March 14, 2015
In this week’s issue; Maciej Markowski says it’s worth asking exactly where open plan office layouts will work and where they won’t and Justin Miller explores the influence of Scandinavian furniture design on the UK. Mark Eltringham wonders what will become of the generation of Tech Palaces, as exemplified by Google’s California campus; asks why more firms haven’t been drawn to look at leasing to fund office fit-out and argues politicians tend to get behind a big, stupid idea than a number of small, effective ones. Two new reports published this week highlight the potential benefits of flexible working, especially to women; and news of the latest workplace malaise, Invisible Employee Syndrome, when employees disappear from the performance radar. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
March 13, 2015
More than a third (37 percent) of British employees claim their employers are not yet offering flexible working arrangements, according to a report from unified communications firm Unify. This is in spite of the fact that nearly all UK employees now have the right to request flexible working following the introduction of revised legislation last Summer. The survey of staff at more than 1,500 businesses in the UK also claims that 39 percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to the business if it offered more flexible working options. According to the report, Humanising the Enterprise, a further 28 percent said they have no preference about where they get work done and 40 percent said they would find it liberating if they were able to work entirely outside of the office. Over half (51 percent) said their colleagues and other interruptions distract them from doing their jobs.
March 13, 2015
While some workers might be happy to stay under the workplace radar, this lack of engagement does not benefit their employers. Now firms are being warned of a previously unrecognised malaise, Invisible Employee Syndrome, which occurs when employees ‘go dark’, disappear off the performance and talent radar, and intentionally or unintentionally become invisible to their employer. The survey cites a range of contributory factors, including inadequate engagement, poor communications, a lack of insights and broken HR processes and systems. The joint survey from HRMS provider Fairsail and HR Grapevine showed that 78 percent of respondents felt employees were poorly engaged. Many UK organisations are suffering from this ailment, which the research suggests is reducing productivity, sapping innovation, undermining competitiveness and fueling attrition.
March 12, 2015
More than half (55 percent) of UK employees believe they do not have access to all the technology needed to do their jobs, according to research by Fujitsu. The study, Digital Inside Out, was based in a survey of just over 1,400 UK based employees and claims to reveal a significant disconnect between the needs of a digital-savvy working population and the digital services UK employers are currently providing. According to the report, 73 percent of UK employees believe that digital is vital to the future success of their organisation. However despite this, only 45 percent of employees feel they are provided with access to the technology services and applications they need to do their job sufficiently and 29 percent state that their ability to do their job is being hindered due to poor digital services. The report argues that the mismatch can be very costly for organisations.
March 11, 2015
Two new reports published this week highlight the potential benefits of flexible working for both employers and staff, especially women. According to a Workingmums.co.uk Best Practice Report, only 36 percent of employers have a flexible working policy despite over half thinking it improves retention, particularly of women, and over a third saying it makes people more efficient. Meanwhile, a study from the TUC claims that around half of the net growth in female employment in 2014 came from women moving in to lower-paid part-time jobs. The analysis claims that while full-time employment accounted for all of the net growth in male employment last year, for women full-time employment accounted for just 47 per cent of net female jobs growth. The TUC also claims that women who moved into part-time jobs during 2014 were typically employed on much lower rates of pay than those in full-time work.
March 7, 2015
In this week’s issue; Colin Watson reflects on how the Internet has ushered in a new world of work over the past two decades; Mark Eltringham explains why the current obsession with ‘engagement’ should not exclude employing the right people in the first place and Charles Marks extols the vital role of the office for key sectors such as the financial services industry. A new OECD report suggests that flexible working still has a negative impact on many women’s career prospects; while a separate study finds the majority of workers are happy with their work/life balance. You can also view a video and gallery of Google’s new Silicon Valley headquarters and read about the offices that have been recognised in the latest BREEAM awards. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
March 3, 2015
A strengthening economy has helped the UK to rise up to 14th position out of 27 OECD countries in PwC’s annual Women in Work Index, but it still lags well behind many other countries in overall female economic empowerment. The Nordic countries continue to lead the Index, with Norway maintaining pole position, followed by Denmark and Sweden. These three countries have consistently occupied the top three positions in the Index since 2000 and the reason is that they all have a much fairer balance between genders on managing work and family life. By comparison, although the UK is in the top 10 performing OECD countries on female participation in the labour force, this is negatively impacted due to the low proportion of women in full-time employment; suggesting that flexible working is having a negative impact on many women’s career prospects.
March 2, 2015
Forty-two percent of U.S. adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep on a typical night, the minimum number of hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for those aged 18 and older. Gallup research reveals not getting enough sleep is not only linked to lower well-being for individuals, but it is also costly to the U.S. economy. Employees may not have enough time to sleep because of working long hours, family obligations, insomnia or having poor well-being in other areas. For example, poor physical well-being, social isolation or financial strain could adversely affect quantity of sleep. According to Gallup, employers should explore interventions to promote the value of sleep and its link to employees’ well-being, as this relates to engagement, healthcare costs and productivity. When possible, they may want to allow employees to work flexible hours, which could make it easier for workers to balance work and family demands with getting enough sleep.
February 27, 2015
Nearly three quarters of employers that offer staff the opportunity to work flexibly are failing to reorganise their workplaces to reflect the new ways of working. Research commissioned by US based AV company Barco, found that while 86 percent of organisations indicated a remote working approach was being used within their business; rather than using this policy to reduce desk space, 73 percent of organisations admitted they still had allocated desks. This is despite the fact that the top three drivers for unifying communications are to increase productivity (51%), reduce costs (44%), and increase collaboration (27%). And though the BYOD trend is continuing, with half (50%) saying personal laptops and personal tablets (45.2 %) are being used in the workplace; 82 percent of those surveyed said that laptops are still company issued.
February 23, 2015
In this week’s issue; Maciej Markowski says most companies are not like Google, so don’t require a Google-cloned office; and Mark Eltringham explains why Charles Handy was largely correct in his pronouncements on the changing nature of work. Take up of leased office space in London hits its highest level since 2000; the UK workforce sees an increasing pay divide; and with new flexi-rights just weeks away, Acas publishes a new free guide on Shared Parental Leave. The Government publishes the latest edition of its ‘Greening Government ICT Strategy’ report; and the House of Lords’ report, Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future, predicts that 35 percent of jobs over the next two decades will be automated. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
February 19, 2015
The Government has published the latest edition of its ‘Greening Government ICT Strategy’ report, which looks at how central public sector bodies in the UK are addressing environmental issues directly associated with hardware as well as related issues such as travelling to work, the use of property, working cultures and the delivery of services. For the first time the report includes details of energy consumption. The main commitments of the strategy are the ongoing shift to cloud based ‘digital by default’ operations and a focus on the flagship the Way We Work (TW3) flexible working programme which aims ‘to ensure that civil servants have the modern tools they need to enable them to work effectively together and with customers. New greener digital technologies and working practices will help do just that.’
February 19, 2015
With just eight weeks to go until new rules on Shared Parental Leave (SPL) come into force, parents with babies due on or after 5 April 2015 should now give their employers 8 weeks’ notice of the pattern of leave they intend to take. The estimated 285,000 working couples a year who are expected to be eligible can start sharing up to 50 weeks of parental leave after 5 April and expectant parents need to have that all-important conversation with their employers. Acas has published a new free guide on Shared Parental Leave to help employers and employees understand how these new changes will affect them and how to manage leave requests fairly. They advise that eligible employees and their employers need to start having early discussions about the different options available so that preparing and planning the leave is as straightforward as possible.
Sign up to our newsletter
Join thousands of other workplace professionals to receive regular updates and access premium content