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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 →

Don’t be caught by surprise by the hidden costs of commercial property


let-signAccording to Colliers International’s recent Global Investor Sentiment Report, 2014 will see an increase in commercial property investor confidence, with 74 per cent of UK based investors saying they were more likely to risk investing across all property sectors, although offices remain the most popular category to invest in. Yet despite this vote of confidence, it seems strange to report that the real costs involved in property acquisition and maintenance, are frequently overlooked by the purchasers. It appears that businesses often have a patchy knowledge of the range of costs involved in owning or leasing commercial real estate, which is surprising when you consider that a company’s biggest single investment next to its workforce is commercial property.

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Leading management bodies launch initiative to help employers value their talent

Management experts join forces in strategic workforce investment initiative

Measuring the value of an organisation’s talent and its people management practices has remained stubbornly elusive. This has prompted a group of leading professional bodies to join forces to help businesses measure the impact of their people on organisational performance and better equip them to improve workforce skills and productivity. The ultimate goal of the ‘Valuing your Talent’ initiative by the CIPD, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Investors in People (IIP) and the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA); is to develop an open framework for the measurement of human capital that will make good people management practices more visible, and encourage businesses to invest more strategically in their workforces.

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UK leads the world in talent, but it needs the right culture in which to thrive

London at nightWe should never take the UK’s talent base for granted. According to a new report from Deloitte, when it comes to employment levels of people in knowledge based jobs in high skill sectors such as digital media, banking, legal services, software development, telecoms and publishing, London is comfortably the world’s leading city. The study found that London employed 1.5 million people in the 22 sectors surveyed, compared with 1.2 million in New York, 784,000 in Los Angeles, 630,000 in Hong Kong and 425,000 in Boston. The report also predicts that London will enjoy rapid growth in employment levels in these sectors over the next seven years, adding around 100,000 more people and that while a decline in employment is foreseen in financial services, this will be more than offset by strong growth in creative and media businesses.

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New report identifies the ten key trends set to transform US commercial property

Navel gazingAccording to a new report from Deloitte, the recent upturn in the US commercial real estate sector is set to continue unabated into next year. Which is great news but according to the property consultancy, the market that emerges from the ashes of the downturn will be very different to the one from which they were formed. Deloitte’s 15th annual Commercial Real Estate Outlook report has identified what it considers the top ten trends that will reshape the emerging market based on a mixture of original research, subjective insights and the firm’s experience with clients. These trends are dominated by structural and financial issues and the only nods towards external socio-economic factors are mentions for the aging workforce within the market (so much for the transformational potential of GenY) and increases in single family households (can’t see the link with commercial property).

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More employers than ever introduce some kind of flexible working pattern

More employers than ever introducing some kind of flexible working patterns

Disenchantment with flexible working appears to be ongoing in the tech sector, with a recent report revealing that computing giant HP is following Yahoo’s lead by quietly discouraging staff from working from home. However, more employers than ever are attaching growing importance to making at least some changes to working patterns as a means of managing rising long-term absence levels. In the annual CIPD / Simplyhealth Absence Management, the number of employers introducing small changes, such as later start times, has increased by 20 per cent in the last year alone. Over 70 per cent of organisations report a positive impact on employee motivation and employee engagement, while a further 46 per cent are using flexible working options to support employees with mental health problems. More →

UK Green Building Council partners with Ecobuild to agree event programme

UK Green Building Council partners with Ecobuild to agree sustainable event programmeThe UK Green Building Council has entered into a new long-term partnership with Ecobuild, the annual event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment. The agreement means the two organisations will work closely on the programme of events for Ecobuild to promote the business case for a greener and more sustainable built environment. UK-GBC Chief Executive Paul King, who already sits on the Ecobuild Advisory Board, said: “This partnership marks the start of a new and exciting chapter in our close relationship with Ecobuild, an event which has firmly placed sustainable construction on the UK and international agenda over the past ten years.” More →

Employee engagement among younger workers is on the increase

Gen-YA staggering 92 per cent of Generation Y workers believe their role directly contributes to their organisation’s success. According to a poll of 1,120 UK office workers by recruitment solutions provider hyphen, younger workers in the UK feel more empowered and positive than ever about their workplace. Nearly two thirds (62.9%) of those aged 25-34 are proud to work for their current organisation and 81.8 per cent believe their colleagues and managers seek their opinion and listen to their views, up 16 per cent from March 2013. While the attitudes among younger workers are positive, the research suggests that older workers are feeling less optimistic – 15.9 per cent said they were not proud to work in their organisation – up nearly 8 per cent from March 2013. More →

Plans for a new high rise office development in City of London unveiled

Plans for a new high rise office development in City of London unveiled

DBOX for Henderson Global Investors and MAKE

Plans for a new high rise office development in the City of London have been unveiled by Henderson Global Investors. Designed by Make architectural practice, the high buildings at 40 Leadenhall Street, EC3 will vary in height between 7 and 34 office storeys, with two additional basement levels, a roof level plant, and café and restaurant uses at ground floor level.  The total size of the building is 910,000 sq ft, split between 890,000 sq ft office and c. 20,000 sq ft retail. A grade II listed building at 19-21 Billiter Street, built in 1865, will be restored and integrated in the proposed scheme, which it is estimated will create 390 construction jobs, with around 7,000 people expected to work in the completed building. More →

Latest issue of Insight newsletter is now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn the latest issue of our weekly newsletter, Insight, available to view online: the news that one of the new tranche of landmark buildings in London has become its own death ray; why open-plan offices need to include places of sanctuary; challenging the common misperception that facilities management is a tactical and responsive profession; poll finds UK workers would rather work for a tyrant than a fool; the CBI argues for a more integrated Government approach to energy efficiency policies, including those relevant for the UK’s commercial buildings; new guidance from the BIFM on legislative and regulatory changes for achieving reasonable access for all; and a major new report warns EU countries urgently need to address the particular issues associated with employing older workers.

New guidance for designers on bridging energy performance gap

Evaluating operational energy performance of buildings at the design stage

So-called “low energy buildings” are increasingly being found to use more energy than their designers thought they would, with the performance of low energy designs often little better, and sometimes worse, than that of an older building they have replaced, or supplemented. This difference between expected and realised energy performance has come to be known as the “performance gap”.  To help address this problem, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has just issued new guidance on how to address operational energy use at the design stage. ‘TM54: Evaluating operational energy performance of buildings at the design stage’ is now available from the online CIBSE Knowledge Portal. 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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