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Workplace bullying, pay, and productivity key workplace trends in 2016

Workplace bullying, pay, and productivity key workplace trends in 2016 0

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Future ProductivityAcas has published its Workplace Trends 2016 report, which identifies workplace bullying, pay, the new trade union bill and productivity as key trends that will have an impact on employment relations in 2016. In this report, thought-leaders discuss leadership, improving productivity, the art of communication, giving voice to a better way of working, encouraging positive behaviours in tackling bullying at work and the psychology of productivity. Writing in the report, Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber says that productivity is a real concern for the UK economy. He warns if we were able to match the productivity of the US then this would equate to around £21,000 per annum for every household in the UK, making it an issue that will remain high on the agenda in 2016. The report also features commentary from Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, Dr Makani Purva, Anti-Bullying Tsar at Hull NHS Trust and Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC.

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UK Government opens consultation on its new national digital strategy

UK Government opens consultation on its new national digital strategy 0

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s300_digital-economy-640x4001Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey has called on members of the public and industry to share their ideas on how the UK’s digital revolution can be taken to the next stage. The announcement of the consultation follows what the Government claims was a successful first stage of its strategy with the creation of digital clusters in East London, centred on Tech City. Five years on, the Government claims that  the UK is now truly a ‘Tech Nation’ with more than 70 per cent of digital businesses now based outside of the capital. According to Vaizey, “this revolution has been led by entrepreneurs but supported by Government in creating the right environment for ideas and businesses to flourish. Government is now looking at a new Digital Strategy for the UK for the next five years. It wants the UK to be synonymous with digital – a place where digital technologies transform day-to-day life, the economy and government.”

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Unhelpful generalisations about generations based on hype, claims report

Unhelpful generalisations about generations based on hype, claims report 0

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Generations hypeFor the first time, the age span of people in any workplace is now routinely between 16 and 75, as more people work past 60 than ever before. This means the UK is experiencing the widest working demographic in living memory. Yet generalisations about generations may simply be unhelpful, a new study into employee benefits has concluded. The report by Martha How, reward partner at Aon suggests a trend towards generational segmentation is much too simplistic and not necessarily supportive of employees or employer’s needs. She argues that the common view that we now have five generations in the workforce, each with differing needs and preferences are being overplayed. In fact, there is often too much of a tendency drift into caricature – for example, that twenty-somethings aren’t interested in pensions, while fifty-somethings worry mainly about pension and health.

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Top employers for working families praised for flexible approach

Top employers for working families praised for flexible approach 0

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Winners of Flexible-working-parentsThe financial sector is well represented in this year’s annual list of Top Employers for Working Families as announced by charity Working Families. American Express, Barclays Bank, Citibank, Deloitte and Lloyds all made the list, while just two public sector organisations Ministry of Justice and Southdown Housing Association were in the top ten. Employers with up to 250 employees that reached the Small Employer’s Benchmark – ranged from law firm Sacker & Partners LLP to Bristol Students’ Union.  To enter the awards, which are sponsored by Computershare, organisations must complete a benchmark survey which examines in detail their flexible and family friendly working policies and practices. As flexible working becomes embedded in more organisations, Working Families is calling on employers to ‘adopt a ‘flexible by default’ approach, to continue the rise in flexible working and help everyone to achieve a work life balance that works for them.’

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Employers must support older workers with chronic ill health

Employers must support older workers with chronic ill health 0

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Employers must support older workers with chronic ill healthAs a recent profile in the Guardian Magazine of workers in their 70s, 80s and 90s illustrated, people who work well into old age are still viewed as remarkable. Yet by 2020, a third of the UK’s workforce will be more than 50 years old. Following the scrapping of the Default Retirement Age, more than 1.4m people in the UK are working after state retirement age, of whom around 300,000 are aged over 70. Now the Health at Work Policy Unit of Lancaster University’s Work Foundation has issued a White Paper, ‘Living Long, Working Well: Supporting older workers with health conditions to remain active at work’, which warns that 42 per cent of over 50s have often manageable chronic illnesses that – if left unsupported by employers, could undermine their productivity, increase their absence from work or even force them out of work altogether.

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The healthy workplace is now a matter of public policy in the UK

The healthy workplace is now a matter of public policy in the UK

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news landing office worker_1Promoting a culture that improves the health and wellbeing of employees is good management practice and leads to a healthy and productive workplace, according to the Governmental body charged with shaping policy and offering advice on health related matters in the UK. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), part of the Department of Health, has published a new set of guidelines on the issue and called on employers to do more to address the challenge of creating a productive and healthy workplace. According to NICE, workplace health is a significant public health issue with more than a million working people in the UK experiencing a work-related illness each year, leading to around 27 million lost working days and costing the economy an estimated £13.4 billion.

