March 20, 2015
To mark International Day of Happiness, a major new report has revealed that a country’s GDP fails to reflect levels of people’s happiness, which, it says, “are not easily reducible to monetary values”. Wellbeing and policy was commissioned by the Legatum Institute, which established the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy to advance the policy debate on social wellbeing and is chaired by the former head of the civil service Lord Gus O’Donnell. It finds there is growing recognition that the measures of a country’s progress need to include the wellbeing of its citizens. The report adds that with job satisfaction on a long-term downward trend in most advanced countries, and people ranking time spent with their manager as among their least happy moments in the day, there’s a lot more employers can be doing to address levels of wellbeing and happiness at work.
March 16, 2015
Anyone who has sat on a stationary train waiting to find out just why they’ve stopped moving, will know the twin frustrations of a lack of communication and lack of control. The same goes for those at work who feel they’ve little control over what happens to them and worse still that their employer is neglecting to keep them properly informed of any changes. Data compiled from workplace wellness organisation Good Day at Work, founded by Organisational Psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper now includes a handy infographic which illustrates the five biggest factors affecting employee wellbeing. These are, organisations that change for change’s sake; people having little control over their job; not having enough time to do their job; not being involved in the decisions that affect their job and knowing their job is going to change but not how.
March 10, 2015
According to a new poll from Gallup, the proportion of US workers engaged in their jobs rose from an average 31.7 percent in January to an average 32.9 percent in February. The latest monthly rate of employee engagement is the highest Gallup has recorded in three years and is 1.5 percent higher than for the same period last year. The study is based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with around 6,000 employees. Gallup categorises workers as more or less engaged or disengaged based on their responses to key workplace metrics that the pollster claims predict important organisational performance outcomes. With a third of US employees engaged at work – a figure that has remained consistent over the last three years – February’s data also showed that half (50.3 percent) of employees are not engaged and 16.8 percent are actively disengaged at work.
March 10, 2015
The younger generation of workers say high visibility and the chance to help influence the workplace culture is of much more importance than the size of their pay packet. When asked by US-based firm Futurestep what matters most to them as employees, the greatest number of Millennial respondents – those born after 1980 – (23%) said it was “the ability to make an impact on the business,” followed by “a clear path for advancement” (20%) and “development and ongoing feedback” (16%). Income came in at fourth place at 13 percent. When questioning what makes Millennials choose one job over another, more than a third (38%) said “visibility and buy-in to the vision of the organization” while 28 percent said “a clear path for advancement.” “Job title and pay” came in third place at 18 percent.
March 7, 2015
In this week’s issue; Colin Watson reflects on how the Internet has ushered in a new world of work over the past two decades; Mark Eltringham explains why the current obsession with ‘engagement’ should not exclude employing the right people in the first place and Charles Marks extols the vital role of the office for key sectors such as the financial services industry. A new OECD report suggests that flexible working still has a negative impact on many women’s career prospects; while a separate study finds the majority of workers are happy with their work/life balance. You can also view a video and gallery of Google’s new Silicon Valley headquarters and read about the offices that have been recognised in the latest BREEAM awards. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
March 5, 2015
Around 30 percent to 40 percent of all sickness and disability caseloads in OECD countries are related to mental-health problems finds a new OECD report. Fit Mind, Fit Job: From Evidence to Practice in Mental Health and Work reveals that the total cost of mental illness is estimated at around 3.5 percent of GDP in Europe. People with mild to moderate disorders, such as anxiety or depression, are twice as likely to become unemployed. They also run a much higher risk of living in poverty and social marginalisation. But although most people with mental health problems are in work they struggle; with 7 in 10 of them in 21 countries of the European Union reporting that they are underperforming at work. While a heavy workload and stress may add to mental health problems, the evidence shows that staying at work is also part of the solution if appropriate support is provided.
March 4, 2015
A new report from private bank Investec claims that three quarters of the UK’s professionals working in fields such as law, finance and healthcare are happy with the current balance between their work and personal life. The survey of 2,000 people suggests that just a quarter (25 percent) claim to be unhappy with their work life balance and a third (32 percent) say that their friends and family would describe them as ‘workaholics’. However, a third (33 percent) are also confident of an improvement in their work life balance over the next five years even though the same proportion also claim that the past five years have seen it decline since 2010. Workers in London are most optimistic despite the fact they are most likely to see themselves as workaholics with nearly half (45 percent) feeling optimistic about the future state of their working and personal lives.
March 2, 2015
Forty-two percent of U.S. adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep on a typical night, the minimum number of hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for those aged 18 and older. Gallup research reveals not getting enough sleep is not only linked to lower well-being for individuals, but it is also costly to the U.S. economy. Employees may not have enough time to sleep because of working long hours, family obligations, insomnia or having poor well-being in other areas. For example, poor physical well-being, social isolation or financial strain could adversely affect quantity of sleep. According to Gallup, employers should explore interventions to promote the value of sleep and its link to employees’ well-being, as this relates to engagement, healthcare costs and productivity. When possible, they may want to allow employees to work flexible hours, which could make it easier for workers to balance work and family demands with getting enough sleep.
February 25, 2015
The property industry can play a leading role in protecting and enhancing national features and biodiversity. That is according to a new report by the UK Green Building Council Task Group which presents the business case for “green infrastructure”, the term used to describe natural and semi-natural features ranging from street trees and roof gardens to parks and woodland. Demystifying Green Infrastructure finds that introducing green infrastructure into the built environment offers a range of business opportunities, including an increase in the value of land and property, as well as social and environmental benefits. Aimed primarily at developers and occupiers, the report also identifies risks from failing to incorporate adequate green infrastructure into projects, such as delays in planning, increased costs and reputational damage.
February 24, 2015
The much discussed ‘fit note’ legislation introduced in the UK in 2010 may have resulted in a sharp reduction in the number of people taking long terms absences from work, according to a new study, which also revealed a starkly growing number of people taking time off work to deal with mental health issues. Researchers from the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool claim to have found evidence that the UK ‘fit note,’ which replaced the ‘sick note’ in 2010 in the UK, is linked to fewer people taking long term sick leave of 12 or more weeks. A report based on the same study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine also found that the proportion of people off sick with depression, anxiety, and stress has increased noticeably.
February 17, 2015
In this week’s issue; Mark Eltringham observes the shattering of any fixed idea we may once have had of a time and a place to work, and highlights the remarkable growth in the number of one person businesses; Sara Bean welcomes the publication of Kinnarps’ Trend report which offers informed views of the shape of the future workplace; Jonathan Hindle examines the true value of workplace art and Paul Goodchild suggests there may be better ways of designing offices that balance the advantages of the open plan, while mitigating its drawbacks. In news; the latest initiative between the BIFM and the CIPD, Government plans to attract the US tech sector to the UK, and new evidence of the impact of stress on the workforce. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
February 16, 2015
Millions of the UK’s workforce feel they’re putting their heart health at risk due to the pressures of their job, according to a new survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation during the charity’s Heart Month. The survey shows that a large number of employees feel their working life leads them to eat a poor diet, not doing enough exercise and drinking and smoking more than is good for them. The BHF is calling for employers to encourage their workforce to spend at least 10 minutes a day improving their lifestyle during February. The survey found two in five (41 percent) people feel their job has had a negative impact on their health in the last five years, with more than half (55 percent) saying they have become more stressed as a result of their job over the same time period.