Search Results for: business

A rail network carrying people on blurred lines into the future of work

Office Group PaddingtonThe UK rail industry has a somewhat ambiguous relationship with the idea of remote working. While the business case for the controversial HS2 rail line was until recently predicated on the remarkable assumption that people don’t work on trains (now replaced by another set of assumptions to get to the numbers it needs for politicians to go along with it all), the number of journeys people make on trains has been increasing steadily for some time, regardless of the potential for technology to make many of those journeys unnecessary. So while we’re already into uncharted territory in our ability to forecast the impact of new technology and working practices on the need for physical presence, the train and the rail network  does offer us a touchstone for thinking about it. And what we find in that respect is a blurring of the lines between several worlds, as we do in pretty much every aspect of our lives.

More →

The Wall Street Journal (and others) are wrong about human resources

original_dustpan-and-brushEverybody ready? Great. Then it’s time for another round of HR bashing and a tipping point for more existential navel-gazing for everyone’s favourite corporate pantomime villain – the human resources department. Or is it? You can choose your own particular moment at which the crowd boos and hisses at the bad guys in HR, but hot on the heels of the Lucy Adams debacle at the Beeb and a report that finds human resources to be the profession with the most “can’t do” attitude comes an article from, of all places, the Wall Street Journal that looks at what it means to do away with your HR function altogether. The restrictions of the word count being what they are, coupled with the way sweeping generalisations provide the quickest way to guarantee a bump in readership, the WSJ takes the broadest of brushes to add another coat to the painting of HR as an ancillary function that, far from oiling the wheels of commerce, is often a distraction at best and, at worst, an active obstruction.

More →

WorldBlu announces latest additions to its list of democratic workplaces

HandsUpWorldBlu, a US based business that promotes democratic workplace design has announced that it has added  41 organisations around the world to its certified list of Most Democratic Workplaces. According to WorldBlu, the organisations range in size from five to 65,000 employees and represent over $13 billion in combined annual revenue and come from the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Malaysia, Haiti, New Zealand, Belgium and Romania from a range of sectors including  technology, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, agriculture and services. Organisations become eligible after employees complete the proprietary WorldBlu Design Assessment, a survey evaluating their practice according to the firm’s own ten ‘Principles of Organizational Democracy’, with an overall combined score of 3.5/5 or higher. The awards were announced yesterday, Democracy in the Workplace Day (who knew?).

RICS’ operational headquarters to relocate to Coventry Friargate Development

Friargate CoventryThe Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has announced that it will be relocating its Coventry operational headquarters to a new building in the 37 acre sustainable, mixed-use Friargate development in the city. From 2017, RICS plans to lease 36,000 sq. ft. of space in the second building on the site, adjacent to Coventry railway station. The district will showcase cutting edge low carbon building design and regeneration policies by using local businesses throughout the construction phase to provide improved public transport links, affordable housing and public parks. RICS claims that ‘through a connection to an ultra-efficient combined heat and power generator, Friargate will be at the forefront of sustainable commercial accommodation, reducing both RICS’ carbon footprint and operating costs and offering RICS employees a much better work environment and surrounding area than they currently have.’

More →

RICS issues case studies to celebrate strategic role of facilities management

RICS has published six case studies examining the impact strategic facilities management (FM) can have on business performance. The case studies were devised following the publication of a 2012 research report, Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of FM, which found that over 75 per cent of survey respondents believe that facilities management is a strategic role. This was followed earlier this year by Raising the Bar: City Roundtables Report which made specific recommendations for action, including better promotion of the strategic role played by facilities management within organisations. The case studies were launched at the BBC’s Salford Quays building, featured in one of the studies, which describes the role the BBC’s FM team took in relocating critical services from London to Salford Quays and how the FM strategy was responsible for fostering creativity in the organisation. More →

Benefits of mobile broadband to Australia run to tens of billions, claims report

mobile-broadbandWhile the UK Government continues to fuss over the rollout of broadband in the UK, bickering with the notoriously ponderous BT about a dysfunctional monopoly they created themselves, a new report from Australia claims that the economic benefits of mobile broadband in that country came to nearly AU$34 billion (£19 billion) last year. The report commissioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in partnership with the Centre for International Economics (CIE) and Analysys Mason found that although the mobile telecoms sector only accounts for 0.5 percent of economic activity in Australia, its impact on productivity is profound. Last year it accounted for an additional AU$33.8 billion in activity, 2.28 percent of Australia’s total gross domestic product. The report makes its claim on the basis that between 2006 and 2013, productivity growth was 11.3 percent per year, but would have been only 6.7 percent without mobile broadband.

