Search Results for: interaction

Office workers report difficulties with remote communications technology

Office workers report difficulties with remote communications technologyJust as the adoption of digital communications technology is making the one-person per desk workstation model look outmoded, the design and layout of the typical conference room is no longer suitable for remote communications. That is one of the findings of a new survey by Steelcase which found that despite, or rather because of advances in technology, office workers are having difficulties when trying to communicate with work colleagues based elsewhere. The problem, which Steelcase has coined presence disparity can lead to an overall collaboration experience which is best described as unpleasant and taxing, with participants feeling strained physically, cognitively and emotionally. This isn’t helped by the fact that conference rooms, the most used spaces for videoconferencing, usually feature long rectangular tables designed for face to face meetings, not those to camera.

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A third of Britons claim their employers still don’t offer flexible working

small businessesMore than a third (37 percent) of British employees claim their employers are not yet offering flexible working arrangements, according to a report from unified communications firm Unify. This is in spite of the fact that nearly all UK employees now have the right to request flexible working following the introduction of revised legislation last Summer. The survey of staff at more than 1,500 businesses in the UK also claims that 39 percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to the business if it offered more flexible working options. According to the report, Humanising the Enterprise, a further 28 percent said they have no preference about where they get work done and 40 percent said they would find it liberating if they were able to work entirely outside of the office. Over half (51 percent) said their colleagues and other interruptions distract them from doing their jobs.

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Third of Millennials more engaged by contributing to company vision than a high salary

Third of Millennials more engaged by contributing to company vision than a high salaryThe younger generation of workers say high visibility and the chance to help influence the workplace culture is of much more importance than the size of their pay packet. When asked by US-based firm Futurestep what matters most to them as employees, the greatest number of Millennial respondents – those born after 1980 – (23%) said it was “the ability to make an impact on the business,” followed by “a clear path for advancement” (20%) and “development and ongoing feedback” (16%). Income came in at fourth place at 13 percent. When questioning what makes Millennials choose one job over another, more than a third (38%) said “visibility and buy-in to the vision of the organization” while 28 percent said “a clear path for advancement.” “Job title and pay” came in third place at 18 percent.

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The open plan remains an important office design element

office designFor half a century the default office design model in large parts of the world has been the open plan. Even though that continues to be the case, a growing number of voices are questioning this hegemony and suggesting there may be better ways of designing offices that balance the advantages of the open plan while eliminating or mitigating drawbacks. On the face of it, the case for working in open plan offices is clear cut. Not only are they believed to be more conducive to collaborative work, open plan workstations take up around half the space of cellular offices. As well as taking up less space, a crucial consideration is that fit-out costs are typically around 25 per cent lower, even in eye wateringly expensive commercial property hotspots such as London.

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How well designed office hives can foster swarm intelligence

sourceimageA beehive in your back-garden is hardly ideal, nor is stumbling across an ants’ nest while searching for a picnic spot. However, these swarms have become the inspiration for a revolutionary new way of working. Swarm intelligence describes how a group of people find effective solutions to difficult problems and their ability to adapt automatically to changing environments and work as a team of equals. To get the full benefits of swarm intelligence, we need to make sure that our offices have areas where staff can collaborate. There can be no rigid structures or process chains that ideas have to go through. The flow of knowledge shouldn’t be restricted. It should be allowed to flood through our businesses and offices and take no account of whether the people sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions have been with a company for five days or five years.

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New Hammersmith mixed-use scheme to accommodate 2,000 workers

mixed-use schemeLegal & General has appointed Land Lease Property to develop a £75 million mixed-use scheme on London’s Hammersmith Road. The development, designed by Sheppard Robson, will feature 242,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space over 10-storeys, which can house up to 2,000 workers. The office space has been designed to maximise natural daylight and features outdoor roof terraces. The entire 350,000 sq ft site retail frontage will be stepped back from Hammersmith Road, with a new landscaped plaza at the front that leads through to a podium garden. A business lounge and café will form part of the retail element, which totals 13,000 sq ft, to help enhance the public areas and encourage social interaction for workers. Construction is set to start in early January 2015 with completion expected in summer 2017.

