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FM must deliver better value to be perceived as strategic role

 FM must deliver better value to achieve strategic recognition

Clients and suppliers believe that the FM profession still has some way to go before it achieves the recognition given to other professions. According to Workplace Law’s second annual research study into leadership in facilities management (FM), 91 per cent of client organisations still feel that FM is seen as a supporting, rather than strategic, role – while the same number feel that FM will only achieve a higher ranking within an organisation’s hierarchy when it finds new ways to deliver value. FM suppliers strongly agree with the need to professionalise FM and attract more talent into the profession if FM is to continue as a separate discipline. More →

Facilities Show and Facilities Management Association confirm event partnership

Facilities Show Team at ExCeL

The Facilities Management Association (FMA) has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with the organisers of Facilities Show that will see the two organisations collaborate closely for the 2014 event when it moves to London’s ExCeL. The terms of the partnership with organisers UBM Live, will see the FMA continue to play an integral role in the development of the show by once again hosting the FMA Pavilion, a central meeting and networking hub for its members including many of the major TFMs.

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Active Building Design initiatives announced by New York Mayor

Active design guidelines

The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomburg has announced a series of initiatives to promote physical activity through the design of buildings and public spaces to encourage architects, planners and urban designers help combat obesity in the City. The Center for Active Design, a non-profit organization that promotes changes to the built environment to improve wellness is being created, and the Mayor has issued an Executive Order requiring City agencies use active design strategies when performing new construction and major renovation projects. Two pieces of legislation will promote stairway access in all buildings, with measures such as making stairways more visible to encourage use. More →

FMs must overcome engagement barriers to sustainability implementation

Engagement still barrier to successful sustainability implementation

There is overwhelming support for sustainability to be embedded into business operations, but still some challenges in its successful delivery, according to the 7th annual Sustainability in Facilities Management survey from the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).  Of the top five barriers to implementation success, three related to engagement; engagement overall, amongst senior management and middle management. The report also found that many FMs are not targeting the areas of highest priority relating to behaviours or processes which have the highest impact, but tend to focus on technologies. More →

Dual source lighting schemes illuminate the way ahead for office design

Element790_Siemens2_MToo bright, too dull, too much glare – lighting (alongside air conditioning) is often one of the most contentious factors in a workplace. Office workers need illumination to read, write, type and interact. Yet many workplaces get it wrong and fail to consider the downsides of poor lighting, and as such staff will suffer from eye strain, headaches and postural problems, leading to sick days, not to mention lost productivity and mistakes. Eighty per cent of office workers experience at least one negative effect from poor quality lighting, according to researchers Bruskin Goldring, and 68 per cent of employees complain about the light in their offices, according to a study by the American Society of Interior Designers.

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Cooling advice issued on managing soaring workplace temperatures

Cooling advice on managing higher workplace temperatures

We’d managed to avoid the topic “isn’t it really hot” on Office Insight but as the UK heat-wave enters its third week it’s become impossible to ignore. Employers are being urged by unions to relax workplace dress codes, with the TUC calling for the introduction of a maximum workplace temperature of 30C – or 27C for those doing strenuous work. Under current health and safety law, workplaces can’t legally fall below 16C but there is no upper limit. The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) meanwhile, has issued a new guide that provides greater understanding and improved prediction of overheating in commercial buildings.

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Work pressures mean over half of managers plan to work on holiday

Work pressures mean over half of managers plan to work on holiday

BYOD are either an aide to productivity or fuel unhealthy levels of presenteeism, depending on which piece of research you believe.  In a survey (by mobile comms supplier) Citrix, 24 per cent of managers think that using BYOD while away from the office is the best way to avoid the average 25 per cent drop in productivity suffered by smaller businesses during the holiday period. This is borne out by data from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) which found an overwhelming 80 per cent of managers check their Blackberries or smartphone on holiday, a third (33%) checking in every day, and 54 per cent feel compelled to work while on leave. More →

Personalised design and office plants proven to boost wellness and performance

Personalised design coupled with office plants boost well-being at workAllowing staff to make design decisions in a workspace enhanced with office plants can increase wellbeing and wellness by as much as 47 per cent, increase creativity by 45 per cent and increase productivity by 38 per cent, new research has revealed. Visitors at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show were challenged to take part in the study which measured their creativity, happiness and productivity as they experienced a range of different workspace designs. The findings, which would be expected to translate to a significant increase in business profitability, confront the popular belief that plants and art are an unnecessary or even wasteful element of the business environment. Results from this and related scientific investigations indicate that across all measures of psychological comfort and business performance, the managerially popular flexible, controlled, lean office, is consistently inferior to a space enriched by the design decisions of people who work there.

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NAO confirms £1billion saving through better Government purchasing practices

NAOWhile it’s always wise to be wary of claims made by government departments, the National Audit Office has continued to display its ongoing love of the sterling work of the Efficiency and Reform Group set up by the Cabinet Office by confirming that the department’s claim that over £1 billion has been saved through better UK government purchasing practices  is perfectly true. The ERG said that savings had been achieved primarily by centralising spend on common goods and services and introducing policies requiring departments to purchase less stuff in the first place. Savings were noted across the board including in civil service departments, local government, the emergency services and National Health Service. As ever the NAO added a caveat to its endorsement. Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: ‘While ERG has undoubtedly achieved significant savings for the taxpayer, in future it could spell out more clearly the different types of savings that are included in its claims. Our report makes detailed recommendations which will help ERG to strengthen its assurance of savings claims in future.’

Green Building Council Awards recognise European environmental leadership

Awards open for European Green leadership initiatives

The UK Green Building Council is accepting nominations for the first-ever European Regional Leadership Awards, part of the World Green Building Council Leadership Awards 2013, which recognise international best practice in city-level government policy for green building initiatives. The regional awards are for best practice in green building initiatives, projects, and policies that are supporting healthier and more sustainable communities within the European Region. “The awards promote leadership and inspire governments to replicate best practices in green building policy,” said the WorldGBC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Henley. “Buildings represent an unrivalled opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and cities play an increasingly critical role in seizing this opportunity.”

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UK workers mistrust more contented home-based colleagues

UK workers mistrust more contented home-working colleagues

The debate which ensued following the Yahoo ban on home working earlier this year was as much as about the level of trust felt towards home workers as it was about the importance of collaboration within the workplace. The fact is that for the majority of home workers, day to day life is easier. No commuting, work where you please, no irritating colleagues and the freedom to nip out to the dentist, doctors or parents meeting without having to book a half day off. As a result, while home workers enjoy the best mental health and wellbeing of four groups in a survey of contact centre workers, office workers, home workers and mobile professional workers, their distance from the office-based working population breeds suspicion between them and everybody else. More →

Two separate reports highlight thriving London office market

Holborn Circus

Holborn Circus

The London office market continues to thrive according to two new reports from property consultancies CBRE and BNP Paribas Real Estate. According to the CBRE survey, take-up of Central London office space in the second quarter of 2013 increased by 32 percent compared with the previous quarter while, according to BNP Paribas, the take up of central London offices in the first half of 2013 rose by nearly a quarter 24 percent to 6.02m sq ft compared with the same period in 2012, while activity rose by around a third (31 percent) to 3.08m sq ft in the second quarter of the year compared with the second quarter of 2012. CBRE report that there were three deals for offices over 100,000 sq ft in the period covered and eight deals over 50,000 sq ft, the highest number since Q4 2010.

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