May 20, 2014
The influence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) on working life grows, with the line between work and home life increasingly blurred. According to the annual Edenred-Ipsos Barometer of 8,800 workers across Europe two-thirds of employees report that work keeps them busy out of hours. Laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices are making it easier for people to work from home, with around half (54 per cent) of UK organisations giving employees access to this technology. However, despite these new tools being perceived as having a positive impact on the quality of life at work, respondents were critical of the actions taken by companies: 39 per cent feel that the efforts made to introduce new ways of organising work are insufficient, 36 per cent feel the same about wellbeing at work and 28 per cent about the flexibility of the organisation of working hours.
May 19, 2014
Humans remain wedded to long-held ideas about the times and places in which we work best so if you want to get ahead in your career, you need to be in the office nice and early, regardless of any flexible working arrangements. That is the conclusion of new research from the University of Washington due to be published in full later this year in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The research is flagged up by its authors in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review. It shows that our attitudes to presence are so pervasive that workers who get an early start are rated as more effective by their line managers regardless of the number of hours they work and what they achieve in that time. Researchers conclude that managers have a profound morning bias that leads them to confuse conscientiousness with an early start.
May 16, 2014
Figures released today by the TUC to mark National Work from Home Day show that more than 4 million people now regularly work from home; a rise of more than 62,000 over the course of the last year. The number of people who say they usually work from home increased by 62,000 over the course of last year to reach more than four million for the first time. The findings are from a new TUC analysis published to mark national work from home day, organised by Work Wise UK. The TUC analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of regular home-workers has risen by over a half a million since 2007 – an increase of more than 10 per cent. Millions of workers across the UK occasionally work from home too, says the TUC. more…
May 16, 2014
Flexible working may be perceived as more advantageous to employees than employers, but there’s new evidence that it encourages presenteeism rather than promoting a better work/life balance. The Glassdoor UK Annual Leave Survey has discovered that 44 per cent of employees undertake some work while on holiday; 18 per cent report that a colleague and 13 per cent their boss, have contacted them about work related matters while on leave. And that’s just those who take their allocated holiday time. The average UK employee uses just 77 per cent of his or her annual leave, and only half (50%) of UK employees take their full annual leave. Given that the average annual leave in the UK is approximately 28 days per year, this means that employees could be losing 6.5 days every 12 months. more…
May 16, 2014
The new edition to the British Council for Offices’ Guide to Specification, which provides guidance on industry standards for workplaces across the UK will contain guidance on provisions for cyclists for the first time. The new 2014 edition to the office standards guide due for publication later in the year, recommends one shower per ten cycle spaces and one cycle space per 100m2, reflecting the evolving face of travel to and from the office environment. Another significant change is to the recommended workplace density, which has been reviewed to take into account the ever more diverse way businesses are now using their workspaces; which includes the adoption of more flexible working patterns. The report states that: “Considering workplace density alone may overstate the demands placed on building infrastructure, or result in over provision if used as the basis for design.”
May 15, 2014
As we reported earlier this week, an employee wellness programme can be worth doing alone as an incentive and engagement tool. But for those employers who need some evidence of their impact on the bottom line comes a new CBI report, which shows the costs to employers who fail to address employee health and wellbeing. The direct costs of employee absence to the economy is estimated at over £14 billion per year and the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975. These figures would be higher still if productivity lost due to presenteeism – staff attending work despite being unwell – was included as well. The new CBI report – Getting Better: Workplace health as a business issue – outlines exactly how businesses can improve the wellbeing of their staff and provides a practical support tool to support firms, based on the experience of CBI members. more…
May 15, 2014
One of the greatest challenges currently facing IT managers is providing secure and robust technological infrastructure for flexible working, and it is set to become even greater as more and more firms adopt Cloud based working, according to a new report from technology specialists ControlCircle. The survey of 250 UK based CIOs, ‘IT Growth and Transformation’ found that over the next five years the increasing mobility of the workforce is going to present them with a range of increasingly important challenges, with IT leaders predicting that security (56 percent), cloud (46 percent) and mobility (41 percent) set to become the biggest challenges they face. The survey also revealed that nearly half (48 percent) of respondents experience hourly, daily and weekly technology availability issues and a fifth (21 percent) experience business downtime daily or hourly as a result.
May 14, 2014
As if it weren’t perilous enough to be sitting on your backside for hours every day while trying to subsist on a diet of coffee and Ginsters’ pasties, new research from Regus UK has highlighted just how many British road warriors routinely work behind the wheel. The poll of 1,800 managers and business owners revealed that around three quarters of them routinely use their mobile phone while driving, both breaking the law and imperilling themselves and other road users in the process. Around two-fifths of respondents admit they have dialled into conference calls while driving and a fifth said they have held important business discussions, when either they or the person with whom they were talking was in apparent control of a ton of speeding hot metal.
May 9, 2014
There has been a growing perception that flexible working practices are now commonplace in the workplace. However a recent report from Working Families, a charity set up to help working parents and carers find a balance between their responsibilities at work and at home, suggests this is a myth. Their report reflects growing concerns based on experiences and queries from their helpline that employers are in fact, becoming more rigid. The report suggests that working parents are coming under increasing pressure to give up their flexible working arrangements. It highlights “a growing number of callers to the helpline reporting the family-friendly working pattern they have had in place for years being changed or withdrawn virtually overnight, with no opportunity for them to express their views”. Ironically, despite the Government’s championing of flexible working it seems the imposition of employment tribunal claim fees could be behind the backlash. more…
May 8, 2014
Monitoring of employee engagement and wellbeing by FTSE 100 companies improved over the past year, but organisations are failing to measure or address the psychological health of employees. The latest Business in the Community (BITC) Workwell FTSE 100 benchmark showed an increase in the average company scores from 21 per cent to 25 per cent while reporting across the five identified areas of BITC’s Workwell Model; Better Work, Better Relationships, Better Specialist Support, Better Physical and Psychological Health and Working Well increased from 53 to 63. 86 per cent of companies now report on four or five of these themes. But despite this, there was almost no evidence that psychological health is being measured or addressed, and the provision of mental health support continues to be a low scoring area (11%). more…
May 6, 2014
It’s not just companies in the UK who appear to have mixed and sometimes contradictory views on the principles of flexible working. A new study from the US based Families and Work Institute in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management has found that while more and more firms are open to the idea of working from home for permanent employees, other forms of flexible working such as job sharing, career breaks or sabbaticals to deal with personal and family issues. The 2014 National Study of Employers found that two-thirds (67 percent) of US organisations now allow employees to work from home at least some of the time, up from 50 per cent in 2008. In addition, 41 per cent of firms let workers decide their own working hours, compared to 32 per cent in 2008. However there are falls in the proportion of employers willing to let staff work flexibly in other ways.
April 29, 2014
According to a new report from one of the UK’s leading disability charities, one of the main obstacles for disabled people when it comes to finding and remaining in work is a lack of flexible working opportunities. Nearly half of the 700 respondents to a survey carried out by Scope and published yesterday in a new report called ‘A Million Futures’ claimed that flexible working could have helped them to stay in work. The report claims that last year alone some 220,000 more disabled employees left work than found a new job, many of them because they were not allowed to work in ways that would help them to manage significant life changes related to their disability and work around their treatment and meet other demands of their lives. Only around a third felt they had been offered the flexibility they needed.
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