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Report outlines steps firms can take to banish the workplace blues

Workplace lavenderThe back to work blues following the festive holidays are a challenge for businesses and their employees. However, new research from office furniture maker Steelcase claims that prioritising employees’ wellbeing at work is one way to help employers and staff overcome their annual seasonal hurdle. The study of the link between workers’ wellbeing and the business’s bottom line claims that employees who are in a positive frame of mind are not only healthier, but more productive at work and better able to deal with workplace challenges. Steelcase has also produced a list of measures that the firm claims can help to create a working environment that looks after the wellbeing of employees and helps them to become more productive.

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Latest Insight newsletter: weaving together the strands of people, place and technology

ipad musculoskeletal disorders insightThe latest issue of the Insight weekly newsletter is now available to view online. This week; reflecting on the key messages of this year’s Worktech conference, Sara Bean and Mark Eltringham concur that while the office may be entering a new phase, we still have a need for human interaction and a place we call the workspace. Ergonomics expert Lee Jones warns that the leap in the number of cases of workplace musculoskeletal disorders is a reminder there is a world of difference between an iPad on a sofa and a PC on a workstation and Sam Robins comments on Government plans to measure wellbeing. In news; why the UK’s largest companies are calling for the greater uptake of flexible working, green building credentials become a driver of investment performance and the gender pay gap reaches its lowest point in history.  If you don’t already receive a copy, please sign up using the simple subscription form in the right hand sidebar and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Worktech weaves together the strands of people, place and technology

WorktechDay two of Worktech London and affirmation that far from dying, as so many headline writers would have us believe, the office is merely entering a new phase. The underlying theme of Worktech continues to be how we find new ways of weaving together the strands of presence and connectedness formed by cities, buildings and technology. Worktech is a constant reminder that while our world may be shaped by algorithms, we still need each other and need to be with other people at least some of the time. The event is admirably hosted by long time collaborator and MC Jeremy Myerson whose knowledge and donnish charm holds things together while the real Don, founder Philip Ross, beams from the sidelines. It is now de rigeur for such events to have a poet in residence and this year’s was Matt Harvey who summed things up at the end of the day with reference to Worktech’s longstanding idea of jellybean working  but who popped up in between sessions with lyrical summations including one that showed some real spunk (you had to be there).

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Workplace Week focuses on the office and individual productivity in all its forms

1KP_4971The holy grail of improving people’s productivity was the focus of this year’s Workplace Week, which took place last week from 3-7th November and raised more than £12,500 for Children in Need. The annual event organised by AWA and designed as a celebration of workplace innovation, included visits to 11 workplaces showcasing the latest techniques to get people performing at their very best, a day-long convention and a series of Fringe events. Andrew Mawson, who heads up AWA, opened the convention by setting the discussion in context. “We have maximised asset productivity by getting more people into buildings, and therefore working a building harder. But we need to focus on human productivity. If each organisation could make each person just 5 per cent more productive, that would have a major impact both on that organisation and the wider economy. In the knowledge economy we need to get the very best performance out of each and every brain on the payroll and to create the conditions that consciously support that.

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Worldwide fall in levels of trust by employees in their workplace leaders

Deterioration in levels of trust by staff towards workplace leadersThey say a fish rots from the head, and with overwhelming evidence this week that workplaces are torn by backbiting, lying and bitching, a global analysis on workplace trust reveals a deterioration in the levels of trust employees have for their bosses. Interaction Associates annual workplace trust research, Building Workplace Trust 2014/15, found that more than half of the people surveyed gave their organisation low marks for trust and effective leadership. More than half of the 500 people surveyed at companies worldwide, give their organisation low-to-poor marks for trust and effective leadership. When asked to rate the statement “Employees have a high level of trust in management and the organisation”, just four out of ten agreed. The majority (58%) found their organisation lacking, and in fact, trust may be going from bad to worse at many organisations, as  a quarter (26%) of those surveyed say they trust their boss less this year than in 2013.

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No natural light in almost half of European offices, finds report


Almost half (42%) of European office employees have no natural light in their working environment, over half (55%) don’t have access to any greenery and 7 per cent have no window in their workspace. Yet according to the findings of The Human Spaces Report, commissioned by Interface and led by Organisational Psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper, European employees who work in environments with natural elements report a 13 per cent higher level of well-being and are 8 per cent more productive overall. With nearly two-thirds (63%) of EMEA office workers now based in either a town or city centre and spending on average 34 hours per week in the office, their interaction with nature is becoming increasingly limited. Yet despite city dominated lives, the research found workers have an inherent affinity to elements that reflect nature. Flexible working was a surprisingly low preference, with just 11 per cent of workers choosing a space that suits their needs as their productive way to work.. More →