ten minutes a day – half the current guidance – to improve general levels of health and mental wellbeing. Little steps, in other words. We can confidently say that the underlying problem here is cultural, including the amount of time people spend on their backsides at work. This is in spite of all the evidence that shows that we may not only be fitter and happier by moving more but more creative too.
July 20, 2017
The IFMA Foundation Workplace Summit of summer 2014 felt like an optimistic time for facilities management and the workspace industry. Heavyweights from the sector were asking searching questions about our organisational contribution, with thankfully less of the internally focused, debate-free hubris typical of much of the industry narrative. The newly announced (and now evidently historical) collaboration between BIFM and CIPD was in full swing, endorsed by social media savvy Twitterati under The Workplace Conversation banner. Finally, I thought, we seemed to be talking less about space as a commodity and more about people. Melissa Marsh of Plastarc captured it at the Summit as she evidenced co-working principles: less “managing facilities” and more “enabling communities”. It felt like some were finally starting to realise the fundamental qualitative difference between workspace and workplace: the role of culture.
July 12, 2017
Yesterday, the much-awaited Taylor Review into modern working practices was finally published. And by modern working practices, the report focussed primarily on what has become known as the gig economy. People have been speculating about the contents of the report for months and things ramped up last week after a partial leak to the media. So, things were already bubbling under nicely before the actual publication of the document brought things to a boil yesterday. Assuming the government do more than kick the whole thing into the long grass, always a possibility, debate will continue for a while. We’ll let politicians do their thing with it, but here are a few of the initial reactions from interested parties and the experts. more…
June 23, 2017
The average worker is interrupted or distracted every three minutes and it takes them fully twenty-three minutes to return to a task after being interrupted. Office workers are overwhelmed by distractions, due mainly to a lack of understanding of how to manage attention. Distractions and the inability to focus negatively affects productivity, engagement, wellbeing and overall performance in organisations. We long to be more effective, but the harder we try, the more tired our brains become. Attention meltdowns are epidemic because workers do not understand what attention is, how to manage it or have access to the best places to support their tasks. In workplaces throughout the world scenarios of near constant distraction have become the norm, to such an extent that often people do not even feel compelled to comment on them and their consequences.
June 7, 2017
In France, we might have been the first to behead a King and hold a revolution, or to stand on barricades and die for ideals of justice and equality, but when it comes to change – especially in large organisations– we always seem to lag behind. You could blame it on a number of factors: a cultural bias towards tradition, the legacy of an interventionist and ever-present state, spawning bureaucratic models of large state-owned corporations, the everlasting grasp of the elites stifling innovation and the ability to “think outside the box”… Whatever this may be, the debate around remote working – a type of work organisation which allows employees to work regularly away from the office – in France has always been articulated around the preconception that France was behind. And that while its Anglo-Saxon or Nordic European neighbours displayed a boastful 30 percent of the working population as remote workers, France struggled to reach a meagre 9 to 10 percent in 2010.
May 16, 2017
This is a long tale, but a worthwhile one to tell, and something that many of you will relate to, especially if you have anything to do with workplace design or management. Three managers walk into a bar. This is always a good place to start. They each have gender-neutral names, so I’ll leave you to work out whether they may be male or female. Not that it even matters in this context. Frankie gets there first. “Hi. Large glass of wine please. What do you have?” The bartender pauses, then replies: “We have … red … or … um … white. Um … oh, and fizzy and pink”. Frankie thinks for a moment, dismisses the idea of a cocktail or a short, then orders a beer. It’s a corporate training centre after all. What would you expect in a place like this? An extensive wine list?
April 5, 2017
It is two years since the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), where couples were given the ability to share leave surrounding the arrival of a new addition to their family; and while sharing leave is seen to have a profound beneficial impact for the family, there are still plenty of barriers. According to research from My Family Care, one of the largest is that there is a sense that it involves a big risk with real concerns around the impact on a father’s career if they were to take more than two or three months off. A second report from the charity Working Families found that despite the initial slow take up of new rights, more than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave. However, snapshot figures for the first three months of 2016 showed that 3,000 new parents were taking up the new right. If the maternity leave figure is taken as indicative of the number of couples with new babies at the time the new figures are in line with the bottom of the government’s 2013 estimated take-up range – between two and eight per cent of fathers.
April 5, 2017
From April 2017, employers with over 250 employees will be required to reveal specific information about the difference in net pay and bonuses between male and female employees explain the legal experts from Berg. The Office for National Statistics revealed that, in the financial industry, male managers and directors are earning on average 32.4% more than women in the same role. Whilst the statistic will vary from industry to industry, it’s important to highlight the divide and work together to accomplish equality in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 comes into force on 6th April 2017, and will require businesses to be transparent about the gender equality in their workplaces. It is hoped that this important move will encourage any business with less than positive statistics to make the move towards creating an equal workplace. For businesses that will need to report on their net pay, it’s a big task that needs to be executed properly. In fact, a survey by NGA Human Resources found that 20% of respondents won’t be ready to disclose the information by the deadline. With that in mind, here’s a look into what the regulations require you to do, and how these changes could impact your business.
March 28, 2017
Cannes-based international real estate fair MIPIM has always been a magnet for cities, determined to extoll their virtues to investors, developers and occupiers, but this year the UK was in charm overdrive. Buoyed no doubt in part by the presence of the UK government’s Department of International Trade (DIT), waving its ‘open for business’ flag for UK PLC, many of the towns and cities that would normally have ploughed their own furrow, instead came together to leverage critical mass. So Bradford and Leeds combined, conurbations across the central belt conjoined on a Midlands pavilion, and so on. Whether it was panic or confidence, the net result was an unusually prominent UK presence, up a quarter on last year. Of course the UK is just one nationality among the 24,200 real estate and city professionals from 100 countries who come together in Cannes every March.