Search Results for: environment

Proactive approach needed to improve accessibility within the built environment

Proactive approach needed to improve accessibility within the built environment 0

Proactive approach needed to improve accessibility within the built environment

Inaccessible workplaces are too common problem that disabled people face in accessing buildings and public spaces, and the Government must lead a charge in improving access and inclusion in the built environment, according to a report by an influential cross party committee published today. The Women and Equalities Committee’s Disability and the Built Environment inquiry has been examining the extent to which those with accessibility issues are considered and accommodated in our built environment, and whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces. The report recommends public procurement, fiscal initiatives and transparently modelling best practice, while bringing the full range of work on improving access and inclusion in the built environment into a coherent and transparent strategy, with the Department for Communities and Local Government held responsible for making this happen. The report found that many workplaces are inaccessible, there is very little choice of where to live and the public spaces through which people need to move can be prohibitively excluding; all of which constitute an unacceptable diminution of quality of life and equality.

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New OECD study sets out link between a dynamic business environment and productivity

New OECD study sets out link between a dynamic business environment and productivity 0

The OECD has published a new report which uses data from firms in eight countries (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom) to assess the link between ‘business dynamics’ and productivity. The study, Business Dynamics and Productivity, claims that a dynamic business environment plays ‘an important role not only as a key driver of job creation but also as an engine of productivity growth. A growing body of research highlights significant differences in business dynamics across countries and over time, in particular over the different phases of the business cycle.’ Although the definition of ‘dynamic’ remains vague, the report suggests that firms who go beyond the average that is expected of them are not only better equipped to capitalise on the good times but also better at dealing with major economic shocks. The report looks in depth at the question of whether business growth and productivity are best served by organic growth through job creation or non-organic growth through mergers and acquisitions.

White paper sets out challenges of Brexit for UK’s built environment sector

White paper sets out challenges of Brexit for UK’s built environment sector 0

BSRIA has published a new white paper to explore how issues related to Brexit will impact the UK’s built environment sector. The report highlights the ways in which the industry that supports the built environment has a major impact on the overall UK economy and plays a positive role in supporting the government’s climate change and emissions reduction objectives. According to the white paper, the sector is particularly sensitive to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit because it is technology intensive, requires a highly-skilled workforce, and is very dependent on international trade.

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New guide to creating an accessible and inclusive built environment

New guide to creating an accessible and inclusive built environment 0

The Construction Industry Council has published a new guide to creating an accessible and inclusive environment.  The guide sets out six principles as suggested by the Office for Disability Issues to ‘guide, support and motivate’ industry professionals. The guide is an initiative that emerged from the Built Environment Professional Education Project – a government project that has been championed by CIC. The aim is to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by helping to generate a change in the way skills related to inclusive design are taught in the UK. The aim is that all built environment professionals will receive mandatory, quality teaching about inclusive design so that they can help create inclusive building, places and spaces for future generations.

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White paper: a new world of learning environments

White paper: a new world of learning environments 0

The traditional structures of work and education were forged in the fires of the Industrial Revolution. They shared many characteristics. They were rigid, hierarchical and based on a patriarchal approach to achieving their aims. In education, this manifested itself in the traditional didactic form that was, until recently, seen as the ideal model, based on teachers, tutors and lecturers imparting knowledge and learning to their pupils and students as part of an agreed curriculum and to an approved timetable. How well this process turned out was checked with periodic testing. For some time now, people have been questioning this structure and, with it, the design of learning environments. Over the past few decades, we have not only developed the technologies to allow us to learn in new ways, we have also developed a far better understanding of the processes involved.

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Thirteen ways the physical environment shapes knowledge management

Thirteen ways the physical environment shapes knowledge management

Knowledge management (including its creation, transference and storage) within an organisation is now widely considered to be one of the primary drivers of a business’s sustainability. Driven by changing demographics, businesses are recognising the ways in which valuable knowledge is lost when employees leave the organisation, including when they retire or are made redundant in response to changing economic conditions. Geyer, an Australian design practice, is just one organisation that has undertaken important research to understand the role of the physical environment in knowledge management.The aim of the research was to explore the kinds of environments and their attributes (if any) that could support the management of knowledge in an organisation. The research also aimed to expand the focus of existing knowledge management literature; from information technology to workplace design.

