Legislation and regulation
June 5, 2013
A new survey from Fellowes suggests that poorly equipped workstations and a lack of training and risk assessments by employers contribute to the range of ergonomic problems that cost the UK economy an annual £7 billion. Their PR people have done a good job on this survey because they’ve managed to get the Daily Mail stirred up, amongst others. This will be a short comment because we’ve covered the matter so extensively in a number of ways before here, here, here, here, here and here. The primary answer to the problems associated with sitting at work is to stop sitting, not merely to sit on different things. We need a working culture that gives people the right chairs then encourages them to stop using them them at the first opportunity. Ergonomics is about the relationship between people and stuff, so we should change the relationship and not just the stuff.
June 4, 2013
In spite of the evidence from a report published last week that confirmed workplace wellness programmes don’t achieve what they set out to do, American employees will be eligible for significantly lower premiums on any health insurance they buy through employers if they participate in the schemes. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, will allow US employers to increase the rewards they offer employees who participate in workplace wellness programs. The goal is to improve employees’ health by helping them give up smoking or lose weight in a bid to curb medical costs and absenteeism. Under the rules issued last week, employers must structure programmes so that every individual participating can receive the full amount of any reward or incentive, regardless of any health factor.
May 23, 2013
The government launches a campaign today using TV celebrities and disabled groups to help promote positive role models for disabled people. It’s aimed at building on the latest stats that show 81 per cent of people thought the Paralympics had a positive impact on the way disabled people are perceived. Currently they’re not well represented in the workplace, as according to DTI figures half of all disabled people are unable to find work. This is why the Equality Act 2010 plays such a vital role in promoting diversity in the workplace. Put into practice, understanding and adhering to the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to take positive action to remove certain disadvantages to disabled people posed by working practices and the physical features of premises. more…
May 20, 2013
The scrapping of the UK’s Default Retirement Age (DRA) two years ago is seen by many employers as a negative step. But now a ground-breaking new study provides evidence that working past a set retirement age is much better for the nation’s health. Work Longer, Live Healthier: The relationship between economic activity, health and government policy, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Age Endeavour Fellowship finds retirement has a detrimental impact on both mental and physical health over time. The stats make for uncomfortable reading for anyone considering taking that long cruise. You’re more likely to be clinically depressed, have at least one diagnosed physical condition and are less likely to enjoy good or excellent health. more…
May 14, 2013
The results of a pilot project to review list descriptions for post-war commercial offices has been announced by English Heritage. The revisions to 28 commercial offices by the conservation body have better identified the special interest in these buildings, which in many cases are the exterior and internally are usually limited to spaces such as lobbies and board rooms. When other parts of the building, such as basements and working floors are not of interest, this is said explicitly, thereby giving owners greater flexibility and clarity in the consents process and the management of change.
April 29, 2013
A new research initiative, focusing on leadership has been launched by Workplace Law, the key findings of which will be presented at ThinkFM 2013, taking place on Monday 10 June at the Royal College of Physicians in London. The theme of the conference this year is ‘The Leadership Challenge: Raising our game, making our case, realising our value’, and Workplace Law’s survey aims to draw the opinions of facilities management clients and service providers across the UK. It covers a range of issues, including talent in FM, sustainability, leadership in health and safety, plus looking at how leadership and performance management in FM can really add value to an organisation. more…
April 25, 2013
As we’ve previously reflected, progress has been slow in promoting more women to executive levels, and there are increasing concerns on a lack of diversity within the built environment. Now new evidence has emerged which helps prove just why boardroom diversity is such a pressing issue. According to a major report released by law firm Eversheds there is a global trend towards smaller boards, which means that although companies with smaller boards tend to deliver better share price performance, chairmen and nomination committees have to balance size with a number of other important factors shown to demonstrate better share price performance, such as appointing more executives to boards and encouraging greater diversity in the broadest sense. more…
April 24, 2013
As we reported last week, the Millennial generation of workers born in the 80s and 90s would describe work as a “thing rather than a place”, and want more flexibility in where and how they work. While the Yahoo home working ban debate uncovered a lot of exasperation and suspicion towards this trend, it’s interesting to see two separate studies, from the UK and the U.S. that show a far less combative attitude. But, as the U.S study discovered, while a majority of employees enjoyed real productivity benefits from home working, nearly half would still go into the office because it is what is expected of them and a small percentage still go because it gets them out of the house. more…
April 17, 2013
Employers who ignore Britain’s growing population of older workers could suffer skills shortages and lose an important competitive edge, warns a new government guide. “Employing older workers”, published by the Department for Work and Pensions, warns that Britain is running out of workers. There are 13.5 million job vacancies which need to be filled over the next ten years, but only seven million young people are projected to leave school and college over that time. Yet despite a predicted surge in numbers of employees over 50, employers remain reluctant to recruit older people.
April 11, 2013
One in three British employees spends time on social media or prints private files on company printers instead of working; one in four searches for other employment from the work computer and 12 per cent take company files home. This is according to research carried out for Safetica, a provider of employee monitoring and data protection software, to ascertain whether British employees use their computers for non-work-related activities while they should be working, even when knowing it’s against company policy.
April 10, 2013
The April 10 edition of the Insight newsletter is now available to view online covering a range of themes from commercial property to ergonomics, human resources to workplace technology, office design to legislation, all done with the usual verve and willingness to tackle issues in a genuinely engaging and unique way. Office Insight is already the most widely read publication in the UK dedicated to workplace design and management with up to 1,000 unique readers daily. The online newsletter is available to read here and it’s quick and easy to subscribe through the main website if you don’t receive a copy already.
April 4, 2013
Nearly half (47 per cent) of employers surveyed by global law firm Eversheds would like the Default Retirement Age (DRA) reinstated. Two years ago, on 6 April 2011, the Government changed the law to start phasing out the DRA. While the overwhelming majority (97 per cent) say their organisation no longer operates a mandatory retirement age, many report that the change in the law has had negative effects for their organisation: two-thirds cited difficulties in succession planning whilst just under half reported that opportunities were being blocked for younger workers. more…