Search Results for: stress

The latest issue of Insight is now available to view online

Insight_twitter_logo_2In this week’s issue; Mark Eltringham observes the shattering of any fixed idea we may once have had of a time and a place to work, and highlights the remarkable growth in the number of one person businesses; Sara Bean welcomes the publication of Kinnarps’ Trend report which offers informed views of the shape of the future workplace; Jonathan Hindle examines the true value of workplace art and Paul Goodchild suggests there may be better ways of designing offices that balance the advantages of the open plan, while mitigating its drawbacks. In news; the latest initiative between the BIFM and the CIPD, Government plans to attract the US tech sector to the UK, and new evidence of the impact of stress on the workforce. Sign up to the newsletter via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar and follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.

Two fifths of employees say work has a negative impact on their health

chocolate-muffinMillions of the UK’s workforce feel they’re putting their heart health at risk due to the pressures of their job, according to a new survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation during the charity’s Heart Month. The survey shows that a large number of employees feel their working life leads them to eat a poor diet, not doing enough exercise and drinking and smoking more than is good for them. The BHF is calling for employers to encourage their workforce to spend at least 10 minutes a day improving their lifestyle during February. The survey found two in five (41 percent) people feel their job has had a negative impact on their health in the last five years, with more than half (55 percent) saying they have become more stressed as a result of their job over the same time period.

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Workers face burnout as work continues to erode personal lives

burnoutOver two thirds of UK professionals (69 percent) are required to work outside of their regular office hours more than they were five years ago, according to a recent research from serviced office provider Regus. The survey canvassed the opinions of over 3,000 business people in the UK on their attitudes and approaches to work. A similar proportion of workers (72 percent) say that fixed hours are no longer suited to their duties; perhaps offering some explanation as to why so much extra time is spent at the office. Three quarters (76 percent) of respondents also reported a rise in remote workers, further suggesting that the concept of 9-5 day in the office is outdated. An earlier report from Regus, published in January found that the past five years have also seen a growing concern that workers face burnout.

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British workers suffer in silence in noisy office environments

Hanging onNew research from Avanta Serviced Office Group claims that noise in the office environment is severely damaging the productivity of British businesses. The study of more than 1,000 UK office workers found that although over 80 percent of employees claim to being regularly distracted by noise in the workplace, fewer than half complain about it. Instead around a third admit they simply take themselves somewhere quieter such as their homes or a cafe or library. The study also identifies the distractions that bother people the most, most deriving directly from their colleagues including overheard conversations, ringtones, loud eating habits, whistling, music and even people talking to themselves. Compared to these human sources, the racket generated by inanimate objects features low down the list of irritants.

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Wellness programmes may be causing more problems than they solve

wellness backfiresFar from making employees healthier, a corporate focus on their wellness may actually be making them unhappier and more prone to illnesses. That is the conclusion of a new book published by two researchers at Cass Business School and Stockholm University. In the book, The Wellness Syndrome, the authors Andre Spicer and Carl Cederström claim that the fixation with monitoring wellbeing and initiating wellness programmes may be having the obverse effect to that intended. The book argues that an obsession with wellness obliges some people to pretend to be happy at work, even when they are not and that the pressure to fit with a corporate notion of what constitutes a ‘well’ person makes them depressed and anxious that they will be labelled by their employer and colleagues if they don’t fit an ideal.

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Adobe completes refurbishment of central London offices

16032580231_ba3a7024e0_zAdobe has completed a refurbishment of the reception of its central London offices. The project includes new stone-clad walls and floor coverings to give the space an industrial feel by complementing the existing concrete floors and exposed internal pillars. Similarly, new carpet was specified in a ‘distressed’ finish. Bespoke elements of the design include the specially made reception desk and graphical manifestations on walls and meeting room partitions that range from the corporate to the abstract. “Adobe is the world’s biggest digital marketing company in an industry that is serious and creative, and we wanted our new reception to reflect this.” said Mike Walley, EMEA site operations manager for Adobe. The lighting in particular has transformed the space.” The project was carried out by K2 Space.

