January 22, 2016
Employers don’t want employees coming to work when they’re sick, but are frustrated by working time lost to doctors’ appointments, according to new research by AXA PPP healthcare. Nearly a third (32 percent) of bosses (owners, directors, senior and middle managers) say they’d prefer employees to take time off sick rather than come to work ill, yet 29 percent are frustrated by the working time lost when employees take time off for medical appointments. This is why employees tend to wait for a week to see if they recover before seeking medical advice, while over a third (35 percent) delay seeking treatment due to work hours and pressures. Over a quarter of bosses admit to asking an employee what’s wrong in order to find out whether their condition is serious enough to warrant taking time off and twelve percent say they would ensure that employees who attend medical appointments during working hours make up for the missed time.
January 20, 2016
Over a third of UK employers have introduced flexible working to reduce absenteeism, claims research from insurance industry trade association Group Risk Development (GRiD). Its survey of 501 employers also found that a quarter (25 percent) have seen absence rates improve over the last 12 months, compared to 40 percent last year. One in ten have actually seen rates worsen over the same period and 54 percent of employers say their absence rates have remained the same, which the report’s authors claim suggests a general slow-down or even complacency when it comes to managing absence. The report found that 57 percent of businesses said absence cost them up to 4 percent of payroll, but employers are using a range of initiatives to address this. This includes introducing flexible working (36 percent – up by 4 percent from last year), return to-work interviews (28 percent) and disciplinary procedures (17 percent).
January 20, 2016
The UK’s top three employers are Jaguar Land Rover, AstraZeneca and Harrods according to an independent survey conducted by Statista for Bloomberg’s content and research arm. The results were from an extensive online employee survey among 15,000 workers in more than 1600 UK-based firms with at least 500 workers. They revealed that 70 percent of the best employers within the top 50 are British firms, including the top three. Microsoft, Nike and Google led the US companies within the top 50 which make up 12 percent. Microsoft is the only technology firm in the top 15 of the full ranking, with Google in second place, ranked 16th. The survey found that employees working in the Professional Services industry were the most likely to recommend their employer, while employees in Government Services were the least likely. The complete list of 400 firms across 25 industry sectors and the methodology can be found at the Bloomberg Best Employers UK 2016 site.
January 19, 2016
Now here’s a thing. It appears that more than half of American workplaces continue to allow smoking in the workplace. That is the possibly surprising finding of a new study from the US based Society for Human Resource Management, in spite of the facts that there are laws prohibiting the practice in many US states, the majority of employers have formal smoking policies and that a 2012 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared a majority of US workplaces to be smoke-free. The report is based on a survey of HR managers working for 376 organisations across the country and found that just over one-half (53 percent) of respondents indicated their firms allowed smoking in the workplace. The study also found that more than four-fifths (85 percent) had a formal, written smoking policy in place while 8 percent had an informal, unwritten smoking policy. Of those with a formal policy, 58 percent have designated smoking spaces.
January 18, 2016
Managers are underestimating the impact they have on their workforce during a period of organisational change, according to a study from EMLYON Business School authored by associate professor Tessa Melkonian. The study claims that employees are more likely to cooperate in the process of a disruptive change if the management is seen to be fair in their treatment of staff. This will increase employees’ willingness to cooperate in long-term transitions and work harder to support the process. Over 600 interviews in 10 countries and thousands of questionnaires were carried out to gauge employee satisfaction and willingness to cooperate with change following the merger of KLM and Air France. During the interviews employees revealed they were more inclined to back change because of the example set by their CEO. Leading from the front remained a strong influence two years into the transition.
January 7, 2016
New research being presented today at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham suggests that it’s not just the volume of emails that causes stress; but well-meaning habits and a need to feel in control. The research by Dr Richard MacKinnon from the Future Work Centre, suggests many people have developed some bad habits when it comes to managing email. Nearly half of those surveyed have emails automatically sent to their inbox (push notifications) and 62 percent left their email on all day. Those who checked email early in the morning and late at night may think they are getting ahead, but they could be making things worse, as the study showed that these habits were linked to higher levels of stress and pressure. The research also shows the role personality plays in our experience of email and how email has the potential to both positively and negatively impact our work-life balance.
