June 10, 2014
Physiotherapists are warning employers that bad working habits are damaging workers’ health. A survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) found that one in five people (21%) worked through their lunch every day. Of those who do manage to take a break, 48 per cent said they ate at their desk. Only 19 per cent leave their workplace to go outside for a break, and only three per cent go to the gym, meaning most miss out on any kind of physical activity during the day. Investment in staff health and wellbeing makes good business sense for employers says the CSP, which is calling on them to find ways to support staff to be more physically active during the working day in order to reduce their risk of developing musculoskeletal problems like back and neck pain and more serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. more…
June 9, 2014
This year’s Queen’s Speech was the last before the 2015 general election and included a relatively light legislative programme of just 11 new bills. Some of the key employment changes being proposed include changes to childcare, the national minimum wage, and zero-hours contracts. But in fact a key development which was not included in the Queen’s Speech, and yet could have the most pronounced effect on employers is the extension of the right to request flexible working. From 30 June 2014, employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment will be able to make a request for flexible working for any reason under the new statutory scheme. The procedure to be followed will be far less prescriptive than that currently in force and will place more onuson the employer to consider the request and any alternatives to the proposed request. more…
June 6, 2014
Being ignored at work is worse for physical and mental wellbeing than harassment or bullying, says a new study from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Researchers found that while most see ostracism as less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead to job dissatisfaction and health problems. The study, Is negative attention better than no attention? The comparative effects of ostracism and harassment at work, is to be published in the next issue ofOrganization Science. The researchers found that people rate workplace ostracism as less socially inappropriate, less psychologically harmful and less likely to be prohibited than workplace harassment. Additional research revealed that people who claimed to have experienced ostracism were significantly more likely to report a degraded sense of belonging and commitment, a stronger intention to quit their job, and an increase in health problems.
June 6, 2014
As employers prepare for new flexible working legislation, which comes into place at the end of this month; Deloitte UK has announced it is to allow its 12,000 employees more say in where, when and how they work. The firm has introduced a range of new and adapted, formal and informal agile working arrangements to incite a change in the day-to-day culture at the UK firm. Deloitte already offers all employees the right to request a formal flexible working arrangement; it will now also enable them to request a block of four weeks unpaid leave each year, without reason or justification. These arrangements support its wider measures that encourage a more agile workplace, including the introduction of collaborative and adaptable working spaces, an environment that supports open conversations about agile working and improvements to technology that make it feasible. more…
June 4, 2014
The Chair of the Women’s Business Council, (WBC) Mitie Chief Executive Ruby McGregor-Smith, is calling for a fundamental change in mind-set from business leaders, to help remove the final barriers to women’s equality. In the Council’s ‘One Year On’ report which included discussions with over 500 companies and individuals over the last year, as well as canvassing the views of male Chief Executives; the WBC concludes that male leaders are important, as visible agents of change, to ensure women are not held back in reaching their full potential in the workplace. Back in June 2013, the WBC published a number of recommendations for business and government to improve opportunities for women. Since then things have been moving in the right direction. But despite this progress, the organisation argues that male leaders could do more. more…
June 3, 2014
Employers are increasing their permanent headcount at their fastest rate since before the recession. Consistently positive GDP results, coupled with reports that business optimism is at its highest level since 1998, has driven impressive growth across the entire professional jobs market, according to the latest data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). It reports that the placement of professional talent increased by 29 per cent compared to the same time last year, with particularly strong growth in sectors such as accounting and finance. This mirrors plans by the Big Four accounting firms to substantially increase their graduate level recruitment this year; with KPMG and PwC, for example, both planning to hire 30 per cent more candidates than last year. Although it’s good news for the jobs market – analysts warn that managers must plan ahead to ensure they retain and attract the right talent. more…
June 2, 2014
While FIFA works out whether it wants to dig itself in deeper or climb out of its own hole in addressing the World Cup bribery scandal, thoughts in the business world about this Summer’s quadrennial festival of football turn, yet again, to the matter of how to deal with it all. One of the first up with suggestions this time is the UK employment conciliation service agency ACAS which thinks the answer no longer lies in turning a blind eye to what people get up to, but instead working around it. They are urging firms to allow staff to work flexibly during the World Cup so they can watch games with minimal disruption to business. ACAS last month issued new guidance on flexible working in advance of a change in the rights of workers to request flexible working at the end of June, and is now suggesting that flexible working will help to reduce absenteeism and disruption during the tournament in Brazil which begins on June 12.
May 30, 2014
New research from the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed how a simple change in the price structure of rail tickets could allow increased flexible working and better manage the current rush hour crush on public transport. The study, carried out by IFF Research, claims that two thirds of organisations could increase the scope for flexible working if the price of off-peak season tickets were reduced. The report claims that, at present, employers have little or no incentive to accommodate more flexible working but that if the cost of travel was reduced outside of peak travel times so that commuters felt a significant financial benefit, then two-thirds of the organisations that took part in the study, ‘felt that they would be able to accommodate at least some staff travelling to work avoiding the centre of the peak’.
May 29, 2014
Time is money. That’s why organisations are placing an ever-growing emphasis on improving productivity and streamlining administrative processes to encourage employees to focus on value-added activities. So I’m staggered by how many otherwise forward-thinking companies are still reliant on old-fashioned, paper-based expense management processes. Expenses are an obvious time-sink for claimants themselves and is often portrayed as a dull task; but badly managed expense processing costs employees and businesses money. A survey conducted by Access aCloud has discovered that employees are losing £45 a year owing to interest charges due to the waiting period of reimbursement – with a collective £2.1 billion lost by 46 million workers each year. In the UK, the average waiting time for expenses to be paid is 3.3 weeks. However, the survey revealed that over 20 per cent of people spend 6.3 weeks chasing their employer for their claims to be paid. more…
May 28, 2014
The retention of Gen Y employees is key for all organisations. No organisation wants to invest in their next generation of management only to find that they leave, and someone new needs to be trained. But the 20-30 year old workers of Gen Y exhibit a new-found job mobility. Which makes for a ticking time-bomb of potential cost and disruption to their employers. The iOpener Institute has gathered and studied questionnaire responses from over 30,000 professionals across the world, gaining insights into how employers can retain their Gen Y talent. The research clearly shows that while pay and financial rewards are important to Gen Y (i.e. they are not prepared to be under-paid for their work), there is no significant correlation between increased levels of pay and greater talent retention.
May 26, 2014
New research commissioned by office supplies firm Viking claims that many people working for small businesses are unhappy, stressed and demotivated in the workplace for much of the time but that their misery can be alleviated with flexible working, training, social events and generally a bit more information and attention from their employers. The research found that a third of the employees surveyed, all of whom work for firms with fewer than 50 employees, claim to be unhappy for more than half of their time at work, with 42 per cent saying they are also stressed and unmotivated. The respondents claim that these issues could be resolved with more flexible working, social events, personal development and business updates. With workers rating such displays of affection more highly than a pay rise, a spend of less than £500 per employee each year on the things they cherish could make them more happy and motivated.
May 22, 2014
With the economy picking up, nearly two thirds of UK employers are concerned that they won’t be able to find the people with the skills needed to fill their burgeoning job vacancies. A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOs in 68 countries reveals that a quarter of UK business leaders plan to increase their headcount by up to 5 per cent in the next 12 months, with a further 20 per cent planning increases of up to 8 per cent and a further one in five planning increases of over 8 per cent. But 64 per cent of UK business leaders are more concerned about the availability of key skills than any of their Western European counterparts, rating it as the biggest business threat to their growth plans. Technology and engineering firms report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees. more…
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