November 18, 2014
According to latest HSE statistics, the UK has seen a huge jump in the number of cases of workplace musculoskeletal disorders over the last two years. The data makes for depressing reading and includes a 20 percent hike in the number of cases to more than half a million, 8.3 million lost working days and a sharp increase in the proportion of work-related illness associated with the condition. Of the 535,000 new illnesses reported in the UK in 2013/14, over a third were musculoskeletal disorders; 184,000 cases. All of which begs the question what exactly is going on to cause this leap. Anecdotally we are aware of a number of factors that might indicate the smoking gun. The first is that clients are talking to us more and more about upper limb disorders rather than those related to the lower back. Pains and illnesses in the lower back are commonly (but not always) associated with poor posture while working at a desktop PC, injuries and aches to the wrists, arms, neck and shoulders are more commonly seen in people with handheld devices especially smartphones and tablets.
November 17, 2014
The new issue of our weekly newsletter is now available to view online. This week, Simon Heath asks whether we are really so ready to swap the rat race for a life of indolent uselessness (and possibly edible obsolescence); we report on the failure of a large number of major EU institutions to act on their own green building initiatives; Helen Strother visits the new offices of AutoTrader in Manchester as the company switches to a solely digital platform; Cathy Hayward reports from Workplace Week; Sara Bean finds that the turmoil in the UK commercial property is ongoing, especially in London; and we report on the ongoing and unresolved tensions created by the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and ubiquity of open plan offices. If you don’t already receive a copy, please sign up using the simple subscription form in the right hand sidebar and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
November 17, 2014
The Italian government is considering taking a drastic step to increase the number of publicly accessible WiFi hotspots across the country. As it seeks to close the broadband deficit from which it suffers compared to other European countries, a new bill has been proposed that would make it compulsory for almost every business to provide a hotspot. Those supporting the new law see it as a way of dragging the country up to some sort of par with other EU nations. At the moment Italy has just 50,000 hotpots according to WiFi network provider iPass, compared to 13 million in France and nearly 10 million in the UK. The new law has cross party backing and would oblige all businesses occupying at least 100 square metres and employing more than two people to not only create a WiFi connection but to allow the public to access it for free without a username or password. The new law will not only cover offices, bars and restaurants but also taxis and trains. While concerns have been raised about the proposed law’s necessity and enforcement the Italian parliament will debate it in earnest in the New Year.
November 14, 2014
By 2018, there will twice as many bring-your-own devices (BYOD) used at work than employer-owned laptops. However, when designing BYOD programmes, employers need to ensure that they target users who have interest and propensity to use a wider choice of devices for work and feel relatively at easy with technology. According to Gartner, throughout 2017, 90 per cent of organisations will support some aspect of BYOD, and predicts that by 2018 there will be twice as many employee-owned devices used for work than enterprise-owned devices. The analysts says this is because tablets (BYOD) offer better opportunities than that of enterprise owned-laptops and smartphones, as IT departments can support nearly three times more users in tablet BYOD programs than enterprise-owned devices. BYO smartphone programmes have a total cost of ownership that is very similar to those of enterprise-owned smartphones, but will only deliver savings when the organisation is in a position to pay partial, or do not reimburse or subsidise for voice and data plans. more…
November 13, 2014
Even in the context of a rapidly declining print market, the decision to end AutoTrader’s 37-year history as a printed magazine was not an easy one to take. At its height, Auto Trader had a circulation of 368,000, but in June 2013 the final printed copy rolled off the presses and the business began its new incarnation as a purely digital platform. Of course, this transformation was a long time in the making and had actually begun ten years earlier. By the time the print room lights went out, all of Auto Trader’s revenues had not only migrated online, but experienced significant growth too. It is Auto Trader’s growth during this process of transformation that is considered so unique in the publishing world and is proof that the business’ aspiration to be at the forefront of the digital marketplace is not just a wide-eyed intention. The website boasts 11.5million unique users, carrying out more than 140 million searches across mobile, table and desktop devices and the business is set to launch an extensive TV advertising campaign on boxing day.
November 11, 2014
As we prepare the upcoming issue of Work&Place (don’t forget to subscribe on our homepage), a reminder that the September issue of Work&Place is available to download or view as a PDF or now in an online edition. Amongst this issue’s highlights are: Ian Ellison’s retrospective of last Summer’s Workplace Strategy Summit; Jim Ware offers up a case study of workplace transformation at NEF from the perspective of the firm’s CEO; Agustin Chavez and Laurie Aznavoorian consider how the workplace can help firms to manage knowledge; David Karpook meanwhile characterises the role of the facilities manager as akin to that of a stage manager; Wim Pullen explores the multi-generational workplace using empirical evidence; Erik Jaspers looks at how workers are colonising the world’s cities; Pawel Lenart and Dominika Kowalska report on how one specific country – Poland – has seen a transformation in the way it creates and uses workplaces over the past twenty years; and, on related themes Nancy Sanquist explains how IFMA is driving the agenda on urban FM and Charles Marks looks at how the UK’s regions are looking to capitalise on the Smart Cities movement.
