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Flexible working and smart tools prove a big hit with UAE employees

Flexible working and smart tools prove a big hit with UAE employees 0

Flexible working in UAEIt’s not just in the UK where employees say they are attracted by the idea of flexible working. A new study from YouGov commissioned by the Dubai based Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) claims that employees in the United Arab Emirates now rate employers most highly for the smart tools and flexible working opportunities they offer. The study of over 1,000 employees and HR professionals in the UAE was commissioned to uncover emerging trends in human capital management. It found that 64 percent of employees rate flexible working hours, provided by employers based on personal circumstances, as good or very good, which is particularly prevalent amongst Emirati respondents (83 percent). The majority of employees (74 percent) also believe a remote and flexible work schedule increases their productivity.

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Uptake of flexible working at UK firms continues to gather pace

Uptake of flexible working at UK firms continues to gather pace 0

flexible workingIn the last three years the adoption of flexible working by UK organisations has increased by over a third (37 percent), according to new research published by recruitment consultants Robert Half. The study, based on interviews with 200 HR Directors also claims that concerns that remote working without direct physical supervision leads to a decrease in productivity are increasingly unfounded.  The research reveals that 60 percent believe giving employees greater autonomy over working styles and practices including remote working and flexi-time results in increased productivity. Respondents also increasingly believe that offering greater autonomy to employees results in positive business benefits. Over half (51 percent) thought greater employee autonomy boosts creativity and almost half (45 percent) believe it makes employees easier to manage.

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WELL building standard launched in China 0

macquries (1)The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) have launched their WELL Building Standard in China. The standard sets out to improve the health and wellbeing of people and claims to complement international green building rating programs such as LEED, BREEAM International and Three Star. The Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features that may impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nutrition, light, physical health, comfort and mental and psychological wellbeing. The standard claims to be based on medical research that links buildings with the health and wellness of the people working and living in them and helps building owners and occupiers to understand those links and create a healthier working environment.

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Cambridge to get new tower as office take up doubles over last decade 0

Cambridge triangleBoth Oxford and Cambridge are experiencing a huge increase in office take-up, but despite Oxford’s reaching an all-time high last year, it is still three-quarters that of Cambridge. Research by Savills has revealed that Cambridge’s office take-up is double what it was 10 years ago. Now a new 39 metre office tower has been approved by Cambridge City Council which will house Cambridge University’s international exams group, Cambridge Assessment. Called The Triangle site the new building will be situated on Shaftesbury Road in Cambridge, which was previously home to Cambridge University Press’s Edinburgh Building. The new building will be designed to bring together Cambridge Assessment’s locally-based staff, currently based at 11 different sites – into one headquarters by 2018, when staff numbers will be about 2,300.

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Latest issue of the Insight newsletter is now available to view online 0

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; Justin Miller previews this year’s Milan International Furniture Fair; John Sacks reviews the 35th China International Furniture Fair in Guangzhou and Charles Marks explains why Facebook’s new offices sport a traditional open-plan design. News that commercial occupiers in London are willing to pay a premium for outside access and upper floor views, the latest CIPD research finds that one in three workers have experienced conflict at work, and a US-survey highlights the negative impact on productivity of working with a toxic colleague. There is also video footage of Perry Timms‘ talk on the challenges and opportunities of the future of work made at his TedX in Bucharest. 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.

Workplace wellness programmes can reduce obesity levels of staff 0

Workplace wellness programme can reduce obesity levelsWorkplace wellness programmes can help people lose weight, but are more effective when staff are actively involved in the process, a new study has found. The results of a two-year project published in the American Journal of Public Health show that providing healthier food choices and increasing opportunities for physical activity, successfully reduced the number of people considered overweight or obese by almost 9 percent. Results were particularly good when these efforts were designed with the input and active participation of employees. An estimated 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. As they spend on average a third of their lives at work; researchers based at the University of Rochester’s Department of Public Health Sciences worked with a local company to see how effective workplace intervention could be in addressing the obesity problem.

