December 19, 2013
Those of us who feel bereft when we are forced to abandon our links to a world beyond our immediate surroundings and companions for even a few minutes will be delighted at the news that British Airways has become the first European airline to allow electronic devices to be switched on for the whole time passengers spend on their aircraft, including take-off and landing. However, it’s not all good news for Europe’s presenteeist army of solipsist tech addicts as they will still not be able to text, call or use wireless connections. But they will at least be able to use their phones, tablets, e-Readers or laptops offline rather than talk to somebody, read a book or newspaper or even take the slightest interest in what is happening right in front of their eyes.
December 18, 2013
Anybody who tells you they understand what is happening with BYOD, doesn’t understand what is happening with BYOD. Even by the standards of workplace technology, trying to get a firm grasp on the current state of play when it comes to the practice of Bring Your Own Device is particularly challenging. Surveys, opinions, research and case study pile up each day, crashing and bouncing off each other like the culmination of the multiple car chases in the Blues Brothers and just as difficult to untangle. The latest batch of news and views highlights exactly how disparate and conflicting the available information is. But underlying it all appears to be a single discernible and consistent point; while organisations may be less focussed on BYOD’s perceived advantages and rather more worried about the consequence of not implementing the practice, they still don’t trust it.
December 18, 2013
The management issues which dominated 2013 centred on the rise of flexible working; if pay scales would remain below inflation; and whether jobs recovery would continue and if so, could expand beyond the fringes of London. As today’s ONS figures show unemployment at the lowest rate since 2009, the latest CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey reveals that more than half of UK companies expect to create jobs over the next 12 months for the first time in over five years. It says private sector workforces are anticipated to grow across all regions, Yorkshire and Humberside and the east midlands being the most buoyant. Bosses will continue to take a cautious approach to pay however, with flexible contracts used to bolster economic growth and job creation. more…
December 16, 2013
As we enter the last full working week before the Christmas holidays, the reason why the office is already half empty isn’t just because staff have faked a sickie to do their Christmas shopping. Many of them may be genuinely sick – with Christmas the primary reason. The new ailment of “Festive Burnout” has been coined to mark the countdown to Christmas, as stress, exhaustion and illness begins to strike offices. According to the findings of a new investigation from AXA PPP healthcare; while one in four Brits say that Christmas is their favourite time of the year, a third tend to start their holiday feeling burnt out from the stress of the run up to the holiday break.
December 6, 2013
A recent decision by the government could result in emptier offices on Fridays and Mondays as staff vie with each other to work from home. This is because from April 2014 onwards, employers will have to be prepared to consider flexible working requests from any employee, not just for employees who have children under the age of 17 or responsibilities as carers. One of the more challenging areas for employers is how to manage condensed hours requests and to keep enough staff covering core office hours, without affecting the business. This could result in employers having to juggle competing flexible working requests from employees who they may not be able to accommodate all at the same time. more…
December 3, 2013
Flexible working is on the rise. However, as reported today, while employers are happy to equip workers with the facilities required to work away from the office, there is a worrying level of unwillingness amongst many bosses in checking the safety and comfort of home workers. Employers have a duty of care to their home workers under health and safety legislation and the Working Time Regulations 1998. This means that care should be taken by employers to ensure that home workers operate in a safe and appropriate environment. This duty of care goes beyond supplying an ergonomic workstation. Managing home workers requires a varied set of management skills and best practice processes. more…
December 3, 2013
The inexorable rise of flexible working continues, particularly in the UK, where 64 per cent of the organizations questioned in a new poll said that they implemented flexible working more than a year ago. And despite the best efforts by some high-profile employers to roll back the trend, it is HR which is endorsing the adoption of flexible working, with 92 per cent responsible for its implementation within their organisations. Although, Germany (57%), the Netherlands (48%) and Belgium (38%) currently lag behind the UK, all the countries polled agreed that flexible working results in higher productivity, especially in England (85%). A surprising view however, was that it is the employees who are responsible for setting up their own workstation, with just UK staff likely to have any sort of ergonomic checks. more…
November 29, 2013
Perhaps one of the least talked about factors driving the uptake of flexible working in the UK is the cost of getting into work. But a new survey commissioned by Citrix of 500 commuters in the capital claims that more than a fifth (22 percent) of London based employees are considering a job outside the city following the latest above-inflation increase in fares although the majority of the want-aways (79 percent) would stay in their current job if they could work from home at least once a week. Just under half (45 percent) would like their employer to offer flexible working, 58 percent feel they would be more productive if they didn’t have to commute, and 62 percent felt that flexible working would improve their quality of life. Ed: For those of us who already work outside London but get the occasional glimpse of the horror of commuting, those numbers are bafflingly low.
November 28, 2013
Everybody likes to talk and read about the future. It’s one of the reasons we see so many reports about what the ‘office of the future’ will look like. Often these attempts at workplace prognosis are overwhelmingly rooted in the present which might betray either a degree of timidity or lack of awareness of just how far along their standard list of trends we really are. Even when such reports appear to be bang on the money, they tend to disregard one of the most important factors we need to consider when trying to get a handle on the future, which is the need to leave ourselves choices. This is important because not only will the future be stranger than we think, but stranger than we can imagine, to paraphrase J B S Haldane.
November 27, 2013
Further evidence has been published this week that maintains the use of zero-hours contracts is not the evil employment practise portrayed by the media. According to new research by the CIPD, the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK economy has been underestimated, oversimplified and unfairly demonised. The survey of more than 2,500 workers found that zero-hours workers are just as satisfied with their job as the average UK employee, and more likely to be happy with their work-life balance than other workers. The CIPD has also published new guidance, in collaboration with law firm Lewis Silkin, to help tackle poor practice highlighted in the research, such as the poor level of understanding about employment rights among many employers and zero-hours workers. more…
November 26, 2013
While most organisations are increasingly feeling the imperative to “do mobile,” many don’t know where to begin. Today’s employers have diverse workforces, made up of full-time staff, external contracting agencies, independent professionals, and part-time staff. In addition to the changes in the workforce, all enterprises (business, government and community) have been pushing their IT processes beyond their own organisational boundaries and it is increasingly clear they don’t have absolute control over the tools used to access their corporate systems and data. All this means, advises the experts at Gartner, bring your own device (BOYD) is not just a purchasing issue, but should be approached more broadly with the applications and strategies necessary for a changing world.
November 21, 2013
In a remarkable session on the future of work at Worktech 13 London this week – Charles Handy declared that organisations need passion, people and profit, in that order. Money isn’t the main motivating factor for individuals either, which is why Handy’s thoughts on the emergence of the portfolio worker should inspire anyone who dreams of quitting their corporate job to do something more interesting instead. Those who don’t have that option would have been cheered to hear the prevailing message at Worktech was that employers are waking up to the fact that the quality of the place and the pace of work (i.e. flexible working) is of equal importance to remuneration in attracting and retaining staff. more…