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Support for flexible working an increasing challenge for IT managers, claims survey

Flexible workingOne of the greatest challenges currently facing IT managers is providing secure and robust technological infrastructure for flexible working, and it is set to become even greater as more and more firms adopt Cloud based working, according to a new report  from technology specialists ControlCircle. The survey of 250 UK based CIOs, ‘IT Growth and Transformation’ found that over the next five years the increasing mobility of the workforce is going to present them with a range of increasingly important challenges, with IT leaders predicting that security (56 percent), cloud (46 percent) and mobility (41 percent) set to become the biggest challenges they face. The survey also revealed that nearly half (48 percent) of respondents experience hourly, daily and weekly technology availability issues and a fifth (21 percent) experience business downtime daily or hourly as a result.

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Managing stress is employers’ number one health and wellbeing priority

Managing stress is employers' number 1 wellbeing priorityBeing ‘stressed’ can describe a whole range of conditions; from having a particularly demanding working day to feeling cripplingly anxious and depressed. Although there are still an awful lot of managers out there who dismiss the term as a shirker’s excuse, it’s a condition that must be taken seriously. Stress accounts for a massive 40 per cent of all workplace absences, but it is also the underlying cause of many other conditions that lead to staff staying off work. This is why the 40 per cent of employers that now routinely record the secondary cause of absence alongside the primary stated reason for long-term sick leave are realising the huge impact mental health plays from the outset. It’s behind the growing recognition on the need for early intervention strategies to help support people to manage these conditions and encourage them to maintain a work/life balance. More →

Public sector purchasing doesn’t need this kind of lightbulb moment

lightbulb1The latest of the weekly kickings reserved for the UK’s public sector purchasing community comes in the shape of a BBC Panorama documentary alleging that a range of frauds and cock-ups cost the National Health Service around £7 billion a year. The NHS denies these figures but there are clearly obvious and serious deficiencies in the way goods and services are procured across the public sector, as we have reported. Yet there is a flipside to such reports which tap in to (and sometimes pander to) a widespread scepticism of the way the public sector goes about its business. So we must first ask whether an equivalent private sector organisation with a budget of £109 billion a year would not also be open to a wide range of eye-wateringly expensive failures, inefficiencies and frauds. And secondly we must question whether the great British public, along with some businesses, are generally able to grasp the issues involved.

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UK Government urged to push ahead with zero carbon commercial buildings

light bulb turbine croppedThe UK’s Green Building Council has fired off its latest salvo in an ongoing battle with the Government over the implementation of environmental legislation for commercial buildings. A new report from the organisation’s Task Group urges the Government to push ahead with plans to ensure that by 2019 all new non domestic buildings will be built to zero carbon standards. The report claims that the implementation of appropriate regulations is hampered by a lack of clarity, including confusion over what zero carbon actually means as well as the government’s own stop-start  approach to the environment. The current 2019 commitment to zero carbon buildings falls a year ahead of the deadline specified in European Law, but a recent focus from the coalition on reducing relevant legislation has added to confusion about the overall approach.

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The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year ahead

The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year aheadThere were a number of workplace issues that wouldn’t go away during 2013. And there’s no reason to believe we will resolve many of them during 2014 either. We can try to explain the recalcitrance of such things by referring to the enveloping fog that emanates from the commercial interests who promote problems to their customers so they can provide the solutions, but many are more deep-rooted. Technology and its constant radicalising effects is almost invariably the major driver of change, but it is only one thread in a complex web of social, professional, demographic, cultural and commercial changes. So here, in no particular order, are the issues we expect to spend the most time talking about on Insight over the next year. More →

Mixed use scheme’s sustainable power supply gets vice-presidential seal of approval

Quadrant 3 at Regent Street boasts space technology The Quadrant 3 redevelopment of offices, retail, residential, restaurant and hotel space in the Regent Street Quadrant in London has become the first in the UK to install an efficient and sustainable fuel cell that draws its power from the same technology used to provide energy to space shuttles during flights. It’s so impressed former US Vice President Al Gore he’s headquartered his sustainable investment firm, Generation Investment Management at Quadrant 3. The building’s sustainable design was an important factor in the firm’s decision to move to the scheme with Mr Gore commenting that the developer, The Crown Estate demonstrated a “sophisticated commitment to sustainability”. More →

AHMM chosen for new Met Police headquarters project

New New Scotland Yard

Courtesy of Simon Heath

The firm of architects chosen for Google’s enormous new North London headquarters project as well as the redevelopment of the BBC’s Television Centre has been chosen to design the new home of the Metropolitan Police in Whitehall. The decision to award the job to Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) was announced by the Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) is selling New Scotland Yard, and moving to modern offices at the iconic Curtis Green building on the Victoria Embankment in 2015. This new building will then revert to being called Scotland Yard.

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Govt incentives needed to promote energy efficiency for non-residential buildings

Energy efficiency for built environment needs incentives to work Govt warned

The Government should conduct a comprehensive assessment of non-residential low-carbon policies to ensure they work effectively said the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its latest annual progress report to Parliament today. Progress in implementing some of the measures required to meet carbon budgets was limited in 2012, it warned, while the simplification of the CRC energy efficiency scheme beyond the CCC’s original recommendations has further eroded the incentives to improve energy efficiency it set out to provide. John Alker, Director of Policy and Communications at the UK Green Building Council, said: “Just one day before the release of official statistics on the Green Deal, the CCC’s report is a timely reminder that the Coalition’s flagship energy efficiency policy needs to be further incentivised to encourage take-up.”

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RIBA and CIBSE call for collaboration in CarbonBuzz initiative

RIBA and CIBSE call for pan-industry collaboration in CarbonBuzz initiative

The CarbonBuzz energy benchmarking initiative, backed jointly by the RIBA and CIBSE gets a new online platform next week. The CarbonBuzz project allows users to record, share and compare the real energy use of building projects and to shed light on the differences between predicted and operational performance. Now RIBA and CIBSE are calling on architects and building services engineers to upload their projects to CarbonBuzz and re-energise the industry’s benchmarking database, which was first launched in 2008. Both institutes have spearheaded the publication of energy data in their annual awards schemes and point out that CarbonBuzz is the best way to demonstrate energy credentials. More →

New report offers latest evidence of link between office design and productivity

ProductivitySo, does workplace design have any impact on productivity and business performance? Well duh. So why are we still trying to convince managers when there is so much evidence and experience to prove it. The latest study to demonstrate the link builds on decades of research and adds further compelling evidence in a debate that should have been over a long time ago. In this report, workplace strategist Nigel Oseland and the  Atomic Weapons Establishment’s estate masterplanner Adrian Burton describe their research quantifying the effect on worker performance of improvements to the office environment. The question these reports always beg is why the argument still has to be made.

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