More →

Remove flexible working stigma to improve women’s career chances says report

UK leads Western Europe in offering flexible working and checking it's safeEmployers need to stop viewing female progression as a diversity issue and see the promotion of women in the workplace as a core business priority. This is according to a major new report by charity Opportunity Now, which surveyed 23,000 women between the ages of 28 and 40 as well as 2,000 men, to try and determine why women tend to be less successful than men at work after the age of 28, The report found a gap between organisational policies and the actual experiences of women at work, particularly women aged 28-40, including real challenges around bullying and harassment. And in a challenge to proposals for female-only programmes, the research found that women actually want better line management and initiatives such as flexible working – without the stigma it can cause which can often be an obstacle to progression.

More →

Rush to convert offices as demand for commercial property hits 14 year high

Supply and demandA new report from commercial property specialists Lambert Smith Hampton claims that demand for office space in the UK this year is set to hit its highest level since 2000. The firm claims in its annual Office Market Review that the take-up of office space could reach 30 million sq. ft in 2014, continuing the momentum from the remarkable 33 percent upswing in demand last year. However, the report also notes that, following the introduction of the Government’s new permitted development legislation in 2013, the number of notifications for conversions of office buildings to residential use jumped 500 percent in the first six months. The trend will act as a further constraint on supply and push up rents as businesses seek additional space for expansion or moves to new property at the end of leases although it will also remove obsolete office space in many less desirable business locations.

More →

Plans unveiled for London’s £1.5 billion Silvertown Quays development

Silvertown QuaysPlans have been released for the £1.5 billion redevelopment of Silvertown Quays in the East of London. The 7 million sq. ft. mixed use scheme will cover 62 acres on the site of the Royal Docks directly opposite the Excel exhibition centre. The development will include around 2.5 million sq. ft. of commercial and retail space, and some 2,500 new homes along with education, research and exhibition facilities. As announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson in 2013, one of the key features of the  project will be an avenue of ‘brand pavilions’, where companies from across the world will be invited to showcase their products. The district will be served by a new bridge connecting it to the ExCel site giving access to transport links, including the new Crossrail station with express services to the City of London, West End and beyond.

More →

Average office temperatures set too high say environmental experts

office temperatures set too high

The publication this week of the report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability by the UN’s science panel that argues that the world is “ill-prepared” for risks from a changing climate, but that opportunities to respond to such risks still exist, proves more than ever that the built environment can play a vital role in helping to curb global warming. The most obvious place to start is by turning down the temperature of the office, which according to researchers from Lancaster University’s DEMAND Research Centre, has become warmer in recent years. As reported by Clickgreen, the researchers from Lancaster University say the average office temperature of 22 degrees C is way too high, and by simply turning down the thermostat and asking occupants to don another layer could do much to address global warming. More →

Consultation opens on changes to construction project safety

Safety on construction sitesA consultation on changes to the way safety on building projects is managed has opened today. The ten week consultation is being carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on proposals to replace the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007). These currently apply to all construction work in the UK, and cover construction, alteration, fitting-out, commissioning, renovation, repair, upkeep, redecoration or other maintenance, decommissioning, demolition or dismantling. Key changes being proposed include the replacement of the CDM co-ordinator role with a principal designer role within the project team; introducing a duty on information, instruction, training and supervision to replace the duty to assess competence; removal of the domestic client exemption and transfer of these limited duties to the contractor/designer; and the replacement of the ACoP with tailored guidance. More →

CBI moves to new flagship London office at Cannon Place

CBI Cannon Street 1The CBI is moving out of the Centre Point building this weekend to take up residence at its new flagship offices in London’s Cannon Place on Monday (31st March). The UK’s leading business group is leaving the Centre Point building in London’s West End after 34 years to relocate to new offices in Cannon Place, above Cannon Street station, where its new headquarters will be based. The 25,000 sq ft space on the fourth floor of the eight-floored Cannon Place will be open plan and home to around 200 staff. It will boast a member lounge with work stations and meeting rooms, as well as regular exhibitions showcasing the best of British business from around the globe. This first exhibitor will be Bristol-based film and television company Aardman Animations, the makers of the award-winning Wallace and Gromit series. More →