November 10, 2014
A new study by videoconferencing firm Atomico shows that the European centre for billion dollar technology start ups in Europe is Stockholm, followed by London and Berlin. The interactive visualisation from the survey shows that Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley as a successful founding location for successful Internet businesses with a current market valuation of over $1 billion founded since 2003. Silicon Valley remains in a completely different league to locations on the rest of the planet with 53 startups, followed by Beijing with 17, New York with seven and Stockholm with five. London, meanwhile, has only three tech start up businesses in the £1 billion category despite its reputation as a hotbed of tech entrepreneurialism, the same number as Berlin. According to the report, Stockholm’s ability to foster successful tech startups is even more impressive based on its population of around one million, which makes it the second most prolific per capita location worldwide,with 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people compared to Silicon Valley with 6.9.
November 10, 2014
According to a new report from BT, security breaches related to the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and related forms of mobile working have affected 41 percent of UK organisations over the last year. Despite this, the report claims organisations are still not taking sufficient measures to protect themselves against threats such as lost or stolen devices and malware infections. The report reveals that at least one fifth of respondents’ organisations that suffered a mobile security breach, experienced more than four incidents in the last year. The research is based on a total of 640 interviews with IT decision makers from large sized organisations (1000 or more employees) across 11 regions: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Middle East, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, UK and USA. Respondents’ organisations were from the financial, retail and public sectors. It shows that uptake of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and COPE (Corporately Owned Personally-Enabled) devices is very high, with 95 percent of UK organisations allowing employees to use these devices for work purposes.
November 3, 2014
Building owners are embracing building information modelling (BIM) as a powerful technology benefitting the design process, managing project schedules, controlling costs and minimizing project errors, according to the recent McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report “The Business Value of BIM for Owners”. The latest report focuses on the business value of BIM from the perspective of building owners in the United States and United Kingdom for whom the technology has been deployed. Initially adopted as a design tool and later evolving into an important tool for contractors, its adoption among building owners is expanding, the report claims, and that building owners are becoming more directly involved as “their power is even greater to align BIM use with their specific goals, engage more effectively with all stakeholders and extend the value of BIM beyond construction into facility management.” The study claims that 40 percent of US owners and 38 percent of UK owners expect that more than 75 percent of their projects will involve the technology in just two years.
October 27, 2014
The UK’s small and medium sized businesses believe that the regional divide in the economy can be bridged to a large extent by technology, according to a new report from Brother UK. According to the report, Regional Attitudes to Growth and Competitiveness, carried out in conjunction with Cardiff University and based on a survey of 600 SMEs around the country, over half (57 percent) believe technology was the key driver of their region’s competitiveness and only one in ten say the competitiveness of their region has declined since the start of the recession. Over two thirds (71 percent) believe technology can improve regional competitiveness and slightly more (73 percent) believe it’s possible to service customers and clients across multiple regions efficiently from their current location. The survey also claims that because each company spends an average of 244 working days a year on business travel and the UK has the second highest annual business travel spend of any Western European nation, despite its comparatively small size, many firms are turning to technology to enhance their competitiveness.
October 21, 2014
The UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has appealed to people to free themselves from digital slavery for at least one day a week. Speaking in The Times, the Chief Rabbi (pictured above) calls on all people to give up their smartphones, tablets and other devices for at least a day a week as part of a campaign to revive adherence to the Jewish custom of the Shabbat in which people do not work between sunset on Friday and Saturday. He has been joined in his call by the Archbishop of Canterbury and The Pope, both of whom have urged people earlier this year to focus less time gazing into the unblinking eye of their devices and instead focussing on the real world, its issues and the people around them as a way of achieving a better work-life balance. The Chief Rabbi claims in the interview that the ceaseless need to respond to electronic messages distracts people from family life, communal living and spiritual reflection.
October 20, 2014
“First we shape our buildings, thereafter our buildings shape us.” Winston Churchill, House of Commons opening speech. Buildings do indeed shape us, but what seems to affect us even more is the neighbourhood. It’s the immediate environment as opposed to buildings that is much harder to create. It needs numerous factors to influence it, among them the two most precious components– the right people and enough time. Politicians all over the world dream of creating zones that will draw the most innovative companies. But it seems that most of them grow organically – the Silicon Valley in California, the Silicon Alley in New York and the Silicon Roundabout in London. The combination of low rents, proximity to the centre of a dynamic metropolis and interesting culture made the East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and Aldgate a perfect magnet for some of the world’s most exciting companies. So should you think about relocating there too? Here are some things to consider. more…
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