April 24, 2015
Facebook has nearly doubled the size of its UK headquarters on Euston Road in Central London, according to property owner British Land. The firm has signed a deal with the landlord that will see it add 66,000 sq ft to its existing 87,000 sq ft office. Facebook will occupy the fifth floor of the Regent’s Place building, as well as floors nine to sixteen and some shared space on the ground floor. The company has recently relocated from a 36,000 sq ft office in Covent Garden. Facebook is one of several global tech giants migrating to the area around Euston and Kings Cross which is in the midst of a multibillion redevelopment. The most high profile new resident is Google which is building a giant new headquarters building in King’s Cross. Other organisations in the area, which has been dubbed the Knowledge Quarter, include UCL, the Guardian and the government’s Digital Catapult Centre.
April 22, 2015
It’s not just in the UK where employees say they are attracted by the idea of flexible working. A new study from YouGov commissioned by the Dubai based Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) claims that employees in the United Arab Emirates now rate employers most highly for the smart tools and flexible working opportunities they offer. The study of over 1,000 employees and HR professionals in the UAE was commissioned to uncover emerging trends in human capital management. It found that 64 percent of employees rate flexible working hours, provided by employers based on personal circumstances, as good or very good, which is particularly prevalent amongst Emirati respondents (83 percent). The majority of employees (74 percent) also believe a remote and flexible work schedule increases their productivity.
April 22, 2015
The provision of alternative places to work than the office desk is of particular relevance to a new demographic of worker, dubbed Gen M (because we need yet another one – Ed.), which is described in a new report from US based telecomms consultants MobileIron as either men aged 18-34 or people with children under-18 who rely heavily on mobile technology. On average, Gen M does more than a quarter (26%) of its work on smartphones or tablets, compared to non-Gen M professionals, who do 17 percent. Gen M also uses mobile for “shadow tasking,” doing personal tasks during work hours and work tasks during personal hours, the research from MobileIron reveals. Gen M mobile users are also keen to invest in the latest technology – 42 percent either own or plan to purchase a wearable device, such as the Apple Watch, and of those, 95 percent plan to use those devices for work tasks.
April 17, 2015
The widespread adoption of mobile devices, not to mention the development of the Internet and uptake of flexible working, may render the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 hopelessly out of date, but they continue to oblige employers to ensure that employees’ workstations are assessed for ergonomic comfort and safety. A survey by Fellowes claims over half of companies (62%) acknowledge they have a duty to foster the physical and mental health of their staff, but found that 31 percent of workers were left in charge of conducting their own self-assessments. In over a quarter of organisations (27%), staff raised concerns that their monitor or display screens were not appropriate and more than one fifth (21%) weren’t aware of any legal requirements when assessing a display screen.
April 15, 2015
The use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices by an increasingly flexible workforce is posing huge risks to the data security of employers. Six out of ten employees routinely share their work and personal devices with others, nearly a fifth of employees don’t have passwords on devices, and 22 percent admit they don’t have security measures in place. The “Securing #GenMobile: Is Your Business Running the Risk” security threat study, questioned over 11,500 workers across 23 countries and found that attitudes have moved towards more sharing of devices and an indifferent view to security in the workplace. This high risk attitude to data security, which is more prevalent amongst younger workers is being overlooked by employers with over a third saying they have no mobile security policy in place.
April 8, 2015
There is much debate about the way the group known as Millennials should be treated. Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, are viewed as different to my peers, Generation X (those born in the 60s and 70s), and certainly vastly different in outlook to the post-war Baby Boomers and the pre-war Veterans. A stereotypical view is that these newbies are highly ambitious and want everything ‘now’, for example, regular pay rises and instant promotion without putting in the work. Yet I believe that Millennials should not be viewed as a distinct group and what we are in fact seeing are long-term changes as a result of trends in society and the workplace. So while employers may recognise the particular needs of Millennials it is these long-term changes they should really be addressing.
