Search Results for: flexible working

Lack of sleep of over a third of workers could be costly to the US economy

pillow02Forty-two percent of U.S. adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep on a typical night, the minimum number of hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for those aged 18 and older. Gallup research reveals not getting enough sleep is not only linked to lower well-being for individuals, but it is also costly to the U.S. economy. Employees may not have enough time to sleep because of working long hours, family obligations, insomnia or having poor well-being in other areas. For example, poor physical well-being, social isolation or financial strain could adversely affect quantity of sleep. According to Gallup, employers should explore interventions to promote the value of sleep and its link to employees’ well-being, as this relates to engagement, healthcare costs and productivity. When possible, they may want to allow employees to work flexible hours, which could make it easier for workers to balance work and family demands with getting enough sleep.

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Acas publishes guidance on shared parent leave as countdown begins

Acas publishes guidance on shared parent leave as countdown beginsWith just eight weeks to go until new rules on Shared Parental Leave (SPL) come into force, parents with babies due on or after 5 April 2015  should now give their employers 8 weeks’ notice of the pattern of leave they intend to take. The estimated 285,000 working couples a year who are expected to be eligible can start sharing up to 50 weeks of parental leave after 5 April and expectant parents need to have that all-important conversation with their employers. Acas has published a new free guide on Shared Parental Leave to help employers and employees understand how these new changes will affect them and how to manage leave requests fairly. They advise that eligible employees and their employers need to start having early discussions about the different options available so that preparing and planning the leave is as straightforward as possible.

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This isn’t a golden era for small business; it’s more interesting than that

small businessesYesterday, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor Lord Young produced a report into the key trends experienced by the UK’s small businesses over the past five years. According to the headline figures presented by the report, this is a ‘golden era’ for small businesses in the UK, with a record number of small firms in the country. The reported 5.2 million small firms represents an increase of 760,000 over the five year period covered by the study. The report concludes that the main drivers of this upsurge are the growing belief people have in their own ideas and abilities coupled with the technological wherewithal to make them a commercial reality. Lord Young also claims the Government deserves some credit for providing the business landscape for this to happen. But is it really that simple?

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How well designed office hives can foster swarm intelligence

sourceimageA beehive in your back-garden is hardly ideal, nor is stumbling across an ants’ nest while searching for a picnic spot. However, these swarms have become the inspiration for a revolutionary new way of working. Swarm intelligence describes how a group of people find effective solutions to difficult problems and their ability to adapt automatically to changing environments and work as a team of equals. To get the full benefits of swarm intelligence, we need to make sure that our offices have areas where staff can collaborate. There can be no rigid structures or process chains that ideas have to go through. The flow of knowledge shouldn’t be restricted. It should be allowed to flood through our businesses and offices and take no account of whether the people sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions have been with a company for five days or five years.

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Whatever you might hear, the death of the office is still some way off

I was recently asked to join a roundtable about the future of office working at the offices of The Guardian newspaper. Being a simple soul I was quite confused to be asked about the ‘death of the office’ whilst sitting in an office. It seemed not only alive, but also very present. But maybe the sun is starting to set on that way of working. You can find the overview here and I’d draw your attention to the fact that according to The Guardian I had, after 2 hours, reached a point where I was ‘speaking for the whole meeting’. I’m sure I only spoke for part but it may have seemed more to others present. More →

Case Study: AutoTrader motors into its new Manchester digital playground

_MG_0491smEven in the context of a rapidly declining print market, the decision to end AutoTrader’s 37-year history as a printed magazine was not an easy one to take. At its height, Auto Trader had a circulation of 368,000, but in June 2013 the final printed copy rolled off the presses and the business began its new incarnation as a purely digital platform. Of course, this transformation was a long time in the making and had actually begun ten years earlier.  By the time the print room lights went out, all of Auto Trader’s revenues had not only migrated online, but experienced significant growth too. It is Auto Trader’s growth during this process of transformation that is considered so unique in the publishing world and is proof that the business’ aspiration to be at the forefront of the digital marketplace is not just a wide-eyed intention. The website boasts 11.5million unique users, carrying out more than 140 million searches across mobile, table and desktop devices and the business is set to launch an extensive TV advertising campaign on boxing day.

