August 16, 2016
We are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day as our body clock affects the ability of viruses to replicate and spread between cells, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help to explain why people who work outside normal working hours are more prone to health problems, including infections and chronic disease. The time of day of infection can have a major influence on how susceptible we are to the disease, or at least on the viral replication, meaning that infection at the wrong time of day could cause a much more severe acute infection. According to the study, when a virus enters our body, it hijacks the machinery and resources in our cells to help it replicate and spread throughout the body. But, the resources our body has to fight infection fluctuate throughout the day, partly in response to our circadian rhythms – in effect, our body clock.
August 15, 2016
A skim through workplace features in the media and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the traditional office is no longer with us. According to the narrative, we’re all now 20-somethings, working in open-plan warehouses, with table football, bean bags and comfy sofas to lounge on, while drinking our custom-made soya lattes. When in actual fact, while more relaxed, fun and funky offices tend to make the headlines, the majority of people still work in a relatively traditional way, with their PC or laptop, a desk and an ergonomic task chair. What’s more, with an ageing workforce, we certainly aren’t all 20-somethings, with DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) figures revealing that the employment rate for people aged 50 to 64 has risen by 14 per cent in the last 30 years, and doubled for over 65s. So designing with just the youngsters in mind simply doesn’t add up. Recent research by the Senator Group, backs up this view.
August 11, 2016
A series of reports published in the past few days highlight the challenges faced by Britain’s disabled workers. The studies claim separately that disabled workers are keen to work but are less likely to be in employment and may be hiding disabilities from employers, are paid less when they are in work and that many employers do not feel they are well equipped to deal with the needs of disabled staff. The first study from Reed in Partnership and Disability Rights UK found that one in ten employers do not feel able to support a disabled employee. Meanwhile research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that employees who experience mental ill-health earn up to 42 per cent less than colleagues. A third report from Citizen’s Advice found that 40 percent of disabled people would like to work but can’t find a job. And finally a report from RIDI claims that many people applying for jobs may be hiding their disability from employers.
August 10, 2016
Badly run and overrunning meetings remain amongst the main sources of workplace conflict and unhappiness, according to a study of 1,000 US employees from workplace software provider Eventboard. The main sources of this conflict appears to be the number of meetings that overrun and poor technology, claims the report. More than half (56 percent) of frontline employees spend 1-2 hours in meetings daily and three-quarters (75 percent) of senior and mid-management level employees spend 3-4 hours in meetings daily. The report also highlights the inadequate provision of workplace technology even though the tools people use are seen as essential for their happiness and productivity. More than half of respondents claim they have to supplement the technology they are given by their employer with their own devices, even though technology can be twice as important as other perks in terms of making people happy and productive.
August 9, 2016
A new report from the United Nations claims to identify the world’s leading nations in the use of the Internet to support sustainable development. The E-Government Survey 2016, assesses how e-government principles are applied to support the UN’s 15 year plan to use sustainable development to end poverty, boost growth and tackle climate change. The report highlights how the application of new technology can make government institutions more transparent, accountable and effective, encourage democratic participation, improve the delivery of services and allow policy makers to take account of the big picture when coming to decisions. The report claims that the UK government is setting worldwide standards for other countries to emulate. The model is replicated in Australia, Europe and New Zealand. South Korea was placed third and the report highlights successes in countries like Turkey and China, but states that many regions are not taking advantage of the opportunities offered them by the Internet.
August 9, 2016
The skills people require to perform at their optimum throughout the working day, such as patience, focus and diplomacy can be fuelled by the food they’ve eaten; while ‘the wrong kind of fuel can derail their whole day,’ a new academic report has found. And the study in the journal Food, Culture & Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research reveals that water is the main redeemer of ‘negative nutrition’ in the workplace; not only because it provides vital hydration for physical wellness but because it encourages people to walk to the watercooler or break out area to drink. According to the researchers, a culture of grabbing something quick to eat amid a mounting pile of to-dos at work often leads to making the wrong decisions when searching for something to eat in the workplace. Unplanned cakes and the emergence of ‘food altars’; central places for leftovers from work meetings or unhealthy snacks present workers with endless choice.
