Search Results for: business

Talent challenge ahead as UK employers struggle to fill skills gap

Skills gap challenge ahead for UK employersWith the economy picking up, nearly two thirds of UK employers are concerned that they won’t be able to find the people with the skills needed to fill their burgeoning job vacancies. A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOs in 68 countries reveals that a quarter of UK business leaders plan to increase their headcount by up to 5 per cent in the next 12 months, with a further 20 per cent planning increases of up to 8 per cent and a further one in five planning increases of over 8 per cent. But 64 per cent of UK business leaders are more concerned about the availability of key skills than any of their Western European counterparts, rating it as the biggest business threat to their growth plans. Technology and engineering firms report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees. More →

Homeworking has environmental benefits, says Carbon Trust

Environmental and cost benefits of homeworking

There have been some doubts cast recently on the environmental benefits of flexible working. At the recent ThinkFM conference, Lord Rupert Redesdale, the CEO Energy Managers Association said that keeping buildings open for longer to accommodate flexible workers could become unfeasible for many businesses. But what if you simply increase the numbers of home workers instead? Homeworking reduces employee commuting, resulting in carbon, money and time savings. If office space is properly rationalised to reflect this, homeworking can also significantly reduce office energy consumption and rental costs. This is according to new research from the Carbon Trust, which found that if adopted and encouraged by employers across the country, homeworking could result in annual savings of over 3 million tonnes of carbon and cut costs by £3 billion.

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Supply of new office space in London continues to fall short of demand

Glass half emptyOne of the downsides to London’s attractiveness as a business destination, as we reported yesterday, is its inability to provide enough office space to satisfy the rapacious demands of the companies who want to work there. Survey after survey reveals the same thing. Even though London has a healthy pipeline of new offices under construction, it cannot keep pace with demand. The latest survey to make the same point comes from Deloitte Real Estate whose London Crane Survey claims that the 9.2 million sq. ft. of office space currently being built will fall short of what is needed. The report claims that London office space is likely to remain in short supply for two years as the new occupancy levels of offices continues to outstrip supply. The report claims that 2014will see 7 million sq. ft. of Grade A office space delivered, the largest volume for over a decade but nearly half has already been let even before construction is complete.

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Office design should meet the basic human needs of workers, claims report

office design at Google ZurichDesigners can install sleep pods, slides and play areas in an effort to create a cool office, but the problem is that for every renowned Google campus are countless stuffy offices with fluorescent lighting and cramped, crowded conditions.  When you drill right down to it office workers want those responsible for office design to meet their basic human needs; with more natural light, effective heating and air conditioning and the better use of office space. This is according to the results of a survey by Steelcase of more than 800 office workers across the UK to mark the beginning of Clerkenwell Design Week. It found that despite British workers appreciating the latest technology and high-quality office design, better lighting and more control over temperature settings would be a big step forward towards their dream office.

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Design skills cited as one reason why London is the world’s best city

Clerkenwell design weekFor the first time, London is the world’s best city for business, culture and finance, according to the latest edition of PWC’s annual Cities of Opportunity report.  And the city’s reputation as a global leader in design is cited as one of the main reasons. The index of thirty of the world’s most important cities claims that London’s sheer economic clout, technological infrastructure and its design and development skills are just a few of the factors that led to the city usurping New York for the first time. When the survey was last carried out, it was ranked third. London is ranked one of the top three best places for intellectual capital and innovation alongside Paris and San Francisco and has leapt from eighth place last year to joint first place (with Seoul) in terms of its technological readiness.

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Loss making design and build service withdrawn by MITIE Group

MITIE withdraws design and buildDiversified facilities management services business Mitie has announced it is no longer to provide design and build services in the energy sector and will no longer provide mechanical and electrical (M&E) services. It has announced in its preliminary results for the year to March 2014 that the withdrawal of both operations will incur substantial losses – £25.4 million and £22.1 million respectively – so it will now concentrate more closely on its core and more lucrative facilities management markets instead where it sees the ‘potential for growth and [to] meet our margin targets’.  While the firm reports that a number of design and build projects had experienced delays and cost overruns which led to substantial losses, results for the whole of MITIE group show pre-tax profit up 4.3 per cent to £113.3m with revenue up 8.2 per cent to £2.14 billion.

