Search Results for: stress

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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Worktech weaves together the strands of people, place and technology

WorktechDay two of Worktech London and affirmation that far from dying, as so many headline writers would have us believe, the office is merely entering a new phase. The underlying theme of Worktech continues to be how we find new ways of weaving together the strands of presence and connectedness formed by cities, buildings and technology. Worktech is a constant reminder that while our world may be shaped by algorithms, we still need each other and need to be with other people at least some of the time. The event is admirably hosted by long time collaborator and MC Jeremy Myerson whose knowledge and donnish charm holds things together while the real Don, founder Philip Ross, beams from the sidelines. It is now de rigeur for such events to have a poet in residence and this year’s was Matt Harvey who summed things up at the end of the day with reference to Worktech’s longstanding idea of jellybean working  but who popped up in between sessions with lyrical summations including one that showed some real spunk (you had to be there).

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Case Study: AutoTrader motors into its new Manchester digital playground

_MG_0491smEven in the context of a rapidly declining print market, the decision to end AutoTrader’s 37-year history as a printed magazine was not an easy one to take. At its height, Auto Trader had a circulation of 368,000, but in June 2013 the final printed copy rolled off the presses and the business began its new incarnation as a purely digital platform. Of course, this transformation was a long time in the making and had actually begun ten years earlier.  By the time the print room lights went out, all of Auto Trader’s revenues had not only migrated online, but experienced significant growth too. It is Auto Trader’s growth during this process of transformation that is considered so unique in the publishing world and is proof that the business’ aspiration to be at the forefront of the digital marketplace is not just a wide-eyed intention. The website boasts 11.5million unique users, carrying out more than 140 million searches across mobile, table and desktop devices and the business is set to launch an extensive TV advertising campaign on boxing day.

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Interruptions and a lack of engagement cost UK firms £15 bn each year

engagementUK businesses are suffering massive losses in company performance due to ‘disengaged’ employees who complain of working conditions that result in constant distraction and disruption and a lack of privacy, according to a new report published by office furniture maker Steelcase. Research by the Centre for Mental Health claims that presenteeism (at work physically but unproductive mentally) costs UK businesses £15bn per year and that includes the cost of disengaged employees. A new IPSOS survey commissioned by Steelcase, claims to highlights this and related issues. The survey of 10,500 employees working in open plan offices across 14 different countries and found that only 11 percent of workers are engaged and inspired at work, 63 percent lack engagement and are unmotivated and 37 percent describe their workplace as ‘stressful’. More →

Unethical behaviour at work may reflect a blame culture with little trust or integrity

Unethical behaviour at work can reflect a blame culture In the same week Mind revealed that many workers are reluctant to admit to feeling stressed, comes data which shows high levels of unethical behaviour in Britain’s workplaces. And the two pieces of research are not unrelated. In a survey of over 1,600 managers by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), almost three quarters (72%) had witnessed employees lying to cover their mistakes, with the same number reporting their colleagues cut corners and delivered substandard work. A further 68% had seen people badmouthing team members behind their backs. The fault lies in workplaces that foster a blame culture, where staff are worried about owning up to mistakes. This causes undue stress and people taking a combative, rather than collaborative approach. The findings formed part of ILM’s The truth about trust’ report into trust and integrity in the UK workplace, which highlights the business benefits of high-trust high-integrity working environments. More →

Musculoskeletal disorders leap by a fifth, according to latest HSE data

Musculoskeletal disorders leap by a fifth, according to latest HSE data

ipad musculoskeletal disordersWhile the UK remains one of the safest places to work in Europe, work related ill health continues to rise for British employees according to the latest data from the Health and Safety Executive. The HSE claims that there were some 28 million days lost over the last year, costing the economy over £14 billion. While the most dangerous professions continue to be construction, agriculture and manufacturing, the report found that over two thirds of days lost (20 million) and some £9 billion can be attributed to a number of well defined causes rooted in the modern workplace; musculoskeletal disorders, stress, anxiety and depression. The HSE study claims that around 80 per cent of new work-related illnesses were attributable to these conditions. Of the 535,000 new illnesses reported in 2013/14, 184,000 were musculoskeletal disorders and 244,000 were related to stress and depression. There are now over half a million (526,000) people with self-reported cases of musculoskeletal disorders in the UK, up by 20 percent since figures were last reported in 2011/12.

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No natural light in almost half of European offices, finds report


Almost half (42%) of European office employees have no natural light in their working environment, over half (55%) don’t have access to any greenery and 7 per cent have no window in their workspace. Yet according to the findings of The Human Spaces Report, commissioned by Interface and led by Organisational Psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper, European employees who work in environments with natural elements report a 13 per cent higher level of well-being and are 8 per cent more productive overall. With nearly two-thirds (63%) of EMEA office workers now based in either a town or city centre and spending on average 34 hours per week in the office, their interaction with nature is becoming increasingly limited. Yet despite city dominated lives, the research found workers have an inherent affinity to elements that reflect nature. Flexible working was a surprisingly low preference, with just 11 per cent of workers choosing a space that suits their needs as their productive way to work.. More →

Employers unready to meet demand for flexible working in UAE, claims report

flexible workingAccording to a new survey from YouGov and Citrix, office workers in the United Arab Emirates are almost universally aware of the benefits of flexible working and increasingly demand it from their employers. Yet under a quarter of organisations ‘encourage and enable’ employees to work away from their main place of work routinely.  The report claims that 94 percent of the 800 UAE office workers who took part in the study say they would feel less stressed, be more productive and achieve better balance between work and family responsibilities if they were given the freedom to work flexibly outside of the office. As a result, demand for flexible working has increased by 20 per cent since an equivalent report in 2013, with many UAE workers also indicating that the ability to work from anywhere would significantly increase their job satisfaction. In contrast, only 23 percent of the businesses surveyed fully ‘encourage and enable’ employees to work from anywhere, using any device.  More →

Successful employers will shape the future office around the needs of staff

Successful employers will shape the future office around the needs of staffNearly a third (32%) of British workers feel exhausted from juggling career, family, friends and other commitments, and do not think they will want to work later in life. This is contributing to increased levels of stress and a higher likelihood that they will leave their jobs, which – if left unchecked – could cost British businesses £44bn. It’s no wonder then that companies are set to become increasingly employee-centric in the future as, according to the report The Future Workplace, commissioned by financial protection specialist Unum and authored by The Future Laboratory, employers who make changes now to shape their business around the needs of their staff are likely to achieve significant competitive advantage. The report, which investigates the social, cultural, economic and technological influences shaping workplace care over the next fifteen years found four main trends; an ageless workplace that allows ‘returnment’ rather than retirement, the need for a mindful workplace that nurtures mental health and performance, and a workplace that is both intuitive and collaborative. Click here to download the full report.

Workers struggling to balance home and work, according to CIPD report

Publication1The UK’s workforce is struggling to find the right balance between their work and domestic responsibilities according to the latest Absence Management report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.  The report also suggests that, although overall absence levels are falling, much of this is down to people going into work when they perhaps shouldn’t with a third of employers reporting presenteeism. Stress and mental health problems in the workplace also remain high, with more than 40 percent of employers citing an increase, despite signs of economic recovery. One area in which absenteeism is rising is workers taking time off to care for children and elderly or disabled relatives and friends. More than a third of those employers surveyed reported an increase in absence levels amongst staff who are struggling to cope with their caring responsibilities outside of work. However only a sixth of employers have policies in place to provide a better level of support.

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