Search Results for: people management

Indoor air quality and the quest for a breath of fresh air in the workplace

indoor air quality

Edward Hopper, Office in a Small City, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

The modern workplace has to work harder than ever before. It must reflect corporate values, express something of the organisation’s brand, allow people to work to the best of their ability as well as look after their wellbeing, keep touch with the pace of changing technology and meet the demands of an ever changing legislative environment and keep costs down. All of these issues conflate around the challenge of providing a sustainable, comfortable and productive working environment in buildings that are filled with an increasing number of people and computers. It is estimated by the Building Research Establishment that even in a typical office each person and their technology will generate some 1500 W of energy per hour, the equivalent of the sort of fan heater that the EU is now keen to ban outright.

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Key to successful BIM implementation is collaboration, says RICS

Key to success of BIM implementation is collaboration says RICSThe need for collaboration between all the professions working within the built environment was the overriding theme of a free seminar on BIM, hosted by RICS last week, reports RICS’ Schemes and Accreditation Manager Jon Klahn. The event featured speakers from quantity surveying, engineering and architecture, and was designed to help delegates learn more about BIM and RICS’ role in establishing BIM industry standards. Addressing the 80 plus attendees, Dr Anne Kemp FRICS, Director of BIM Strategy and Development at Atkins and Chair of ICE’s BIM Action Group said the various professions can no longer be driven by self-interest. BIM in itself is not the solution. But the change required to make BIM successful will ultimately allow for better construction, better buildings and a better environment. Successful BIM implementation requires a partnership of people, process and technology and for project teams to understand and appreciate each other’s roles as professionals. More →

Report claims workplace fails to support employees with musculoskeletal disorders

musculoskeletal disordersWhen determining what constitutes a well-designed office, it’s easy to overlook the overriding need to ensure a workplace is designed first and foremost to be inclusive. Given the fact that musculoskeletal disorders remain the largest single cause of days of work lost due to sickness absence, it’s worrying to discover that many organisations fail to meet the needs of those dealing with such conditions. The new report ‘Self-management of chronic musculoskeletal disorders and employment’ from the Fit for Work UK Coalition and The Work Foundation found that despite sufferers’ efforts to remain at work, many are forced to ‘self-manage’ their condition without adequate support; with for instance an employee being forced to partake in a hot desk policy when they required their own, fixed workspace. As the report states, this lack of help is ‘all the more perverse’ when you take into consideration the role that work can play in helping to contribute to mental and physical wellbeing. More →

Workplace design is increasingly interwoven with the dynamics of the city

workplace designThe Workplace Strategy Summit, held near my adopted home town of Reading in June attracted some of the world’s most renowned experts on workplace design and management. As is the case these days, much of the talk focussed on urbanisation, both in its own right and in terms of its influence on the design of work and workplaces. One speaker, Andrew Laing of Aecom argued convincingly that the city is just as much a part of the modern workplace as the traditional office. ‘As we explore the future of work and place, we are beginning to see a shift towards an urban scale in how we frame the workplace problem,’ he said. ‘Our starting point is perhaps no longer the office but the city at large. And what we mean by the city may not be the bricks and mortar urbanism of the twentieth century, but a bricks and mortar urbanism imbued with digital information and connectivity: a powerful combination of the physical and digital.’

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We may not know what the future holds, but we can certainly be prepared for it

unknown-futureGiven the track record of people when it comes to making predictions about the future, it’s easy to grow cynical, especially when it involves a profession as subject to the vagaries of technological and cultural change as facilities management. But while we should be wary of more fanciful and long term thinking, any natural scepticism shouldn’t blind us to those predictions that we know will largely come true, especially those based on what we know is happening already. For example, recent research carried out by Cass Business School and Henley Business School and presented in the book Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work found that two-thirds of managers believe there would be a revolution in working practices over the coming ten years. Given what we’ve seen over the past ten years, it’s impossible to argue any different. In fact the only quibble we should have with this is that it won’t take another ten years for this to happen because the process is already well underway.

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The collaboration between BIFM and CIPD unites the workplace tribes

workplace tribesThe world of work and the workplace is always changing. We know it. You know it. In fact, there are a whole host of people that know it, but depending on what side of the professional fence you sit on, you might approach it in different ways, looking through a different lens or with a specific focus. Or are you already bridging the professional gap? Workplace change and the numerous ramifications of it are well documented. In a world that is changing, at frightening pace, it is strange to think that many of the ways in which we work are so entrenched in 20th century thinking. We need to break away from this and outline what the future is going to look like and how we should adapt. Or do we already have the answers? This ground is well trodden. However, it could be time to reassess our thinking and the way we approach this challenge, ensuring it becomes the norm for organisations around the world.

