August 3, 2016
UK workers are losing sleep because of work problems and women in particular are not seeking advice on challenges at work for fear of being labelled as a pest, claims a new study of 2,000 people by app provider rungway. One in five (20 percent) of the women polled fear they will be considered a pest if they ask for advice on workplace and career issues compared to just 14 percent of males. Among UK workers, almost half (49 percent) said they never look for guidance on workplace and career issues. Yet, almost one in five (19 percent) said that work issues affect their sleep on a weekly basis. One in 10 feel like they have no one to talk to about work problems or that no one would understand their work issue. Age also plays a part, with workers over 55 least likely to look for guidance on workplace issues – while younger workers are most concerned about bothering others with their career questions.
August 3, 2016
A new survey by office products supplier Viking claims that a third of workers suffer from stress and yet have no one to talk to about it. The authors of the study claims that these findings correlate strongly with people’s overall levels of fulfilment at work, with 46 percent of those surveyed saying they had negative thoughts about their job several times a week. When it comes to a person’s working environment, the results showed that office workers were more stressed than those working from home. Factors that contributed to these stress levels included working overtime, not taking enough breaks, having no one to talk to, job satisfaction, pressure to succeed. It’s no surprise that a lack of breaks is causing stress, with half of office workers admitting to taking no breaks at all during the day, excluding lunch. Conversely, a massive 61 percent of people working from home said they took two to three breaks throughout the day.
August 1, 2016
Around one in five employees in the UK are feeling pessimistic about the security of their current job because of the Brexit vote to leave the EU, a new survey by the CIPD claims. Answering a range of questions, including how they felt about the future as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, around 44 percent of the 1,000 working adults who took part felt pessimistic about the future, with this being particularly high amongst public sector workers (61 percent), voluntary sector workers (58 percent) and people aged 25-34 (63 percent). 22 percent said they felt their job was less secure now. The CIPD’s survey also highlighted incidents of harassment and bullying in the workplace relating to the Brexit decision, with more than one in ten employees saying that they have experienced, witnessed or heard of incidents of harassment or bullying of a political nature and just under one in ten (7 percent) referenced incidents of a racist nature (7 percent).
July 28, 2016
There is a lurid headline in today’s Telegraph proclaiming that ‘Working in an office is as bad as smoking’. It’s been picked up by a number of other news outlets, has been splashed all over search engines and will no doubt join the stream of misleading narrative that distorts the subject and encourages designers to come up with nonsense like this. So, in an almost certainly vain attempt to close the sluice gates, we would encourage people to read the source material. In this case that is a piece of research in The Lancet medical journal published yesterday. What the report actually concludes is that ‘in addition to morbidity and premature mortality, physical inactivity is responsible for a substantial economic burden. This paper provides further justification to prioritise promotion of regular physical activity worldwide as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce non-communicable diseases’. In other words, it supports an existing, well understood conclusion.
July 28, 2016
For all that everybody bangs on about Millennials, it’s increasingly apparent that the workforce in most nations is actually getting older and that it’s not just Governments who are keen to keep older staff in work, but also people themselves. A new study from MetLife based on Government data claims that nearly one in seven over-65s in the UK are boosting their retirement income by working, earning around £296 in addition per week. The data suggests that the numbers of over-65s working has increased from just 8 percent of the pensioner population to 13 percent in the last ten years, the equivalent of 1.1 million people. Median earnings from working are £296 a week adding up to annual pay of nearly £15,400. The need to keep working is underlined by the continuing squeeze on saving and investment income, which generates just £312 a year for pensioners on average. The proportion of pensioners earning money from investments has dropped from 72 percent in 2004/05 to around 64 percent now. Around 72 percent of all pensioners have private or company pensions compared with 66 percent a decade ago.
July 27, 2016
According to new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the number of people saying that they have experienced mental health issues while in employment has climbed from a quarter to a third over the last five years. Despite this, the majority of employees still don’t feel that people experiencing mental health issues are supported well enough at work. In response, the CIPD is calling on organisations to take a more preventative approach to employees’ mental wellbeing, encouraging a culture of openness in their workplace, whilst at the same time, training line managers to provide and signpost support for employees, in order to create healthier, more engaged and more productive workplaces. The new research from the CIPD claims that in 2016, almost a third (31 percent) of the over 2,000 employees surveyed said they have experienced a mental health problem at some point during their working life, compared with a quarter (26 percent) in 2011.
