Search Results for: flex

The most read stories on Insight in 2013

Apple 11It’s been one year since Insight first hit the digital streets and it’s been fascinating to see what people have been most interested in. One of the great things about online publishing is you cannot escape from what people think. Printed trade magazines can tell you they send out 12,000 copies or whatever, but they can’t tell you whether the recipients are interested enough to read them or share their contents. Online, that is all made transparent. So it’s been great to start a publication that after just a few months was demonstrably the UK’s most widely read title covering workplace design and management issues. We even know what people like the most. So here, in no particular order, are our most widely read stories from 2013, ranging from the technical to the esoteric, news stories, case studies, the bursting of bubbles and the challenges to received wisdom.

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Don’t be caught by surprise by the hidden costs of commercial property

 

let-signAccording to Colliers International’s recent Global Investor Sentiment Report, 2014 will see an increase in commercial property investor confidence, with 74 per cent of UK based investors saying they were more likely to risk investing across all property sectors, although offices remain the most popular category to invest in. Yet despite this vote of confidence, it seems strange to report that the real costs involved in property acquisition and maintenance, are frequently overlooked by the purchasers. It appears that businesses often have a patchy knowledge of the range of costs involved in owning or leasing commercial real estate, which is surprising when you consider that a company’s biggest single investment next to its workforce is commercial property.

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Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workers

Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workersFlexible working is on the rise. However, as reported today, while employers are happy to equip workers with the facilities required to work away from the office, there is a worrying level of unwillingness amongst many bosses in checking the safety and comfort of home workers. Employers have a duty of care to their home workers under health and safety legislation and the Working Time Regulations 1998. This means that care should be taken by employers to ensure that home workers operate in a safe and appropriate environment. This duty of care goes beyond supplying an ergonomic workstation. Managing home workers requires a varied set of management skills and best practice processes. More →

Case study: dPOP’s jaw-dropping new offices light the road ahead for Detroit

P1020679If you think you know what’s going on in Detroit based on the stories of the city’s financial woes and pictures of some crumbling buildings, it is worth a visit to the offices of dPOP, the two month old design firm with origins in creating the award-winning office spaces for Quicken Loans and its family of companies.The design firm’s space in the basement of a long defunct Detroit bank embodies what being from the Motor City is all about — being tough, but talented; gritty yet glamorous; fun with a funky twist.They design like they don’t care what you think — and that might just be true. Their own offices and those they created for the 11,000 workers that were moved from divergent suburban sites to the center of Detroit are bold, bright and fun. Most of all fun. But the result is spectacular.

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CIPD research finds zero-hours contracts unfairly demonised and oversimplified

CIPD research finds zero-hours contracts unfairly demonised and oversimplified

Further evidence has been published this week that maintains the use of zero-hours contracts is not the evil employment practise portrayed by the media. According to new research by the CIPD, the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK economy has been underestimated, oversimplified and unfairly demonised. The survey of more than 2,500 workers found that zero-hours workers are just as satisfied with their job as the average UK employee, and more likely to be happy with their work-life balance than other workers. The CIPD has also published new guidance, in collaboration with law firm Lewis Silkin, to help tackle poor practice highlighted in the research, such as the poor level of understanding about employment rights among many employers and zero-hours workers.  More →

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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Quality of the place and the pace of work is more important than money

Aol’s new West Coast HQ 395 Page Mill

O+A designed Aol’s new West Coast HQ

In a remarkable session on the future of work at Worktech 13 London this week – Charles Handy declared that organisations need passion, people and profit, in that order. Money isn’t the main motivating factor for individuals either, which is why Handy’s thoughts on the emergence of the portfolio worker should inspire anyone who dreams of quitting their corporate job to do something more interesting instead. Those who don’t have that option would have been cheered to hear the prevailing message at Worktech was that employers are waking up to the fact that the quality of the place and the pace of work (i.e. flexible working) is of equal importance to remuneration in attracting and retaining staff. More →

2020 vision is a useless metaphor for far-sightedness in a number of ways

Looking in telescope wrong wayThe year 2020 is a mere seven years away. Yet the designers of the future workplace and those who invite them to talk about it are still referring to it as if it marks the next frontier of human endeavour and as if we weren’t already up to our collective armpits in the 21st century. The idea of 20/20 vision is considered, in ophthalmological circles at least, to represent “normal” visual acuity and is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain. In practical terms, this means it’s about seeing and interpreting what is directly in front of us at a distance of around 6 metres. So as a metaphor for farsightedness regarding the future of work or workplaces it’s always been a poor one. And as we get closer to the eponymous year, it becomes worse day by day.

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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 →

Workplace Week highlights the changing shape of the office

'High Street' at Network Rail's Milton Keynes base

‘High Street’ at Network Rail’s Milton Keynes base

This year’s Workplace Week  which took place last week was a great success, with more people participating and more money raised for charity. Across the week, over 500 people took part, visiting innovative workplaces, attending the Workplace Week Convention or going along to one of the many Fringe events. Workplace Week is organised by Advanced Workplace Associates and supported by CoreNet Global, BCS, RICS, FMA and BIFM. All proceeds go to the Children in Need charity. Around 60 people joined the speakers at the headquarters of PWC on London’s Southbank for the Workplace Week Convention to discuss ‘Driving productivity through the connected organisation.’ The informal atmosphere and roundtable format encouraged participation, with a focus on developments in organisational design, change management and technology.

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