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The workplace puzzle + Feeling blue about work + Commuting more than ever 0

Figuring out the workplace puzzleIn this week’s Newsletter; Ian Ellison says there are no silver bullets for workspace design, but it’s worth the effort; Justin Miller explores the workplace implications of seasonal affective disorder (SAD); and Jeff Flanagan explains why workplace design and management teams should look towards consumer-facing industries for inspiration. Asia set to lead the world in the uptake of artificial intelligence in the workplace; Staples announces tomorrow’s workplace design winners; and UK Government to invest properly in the next generation of technological infrastructure. One in seven UK employees now commute over two hours each day; Millennials reject the gig economy; Autumn statement could adversely affect London’s tech firms; and global report finds that flexible working is a necessity for younger workers. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Number of people who commute over two hours a day increases by a third

Number of people who commute over two hours a day increases by a third 0

Number of people who commute over two hours a day increases by third

One in seven UK employees commute over two hours or more each day. This represents an increase of nearly a third (31 percent) over the past five years, which claims the TUC, is due to a combination of low wages, high house/rental prices and the government’s lack of transport infrastructure spending, According to a new analysis by the union to mark Work Wise UK’s Commute Smart Week, in 2015 3.7 million workers had daily commutes of two hours or longer – an increase of 900,000 since 2010 (2.8 million). In 2015 one in seven UK employees (14 percent) travelled two hours or more each day to and from work, compared to one in nine in 2010 (11 percent). UK workers spent 10 hours extra, on average, commuting in 2015 than they did in 2010. This is the equivalent of an extra 2.7 minutes per day. London (930,000) has the highest number of employees who make long commutes, followed by the South East (623,000) and the East of England (409,000); while workers in Northern Ireland (+57 percent) have experienced the biggest rise in long commuting, followed by the South East (+37 percent) and the West Midlands (+27 percent).

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Nearly third of workforce believe daily commute is a waste of time

Nearly third of workforce believe daily commute is a waste of time 0

commutingThe anytime, anywhere connectivity potential of mobile technology has supposedly made the daily commute more bearable, but a new survey claims it is still regarded as wasted time for nearly a third of professionals. Regus surveyed its customer base (which presumably includes those already partial to using flexible workspaces) to establish whether commuting time was viewed as personal time, work time or simply wasted time. For 31 percent of UK respondents, the daily struggle to and from the office is regarded only as time wasted. According to the TUC, UK commuting times rose by three minutes a day between 2004 and 2014, from an average of 52 minutes to 55 minutes. For many professionals, this time could be usefully spent responding to emails or drafting copy. At the very least, commuters want the time to themselves to read, make personal calls or listen to music. However, the nature of today’s commute means that neither work nor personal tasks can be completed.

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Office of future + Commuting and wellbeing + Air quality 0

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham describes what Lewis Carroll can teach us about the office of the future; we learn of the personality differences between iPhone and Android smartphone users; and disturbing news from Australia on a growing culture of presenteeism. BSRIA releases a new topic guide on indoor air quality (IAQ); a new report claims a direct link between lack of sleep and lower workplace productivity; and how fewer distractions make home the preferred place for maximum productivity. The average UK commuter adds almost 800 calories to their diet every week; staff want a more human experience at work and the Institute for Employment Studies, aims to track the effects of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Commuting is making us more stressed and more fat, claims study

Commuting is making us more stressed and more fat, claims study 0

Health in a HurryThe average UK commuter adds almost 800 calories to their diet every week as a result of their journey to and from work, according to our new report, Health in a Hurry, from the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health. The study of around 1,500 people claims that the average time spent commuting in the UK has increased in recent years to almost an hour a day, and suggests longer commutes are therefore potentially shortening lives. The report highlights the impact of travelling to and from work caused by forms of passive commuting including rail, bus and car. It says that this part of the daily routine has a huge impact on the public’s health and wellbeing with longer commute times associated with increased stress, higher blood pressure and BMI, and reduced time available for health-promoting activities such as cooking, exercising and sleeping. Commuters in London have an average journey of 79 minutes while it is just under 45 minutes for people living in Wales.

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Job seekers say telecommuting is most desired form of flexible work 0

Home workingAccording to research from Flexjobs, telecommuting has grown 103 percent since 2005 and approximately eighty to ninety percent of the workforce would like to telework at least part-time. Work-life balance (81 percent), family (56 percent), time savings (56 percent), and commute stress (48 percent) are the top reasons people seek flexible work arrangements. Millennials would put flexible working ahead of professional development training, company reputation and a sense of purpose when looking for a job. FlexJobs recently analysed the remote job listings of over 40,000 companies to determine which companies have been recruiting for the most telecommuting positions in recent months. Healthcare, technology and education were the most well-represented industries. The remote job listings at these companies are equally diverse, such as business analyst, product manager, developer, teacher, director of communications and market researcher.