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Poor office design costing firms in Gulf States dear, claims report

poor office designCompanies in the Gulf States with poor office design are losing a significant amount of money each year because of an associated loss of productivity and other factors including ergonomics and health and safety. That is according to a new survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Index exhibition organisers and office furniture manufacturer HNI. The survey puts the cost of poorly designed workplaces at as much as $70,000 (Dh257,000) per year for a large business and more than $35,000 (Dh128,500) a year for a medium-sized company in the region, according to a new study. A total of 867 senior managers across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait  were surveyed to establish the leading cause of employee accidents within the workspace, as well as the major causes of occupational health issues.

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Managers rate early starters more highly at work, claims new research

Flexible workingHumans remain wedded to long-held ideas about the times and places in which we work best so if you want to get ahead in your career, you need to be in the office nice and early, regardless of any flexible working arrangements. That is the conclusion of new research from the University of Washington due to be published in full later this year in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The research is flagged up by its authors in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review. It shows that our attitudes to presence are so pervasive that workers who get an early start are rated as more effective by their line managers regardless of the number of hours they work and what they achieve in that time. Researchers conclude that managers have a profound morning bias that leads them to confuse conscientiousness with an early start.

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Facilities managers beaten to coveted place in boardroom by a piece of software


Machines and boardrooms don’t mix well

It has always been the ambition of facilities managers to take their place in the boardroom. Yet, after thirty years of trying, with only the occasional cursory glimpse of the C-Suite, it appears they have been beaten to it by a piece of software. A venture capital firm called Deep Knowledge Ventures has appointed a computer algorithm to its board of directors. This is either the shape of things to come or a gimmick*, but the software will have a vote on whether the speculators will invest in a particular business or not. The software, called Vital, won’t be making judgements on gut instinct but will take the non-visceral route of chewing through huge amounts of data before coming to a conclusion.

*It’s a gimmick.

Four million people in UK now work from home, claims TUC

work from home

Figures released today by the TUC to mark National Work from Home Day show that more than 4 million people now regularly work from home; a rise of more than 62,000 over the course of the last year. The number of people who say they usually work from home increased by 62,000 over the course of last year to reach more than four million for the first time. The findings are from a new TUC analysis published to mark national work from home day, organised by Work Wise UK. The TUC analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of regular home-workers has risen by over a half a million since 2007 – an increase of more than 10 per cent. Millions of workers across the UK occasionally work from home too, says the TUC. More →

BCO office standards include guidance on provisions for cyclists for first time

guidance on cyclists provision in BCO guide

The new edition to the British Council for Offices’ Guide to Specification, which provides guidance on industry standards for workplaces across the UK will contain guidance on provisions for cyclists for the first time. The new 2014 edition to the office standards guide due for publication later in the year, recommends one shower per ten cycle spaces and one cycle space per 100m2, reflecting the evolving face of travel to and from the office environment. Another significant change is to the recommended workplace density, which has been reviewed to take into account the ever more diverse way businesses are now using their workspaces; which includes the adoption of more flexible working patterns. The report states that: “Considering workplace density alone may overstate the demands placed on building infrastructure, or result in over provision if used as the basis for design.”

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What Lord of the Flies teaches us about Pfizer’s approach to empowerment

Pfizer CoinJust how detached some senior business people are from reality is evident whenever a light shines briefly into the recesses of their minds. For Ian Read, the CEO of Pfizer, a moment’s illumination arrived when he pulled a coin from his pocket as he testified to a parliamentary committee on the proposed takeover of Astra Zeneca.  The coin, he informed them, is given to every employee of Pfizer. On one side of each coin is the phrase ‘Own It’, and on the other ‘Straight Talk’. The idea is that the coin empowers staff to place the coin on the desk of a manager and offers the employee ‘the ability to straight-talk’ and ‘have a sense of ownership’. In effect, it performs the same function as the Conch in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, bestowing upon whoever is wielding it a voice and a feeling they have control. That is until the person or people who are really in control decide otherwise.