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Flexibility doesn’t equal insecurity suggests new report into casual working

Flexibility doesn't equal insecurity finds new report into casual workersFlexible working and part time working tend to conjure up different images, with the former perceived as the preserve of the professional/management class and the latter associated with administrative/semi-skilled workers. That impression has been reinforced by trade unions’ complaints over the increase in the use of casual or Zero Hour Contracts that allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work. Yet new data shows that a significant share of those on casual contracts (43%) are in the top three occupational groups (managers, professionals and associate/technical staff), just a fifth (17%) are in manual skilled or semi-skilled jobs, only one in ten are unskilled and one in ten in administrative; and just 18 per cent are looking for a new job. More →

CBI survey gives suppliers chance to have say on UK public sector procurement

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is offering private sector firms the chance to take part in a survey detailing their experience of working with UK public sector. It follows a largely damning 2012 report from the same organisation which found that only 7 per cent of firms believed the public sector procurement function was effective. However the same report did find that around 80 percent of respondents were in favour of the UK Government reform programme and so the latest survey is a chance to see whether recent initiatives such as the recent Public Administration Committee report into procurement failings  and the setting up of the Crown Commercial Service have had any impact on private sector confidence in the way the UK public sector goes about its business.

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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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Government report highlights failings in UK public sector procurement

Cheque signingIn the wake of a number of recent procurement failures including the G4S and Serco overcharging fiasco, the UK Government has published a highly critical report of the way it buys some £227 billion of goods and services annually. The report from the Public Administration Committee (PASC) says that in spite of steps to improve procurement which include using better data, aggregating demand across departments and renegotiating with major suppliers, the number of failures remains conspicuously high. The G4S and Serco contracts with the Ministry of Justice, under which payments were made regardless of the service being delivered, are the most high profile examples but the report indicates that problems are widespread.

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Smartphone presenteeism gives a whole new meaning to BYOD

Phone checkWhile we may have grown accustomed in many ways to the world’s addiction to connectivity, and even expressed our own frustration that people are more interested in the contents of their phones than us, things are clearly going way too far if you believe the news that nearly 1 in 10 Americans have confessed to using their smartphones while having sex. While that may be extreme, the manifestation of this addiction is now routine with nearly three in four smartphone users surveyed by Harris Interactive for the Jumio 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits survey admitting that they are rarely more than five feet away from their devices.

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BIFM partnership with DWP may prove an ill-advised and short-lived union

Las Vegas WeddingRather like someone who collects friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter with the obsessiveness of the avid lepidopterist completist, news reaches us from the British Institute of Facilities Management concerning yet another partnership. Not content with the recently announced merger with Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association, this time it’s the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) that is the object of BIFM’s affections. Not that BIFM are considering moving in to Caxton House and a run for Parliament in 2015 (at least not that we are aware of). But while BIFM are, understandably, trumpeting the signing of this joint agreement, the DWP are not. In fact, if one searches on www.gov.uk using the search terms “BIFM” or “British Institute of Facilities Management” no results are returned.

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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 →

British Land on track to meet targets on green building efficiency

British Land on track to meet sustainability targets

British Land says it is on track to meet many of its 2015 targets on managing buildings efficiently, developing sustainable buildings and reducing carbon emissions. In its Corporate Responsibility Report for 2013, the real estate investment trust, which owns and manages a portfolio of commercial property worth £16.4 billion reiterates its commitment to sustainable property management: “There are increasing indications to support our view that sustainability, and particularly energy efficiency, grow income and grow value in the longer term. We are convinced this will be proven over time. Green buildings are also less at risk of obsolescence, thus further protecting and growing capital value over the medium to long term.” More →

Flexible working going into reverse in parts of UK public sector

Broken elastic bandA briefing from the Society of IT Management claims that while nearly all UK public sector organisations have adopted some form of flexible working, the practice remains far from universal and is going into reverse in some departments. The report found that  around  97 percent  of UK public sector organisations have now  adopted the practice in the form of home working, desk sharing and mobile working in four of the public sector functions surveyed. While while there have been large increases in adoption the adoption of flexible working in the revenues and benefits functions and some in education, four other services show a significant decline with others appearing to be static.

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Survey into UK culture of overwork highlights need for better worklife balance

UK culture of overwork highlights need for better worklife balance

A new study is published today which reveals how the UK’s long hour-culture is damaging family life, causing high stress levels, cutting time spent with loved ones and creating an inability to switch off from work. A survey of more than 1,000 working parents throughout the UK, commissioned by health cash plan provider Medicash, found that 83 per cent of working parents feel guilty about the amount of time they spend working, with 50 per cent saying it has a negative impact on relationships with their children, and almost half (45.9%), saying it caused problems in their relationship with their partner and caused them to neglect friends (25%).

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UK facilities management trade associations announce plans to merge

gordian_knotWe’ll react to this later but here is the press release announcing the proposed merger of all of the UK’s major facilities management and support services trade associations: “The British Institute of Facilities Management, Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association have agreed to the concept of forming one single and united body to represent facilities management and support services. As the facilities management and support services profession and industry have matured and evolved, so too must the bodies representing and leading them. This proposed merger recognises the growing demand for a stronger, unified and collective voice that represents and promotes what is a fundamental component of our economy and day to day businesses.

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Better reporting required on employee engagement and wellbeing

Wellness reporting could be improved by FTSE 100

There is a need for more open reporting on employee engagement and wellbeing by FTSE 100 organisations according to an inaugural report into wellness by Business in the Community. The first Workwell FTSE 100 benchmark, which analysed how FTSE 100 organisations manage their 6.3 million employees gave an average score of just 21 per cent, which said BITC was “not unexpected” at this first stage of development.  The highest scoring Workwell indicators were Diversity and Inclusion (at 50 per cent of total marks) and Health and Safety (at 44 per cent), showing how compliance drives measurement and reporting.

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