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Built environment urged to help summit meet climate change commitments 0

Built environment urged to help summit meet climate change commitmentsDelegates from across the World are gathering in Morocco this week for the 22nd global climate change summit, known as the Conference of the Parties (COP22), where they will focus on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. This historic agreement was reached last December at COP21 in Paris, France, when for the first time, 191 nations committed to collectively addressing the effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It was signed by all negotiating countries and has thus far been ratified by 75 member states. However, despite the fact that the agreement entered into international law on the 4th November, the UK is yet to ratify it, which according to the UK-GBC’s Campaigns and Policy Director, John Alker, is “pretty poor. We cannot afford to be dragging our heels on this; not only is there a moral imperative to tackle climate change, but the economic case for action is huge.“

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UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment

UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment 0

uk-gbc-hqBy achieving the lowest embodied carbon footprint ever recorded for an office refurbishment in the UK, the new headquarters in Central London for the UK Green Building Council is designed to inspire and encourage employers, landlords and occupiers alike to set the bar high when upgrading their office spaces, according to the organisation. It claims that the project is an exemplar for sustainable office refurbishment and features a range of wellbeing measures. UK-GBC says it hopes that this landmark project will also demonstrate that even a 160m² floorspace can deliver commercial, social and environmental value if each decision is challenged and scrutinised. Wellbeing measures have been incorporated into the design in order to improve staff satisfaction, productivity and overall health and wellness. These measures include: a living wall with over 1,500 plants; an innovative ventilation system, which has delivered a 750 percent increase in background fresh air; an automated low-energy LED lighting system; and products and finishes that minimisepollutants from the air.

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Built environment still creates barriers for people with a disability

Built environment still creates barriers for people with a disability 0

A huge response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry into disability and the built environment indicates how lack of accessibility is an ongoing issue for many people. Over 150 individuals and organisations have submitted evidence to the inquiry, which aims to explore the extent to which the needs of people with a disability are considered and accommodated in the built environment, and asks whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces. More →

Sensory response to workplace environment influences performance

Sensory response to workplace environment influences performance 0

Sensory experiences in the officeImproving employees’ physical and emotional response to their working environment – from the look and feel of a workplace to non-visual sensory inputs such as smell, noise and temperature – can significantly improve productivity and cognitive performance, a new report suggests. According to Decoding the workplace experience: how the working environment shapes views, behaviours and performanceexperience is not just about how well the workplace satisfies functional needs, it is about the overall impression it leaves on the user and the way an employee experiences an environment is emotional and occurs potentially at a subconscious level. Sensory influences such as the smell, noise and temperature of the working environment are among the main factors that influence employees’ experiences of the workplace and impact thier performance. Expectations of the workplace also change depending on personality, background and numerous other factors; which is why understanding your workforce is the key to creating an effective workplace experience.

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Homeworking loses appeal as workers prefer flexible office environment

Homeworking loses appeal as workers prefer flexible office environment 0

Flexible working loungeMost workers now look for flexibility in where and how they work finds a new survey from the British Council for Offices. But this doesn’t mean homeworking; as less than a third (28 percent) of workers now say they would prefer to work from home, a figure that has dropped from 45 percent in 2013, when the research from the BCO and Savills was last conducted. Over three-quarters of respondents (77 percent) said that they currently work in a traditional office, with the majority (60 percent) choosing to work from a dedicated workstation compared to only four percent that are asked to share desks with colleagues. This desire for a dedicated desk has increased over the past three years, rising from a figure of 41 percent in 2013; but despite demand for a dedicated desk, most workplaces (70 percent) now also include a communal environment to work from, providing a space for more dynamic working.

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Unpredictability and office environment are key causes of workplace stress

Unpredictability and office environment are key causes of workplace stress 0

Stressful environmentThe two most common factors influencing work related stress levels are unpredictability (26 percent) and workplace environment (21 percent) according to a poll by US jobs site CareerCast.com. The results, based on 834 respondents found that most of the respondents (62 percent) rated their jobs as highly stressful, while just 11 percent felt the amount of stress on the job was low. Other key stressors were deadlines (20 percent) and safety of others (16 percent). Interestingly, few people felt that length of work day/week (7 percent), personal well-being in danger (5 percent), potential for promotion (3 percent) and travel (1 percent) were major job stressors. Any number of factors can contribute to an unpredictable workplace; either the flow of responsibility changes from day-to-day with new tasks added or changed at random intervals or expectations may change. Running a close second is the workplace environment and culture, which includes interactions with bosses, co-workers and clients/customers.

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