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Majority of UK workers sit at their desk between four and nine hours a day

Majority of UK workers sit at their desk between four and nine hours a day

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UK office workers may sit at their desk for up to nine hours a day

The majority (81 percent) of UK office workers spend between four and nine hours each day sitting at their desk, equating to an average of 67 sedentary days per person each year, claims a new survey from Fellowes. Nearly half (45 percent) of office workers polled said they sat at their desk for between six and nine hours daily with 36 percent claiming they spent four to six hours seated. On top of this, a huge 64 percent claimed their office environment also had a negative impact on their health.

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BIFM announces winners of its annual awards

BIFM announces winners of its annual awards

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Now in their 18th and final year before the Institute changes its name, the BIFM Awards set out to ‘celebrate the profession’s finest, honouring those whose outstanding work has driven innovation and achieved exceptional results in the organisations where they work, benchmarking excellence and inspiring others’. Thirteen winners were announced from 46 finalists at a ceremony held last night in London. The occasion also celebrated the work of a further nine finalists whose initiatives were highly commended by the judges.

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Long waits for mental health treatment lead to life changing problems, RCPsych study finds

Long waits for mental health treatment lead to life changing problems, RCPsych study finds

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A quarter of people (24 percent) with a diagnosed mental health condition reported waiting more than three months to see an NHS mental health specialist, a poll for the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) has found. Some (6 percent) say they waited more than a year to see an NHS mental health specialist – one man interviewed following the poll said he waited 13 years to get the help he needed. Where respondents’ mental health got worse, these waits led to relationship problems including divorce (36 percent), financial troubles (32 percent) and work problems including job loss (34 percent).

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Better urban design could improve the lives and wellbeing of millions of people

Better urban design could improve the lives and wellbeing of millions of people

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Adjusting the planning system to put good design at the heart of urban development could lead to a £15 billion boost to the UK economy and improve the wellbeing and mental health of millions of individuals across the UK. The new report, A Design for Life, commissioned by British Land says that improving mental health and wellbeing in our cities could have significant and positive impacts in several ways, including boosting productivity in the workplace, reducing absenteeism and bringing down the NHS and welfare bills.

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Seven workplace stories that have been on our radar this week

Seven workplace stories that have been on our radar this week

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How we can win the AI race

The great tech paradox for flexible workspaces

The number one office perk? Natural light

The personality test that conned the world

The insecure nature of work is a result of decisions by corporations and policymakers

Landlords up their game to help occupiers attract staff (paywall)

An architect’s defense of open plan offices

Home Offices launches Brexit toolkit for employers to support EU settlement programme

Home Offices launches Brexit toolkit for employers to support EU settlement programme

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Employers, industry groups and community groups in the UK will be able to give EU citizens practical advice on how to apply for settled status in the wake of the Brexit vote with the help of a new toolkit published by the Home Office. The toolkit will be published on GOV.UK and contain how-to guides, briefing packs, practical plans, leaflets and posters. The Home Secretary launched the toolkit at the Home Office last night (Tuesday 24 July) at a gathering of some of the UK’s biggest employers of EU citizens, as well as industry bodies, local government agencies and community groups, many of whom played a key part in developing the toolkit.

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Workplace stress and busy schedules are biggest barriers to a healthy lifestyle, claims report

Workplace stress and busy schedules are biggest barriers to a healthy lifestyle, claims report

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New research from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) claims that almost half (48 percent) of adults say that busy lives and stress play a large role in stopping them from eating healthily, with 40 percent of adults admitting that being too tired after work is their main reason for not being active. The survey, conducted as part of BNF Healthy Eating Week, questioned almost 500 adults across the UK, and also revealed a number of different factors that affect people’s food choices when at work or university. High workload makes it difficult for a third of adults to eat well, along with finding it difficult to take a proper lunch break. While at work a quarter say they do not have enough time to prepare healthy foods and 24 percent of respondents say there are limited healthy food and drink options available at work or close by; 28 percent say there are too many unhealthy snacks available in their work setting.

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BCO to provide definitive guidance on enabling wellbeing in the office

BCO to provide definitive guidance on enabling wellbeing in the office

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BCO to provide definitive guidance on enabling wellbeing across the office A major research study “Wellness Matters: Health and Wellbeing in offices and what to do about it” by The British Council for Offices (BCO) is being launched today. The study critiques existing Health and Wellbeing measurement and certification, identifies the most recent and relevant medical evidence justifying a proactive approach to Health and Wellbeing in the built environment, and articulates the business case for investment in this space beyond simply improving productivity. More →

Workers fake physical sickness to mask mental health issues due to stigma worries

Workers fake physical sickness to mask mental health issues due to stigma worries

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Workers fake physical sickness to mask mental health issues due to stigma worries

Two fifths (42 percent) of UK employees are calling in sick claiming a physical illness, when in reality it’s a mental health issue, new research from BHSF has claimed. The research was commissioned to raise awareness of employee wellbeing during  Mental Health Awareness Week, a campaign hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, which has stress as its focus this year.  The survey found that 24 percent of employees worry that if they did need to take a sick day, they wouldn’t be taken seriously. Over half (56 percent) of employees admitted to suffering from stress, a third from anxiety (36 percent) and a quarter from depression (25 percent). Despite 46 percent admitting that work is the main cause of their health problems, just 15 percent would tell their boss if they were struggling with an issue of this nature.

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UK office workers spend limited time outside and over half complain of lack of fresh air

UK office workers spend limited time outside and over half complain of lack of fresh air

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UK office workers spend limited time outside and over half complain of lack of fresh airUK office workers spend an alarmingly limited amount of time outdoors each day, claims new research from Ambius, which found that almost 40 percent spend a maximum of just 15 minutes outside, excluding their commute to work, and an additional 22 percent spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside. This is even less than prisoners, who require ‘at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily’, according to UN guidelines. On average, the British workers surveyed spend more time per day at their desk or workstation (6.8 hours) than they do in bed (6.4 hours), relaxing at home (3.5 hours) or outdoors (37 mins). A lack of fresh air (57 percent), insufficient natural light (49 percent), and an absence of indoor plants (36 percent) were the biggest source of frustration for employees. Introducing indoor plants (49 percent), nicer artwork (50 percent), and a more interesting colour scheme (54 percent), topped the list of employees’ requests to improve their workplace.

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Majority of staff say employers must do more to support their physical and mental wellbeing

Majority of staff say employers must do more to support their physical and mental wellbeing

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Majority of staff say employers should do more to support physical and mental wellbeingMore than half of working adults believe that UK businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees. The vast majority (86 percent) believe that firms are specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. And with seven out of 10 of those surveyed by Westfield Health saying that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services, such as health check-ups and cognitive behavioural therapy, almost three quarters agreed it would be a good idea for a portion of their National Insurance contributions to be redirected towards employee wellbeing programmes. More →

Artificial intelligence should have a clear ethical dimension, claims new government report

Artificial intelligence should have a clear ethical dimension, claims new government report

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While the UK is in a strong position to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence which would deliver a major boost to the economy, ethics should be at the heart of its development, according to a new report from the House of Lords. AI should never be given the “autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive” people, it adds. The Lords’ report called on the government to support businesses in the field. It also recommended that people be educated to work alongside AI in the jobs of the future. It said that such education would “mitigate the negative effects” on jobs which are possible as AI develops.

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