April 7, 2015
Developers have submitted a revised masterplan for the £5 billion Greenwich Peninsula mixed use development in East London. The new plans not only increase the number of homes on site but also include a greater focus on digital arts and media studios as well as more high rise buildings in keeping with London’s current predilection for tall buildings and emphasising the shift in London’s centre of gravity eastwards. The original plan, created by Farrell & Partners and dating back to 2004 are described as outdated by developers Knight Dragon, who have submitted the new mixed use plan for around 15,000 dwellings, 59,000 sq.m. of hotel, retail and recreational space and 60,000 sq.m. of office space as well as a design district, space for healthcare buildings, educational facilities, transport hubs, visitor attractions, parking, cycling paths, community facilities and parks.
April 1, 2015
Facebook has moved into its much discussed new headquarters building and campus in Menlo Park, California. As is the way these days, the relocation to the Frank Gehry designed HQ was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his own Facebook page and heralded by a number of images shared on social media by staff. Zuckerberg also shared an aerial view of the 22 acre location included its landscaped roof and has promised that more images and video will emerge ‘once we’re fully unpacked’. Controversially – maybe – the building features what is claimed to be the world’s largest open plan office space which will be home to many of the new building’s 2,800 inhabitants. In this regard, the design is resolutely mainstream as are the array of breakout spaces and cafes used to supplement the open plan and give people the chance to take some time away.
March 30, 2015
Deloitte has launched a new report into the Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector in the Middle East. Deloitte predicts that 2015 will be ‘pivotal’ for Digital Islamic Services as they start to take off across the Middle East region. The report estimates that within the next three to four years the region’s digital economy will nearly double in size from around US$15 billion currently to around $30 billion by 2018. The predictions are based on hundreds of discussions with industry executives, analysts and commentators, along with tens of thousands of individual interviews. The report also predicts that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will make significant open data advancements in 2015, and within the next three to five years, break into the top half of countries ranked the most ‘open’ in the world.
March 30, 2015
A new study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and KPMG claims that the development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320,000 jobs in the UK and deliver huge benefits to society and the economy. The first ever comprehensive analysis of the opportunities provided by the new technology claims that by 2030 driverless cars will deliver a £51 billion boost to the UK economy, reduce congestion and carbon emissions and cut serious road traffic accidents by more than 25,000. By that time all new cars will incorporate some form of connectivity, according to the report’s authors. It also predicts that the UK will be a global leader in the production of this next generation of vehicles, with the support of Government including financial backing. The study was presented at last week’s SMMT conference in London.
March 24, 2015
Japanese workers appear to manifest some of the most extreme reactions to the challenges of modern life. Often these are related to the uncertainties of work and the fracturing of time and space associated with contemporary working life. Two of the most common characteristics of the Japanese response appears to be isolation and exclusion. Recently, the Japanese Government investigated the phenomenon of banishment rooms which some firms are alleged to have used to exclude unwanted employees. There has also been a great deal of talk about hikikomori, those people who lock themselves away from the rest of the world, estimated to be up to 1 percent of the population. Now, a new film from Shiho Fukada tells the story of two Japanese men who have taken to living in Internet cafes as they seek to find their way in life.
March 23, 2015
Life on Earth has developed over the course of billions of years to attune its cycles and rhythms to the fixed routines of light and dark. Yet the modern world counters this hardwired biology in humans and radically increases our likelihood of developing a range of physiological and mental illnesses and conditions. That is the main conclusion of a new paper from Richard G. Stevens and Yong Zhu published by the Royal Society last week. The article outlines how inadequate light during the day, especially inside buildings, coupled with overexposure to artificial light in the evening not only disrupts our sleep patterns but alters our physiognomy at a metabolic, hormonal and even genetic level. The report also highlights how this can account for ‘a portion of the modern pandemics of breast and prostate cancers, obesity, diabetes and depression’.