July 27, 2016
How many people in the workplace genuinely trust their managers and employers? It’s a question that we should ask because the answer unfortunately is not as many as you might think. It’s almost certainly well below what an organisation supposes or expects. For example, a recent study by strategic communications firm Edelman found that one in three employees don’t trust their employer. Another related study by consultants EY found that the number might well be even lower, with only 46 percent having trust in their organisation, and 49 percent in their line manager and team mates. This situation has been allowed to develop in spite of the fact that trust is one of the most important things we all need in the workplace. Without it we won’t have the environment we need for an effective feedback culture to grow and for people to feel engaged with what they do and for whom they work. So how can you help close the trust gap between employees and managers?
July 26, 2016
Screening sporting events in the workplace may increase productivity, according to research released by employment law specialist Peninsula. In a survey of 894 employees across the UK, 64 percent reported being more productive as being allowed to watch sporting events at work. The survey, which claims to examine how businesses managed employees during the first half of the summer of sports also revealed that 46 percent of employees want clearer policies regarding watching sporting events at work. This related to the fact that employers only showed certain games during Euro2016 and didn’t show any of the Wimbledon tournament. 51 percent of respondents also called for employers to be more flexible during major sporting games allowing them to start late, leave early or swap with colleagues. 24 percent said that a lack of flexibility would encourage their decision to call in sick in order to watch their favourite sporting event.
July 26, 2016
Working on complex tasks and work that is based on interactions with other people rather than data or things appear to protect against cognitive decline, according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Toronto. Researchers in two separate studies claim that people whose work requires complex thinking and activities are better able to withstand the wider causes of cognitive decline. The results suggest that working with people, rather than data or physical things, contributed the most to the protective effect and could offset the widely reported effects of a Western diet on cognitive ability. Researchers found that people with increased white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) – white spots that appear on brain scans and are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline – could better tolerate WMH-related damage if they worked primarily with other people rather than with things or data.
July 26, 2016
Giving employees more control over workplace design is the single most important contributing factor to their wellbeing, according to a new study. The Workplace & Wellbeing report examines the workplace design factors that influence wellbeing. The research team discovered that an invitation to participate in the design of the work environment raised levels of wellbeing, although increasing the level of participation did not necessarily increase the level of wellbeing. The research was led by the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in partnership with architects Gensler and supported by a consortium of leading industry names: Milliken, Bupa, Royal Bank of Scotland, Kinnarps and Shell. The context for this project lies with a current ‘wellbeing deficit’ in the workplace which means absence from work costs the UK economy more than £14 billion a year according to the Confederation of British Industry.
July 26, 2016
The summer can bring challenges for families and it seems the UK’s employees aren’t always that sympathetic. A new survey by Cotton Traders has found that almost a third of parents struggle to find childcare across the summer holidays (29 percent) and overall a quarter of parents have to take unpaid leave from work to cover childcare. The survey of 1,500 UK adults also found that 36 percent find it difficult to get time off work in the summer to spend time with family; almost half of parents (48 percent) think that having a more flexible workplace would help with this; 29 percent of parents dread the summer holidays due to the stress of finding childcare and 26 percent of parents work from home during the school holidays to spend more time with their children. There’s a lot of pressure on parents – 34 percent said that their children would be disappointed if they didn’t go on holiday abroad and 31 percent feel pressurised to do this.
July 25, 2016
A new study published to coincide with Smarter Working Day (today, apparently) claims that almost half of UK workers (48 percent) don’t think their current employee benefits package is tailored to their needs. The study of 1,000 UK workers published by payroll lending provider SalaryFinance claims that 38 percent of UK workers currently have access to flexible working although only 26 percent say they prefer the chance of flexible working to financial and psychological wellbeing benefits. Fewer than one in five (19 percent) currently have access to benefits designed to support mental wellbeing, such as counselling services, and only one in four (26 percent) receive financial wellbeing support from their employer. In contrast, one in three (32 percent) receive ad hoc incentives such as free lunches, birthday cakes and duvet days. With 58 percent of people saying that their employer has never asked for feedback on their benefits programme, employers could be falling out of touch with the needs of staff, claims the research.
Sign up to our newsletter
Join thousands of other workplace professionals to receive regular updates and access premium content