Search Results for: government

Why we should be wary of expert predictions for 2014

Dart throwingAs ever the first day back at work coincides with a flood of forecasts about what will happen in the world in the year ahead. But predictions are often more interesting in retrospect than they are in their own time. For example, each year The Economist produces its one-off ‘The World in…’ publication which asks well-informed academics and writers to tackle an issue that relates to their own specialism. This year these relate to issues such as Scottish independence (it’s a ‘no’, by the way), the rise of African economies and a potential customer backlash against technology businesses and the rich geeks who own them. Interesting though it is to read all of this, The Economist is at least honest in publishing a list of its hits and misses, whereas most people appear to just pretend the misses never happened.

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BA becomes first European airline to allow electronics use throughout flights

BA becomes first European airline to allow electronics use throughout flights

Butterfly cocoonThose of us who feel bereft when we are forced to abandon our links to a world beyond our immediate surroundings and companions for even a few minutes will be delighted at the news that British Airways has become the first European airline to allow electronic devices to be switched on for the whole time passengers spend on their aircraft, including take-off and landing. However, it’s not all good news for Europe’s presenteeist army of solipsist tech addicts as they will still not be able to text, call or use wireless connections. But they will at least be able to use their phones, tablets, e-Readers or laptops offline rather than talk to somebody, read a book or newspaper or even take the slightest interest in what is happening right in front of their eyes.

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More than half of UK’s increasingly disengaged workforce looking to switch jobs

Jumping-shipStaff disengagement is already costing the UK economy dear, and is also one of the reasons why nearly half of all UK employees are currently looking to leave their current jobs over the next year, a contrast of two new surveys reveals. The first report, from private healthcare provider BUPA, found that disengaged and unhealthy staff  cost the UK economy around £6 billion each year. The second report from Investors in People (IIP) – a Government created business improvement agency – claims that just under half of all British employees (47 percent) are considering whether to move jobs during 2014. This represents some 14 million individuals so if you lend both reports credence, employers may have serious issues retaining their best employees as the jobs market picks up.

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Extended rights to flexible working could prove a logistical headache for employers

Extended rights to flexible working could prove a logistical headache for employers

A recent decision by the government could result in emptier offices on Fridays and Mondays as staff vie with each other to work from home. This is because from April 2014 onwards, employers will have to be prepared to consider flexible working requests from any employee, not just for employees who have children under the age of 17 or responsibilities as carers. One of the more challenging areas for employers is how to manage condensed hours requests and to keep enough staff covering core office hours, without affecting the business. This could result in employers having to juggle competing flexible working requests from employees who they may not be able to accommodate all at the same time. More →

Mid-sized firms are unsung champions of the economic recovery says CBI

Unsung champions of economic recoveryMedium-sized businesses (MSBs) are making a significant contribution to jobs and growth across the UK. Between March 2010 and March 2013 they have created 185,000 jobs, a 4.1 per cent increase compared with 1.9 per cent by large companies and 2.8 per cent by small firms. New CBI research published today shows that despite only accounting for 1.8 per cent of the UK private sector, MSBs, which employ between 50-499 people and have a turnover of £10-100 million, now employ 4.7 million people across the UK – 16 per cent of the total UK workforce. The CBI has launched #MSBMonday to boost recognition for MSBs and is calling on local government and policy makers to do more to recognise and support medium-sized businesses as their local champions. More →

Technology means UK small business owners are unable to switch off, says report

Can't reach off switchNearly half of the UK’s small business owners feel unable to ever get away completely from work, according to a new report from Lloyds Bank. The survey, published in the bank’s Small Business Report found that 47 percent of microbusiness owners and sole traders feel unable to completely switch off from work due to their reliance on technology to operate. More than two fifths (41 percent) work longer hours to keep up according to the report from Lloyds, which has itself recently been accused by the Government of deliberately forcing small businesses under.  According to the survey, over two thirds  (70 percent) of small businesses are concerned that their commercial health will suffer if they neglect their online presence.