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How can commuting to your choice of office affect staff productivity?

How can commuting to your choice of office affect staff productivity? 0

Working while commuting is on the increase survey findsTo say that I am obsessive about the subject of productivity in the workplace is an understatement. It is integral to much of the subject matter I write about, including the core theme contained in my book Don’t Worry About The Rent. Whilst undertaking research, it was important for me to get to the bottom of the decision making processes that many businesses go through when choosing office space. I was well aware of the predisposition for the commercial real estate industry to ask questions around size, cost and location, but I was particularly interested in what other issues might rise to the surface and become “top of mind” for management to consider around office choice. Predictably, I found that tenant surveys, including those undertaken by Colliers International confirmed that the two major issues management would consider were size and cost. The next biggest issue however was a surprise and it related to concerns around commuting.

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Londoners work less flexibly than elsewhere, despite longer commutes

Londoners work less flexibly than elsewhere, despite longer commutes 0

flexible workingLondoners are less likely to work flexibly than the rest of the UK, despite having much longer commuting times. This is according to the results of new research by the CIPD which found that many Londoners are travelling for the equivalent of at least one full working day in a ‘typical’ week. They spend an average of 47 minutes travelling to work each way compared to the national average of 31 minutes, and their average travel to work time increases to 56 minutes each way, if you consider a combination of both employees who live in London and those that commute into the capital from outside the M25. The data also reveals that flexible workers in London are more satisfied with their jobs, feel under less pressure and have better work-life balance than those who don’t work flexibly.  In its policy programme, Opportunity through work: A manifesto for London, the CIPD is calling for a campaign to increase the uptake of flexible working in the Capital.

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Study confirms that commuting by car has serious health consequences

Study confirms that commuting by car has serious health consequences 0

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Adults who commute to work via cycling or walking have markedly lower body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) measures in their mid-life compared to adults who commute via car, according to a new study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal. Even people who commute via public transport also showed reductions in BMI and percentage body fat compared with those who commuted only by car. This suggests that even the incidental physical activity involved in taking journeys by public transport may be significant. The study looked at data from over 150,000 individuals from the UK Biobank dataset, a large, observational study of 500,000 individuals aged between 40 and 69 in the UK. The study is the largest to date to analyse the health benefits of active transport. The strongest associations were seen for adults who commuted via bicycle, compared to those who commute via car.

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UK commuters spend far more on rail fares than other European workers

UK commuters spend far more on rail fares than other European workers 0

Crowded commuteAt  1.1 percent the New Year rail fare increases are the lowest since 2010, but UK rail commuters still spend up to six times as much of their salaries on rail fares as European passengers, new analysis has revealed. Action for Rail, a campaign by rail unions and the TUC, has compared average earnings with monthly season tickets on similar commuter routes across Europe. The analysis looked at a UK worker on an average salary who is now spending 13 percent of their monthly wages on a £357.90 monthly season ticket from Chelmsford to London. By contrast, the average amount of salary going on a monthly season ticket for a similar journey is just 2 percent in Italy, 3 percent in Spain and 4 percent in Germany. Even in France, which is the closest to the UK for cost, commuters still spend nearly a third (30 percent) less on season tickets than their counterparts in the UK.

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Car sharing and longer commutes are the keys to workforce mobility

Car sharing and longer commutes are the keys to workforce mobility 0

Car sharingThe Government should introduce new policies to incentivise people to car share and travel further afield to find work. Those are two of the key finding of a new report, On The Move, from the think tank Policy Exchange which sets out ways to improve the mobility of the British workforce. Making it easier for people to commute twenty minutes further afield would put them in touch with at least one additional major urban area and potentially 10,000 more job opportunities, according to the report. Additionally, it suggests that drivers who offer fellow commuters a lift should be given a tax break. The authors claim that in a third of local authorities that make up the eight city regions no major employment sites (defined as having 5,000 or more jobs) are within a twenty minute commute by public transport and 80 percent of these Local Authorities have an unemployment rate above the national average.

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Long distance commuting, agile working and dinosaur extinction in the UAE

Long distance commuting, agile working and dinosaur extinction in the UAE

Make DubaiIn Dubai, there are no suburban dinosaurs; those large-scale, single purpose office buildings that ignore the agile realities of modern working life. In the western world, these giants evolved on business parks, driven by the perceived benefits of having office workers agglomerated in order to achieve efficiency of communication and dissemination. The business practices and technologies that underpinned these buildings have evolved and improved and many are in the process of being re-purposed. Things happen on a grander scale in the Middle East where the mantra is “if the land-use doesn’t fit the land, make more land.” Here, the patterns of work and place have evolved differently from the west, and at a much faster pace with creeping tides of development spreading rapidly out from the small centres of traditional trade and commerce to vast tracts of new development.

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