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There is a moral imperative to meet global standards in workplace performance

International evolution in global standards of workplace managementMany corporate organisations now operate on a global scale, with operations spread across a number of countries and continents. But while they are geographically diverse, they nevertheless have a requirement to meet measurable standards of performance, delivered on a consistent basis regardless of location. If something works well in one country, companies want to be able to replicate it in all others. Wherever standards relating to compliance, health and safety, sustainability, leadership or management are most rigorous, it makes good business sense to employ those same standards wherever they have a presence. But from the collapse of a building full of factory workers in Bangladesh to the death of hundreds of construction workers in Qatar, the need to promote and adhere to international standards is more than a matter of mere commerciality.

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Corporate social reponsibility remains a vital part of the business armoury

Corporate Social responsibilityThere is now an unstoppable energy for radical change in the way that companies of all sizes conduct their Corporate Social Responsibility duties. There are compelling economic and social reasons for companies to construct new ways of thinking and practice around CSR that go way beyond just doing something worthy or nice, from building effective partnerships to attracting top employees. Some companies prefer terms like ‘corporate responsibility’, ‘corporate conscience’, ‘corporate citizenship’, ‘social performance’, ‘sustainability’ or even ‘future-proofing’ over CSR. But the core CSR principles are that a business voluntarily commits to embracing responsibility for its actions and to impacting positively on the environment, on society and on consumers, employees and other stakeholders. More →

Keeping remote employees motivated is key to successful flexible working culture

Flexible working has barely been out of the news since the latest government changes. But while allowing employees to work remotely can do wonders for staff retention, motivating them and keeping them in the loop presents a new problem. Although self-starting employees feel that they have more control over their work and fewer distractions, it can also lead to a sense of isolation. It is important for retention that you not just offer a flexible working option to employees, but that all the staff make an effort to continue allowing them to feel like a part of the team. The four best practices that will help you motivate employees that telecommute are: ensuring you build trust between those who telecommute and their colleagues from the start; establish regular communication between remote and in-office staff; manage goals, expectations and outcomes and take steps to establish that remote working is made part of the company culture. More →

Book Review: Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval

Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Nikil Saval’s book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace pulls off that rare feat for a parochial business book of being intelligent and informed (which many are) as well as fascinating, entertaining and realistic, which is rather less commonplace. He pulls this off with plenty of references to pop culture including television series such as Will and Grace, films such as Office Space and The Apartment and, inevitably, the Dilbert cartoons. There is also a great deal of enjoyment to be had in the slightly jaded tone of his writing and brutal evisceration of the likes of Tom Peters who is singled out for special criticism. So too, his take on the very  idea of the ‘Office of the Future’ with its slides, basketball courts, pool tables and vivid colours.

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Government must solve problem of London’s wasted commercial property

London commercial propertyThe UK Government needs to act on the growing issue of wasted commercial property space in Greater London, and it needs to do so as a matter of some urgency. Statistics from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) show that since 1998, a worrying 58 per cent of London boroughs have seen vacancy rates either increase or stay the same. What is most concerning for businesses in the London region is that this rising figure, coming at a time when commercial rents are soaring, has gone unchecked since 2006, the time at which the DCLG stopped collating the data because of budgetary cuts. One of the worst performing boroughs is the City of London, which has seen a 100 per cent increase in vacant commercial properties during the period from 1998 up until the point at which the DCLG stopped publishing data.

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The debate about open plan offices is not helped by its use of stereotypes

Open plan offices and national stereotypesThe incessant debate about open plan offices is informed by a number of assumptions that can lead us to misunderstand the issues involved. Nigel Oseland eviscerates several of them excellently here, making it plain that a great deal is lost in translation somewhere over the mid-Atlantic. In truth, the European and US experiences of the open plan are very different and while we in the UK could always laugh along with our US counterparts at the organisational insanity of Dilbert, the cubicles themselves were largely alien to us. Another red herring in the debate is the idea that the open plan office is for extroverts and its alternatives for introverts. There is something in this but it’s too simplistic an idea and is often built around the stereotypes associated with sectors such as TMT, the age of workers (especially Gen Y) and supposed national characteristics, not least the reserve of Brits and the brashness of Yanks.

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