January 4, 2016
Acas has published its Workplace Trends 2016 report, which identifies workplace bullying, pay, the new trade union bill and productivity as key trends that will have an impact on employment relations in 2016. In this report, thought-leaders discuss leadership, improving productivity, the art of communication, giving voice to a better way of working, encouraging positive behaviours in tackling bullying at work and the psychology of productivity. Writing in the report, Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber says that productivity is a real concern for the UK economy. He warns if we were able to match the productivity of the US then this would equate to around £21,000 per annum for every household in the UK, making it an issue that will remain high on the agenda in 2016. The report also features commentary from Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, Dr Makani Purva, Anti-Bullying Tsar at Hull NHS Trust and Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC.
December 21, 2015
Research presented at the recent 2015 Global Wellness Summit (GWS) titled “The Future of Wellness at Work” forecasts that workplace wellness investment will “explode in the next 5 to 10 years”. Results from the research revealed that 87 percent of employees surveyed feel disengaged at work, with 38 percent experiencing excessive pressure and stress. Despite more than half of the employees having access to a structured wellness “programme” only three out of ten actually use it in practice. The generally human resources led workplace wellness programs perform poorly because they don’t always address the issue at hand. They instead choose to focus on health issues experienced outside of work, rather than looking internally at the workplace itself. The design of an office has been proven to have a material impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of its inhabitants.
December 18, 2015
The Chartered Institute of Building has just announced the finalists of this year’s Art of Building Photographer of the Year. The competition attracts thousands of entries from around the world each year and you are free to vote on your favourite to determine this year’s winner. The image that struck me most from this year’s shortlist was one that told its own stories about the way we live. The photographer Peter Murrell has called his picture My Pod to describe both our personal immersion in the digital world but also how we often cocoon ourselves in the physical world too, adopting spaces temporarily like hermit crabs. This idea is part of the daily experience of commuters but is beautifully encapsulated by the photographer here. The image, fully rendered on the next page, is also a reminder to step out from what we see each day and look for narratives and meaning in the mundane.
December 16, 2015
A new survey has found that a lack of childcare is a common reason for employee absence amongst SME employers, many of whom remain none the wiser as their absent member of staff prefers to ring in sick. The survey of 500 UK SME employees conducted by digital group risk insurer Ellipse, found that 22 percent have had to take a day off to look after their sick child, even when they are well themselves. It comes as the top reason for UK employees calling in sick with a further 6 per cent admitting to taking a day off to care for an elderly relative. With 24 per cent of employees believing that their employer doesn’t know about every sick day they’d taken, this suggests that employers are likely to be missing absence traits. This hypothesis is supported by a separate Ellipse survey of 250 SME managers, where 32 percent of employers admitted they don’t have a good enough process for recording absence.
December 16, 2015
Three-quarters of UK employers believe they are responsible for positively influencing employee health, yet many do not appear to be doing much to ensure this happens. The annual Benefits and Trends Survey by Aon Employee Benefits found that 75 percent of businesses believe they are responsible for changing employee health and wellbeing behaviours, yet 72 percent still do not currently have a specific budget for it and 38 percent do not use any data or analytics to inform their strategy. It found that only 25 percent of employers have a branded health and wellness programme in place. More encouragingly though, a significant minority (14 percent) said that senior leadership acted as advocates of employee health, while 12 percent had location-based wellness champions. Perhaps because it doesn’t directly impact the bottom line, the most popular health and wellbeing tactic is a flexible approach to working, with 53 percent of employers saying this is offered.
December 13, 2015
In this week’s newsletter; Mark Eltringham on the prescience of philosopher Seneca on a time and a place to work; and a report by Sara Bean finds the boardroom increasingly views office space as a strategic asset. Glassdoor announces the best places to work for 2016; researchers reveal the phenomenon of ‘inattentional deafness’; a new Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction is announced; and Gartner says we’ll be using three technical devices by 2018. Over 100 councils to join an office-sharing scheme; Gen Z will blur the boundaries between home and work, and too much focus on standing in the sit-stand debate. Download the new issue of Work&Place and access an Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
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