Search Results for: opportunities

Focus of investment should be skills, broadband and local transport say CEOs

Dear SantaThe Government should focus investment on the development of skills and broadband if it wants to drive economic growth. That is the message from a survey of 100 British CEOs carried out by Grant Thornton. Key findings of the report include the fact that 70 percent of respondents would like to see better access to training and development opportunities, 59 percent want to see an improvement in digital infrastructure and 57 percent would like more spending on roads. The Government’s flagship schemes – the Heathrow expansion, HS2 and the proposed new trans-Pennine railway receive a lukewarm response, with the majority of respondents appearing more keen on greater investment in existing long distance rail services, local public transport networks and the greater use of the UK’s underutilised regional airports. There is also a mixed response to plans for greater devolution with support only if regional Governments don’t add another layer of bureaucracy for businesses.The report has been published ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne.

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Worktech weaves together the strands of people, place and technology

WorktechDay two of Worktech London and affirmation that far from dying, as so many headline writers would have us believe, the office is merely entering a new phase. The underlying theme of Worktech continues to be how we find new ways of weaving together the strands of presence and connectedness formed by cities, buildings and technology. Worktech is a constant reminder that while our world may be shaped by algorithms, we still need each other and need to be with other people at least some of the time. The event is admirably hosted by long time collaborator and MC Jeremy Myerson whose knowledge and donnish charm holds things together while the real Don, founder Philip Ross, beams from the sidelines. It is now de rigeur for such events to have a poet in residence and this year’s was Matt Harvey who summed things up at the end of the day with reference to Worktech’s longstanding idea of jellybean working  but who popped up in between sessions with lyrical summations including one that showed some real spunk (you had to be there).

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UK workers feeling more optimistic on state of global economy than the PM

UK workers feeling more optimistic on state of global economy than the PMDavid Cameron has begun the week with dire warnings on the fragility of the global economy, but UK workers are (or were) feeling more optimistic. According to an annual report, there’s been a significant uplift in optimism, stability and dynamism, compared to the same time last year. The Workforce View 2014/15 by ADP, which measures the views and attitudes of more than 2,500 UK workers, suggests that the positive economic outlook reported so far in 2014/15 has filtered down to employees. The study shows that more than three quarters of workers (77%) now feel optimistic about their next 10 years at work, up from 64 per cent in 2013 and just 59 per cent in 2012. Over a quarter (26%) of respondents went further, saying they are ‘very optimistic’ about the years ahead – double the figure reported just one year ago (13%). Workers say they are more confident about job security (36 per cent), feel that career opportunities are growing again (35%) and sense the economy is improving, thereby benefiting their careers (32%). More →

Twice as many employees will use BYOD by 2018, predict analysts

Twice as many employees will use BYOD by 2018 predict analystsBy 2018, there will twice as many bring-your-own devices (BYOD) used at work than employer-owned laptops. However, when designing BYOD programmes, employers need to ensure that they target users who have interest and propensity to use a wider choice of devices for work and feel relatively at easy with technology. According to Gartner, throughout 2017, 90 per cent of organisations will support some aspect of BYOD, and predicts that by 2018 there will be twice as many employee-owned devices used for work than enterprise-owned devices. The analysts says this is because tablets (BYOD) offer better opportunities than that of enterprise owned-laptops and smartphones, as IT departments can support nearly three times more users in tablet BYOD programs than enterprise-owned devices. BYO smartphone programmes have a total cost of ownership that is very similar to those of enterprise-owned smartphones, but will only deliver savings when the organisation is in a position to pay partial, or do not reimburse or subsidise for voice and data plans. More →

Workplace Week focuses on the office and individual productivity in all its forms

1KP_4971The holy grail of improving people’s productivity was the focus of this year’s Workplace Week, which took place last week from 3-7th November and raised more than £12,500 for Children in Need. The annual event organised by AWA and designed as a celebration of workplace innovation, included visits to 11 workplaces showcasing the latest techniques to get people performing at their very best, a day-long convention and a series of Fringe events. Andrew Mawson, who heads up AWA, opened the convention by setting the discussion in context. “We have maximised asset productivity by getting more people into buildings, and therefore working a building harder. But we need to focus on human productivity. If each organisation could make each person just 5 per cent more productive, that would have a major impact both on that organisation and the wider economy. In the knowledge economy we need to get the very best performance out of each and every brain on the payroll and to create the conditions that consciously support that.

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Built environment argues economic benefits of meeting climate change challenge

Leaders of built environment argue economic benefits of climate changeFollowing the publication of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, warning about the effects of global climate change; the chief executives and senior leaders of 18 major businesses in the construction and property sector have written an open letter, published in The Daily Telegraph to highlight the economy opportunity presented by climate change and to defend the UK’s ground breaking Climate Change Act. In the letter, which includes signatories from Land Securities Group, BAM Construct and Balfour Beatty, the leaders warn that “undermining of the Climate Change Act is deeply unhelpful, and creates uncertainty”, and that “it should continue to be the central framework against which to deliver clear and consistent policy. It states: “Our businesses are convinced that Britain can and should be a world leader, and that far from being a burden to UK Plc, clear commitment to tackling climate change will open up opportunities for businesses both at home and abroad.”

