Legislation and regulation
August 27, 2013
Explanations for a marked fall in employee turnover have largely attributed it to the recession, which, it’s been suggested, has led cautious employees to prefer to stay put in a secure position, rather than risk losing their place in an uncertain job market. However new data published today from the CIPD’s Megatrends research project suggests a more positive picture. The proportion of workers leaving their employer at any given time fell by over two fifths between 1998 and 2012, long before the downturn took hold. And the good news for those concerned with improving the quality of the workplace environment is that increased job satisfaction and improved levels of employee engagement could play a significant role.. more…
August 27, 2013
There is quite possibly more guff talked about the impact of Gen Y on businesses and the workplace than any other management topic. However, it’s not only wrong to characterise the people of Generation Y as some homogeneous blob with stereotyped attitudes that set them apart from the rest of humanity, but also to miss the point that the workplace is and will remain multigenerational. In fact, according to new data from the Department of Work and Pensions, there have never been more over 50s in work in the UK than there are right now. There are 2 million more over-50s in jobs than there were 15 years ago and they will form a third of the workforce by 2020. And they will want their own say on things just as much as the much talked about millennials.
August 20, 2013
The problem with the UK holiday season is that you never know where you are with your contacts. While one chunk of the population is away on leave, the other half is beavering away, and carry on sending out tons of emails, which the other half are forced to plough through when they return to the office. Maybe we need to follow the example of the Italian office furniture manufacturer which emails out an annual reminder during the last week of July that its offices will be shut for the whole of August, when traditionally, most of Italy takes a break. Not so the Brits, where, according to new research, even workers entitled to a break, are reluctant to take time off. more…
August 19, 2013
Washrooms, as facilities managers are only too aware can often be the cause of some contention within the workplace, particularly amongst female staff, who frequently complain of having to queue to use the facilities. However, that inconvenience pales into insignificance compared to the plight of many council workers and call centre staff, who, according to trade union Unison are either not able to access public conveniences or are restricted as to when they can take toilet breaks. The unions says cuts to council funding, which has led to the widespread closure of public facilities are adversely affecting those workers who spend their working day out on the road, while in a previous Unison study of call centre workers, around 28 per cent reported that access to a toilet was a problem. more…
August 16, 2013
The comment by UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler that women are not competitive enough to merit a place in the boardroom grabbed all of the headlines from an important debate on the introduction of gender quotas on City boards. The news broke on the same day that employment body the CIPD issued a warning that businesses will continue to lose talented female workers if they don’t offer them a better work-life balance. With research showing that around half of female managers choose not to return to work following maternity leave, how far should employers be going to retain female talent and encourage workplace diversity, and does gender equality really require a legislative stick? more…
August 14, 2013
Time was, not so long ago that a job seeker could choose which aspects of their experience, interests and personality they wanted to reveal on a job application. For the employer this meant wheedling out the right candidates from a pile of written applications, then using the interview process to determine whether the applicant measured up to their requirements. Today, social media not only makes it easier for employers to reach a much wider universe of candidates – it also gives them the opportunity if they choose, to screen potential employees, and this is where legally, ethically and practically, new largely uncharted problems lie. more…
July 26, 2013
As we are told repeatedly, the modern workplace is a death trap. Most of us are lucky to get home in one piece at the end of each day, regardless of the job we do. Of course, statistically the most dangerous professions are those such as agriculture, forestry and construction. Proper, hardcore industries which employ proper, hardcore people, some of them working miles from anywhere, out in the open air, doing what used to be considered the core functions of work, namely making things or destroying things or moving things from one place to another.
July 18, 2013
We’d managed to avoid the topic “isn’t it really hot” on Office Insight but as the UK heat-wave enters its third week it’s become impossible to ignore. Employers are being urged by unions to relax workplace dress codes, with the TUC calling for the introduction of a maximum workplace temperature of 30C – or 27C for those doing strenuous work. Under current health and safety law, workplaces can’t legally fall below 16C but there is no upper limit. The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) meanwhile, has issued a new guide that provides greater understanding and improved prediction of overheating in commercial buildings.
July 9, 2013
Deloitte has been commissioned by the Green Construction Board and the Green Property Alliance to carry out a study into the effectiveness of the UK Government’s policies for carbon reduction as the it seeks to meet its commitment to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Inevitably buildings, which reportedly are the largest source of CO2 including some 17 percent from non-domestic property, have been targeted to make significant contributions. With the much vaunted Green Deal in the news for all the wrong reasons – either because of its low take-up as well as new fears that it could lead to homes overheating – the survey will gauge how policies aimed specifically at commercial property such as Energy Performance Certificates and the Carbon Reduction Commitment have fared in spite of their own difficult gestations.
July 5, 2013
Arup Global Chairman, Philip Dilley has said that the firm’s employee ownership ethos has played a major part in attracting and motivating staff and high levels of employee engagement. His comments followed a visit by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and Minister for Employment Relations, Jo Swinson, to Arup HQ this week as part of a series of activities to celebrate Employee Ownership Day across the UK. The Government’s scheme has had a rough ride, with critics branding it “company shares for employment rights”. Although this has resulted in some major changes to the scheme, Cable maintains it is a positive alternative to traditional shareholder capitalism which had led to the “persistent problem” of short-term planning. more…
July 2, 2013
Is ageism one of the last bastions of accepted prejudice in the UK? Take the Daily Mail’s “night of the living dead” coverage of the Stones’ Glastonbury performance – deemed acceptable where jokes regarding gender, race or disability are not. A new survey illustrates this attitude. Nearly half of younger workers in a recent poll think older colleagues are in danger of stifling their career prospects by retiring later, that their prolonged presence could damage productivity and that they have very little to teach the younger generation. Yet over half (55 per cent) of Generation Y workers questioned in the poll say the ethical credentials of a company would influence their choice of employer. Since the scrapping of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) the number of over-65s in the labour force has exceeded one million, and the survey, carried out for KPMG by OnePoll warns that tensions could rise as the need for employees to stay in the labour force for longer growing due to social and financial pressures. more…
June 24, 2013
The Coalition government has criticised “over-regulated” UK employment law, which it argues makes it difficult for employers to manage employees without risk of being sued for unfair treatment. Yet despite the perception that UK employees are overly-protected by employment regulations, a new global study of white collar bullying has revealed that workers are in fact more likely to experience bullying at the hands of their bosses if they work in the UK or the U.S. The country a company is based in has a direct effect on how much workplace bullying is accepted and the UK and the U.S. were among the countries with a “high performance orientation” valuing accomplishments, a sense of urgency and explicit communication. These countries, say the authors, may tolerate bullying if it is seen as a means to achieve better results. more…
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