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If you are moving to new offices, make sure you can get rid of the old ones first

Building 1000 - seemed like a good idea at the time

Building 1000 – seemed like a good idea at the time

One of the most common reasons for large organisations to move to new offices is a consolidation of an extensive and disparate estate that has developed over a long period of time. But what happens when the benefits of the move are scuppered because the organisation finds it impossible to get rid of its old buildings? That is the question facing Newham Borough Council as it emerges that it may have to quit the controversially swanky £110 million offices it moved to in 2010 and back into some of the 26 properties it left at the time and has struggled to unburden itself of since.

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EU leads the world in representation of women on corporate boards

Equal rights legislation is largely seen as the best means of ensuring a more diverse workforce. However, when it comes to reaching the higher echelons of corporate life, opinion is divided on whether imposing mandatory quotas could do more harm than good in promoting gender equality. 2013 saw the highest change recorded to date in the average number of women on the boards of large EU corporations – due in part to the introduction of mandatory quotas. Although the third edition of “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women in the Boardroom,” from global law firm Paul Hastings LLP, found strong consensus in many countries to support women candidates, the debate over the best approach to increase representation continues. More →

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

2.Insight_twitter_logo smThis week’s Insight newsletter, available to view online features a review of this year’s 100% Design, including the latest trends in office products and the debates on acoustics and flexible working hosted by Insight during the show. In other news: the number of managers in the UK reaches record levels; winners are announced for the inaugural World Green Building Council Leadership Awards; and demand for social media work tools are on the increase. We also reveal the reasons behind the Government’s campaign to promote BIM amongst smaller businesses; how a culture of “jobs for the boys” procurement is driving some service providers to desperate measures to bag fresh business; and new research on why senior executives persist in working to unhealthy levels.

UK’s leading political parties criticised for a lack of environmental leadership

UK's leading political parties criticised for a lack of environmental leadership Britain’s leading political parties are failing to provide visible and consistent green leadership, threatening two decades of steady environmental policy progress in the UK, warns an influential group of charities today. In The Green Standard 2013, seven leading charities, including WWF, the Green Alliance, Greenpeace and Campaign for Better Transport, assess the green performance of coalition ministers and Labour shadow ministers since the last general election, reviewing the parties on four key areas: the economy, communities, nature and international leadership. The report concludes that none of the parties has a coherent environmental programme and there is no consistent public leadership on the environment from any of the party leaders. More →

Number of people in work rose 80,000 over last three months

Number of people in full time employment rises by 80,000 in three monthsThe number of people in full-time work has increased by 80,000 over the last three months according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics. Employment growth was accompanied by a 24,000 fall in unemployment between May and July meaning the rate of unemployment in the UK this quarter dropped to 7.7 per cent from 7.8 per cent in the previous three months.  However the figures also showed the number of people in part-time work has risen to 1.45 million, the highest since records began in 1992 and double the number of five years ago, which may put more pressure on the government to address the continued controversy over zero hours working. To download the latest ONS labour market statistics click here.

Construction sector awarded £60m for development of more energy efficient buildings

New Government funding announced to develop more energy efficient buildings£60 million to help the UK construction industry design and develop more energy efficient buildings is to be awarded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board. The projects, which address the challenges of both new and existing buildings, are expected to leverage in an additional £60 million of industry investment and £30 million extra funding from across government and other agencies. The board has already invested £83 million of funding through the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, (LIBIP). It aims to help the UK construction industry deliver buildings with a much lower environmental impact by investing jointly with industry and other funders in projects to bring innovative solutions to a growing market for more environmentally friendly buildings.   More →

Go ahead for Google HQ and Farringdon developments but Smithfield plans back on hold

Running track at Google's new Kings Cross HQ

Running track at Google’s new Kings Cross HQ

Two landmark developments in London have been given the go ahead at the same time as the troubled plans to develop the iconic Smithfield market are once again put on ice. Google’s plans for a 924,000 sq. ft headquarters building as an anchor of the redevelopment of Kings Cross were waved through by Camden Council, while Islington Council has also granted permission for a 207,000 sq. ft scheme to develop six storeys of office space, with retail units at street level, on the corner of Cowcross Street and Farringdon Road, one of two new office developments located at the new Crossrail station.

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Latest issue of Insight newsletter is now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn the latest issue of our weekly newsletter, Insight, available to view online: the news that one of the new tranche of landmark buildings in London has become its own death ray; why open-plan offices need to include places of sanctuary; challenging the common misperception that facilities management is a tactical and responsive profession; poll finds UK workers would rather work for a tyrant than a fool; the CBI argues for a more integrated Government approach to energy efficiency policies, including those relevant for the UK’s commercial buildings; new guidance from the BIFM on legislative and regulatory changes for achieving reasonable access for all; and a major new report warns EU countries urgently need to address the particular issues associated with employing older workers.

Facilities managers should harness information to show the value of what they do

empty-toilet-rollOf the various myths that plague the facilities management profession, the most pernicious may well be that the role of facilities managers is largely to carry out what the early feminists called shit-work – the kind of job that only becomes visible when it is done badly or isn’t done at all. Conversely, when it is done well, nobody seems to notice or even care that much. The proto-feminists of the 50s and 60s applied the term to housework, but the term is equally apposite for the work of many facilities managers who may only come to the attention of their organisation when the air-conditioning stops working, the toilet floods or there is a problem with the car park.

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

2.Insight_twitter_logo smThe latest issue of our weekly newsletter, Insight, is now available to view online. This week: the UK’s largest organisations are warned they’re missing out on some of the opportunities presented to them by mobile working; the plight of workers with limited access to washroom facilities; why workplace design is anything but blind – at least it is when done intelligently and with insight; the new living wall designed to reduce flood risk and improve air quality; how a growing communications gap between employees and managers could lead to lack of engagement and lower productivity within the workforce; and the quiet release of a report which shows Central Government is already way off course in its aim to spend 25 per cent of its budget with SMEs by 2015.

Restricted access to washroom facilities leaves staff with nowhere to go

Crossed legsWashrooms, as facilities managers are only too aware can often be the cause of some contention within the workplace, particularly amongst female staff, who frequently complain of having to queue to use the facilities. However, that inconvenience pales into insignificance compared to the plight of many council workers and call centre staff, who, according to trade union Unison are either not able to access public conveniences or are restricted as to when they can take toilet breaks. The unions says cuts to council funding, which has led to the widespread closure of public facilities are adversely affecting those workers who spend their working day out on the road, while in a previous Unison study of call centre workers, around 28 per cent reported that access to a toilet was a problem. More →

CBI raises growth forecasts, but cautious on sustainable recovery

CBI raises growth forecasts but cautious on sustainable recovery

A pick-up in confidence across a broad range of sectors, including services and construction and a better than expected second quarter has led the CBI to raise its growth forecasts, with GDP growth of 1.2 per cent predicted in 2013, up from 1.0 per cent in the May forecast. In 2014, the business group expects the economy to gather pace, forecasting 2.3 per cent GDP growth, up from 2.0 per cent in May. However, unemployment rates look set to stick at around 7.8 per cent. John Cridland, CBI Director-General said: “The economy has started to gain momentum and confidence is picking up, but it’s still early days. We need to see a full-blown rebalancing of our economy, with stronger business investment and trade before we can call a sustainable recovery.” More →