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Why Facebook and other tech giants still apply mainstream office design ideas 0

Facebook-560x480This week Facebook moved into its new offices in Menlo Park, California. As you might expect they are somewhat out of the ordinary. Designed by Frank Gehry, they are bright, open and loaded with quirky and colourful design ideas. Yet upon closer inspection their underlying office design principles are often resolutely mainstream, not least the inclusion of what is billed as the world’s largest open plan office. In fact this has the personal backing of the CEO himself and has long been the core element in the brief because Facebook sees the idea of openness as being an essential part of its mission and business model. Mark Zuckerberg announced the opening of the building on his own Facebook page (where else?). In his official statement, he explains the thinking behind the design in an interesting way and it bears reproducing.

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Video: Perry Timms lays down some thoughts on the future of work

Video: Perry Timms lays down some thoughts on the future of work 0

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Regular readers will know we’re not too fond of the F Word at Insight. This isn’t because we think there is nothing to talk about when it comes to the future (what else did you think we meant?) of work and workplaces. We just believe that the word is now routinely misapplied to justify an endless effluvia of simplistic nonsense, absurd generalisations, undisguised commercialism and wishful thinking. Not to mention the eternally tedious idea that the ‘office of the future’ can be defined in very specific ways based on a few supposedly cool but actually infantile features borrowed from primary schools. Fortunately, all this misdirection makes the informed, wise and sober reflections of Perry Timms all the more powerful when he spoke recently at TedX in Bucharest to outline the challenges and opportunities of the future of work.

Driverless cars will transform the UK economy by 2030, claims report

Driverless carsA new study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and KPMG claims that the development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320,000 jobs in the UK and deliver huge benefits to society and the economy. The first ever comprehensive analysis of the opportunities provided by the new technology claims that by 2030 driverless cars will deliver a £51 billion boost to the UK economy, reduce congestion and carbon emissions and cut serious road traffic accidents by more than 25,000. By that time all new cars will incorporate some form of connectivity, according to the report’s authors. It also predicts that the UK will be a global leader in the production of this next generation of vehicles, with the support of Government including financial backing. The study was presented at last week’s SMMT conference in London.

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The latest issue of the newsletter is now available to view online

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; we glimpse the lives of Japanese workers who reject social norms and instead choose to live in Internet cafes; a new report explores how artificial light and the dark affect us in more ways than we might think; HSBC announces its plans to relocate a thousand employees from London to Birmingham; the civil service looks for better ways to meet the needs of disabled staff and overcome their current barriers to career progression; the Government reports on the state of its estate including a look at how it is introducing new ways of working to drive change; a new report lays out the challenges and opportunities of the much talked abut subject of workplace wellbeing; and Anna King offers some thoughts on this year’s MIPIM event. 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.

MIPIM demonstrated how property industry is moving with the times

16600996569_f9cd51af5f_kIn its 26th year, the colossus conference that is MIPIM was back in full flow. With 93 countries were present, 4, 500 investors and 22, 000 registered delegates there were numerous developments presenting opportunities around the world. And crucially, there were more people apparently buying than selling, meaning that strong investment activity will follow. A dumbfounding prediction from property agent Cushman & Wakefield, that global real estate investment could rise 11% to 1.2 trillion euros – an indication of just how much healthier the market is. However, the renewed positivity isn’t simply a return to the ‘good times’, it is apparent that the pain the recession brought in 2008 hasn’t been forgotten and we are seeing a revised formula for property that includes sustainability, collaboration and – crucially – people.

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Budget to focus on flexible working, broadband and regional economy

flexible workingAccording to reports in today’s Times, two of the key commitments in this week’s budget announcement will be a commitment to the development of the UK’s technological infrastructure as well as more details on plans for the UK’s regional economies. What is telling about both is they signal an overdue recognition that the vast majority of the UK’s inhabitants don’t live in London and even those that do find it increasingly unaffordable and unattractive. Accordingly, the first communities to be targeted for superfast and ultrafast broadband will be those in the remotest parts of the country, which until now have been those most at risk of being in the slow lane of technological developments. The Times reports that until now about 1.5 million homes were due to miss out on a pledge to give 95 per cent of people access to fast internet by 2017.

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