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The future belongs to those who leave themselves choices of how to deal with it

unknown-futureEverybody likes to talk and read about the future. It’s one of the reasons we see so many reports about what the ‘office of the future’ will look like. Often these attempts at workplace prognosis are overwhelmingly  rooted in the present which might betray either a degree of timidity or lack of awareness of just how far along their standard list of trends we really are. Even when such reports appear to be bang on the money, they tend to disregard one of the most important factors we need to consider when trying to get a handle on the future, which is the need to leave ourselves choices. This is important because not only will the future be stranger than we think, but stranger than we can imagine, to paraphrase J B S Haldane.

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BYOD is not a temporary problem generated by a few errant staff

While most organisations are increasingly feeling the imperative to “do mobile,” many don’t know where to begin. Today’s employers have diverse workforces, made up of full-time staff, external contracting agencies, independent professionals, and part-time staff. In addition to the changes in the workforce, all enterprises (business, government and community) have been pushing their IT processes beyond their own organisational boundaries and it is increasingly clear they don’t have absolute control over the tools used to access their corporate systems and data. All this means, advises the experts at Gartner, bring your own device (BOYD) is not just a purchasing issue, but should be approached more broadly with the applications and strategies necessary for a changing world.

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Zero hours contracts: Are they really such bad news?

Zero hours contracts

Zero hours contracts have hardly been out of the news in recent weeks. The overwhelming majority of the media coverage has been negative, suggesting that zero hours contracts are exploitative of workers and should be outlawed. The pressure gauge has risen to such an extent that, in September, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced that there would be a consultation process to tackle any abuse discovered. The Labour Party has also announced it will be conducting its own review. But why all this sudden interest? Zero hours contracts are not a new phenomenon… and, on the face of it, they provide employers with the type of flexibility which the Government has been so keen to introduce, allowing employers to maintain a flexible workforce capable of meeting short-term staffing needs.  More →

Interview: Dave Coplin of Microsoft on Big Data, engagement and culture

Microsoft Thames Valley 1Dave Coplin joined Microsoft in 2005, and is now its Chief Envisioning Officer, helping to envision the full potential that technology offers a modern, digital society. He is a globally recognised expert on technological issues such Cloud computing, privacy, big data, social media, open government, advertising and the consumerisation of technology and is the author of a recent book called “Business Reimagined: Why work isn’t working and what you can do about it”. He is also one of the main speakers at this year’s Worktech conference in London on 19 and 20 November. In this exclusive interview with Insight he offers his thoughts on the lack of engagement between firms and employees, the most common misunderstandings about flexible working and the challenges facing managers in IT, FM and HR.

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Working Time Directive – why the CBI calls for a permanent opt-out

Working Time Directive - why the CBI calls for a permanent opt-out

The UK’s opt-out of the maximum 48 hour working week being proposed by the EU is yet again under the microscope. This follows the recent publication by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) of a report which highlights the frustration felt by UK businesses regarding the Working Time Directive. “Our Global Future: The Business Vision for a Reformed EU”; focuses specifically on the continuing concerns for UK businesses around the extensive level of involvement EU legislation has on how they operate their business. It shows that the majority of businesses still favour the opt-out and the flexibility it provides. Interestingly however, many did not see the need to change the current entitlement to paid holidays or rest breaks. More →

Leading management bodies launch initiative to help employers value their talent

Management experts join forces in strategic workforce investment initiative

Measuring the value of an organisation’s talent and its people management practices has remained stubbornly elusive. This has prompted a group of leading professional bodies to join forces to help businesses measure the impact of their people on organisational performance and better equip them to improve workforce skills and productivity. The ultimate goal of the ‘Valuing your Talent’ initiative by the CIPD, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Investors in People (IIP) and the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA); is to develop an open framework for the measurement of human capital that will make good people management practices more visible, and encourage businesses to invest more strategically in their workforces.

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