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‘Squeezed generation’ of middle-aged workers take most sick days


Employers’ concerns regarding the ageing workforce are usually based on the belief older workers will tend to struggle more with health problems. However, new data from AXA PPP healthcare reveals it’s the middle band of workers (30-49) that take more sick days than any other age group; averaging 2.3 sick days in the past six months; with a quarter of these workers taking three or four days off sick. Twelve per cent of this middle age group have taken the equivalent of a working week off sick (5 or 6 days) in the past six months, double the number of 18-29 year olds (6%) and just 5 per cent of those 50-69. This ‘squeezed generation,’ faced with the pressures of balancing work and home, takes least positive steps to help ensure good health; has a fairly negative outlook regarding their jobs and is more stressed than other age group.

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Bosses failing to tackle workplace bullying say staff

Employers failing to tackle workplace bullying, according to majority of staff The majority (91 percent) of staff polled on bullying at work say their employers do not deal adequately with the problem and over three quarters (78 percent) are reluctant to complain for fear of their job. According to charity Family Lives, the anxiety associated with workplace bullying greatly affects emotional health and wellbeing. Of the 1,500 workers it polled, 73 percent said the bullying was verbal, including threats, whereas 60 percent felt the bullying was social, including being excluded, ignored and isolated. Two thirds (66 percent) of respondents witnessed bullying at work with 43 percent stating they were bullied by their line manager, 38 percent bullied by a colleague and 20 percent bullied by SMT or CEO.

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Connecting to the workplace out of office hours can damage wellbeing

Out of office hours workplace connectivity damages employees' wellbeingThe use of tech outside of office hours can have a detrimental effects on workers’ wellbeing according to a paper presented this week at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology conference in Glasgow. A meta-analysis by Svenja Schlachter and colleagues from the University of Surrey sought to determine the effects of being constantly “switched on” for work and found a blurring of boundaries between work and private life. The research showed that employees use a number of devices outside of office hours in the hope that staying “switched on” will increase flexibility and efficiency and because they believe there is a strong expectation to be available 24/7. This often has a negative effect on their work-life balance and increases stress.

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Can the workplace environment change an organisation’s culture?

Woolverine02 workplace It is rare that organisations are totally satisfied with their current culture. They will often see what can be improved and at the same time recognise that these improvements will inevitably stem from a change in behaviour or the attitude of their employees. What is important to remember is that a change in the design of the physical environment will not, by itself, change the culture of an organisation. But workplace design can reflect the desired culture of the organisation, and help to promote certain behaviours and attitudes. It can also help to reinforce the unique attributes of your organisation in a powerful, subliminal way. Culture results from the values and behaviours of employees and is best understood by the relationships internally between individuals, teams and departments. Culture can also be seen through relationships externally with customers, suppliers and stakeholders

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Focus on the wellbeing of the occupants of the office, not that of the building

The design of the office has a big impact on health and wellbeingIf you ask a typical corporation about their real estate strategy you will most probably hear a lot about rationalisation, minimising cost and synergy. Real estate strategy should include all these but a cost-cutting approach can be very short-sighted. Staff costs usually account to about 90 per cent of the business operating cost, while any improvement in staff’s productivity will have a stronger and more positive outcome than any cost saving on a building. The recently released World Green Building Council (WGBC) report Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices developed with the support of JLL, Lend Lease and Skanska, clearly shows that the design of an office has a strong impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants. It describes the impact of acoustics, interior layout, look & feel, amenities, air quality, thermal comfort, location, daylight and user control on occupants. But it doesn’t stop there.

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We should welcome the Government’s evidence based approach to wellbeing

Microscope_Nosepiece (1)The UK Government is very big on evidence based design these days and it is applying this approach in a number of new areas of policy, including wellbeing. Invariably the outcomes of its research and analysis are first refracted through a political prism on their way to becoming legislation, but the approach is very welcome and we should greet it without cynicism. At the end of October of this year The Cabinet Office announced the launch of The What Works Centre for Wellbeing including a dedicated website. The centre has the support of 17 founding partners including Public Health England, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Office for National Statistics, a number of other central government departments, the Local Government Association and the BIG Lottery Fund which means it enjoys wide ranging buy-in from the people best able to shape policy making and is chaired by Lord Gus O’Donnell.

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