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Dietitians publish key findings on workplace health programmes

Dietitians publish key findings on workplace health programmes

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Healthy food at workWe spend around 60 percent of our life at work and consume at least a third of our daily food intake, which is why the British Dietetic Association (BDA) has announced that the theme of office for its new Chairman, Dr Fiona McCullough, will be workplace health. Responding to recent policies such as the NHS Five Year Forward View and the NICE public health guidance for the workplace, which recognise that businesses benefit from investing in the wellbeing of employees, the BDA is conducting a review of published peer-reviewed evidence of workplace health studies in order to determine how best individuals and employers can optimise health at work. This review will underpin the development of a BDA Work Ready Programme, which has produced interim research that has already highlighted the key role employers can play in enhancing the wellbeing of staff.

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Third of working women feel disadvantaged in the workplace

Third of working women feel disadvantaged in the workplace

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Women_at_workOne in three (31%) successful working women in the UK say that men are offered greater opportunities at work, according to new research by Badenoch & Clark. The research claims that the glass ceiling is still a barrier to women in the workplace and this is especially true in typically male-dominated professions such as law and the IT industry. 58 percent of women in the private sector say that their organisation had leadership and development programmes compared to only 48 percent of women in the public sector. When asked why men are offered more opportunities, over half of the women surveyed (57%) said it was because of an unconscious gender bias with male-dominated senior teams preferring to recruit, mentor and measure performance in their own image. This suggests that the challenging issue of gender bias cannot be resolved through development programmes alone.

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Understanding and overcoming the objections to sit stand workstations

Understanding and overcoming the objections to sit stand workstations

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OberonWork10In Sweden, sit-stand working is so commonplace that our Nordic colleagues are perplexed by how slow the UK has been to catch up. The expectation of varying working positions throughout the day is so widespread across Scandinavia that over 80 percent of Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian office workers already use sit stand workstations, and offering employees a height adjustable work station is now mandatory in Denmark. Despite sit-stand working still being in its infancy in the UK, with only 2 percent of knowledge workers having access to height adjustable workstations, there is plenty of compelling evidence, and a groundswell of expert opinion, to suggest that the UK office is going to have to get off its backside pretty soon.

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Government publishes its State of the Estate Report for 2014

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Home-office-001Yesterday, the Government published its State of the Estate report for 2014 detailing the size and cost, efficiency of use and sustainability of central government buildings. The report covers all central government property with the exception of the military estate, prisons, NHS, Defra rural estate, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office and overseas estate. The current Government has laid great store on its ability to rationalise and improve the estate and the report focuses on its achievements in this regard. The report claims that since 2010, the changes have resulted in the estate divesting some 2,000 properties (28 percent of the total), reduced the footprint of the estate by 2 million sq. m. (a 20 percent reduction).  It claims that this has been achieved by “identifying underused properties and modernising buildings to make better use of a smaller number of properties and the space within them.”

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Guidance published for SMEs on management and wellbeing of older workers

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Guidance published on supporting older workers wellnessSince the the Default Retirement Age (DRA) was abolished in 2011, there’s been a growing awareness that the UK population is ageing at a rapid rate. One in six people in Britain are now over 65, with eight million workers aged 50 and over. But what is often overlooked is that the majority of older workers work for small and medium sized businesses. Of the 8 million workers who are 50 and over, 5.2 million work for businesses with less than 250 employees. Now in the first of its kind to specifically target smaller employers, new guidance published by Healthy Working Lives, part of NHS Health Scotland, aims to provide advice on hiring and managing older employees. Managing Healthy Ageing Workforces has been written by Dr Matt Flynn, Director of Newcastle University’s Centre for Research into the Older Workforce, and Kathleen Houston, Development Manager for Healthy Working Lives.

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Winners announced for first ever employee engagement awards

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Winners announced for first ever employee engagement awards Hotel management company The Dorchester Collection has picked up The Investors in People Company of the Year Award, in the inaugural Employee Engagement Awards. Although awards programmes are as much about marketing and revenue as recognising talent and achievement, it’s clear that the launch of the first ever awards that recognise employee engagement reflects a growing realisation by employers that it’s an area to be taken seriously. As the economy improves, the labour market grows more competitive and businesses have to offer and be seen to be doing things differently, to create an engaging and rewarding working environment. Other notable winners include The University of Sheffield, which won the Wellness Award and Transport for London, for Project of the Year Award (Public sector).

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