August 8, 2016
It is no longer a question of whether one of the world’s major economies will introduce a universal basic income for all of its citizens, but when. Over the weekend, the leader of the UK’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn announced in an interview in the Huffington Post that he was ‘instinctively looking’ at an idea that is already being discussed and piloted in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada. Corbyn may be one of the current glut of what would have once been political outliers in the Western World, but the idea of a universal basic income is one that is increasingly accepted in mainstream economic thinking. The RSA continues to campaign for it and has even put a number on it, suggesting that every UK citizen should be offered £308 between the ages of 25 and 65. Andrew Flowers offers up a masterful and detailed analysis of the economic and political issues involved in this piece on fivethirtyeight.com.
August 8, 2016
Small business owners are working thirteen hours a week more than the UK average, negatively impacting the health of nearly a third (28 percent) of them, according to a survey commissioned by business marketplace Bizdaq. According to the Small Business Wellbeing Report, owner /managers typically work an additional 13 hours per week above the national UK average of 37 hours. Mental health is a particular concern with the reports suggesting that 660,000 owners nationwide are currently experiencing a negative impact on their mental health due to the pressures of running their business. The report also suggests that 566,000 small business owners nationwide have not taken a holiday since they started their business. The report also reveals that there is both a regional and demographic split in attitudes. Perhaps most surprisingly, younger business owners tend to be more optimistic despite current challenges including Brexit.
August 5, 2016
Businesses are failing to provide the perks that can help employee productivity and motivation during the summer months, claims a new survey by Peldon Rose. It also suggests that workers feel less trusted and appreciated by their companies. The report argues that during the summer months, businesses can find motivation slows as employees are distracted by seasonal events and count down the days until their holiday. Those companies found to offer summer perks to help boost morale and wellbeing, summer hours (47 percent), casual dress (37 percent) and ice cream rounds (31 percent) were the most popular, indicating that these benefits are the most highly valued by workers. However, 86 percent of respondents said that their company does not offer any such perks, with the result that many employers are missing an opportunity to make employees feel appreciated and boost happiness and morale in the summer months.
August 4, 2016
Fifteen million UK internet users have undertaken a ‘digital detox’ in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen, according to a new Ofcom study. The study of around 2,500 people suggests that our reliance on the internet is affecting people’s personal and working lives, leading many to seek time away from the web to spend time with friends and family. Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016 finds that one in three adult internet users (34 percent), equivalent to 15 million people in the UK, has sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (11 percent) doing so in the last week alone. Of these digital down-timers, 25 percent spent up to a day internet-free; 20 percent took up to a week off; and 5 percent went web-free for up to a whole month. The most common reasons for taking a time out were to spend more time doing other things (cited by 44 percent) and more time talking to friends and family (38 percent).
August 4, 2016
New research suggests that UK workers are overwhelmingly turning their back on the standard 9-5 office life with 72 percent agreeing that it’s not relevant for the 21st century. Working remotely and flexibly makes them more effective in their job said 82 percent of respondents to the TeamViewer report ‘The End of Nine-to-Five’ with 73 percent agreeing that having the ability to work flexibly makes them feel more valued and 82 percent that all employees should be offered flexible working hours without it affecting their career. With 79 percent of people rating work-life balance as more important than salary, the report suggests it is critical for businesses to ensure they are offering more than just monetary incentives, as almost half (49 percent) say that flexible working hours would be the most important factor to them when looking for a new job. According to the survey, UK office workers are already spending on average 2.5 days, half of their week, working remotely.
August 4, 2016
A majority of employers won’t delay hiring for roles (54 percent) due to Brexit, yet nearly half (48 percent) of jobseekers are concerned about finding a job post the Referendum, new research claims. The survey of both employers and candidates conducted by totaljobs following the EU Referendum, reveals that 44 percent of all candidates believe there will be more competition for jobs following the Brexit vote, while 28 percent say that Brexit has already had an impact on their job search. Nearly a fifth (19 percent) have become less selective about the jobs they apply for, compared with 16 percent who are now more selective. Of those currently employed, 34 percent are worried about their job security as a result of Brexit, whilst half (52 percent) are not concerned. Unfortunately, many employers have not yet taken steps to ease employees’ concerns, as almost three-quarters (72 percent) of employees say they have not been spoken to by their employer about the impact of Brexit.
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