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Hotels allocating more public space to meet the needs of business travellers

Business TravellersPresenteeism isn’t restricted to the workplace. Growing demand from business travellers means hotels are increasing the amount of working and meeting space they provide in their facilities in cities across Europe and the rest of the world. Three quarters of British employees work while staying in a hotel according to the survey carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute on behalf of hotel business solutions firm HRS. Only Italians spend more time working in hotels (76 percent), followed the UK (75 percent), Poland and Switzerland (50 percent respectively), Germany (46 percent), China (45 percent), Russia (43 percent), Austria (42 percent) and France (25 percent). The firm has also identified a number of hotels around the world which it believes offers exemplars of the new working spaces available.

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Yet another report into the Future of Work that is really about the present

Future of WorkJust a few days ago, a survey from Morgan Lovell and the British Council for Offices highlighted the value British workers placed on having somewhere to work, regardless of its drawbacks, privations and distractions. Now a new report from consultants PwC seems to draw the opposite conclusion. Heralded by predictably tedious headlines declaring the office to be dead or dying, The Future of Work: A Journey to 2022 claims that a quarter of the 10,000 people surveyed believe the traditional job will disappear and around a fifth claim to have already had enough of the 9 to 5 in a fixed physical space and would prefer to work in a ‘virtual place’ – which seems to mean anywhere with WiFi.  As ever, any report addressing ‘The Future of Work’ is primarily and perhaps unwittingly about the present.

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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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BCO study finds office remains the best place to do business

BCO study finds office remains the best place to do businessThe challenge for the typical office is that it is meant to satisfy a broad range of individuals and a variety of working practices; which means what some may describe as a distracting open-plan layout, others would view as a busy collaborative workspace. These conflicts are highlighted in a new study by the British Council for Offices (BCO), Morgan Lovell and Hatch, which surveyed 2,000 UK office workers’ working conditions, attitudes and expectations. For example while over two thirds were critical of the distractions of the open-plan office, nine out of ten employees believe that support from colleagues enhances their wellbeing. Putting aside the open-plan debate, the study espouses the continued importance of the office as the best place to do business and comes up with three key starting points to help employers create a culture of wellbeing: care; control and collaboration. More →

It’s not just workers in the UK who toil in the unblinking gaze of BYOD

Unrelenting gaze of BYODAs we reported earlier, the UK’s managers now routinely put in up to between one and two extra days of work a week thanks to the technological presenteeism associated with BYOD and other practices. But of course the phenomenon is not restricted to these shores. A survey from US business software firm BMC found that the average employee applying BYOD practices now works an extra two hours each day, a third check their emails between 6 and 7 each morning, each person deals with an extra 20 emails daily, and obviously does so using his or her own devices. You can either see this as an increase in productivity, or you can see it as more evidence of our willingness to subject ourselves to the round the clock work and the unblinking eye of the smartphone. What is also apparent from the BMC report is that while companies are overwhelmingly keen on the BYOD idea – some 95 percent allow it in some form – 84 percent offer employees little or no support and 64 percent do not train staff in security issues.  Infographic below: More →

Employers may need to take a disciplined approach to the World Cup

Employers taking a discipline approach to the World CupWith the World Cup now underway, many football fans will be gripped with football fever over the next month, but employers could face HR headaches as a result. Given the time difference in Brazil, games at this year’s World Cup will take place during the late afternoon and evenings in the UK. England’s opening game against Italy at 11pm this Saturday night is unlikely to cause most employers much disruption, but the next England game against Costa Rica which kicks off at 5pm on Tuesday 24 June could result in employees wanting to leave before the end of their working day. Late kick off times also have the potential to result in employees being absent the following day as they recover from the excesses of the night before. On most match days the final whistle of the last game of the day will not be blown until around 1am UK time. More →

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