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Planning permission granted for development at East London Crossrail site

Poplar Business ParkPlanning permission has been granted for a mixed use scheme including 58,000 sq. ft. of office space at the Poplar Business Park next to the new Crossrail station just North of Canary Wharf in East London. Crossrail is the South East’s most important infrastructure project linking commuters in the Home Counties and Essex with central London and will complete in 2018. Jamie Hopkins, the CEO of developers Workspace claimed, “It is a significant redevelopment in an area that will be experiencing a lot of change over the coming years with the arrival of Crossrail at Canary Wharf.  Poplar Business Park will be a thriving residential and business location in the heart of one of London’s future hotspots.”

We deserve better than a polarised debate about cellular v open plan offices

Jacques Tati's Playtime

Jacques Tati’s Playtime

Stimulated by a number of rather unsubtle commercial interests, the ‘in’ workplace discussion seems to have swung from ‘collaboration’ i.e. organisations need more new spaces for formal and informal collaborative interactions, to ‘distraction’ i.e. open plan workplaces are creating a loss of productivity because people whose work requires concentration are impeded by constant interruption. The implication of the latter is that people should keep their ‘cubes’ and open-plan should be avoided at all costs. You can see pretty quickly where the commercial axes are being ground can’t you.

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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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RSA report claims untapped flexible working benefits of £8bn for the UK

Flex Work_0000The latest salvo in the battle to get Britain to adopt even more flexible working comes in a report that carries more weight than some because it is not solely the work of a technology company but sponsored by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). True, it’s co-sponsored by Vodafone but that is the way of these things. The RSA study estimates that flexible working practices shaped around the personal circumstances of the individual and designed to minimise the routine grind of commuting could give people around 5 more hours per week in which to work.

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First “green-rise” commercial office building announced for Los Angeles

 First "green-rise" commercial office building announced for Los Angeles

High-rise buildings tend to evoke a love-hate response, and being green is usually not a strong feature. However a new high-rise is being planned in California which aims to join the handful of tall buildings in North America to achieve the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s LEED Platinum certification. The 37-storey Century City Center will integrate the best new engineering and technological practices and innovations to deliver the first new build LEED Platinum “green-rise” in Los Angeles and Southern California. It promises, say developers JMB Realty Corporation, to effectively create a new benchmark in sustainable performance for the commercial office market in America’s second-largest urban region.

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Flexible working can come with a career catch for chances of future promotion

Flexible working can come with a career catch for pay and promotion

Half of all people now work out of the office at least once a week, and more than one in four (27 per cent) every day according to data from software supplier Sage, but a new report by social business the Timewise Foundation warns that this flexibility might come at a price. It found part time and flexible workers face key barriers in terms of career agility, with nearly three in four part time workers saying they haven’t been promoted once since working part time (73 per cent), and over a fifth (22 per cent) saying they wouldn’t even expect to be. Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) believe that promotion with their current employer might be possible, but only by increasing their hours – something that’s not an option for more than a third of respondents (36 per cent) who rate part time hours as ‘crucial’ in their lives, nor a straightforward choice for the 52 per cent who state they are ‘important’ to them. More →

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 →

Flexible working boosts employee satisfaction and lowers business costs

Working while commuting is on the increase survey finds

May 2013 played host to Work Wise Week, an initiative from Work Wise UK that aimed to promote and encourage smarter working practices to the benefit of businesses and employees. Cultural, economic and social changes are affecting attitudes to how we balance work and personal lives, and increasingly, mobility and technology is shifting away the need for the traditional 9-5 work patterns, replacing it with more flexible working practices. There are many benefits of flexible working and, as such, we are seeing more businesses starting to understand that forcing employees to work in an office does not guarantee productivity. More →

CBRE WorkShop concept is interesting, but is it workable?


I’d like to deal in this article with the arrival yesterday of the long-awaited white paper from CBRE’s thought leadership exercise, The CBRE Workshop. However, I should declare an interest for the sake of transparency. Until June 2012 I was employed by CBRE and reported directly to a couple of the people who are heavily involved in The Workshop idea. I would reassure readers that I am not a disgruntled former employee. I have a huge amount of respect and warm regard towards my erstwhile colleagues and nobody will be happier than me to see them do well.

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Global dissatisfaction with work life balance on the rise

Report finds increasing dissatisfaction with work-life balance

More than one in four employees (27 per cent) at organizations that are not perceived to support work-life balance plan to leave their companies within the next two years, according to new research from Hay Group. At the same time, work-life balance concerns across the globe are on the rise, with 39 per cent of employees indicating that they did not have a “good balance” between work and personal life, compared to only 32 per cent who reported the same in 2011. “Organizations across the globe continue to ask their employees to ‘do more with less’, leading to increasing dissatisfaction with work-life balance,” said Mark Royal, senior principal at Hay Group Insight.

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Communal workspace model making inroads in US offices


There is a growing trend in the United States to downsize office space, particularly amongst larger public firms, as they increasingly adopt policies for sharing non-dedicated offices and implement technology to support their employees’ ability to work anywhere and anytime. In a webinar presented to subscribers of commercial real estate intelligence group CoStar, Norm G. Miller, PhD, a professor at the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate examined what would happen if office tenants used 20 per cent less of the US’ current office space, which has a total valuation of $1.25 trillion.

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Employers vastly underestimate savings of freeing up desks

Employers vastly underestimate savings of freeing up desks

Green economy

The latest salvo in the flexible working debate is a study which reveals that despite potential savings of around £34bn by freeing up desk space and working more flexibly, the majority of UK business leaders grossly underestimate what it is possible to save with two out of three (65 per cent) insisting they can’t lose any desks. According to a Vodafone UK survey one in five of those  surveyed thought that their employees remained rooted to the old principle that all employees should have their own desk space (21 per cent) and flexible working ultimately leads to employees taking advantage of the system (23 per cent).

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