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Quality of the place and the pace of work is more important than money

Aol’s new West Coast HQ 395 Page Mill

O+A designed Aol’s new West Coast HQ

In a remarkable session on the future of work at Worktech 13 London this week – Charles Handy declared that organisations need passion, people and profit, in that order. Money isn’t the main motivating factor for individuals either, which is why Handy’s thoughts on the emergence of the portfolio worker should inspire anyone who dreams of quitting their corporate job to do something more interesting instead. Those who don’t have that option would have been cheered to hear the prevailing message at Worktech was that employers are waking up to the fact that the quality of the place and the pace of work (i.e. flexible working) is of equal importance to remuneration in attracting and retaining staff. More →

As economy picks up, change management is greatest employment challenge

As economy picks up, implementing change is greatest management challenge in coming year

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the unemployment has fallen to 7.6 per cent, its lowest rate in more than three years, and the signs are that employers can plan for the future with renewed confidence. In a poll conducted at the recent Chartered Management Institute’s National Annual Conference, 74 per cent of managers said market conditions for their business are currently more conductive for growth than they were last year. Their biggest management challenge in the coming year will be implementing change initiatives, with other priorities being: coordinating business development activities; getting the best performance out of their team; achieving results with fewer resources; internally promoting their department as a value-adding business partner; and managing and bringing through star performers.

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Interview: Greg Lindsay on engineering serendipity and harnessing chaos

Render of Plaza at Zappos offices in LA

Render of Plaza at Zappos offices in LA

Greg Lindsay is a journalist and urbanist. He is a contributing writer for Fast Company and co-author of the international bestseller Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next as well as a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute, and a research affiliate of the New England Complex Systems Institute. He is also one of the main speakers at this year’s Worktech conference in London on 19 and 20 November. In this frank and enlightening interview he offers his thoughts on how firms can engineer serendipity into their workplaces and cultures and how the way we design offices is already taking clues from the way we plan urban environments.

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New report urges UK Government departments to ditch paper completely by 2020

Paper stackA new report from the Think Tank Policy Exchange is claiming that UK Government departments should look to stop using paper by moving from process that are ‘digital-by-default to digital, full stop’ by the year 2020.  The report, Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger: Remaking government for the digital age, claims that the move would make the UK public sector 8 percent more effective and save £24 billion a year by eliminating the paper used by Government departments to communicate and switching to digital processes for all services that don’t require face-to-face interaction with suppliers and members of the public.

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Smells like team spirit. Strong influence of scent in the workplace

Smells like team spirit. The influence of scent in the workplaceWhen Ireland became the first country in the world to impose an outright smoking ban in public places, it wasn’t long before a hitherto uncharted problem emerged – the smell of body odour in crowded pubs, which it was rumoured at the time – was solved by piping in the smell of smoke to recreate that ‘pub atmosphere,’ but without the carcinogenic effects. Aside from washrooms, how an office smells isn’t a factor which merits as much attention as how it looks or the level of noise, yet olfactory perception can have a powerful effect on our mood, how we regard our surroundings and of course our response to those with which we have to share our space. More →

Employee engagement, not fear, behind the fall in staff turnover

Job satisfaction and engagement could be real reasons for low staff turnoverExplanations for a marked fall in employee turnover have largely attributed it to the recession, which, it’s been suggested, has led cautious employees to prefer to stay put in a secure position, rather than risk losing their place in an uncertain job market. However new data published today from the CIPD’s Megatrends research project suggests a more positive picture. The proportion of workers leaving their employer at any given time fell by over two fifths between 1998 and 2012, long before the downturn took hold. And the good news for those concerned with improving the quality of the workplace environment is that increased job satisfaction and improved levels of employee engagement could play a significant role.. More →

Forget Gen Y – the future workplace is multigenerational

Old dog new tricksThere is quite possibly more guff talked about the impact of Gen Y on businesses and the workplace than any other management topic. However, it’s not only wrong to characterise the people of Generation Y as some homogeneous blob with stereotyped attitudes that set them apart from the rest of humanity, but also to miss the point that the workplace is and will remain multigenerational. In fact, according to new data from the Department of Work and Pensions, there have never been more over 50s in work in the UK than there are right now.  There are 2 million more over-50s in jobs than there were 15 years ago and they will form a third of the workforce by 2020. And they will want their own say on things just as much as the much talked about millennials.

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Communications gap hampering employee engagement and productivity

 Communication gap hampering employee engagement and productivity

A stream of surveys published over the past few weeks have indicated a deep rooted sense of unease and lack of job security amongst UK workers. Now yet another poll reveals that far from being keen to discuss career progression opportunities, many employees are reluctant to bring up personal development and career progression with their bosses because they think it will put them at a disadvantage at work. According to the new research from Badenoch & Clark, this growing communications gap between employees and managers could lead to lack of engagement and lower productivity within the workforce. Meanwhile too many employers are investing in the wrong kinds of personal development for their staff. More →

Healthier people theme for this year’s World Green Building Week

Wellness theme for this year's World Green Building Week from 16-20 September

The UK Green Building Council has published a calendar of events for this year’s World Green Building Week (WGBW) which takes place from 16-20 September 2013. The theme is ‘Greener Buildings, Better Places, Healthier People’, emphasising the value of green buildings to people – whether higher productivity for office workers, improved learning outcomes for students, healthier workplaces for nurses and teachers, or better homes for people. The key messages are that green buildings make better places to live, work and play; that improving indoor and outdoor environmental quality help us to create healthier places to live and work, and that green buildings can improve well-being and quality of life for everyone in the community. More →

Pressure to fill roles as employers struggle to persuade cautious workers to switch jobs

Challenge to fill roles as employers struggle to persuade cautious workers to switch jobs

More good news on the economy today with the Summer 2013 CIPD/Success Factors Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey report showing that for the sixth quarter in a row, employers expect jobs growth. However, while this means more opportunities for job seekers the pressure is mounting for employers to attract the right talent. It seems that despite employment confidence being at its highest level since the 2008 recession, this isn’t shared by those already in work, who are showing a marked reluctance to change jobs, leading to a struggle for employers to find the right candidates. More →

Hours and pay are not key factors for work-life balance finds survey

Hours or pay not crucial to work-life balance

The key to a better work-life balance is not simply to work shorter hours or earn more money and working shorter hours does not necessarily make people happier. According to a new survey by recruiter Randstad those in the South East and Yorkshire & The Humber are most happy with their work-life balance, with 64 per cent saying they are content, despite those in the South East having one of the longest average working weeks in the UK. The survey also found that those working in property and construction (88%) were amongst the happiest with their work-life balance, coming third after the utilities and insurance sectors. Those least happy with their work-life balance were the East of England (51 per cent) and South West (55 per cent) – yet those in the South West have a shorter average working week than most of the UK. More →

Under a quarter of US staff enjoy optimal working environment, claims report

American flag cakeArchitecture firm Gensler has released the results of its 2013 US Workplace Survey. The report claims that under a quarter (24 percent) of US workers work  in an optimised working environment with the remainder suffering from unnecessary lost productivity and a lack of innovation and engagement. The survey of more than 2,000 knowledge workers from across the US examined specific design factors across four work modes defined by Gensler: focus, collaboration, learning and socialising. The report concludes that the modern workplace has a  number of new and increasingly important drivers including new technology, globalisation, generation Y and so on which define where, when and how workers perform their jobs and concludes that the ability to balance focus and collaboration with strategic workplace design is essential.

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