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BIM adoption set to soar in UK and US over next two years, claims report

BIM Level 2Building owners are embracing building information modelling (BIM) as a powerful technology benefitting the design process, managing project schedules, controlling costs and minimizing project errors, according to the recent McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report “The Business Value of BIM for Owners”. The latest report focuses on the business value of BIM from the perspective of building owners in the United States and United Kingdom for whom the technology has been deployed. Initially adopted as a design tool and later evolving into an important tool for contractors, its adoption among building owners is expanding, the report claims, and that building owners are becoming more directly involved as “their power is even greater to align BIM use with their specific goals, engage more effectively with all stakeholders and extend the value of BIM beyond construction into facility management.” The study claims that 40 percent of US owners and 38 percent of UK owners expect that more than 75 percent of their projects will involve the technology in just two years.

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Employee engagement and satisfaction levels increase, despite career concerns

Levels of employee engagement and satisfaction increase

Levels of job satisfaction and employee engagement are on the up, despite the fact that more than a quarter (28%) of employees report being either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the level of career training and development offered by their current employer. The latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook survey found that one in three employees (33%) felt their career progression to date has failed to meet their expectations, however, levels of job satisfaction have increased over the last 12 months, rising by four percentage points to +44. The survey suggests that although employees might be satisfied in their current job role, there is a clear link between satisfaction with the level of career training and development and job-seeking intentions. Only 12 per cent of those satisfied with the level of career training and development are looking for a new job with another organisation, compared to almost a quarter (23%) of employees overall.  The proportion of engaged employees has also grown to reach 38 per cent from 35 per cent in spring 2014, now matching the levels of engagement a year ago. More →

New BREEAM environmental standard launched for UK office refurbishment and fit-outs

Office refurbishmentThe Building Research Establishment (BRE) has launched the latest addition to its flagship sustainability accreditation scheme. Launched fully at MIPIM UK, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) Refurbishment and Fit-Out 2014 standard has been in development for around  two years, a period which has included consultations with some of the UK’s largest commercial property occupiers, end users as well as a full assessment of a pilot project at BRE’s base near Watford. It joins existing BREEAM standards as a way of assessing the sustainability of office refurbishment and fit-out projects in the UK and overseas. The standards were tested on a simulated refurbishment project at the BRE site and achieved, in the words of the organisation,  “significant savings as well as many other positive learning outcomes”. Firms which took part in the two year development and consultation period included Lloyds, Boots, Legal & General and The Green Investment Bank.

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Majority of UK SMEs believe technology can help rebalance the economy

North south divideThe UK’s small and medium sized businesses believe that the regional divide in the economy can be bridged to a large extent by technology, according to a new report from Brother UK. According to the report, Regional Attitudes to Growth and Competitiveness, carried out in conjunction with Cardiff University and based on a survey of 600 SMEs around the country, over half (57 percent) believe technology was the key driver of their region’s competitiveness and only one in ten say the competitiveness of their region has declined since the start of the recession. Over two thirds (71 percent) believe technology can improve regional competitiveness and slightly more (73 percent) believe it’s possible to service customers and clients across multiple regions efficiently from their current location. The survey also claims that because each company spends an average of 244 working days a year on business travel and the UK has the second highest annual business travel spend of any Western European nation, despite its comparatively small size, many firms are turning to technology to enhance their competitiveness.

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Two more major US firms scale back flexible working because people work better together

flexible workingPerhaps the most talked about workplace issue of 2013 was the decision by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo to oblige the company’s homeworkers to return to the embrace of the corporate bosom. It was controversial but a lot of businesses clearly prefer people to work together in one place for significant periods of time. Yahoo’s methods only differed from those of companies like Google in using a stick to drive them there rather than the carrot of a gilded and playful tech palace to entice them. The controversy in the Yahoo case seemed to derive from a challenge to the received wisdom about flexible working and the same voice have risen in indignation over the past couple of weeks as two more American companies have made it known it’s best for everybody if they spend more time working together under one roof. Reddit and Bank of America have joined Yahoo and HP in deciding people collaborate better when they are in physical proximity.

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Julian Assange escapes incarceration to take part in conference as a hologram

Julian Assange escapes incarceration to take part in conference as a hologram

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We have grown accustomed to the way technology distorts time and space. This, after all, is the underlying tension that defines each of the major debates about the workplace, including flexible working, office design, facilities management and the acquisition of commercial property. But, as they say, we ain’t seen nothing yet as the next generation of technologies starts to scale the upslope of the diffusion of innovation curve. People have been talking about telepresence for a little while, but it is about to achieve mainstream awareness thanks to events such as the appearance of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange at a conference in the USA last week. Assange is famously holed up in London in the Ecuadorian Embassy, challenging his extradition to Sweden to face trial and can’t leave the building without being arrested. So the way he appeared at the conference in Nantucket was as a hologram.

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