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Latest issue of 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:  with more over 50s in the workforce than ever before, forget Gen Y, the workplace is and will remain multigenerational; the challenge for larger organisations in creating a productive “buzz” in the office; why we propose a version of the Darwin Awards for health and safety; advice on improving the performance of low energy designed buildings; the BIFM bows out of negotiations to merge with fellow trade associations; investor confidence in commercial property reaches the highest level in five years; and we list the seven ways in which flexible working has actually made our lives more rigid.

Smells like team spirit. Strong influence of scent in the workplace

Smells like team spirit. The influence of scent in the workplaceWhen Ireland became the first country in the world to impose an outright smoking ban in public places, it wasn’t long before a hitherto uncharted problem emerged – the smell of body odour in crowded pubs, which it was rumoured at the time – was solved by piping in the smell of smoke to recreate that ‘pub atmosphere,’ but without the carcinogenic effects. Aside from washrooms, how an office smells isn’t a factor which merits as much attention as how it looks or the level of noise, yet olfactory perception can have a powerful effect on our mood, how we regard our surroundings and of course our response to those with which we have to share our space. More →

Dull corporate offices with no “buzz” inhibit productivity, complain staff

Dull corporate offices are stifling productivity

Creating a dynamic and creative workplace is dependent on a number of factors; the office layout and design, the style of management and the wider company culture. Get these elements right and, says workplace consultants Morgan Lovell you hit the “Buzz Barometer” – a combination of a good atmosphere, energy and teamwork which encourages productivity and high levels of employee engagement. However, according to their recent research, three quarters (78 per cent) of employees say they would be significantly more productive if their workplace had more buzz. And worryingly for larger organisations, corporates are failing to match small company buzz, with four-fifths (81 per cent) saying SMEs offer a better working atmosphere than large companies.

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Forget Gen Y – the future workplace is multigenerational

Old dog new tricksThere is quite possibly more guff talked about the impact of Gen Y on businesses and the workplace than any other management topic. However, it’s not only wrong to characterise the people of Generation Y as some homogeneous blob with stereotyped attitudes that set them apart from the rest of humanity, but also to miss the point that the workplace is and will remain multigenerational. In fact, according to new data from the Department of Work and Pensions, there have never been more over 50s in work in the UK than there are right now.  There are 2 million more over-50s in jobs than there were 15 years ago and they will form a third of the workforce by 2020. And they will want their own say on things just as much as the much talked about millennials.

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UKIP quip that women not competitive enough for business obscures real debate

UKIP comment on women not competitive enough for business obscures real debate

The comment by UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler that women are not competitive enough to merit a place in the boardroom grabbed all of the headlines from an important debate on the introduction of gender quotas on City boards. The news broke on the same day that employment body the CIPD issued a warning that businesses will continue to lose talented female workers if they don’t offer them a better work-life balance.  With research showing that around half of female managers choose not to return to work following maternity leave, how far should employers be going to retain female talent and encourage workplace diversity, and does gender equality really require a legislative stick? More →

Unilever extends BT partnership to further more sustainable ways of working

Unilever extends BT partnership to further sustainable and flexible working plan

Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, which includes Wall’s Ice Cream, Dove beauty products, Lipton and Knorr brands has announced a three year extension to its IT outsourcing contract with BT. It’s part of the firm’s Sustainable Living Plan to grow its business, while reducing its environmental footprint and increasing its social impact. BT, which first won its first contract with the Anglo-Dutch company in November 2002, delivers a fully integrated network providing voice, data, video and mobility services to the company’s 173,000 employees across nearly 100 countries. This includes the delivery of collaborative services such as audio-conferencing and video-conferencing, which is helping Unilever introduce more sustainable ways of working. More →

Pressure to fill roles as employers struggle to persuade cautious workers to switch jobs

Challenge to fill roles as employers struggle to persuade cautious workers to switch jobs

More good news on the economy today with the Summer 2013 CIPD/Success Factors Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey report showing that for the sixth quarter in a row, employers expect jobs growth. However, while this means more opportunities for job seekers the pressure is mounting for employers to attract the right talent. It seems that despite employment confidence being at its highest level since the 2008 recession, this isn’t shared by those already in work, who are showing a marked reluctance to change jobs, leading to a struggle for employers to find the right candidates. More →

Predicting the future of the office means looking at what is happening now

display_img_01Futurology is notoriously a mug’s game. Especially when it comes to making predictions about technology. Just ask Ken Olson, the founder of DEC who in 1977 pronounced that ‘there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home’. Or Bill Gates himself who once claimed that Microsoft ‘will never make a 32 bit operating system’. Most recently Steve Ballmer, a billionaire executive said in 2007 ‘there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.’ But mone of these retrosepctively viewed dodgy predictions should make us blind to those that we know will certainly come true, especially those based on what we know is happening in the present.

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Report: How will the future affect us or can we effect the future?

 How will the future affect us or can we effect the future

Workplace furniture specialist Kinnarps has published its Trend Report 2013, which is the culmination of detailed research across European markets and thought leaders, conducted in partnership with Stockholm based futurologists Kairos Future. The study distilled a broad overview of emerging and established trends, across Kinnarps’ European markets, to focus on eight key themes that will influence the workplace of the future. According to the report, big changes are already apparent in our society, but these will come to have an altogether greater impact on the way we evaluate our working environment. More →

Latest edition of Insight newsletter available to view online

Latest editon of office insight newsletter

In the latest issue of the Insight newsletter; a new RSA survey suggests flexible working could give people around five more hours working time per week; advice on keeping the workplace cool; the UK Green Building Council launches Regional Leadership Awards; and plans to redevelop Smithfield market are given the green light. Contributor Andrew Brown shares his thoughts on what Graeme Obree, the Flying Scotsman, can teach us about workplace innovation – while Charles Marks comments on the office design challenges for the expanding technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector. To view this week’s newsletter, which includes video footage of Charles Eames click here.

Corporate Real Estate executives predict strong global economic outlook

The global economic outlook is strong for the second half of 2013, while the prospects for corporate growth and expansion are also increasing, according to the views of corporate executives surveyed in June for the new CoreNet Global Confidence Index. Nearly two-thirds (62.5%) rated their outlook on the global economy for the coming six months as optimistic to very optimistic, compared to a year ago. Most (72.4%) reported the likelihood that flexible, open workplace strategies will increase, while space per work setting and/or work settings per supported worker will be reduced.

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UK government falling behind in plans to modernise its workplaces

WhitehallThe UK government has conceded that it is falling significantly behind in its plans to create a modern workplace involving a more flexible working environment for public sector employees. The plans were outlined in the Civil Service Reform Plan a year ago with the aim to create a “decent working environment for all staff, with modern workplaces enabling flexible working”. However, a report released this week by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude confirms that the plans are now rated red, meaning they are significantly delayed or off track and that there is now a great deal of work that needs to be done to meet the stated aims of the plan. While some departments have made good progress, there is little cross-government work to meet the demands of the Government’s commitment.

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