Search Results for: right to request

Scientific management and the enduring love of the open plan office

Scientific management and the enduring love of the open plan office

PanopticonThere are many reasons why organisations like open plan offices. When it comes to making the business case for them however, firms prefer to talk about some more than others. So while they prefer to focus on the argument in terms of how openness can foster better lines of communication, collaboration, teamwork and team spirit, they talk rather less about the fact that the open plan is a lot cheaper than its alternatives and how they like it because it allows them to keep an eye on what people are doing. In theory, a great deal more of this surveillance now happens electronically so the need for physical presence should be less pressing, but the residual desire to see with one’s own eyes what people are doing remains. This is the instinct that constrains the uptake of flexible working and also means that there is a hierarchical divide in who gets to decide where they work.

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While politicians squabble, here’s what the Budget meant for the workplace

While politicians squabble, here’s what the Budget meant for the workplace 0

Bash streetStrange as it may seem now, there was a Budget last week. We’d planned to produce a report on it once the dust had settled but given that whatever dust had originally been kicked up has now been swept away by a political storm, it’s only now we feel able to offer some perspective a few days out. As ever these days, the budget touched on a number of aspects of the workplace, sometimes hitting the mark and sometimes suggesting politicians don’t yet understand how people work. There was the usual stuff about rates and commercial property but also plenty to digest about the freelance economy, productivity, new technology, flexible working legislation and the current, often faltering attempts to develop wealth and infrastructure as well as the 21st Century creative and digital economy in places other than London. There’s plenty to digest here and plenty of people have already had their say, so a chance to grab a coffee and take all or some of it in.

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Employers’ attraction and retention rates rise with flexible working offer

Employers’ attraction and retention rates rise with flexible working offer 0

Flexible workingAlthough a quarter of UK workers now regularly work out of the office, there is a still a significant number (39 percent) who don’t know they have the right to request flexible working. Yet according to new research from UC EXPO, conducted amongst 1,000 UK office workers, job roles offering flexible working are more likely to attract a better candidate, with 82 percent of workers saying they would be more likely to take a job that offered flexible working benefits. An additional 71 percent said that the offer of flexible working would help businesses to attract a greater international talent pool. The research finds that the benefits of flexible working are more widely recognised than a year ago, with a fifth (22 percent) of those surveyed having worked at home or remotely more throughout 2015 than in 2014. Productivity concerns around employees working from home is decreasing, with over two-thirds (67 percent) believing that productivity levels either increase or stay the same when they work remotely.

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Top employers for working families praised for flexible approach

Top employers for working families praised for flexible approach 0

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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Over a fifth of working mothers denied flexible hours are forced to quit

Over a fifth of working mothers denied flexible hours are forced to quit 0

flexible working womanDiscussions about the gender pay gap and increasing the number of women on Boards need to acknowledge that the greatest obstacle to female empowerment in the UK is balancing home and family. Just last week the TUC revealed that many women felt compelled to take time out of work to care for young children while another survey found over half of working women believe they would need to alter their career in order to have a child. Now the latest figures fromthe  workingmums.co.uk 2015 Annual Survey show that over a fifth of working mums have been forced to leave their jobs because a flexible working request was turned down. Although the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees last year, this new policy has a less rigid timetable for employers and no statutory right to appeal if a request is turned down.

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Employers must support older workers with chronic ill health

Employers must support older workers with chronic ill health 0

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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Takeup of flexible working remains sluggish in UK SMEs claims Microsoft study

Takeup of flexible working remains sluggish in UK SMEs claims Microsoft study

flexible working womanIt’s now one year since the UK Government extended the right to request flexible working to nearly all UK permanent employees. Two new surveys have been published to coincide with the anniversary and gauge the effects of the legislation. Both surveys, from EY and Microsoft UK, paint somewhat mixed pictures, with uptake considerably slower than might have been expected. The study by Microsoft, one of the UK’s great champions of flexible working, found that just 22 percent of workers in SMEs have requested flexible working as a direct result of the new legislation. The report also found that over half (55 percent) of British office workers are still required to work from the office during set working hours. A similar proportion (44 percent) claim it is not possible for them to work remotely under any circumstances.

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Multi generational workplace could boost economy by £25 billion

mult generational workplaceThe Government has published a new report which describes the challenges faced by the UK’s over 50s in the workplace and sets out ways in which more of them can stay or move into work. The report is the culmination of eight months’ work by a team led by the Government’s ‘ageism tsar’ Ros Altmann and highlights why action is needed based primarily on the twin issues of demographic change and increasing life expectancy. The report, Retain, Retrain, Recruit, recommends action that would help older workers thrive and ensure individuals, industry and the economy can reap the financial and social benefits of a multi generational workplace. The report outlines how businesses could recruit more older workers, retrain existing staff and provide greater flexibility to retain them as well as setting out measures that should be taken to reflect the multi generational workforce in the media and policy making.

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A third of Britons claim their employers still don’t offer flexible working

small businessesMore than a third (37 percent) of British employees claim their employers are not yet offering flexible working arrangements, according to a report from unified communications firm Unify. This is in spite of the fact that nearly all UK employees now have the right to request flexible working following the introduction of revised legislation last Summer. The survey of staff at more than 1,500 businesses in the UK also claims that 39 percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to the business if it offered more flexible working options. According to the report, Humanising the Enterprise, a further 28 percent said they have no preference about where they get work done and 40 percent said they would find it liberating if they were able to work entirely outside of the office. Over half (51 percent) said their colleagues and other interruptions distract them from doing their jobs.

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O2’s dogmatic approach to flexible working sends the wrong signals

O2’s dogmatic approach to flexible working sends the wrong signals

Flexible working dogmaAlthough we would normally offer the findings of a survey without comment, preferring readers to add their own pinch of salt, it’s sometimes interesting to question the way research is presented. This week a study by O2 claimed that in the six months since nearly all full time UK workers were granted the right to request flexible working, 23 percent of staff have taken advantage of the option. While there is nothing unusual in a mobile tech firm producing a survey about flexible working, what is interesting is that they have chosen to present this as ‘only 23 percent’ and many in the press have gone along with it. Now, unless I’ve missed something, isn’t it actually remarkable that nearly a quarter of UK employees have requested flexible working in a six month period?

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Two new reports claim firms and employees are out of step on flexible working

flexible workingThe two latest stones to be tossed into the flexible working maelstrom in the hope of creating a ripple both suggest that employers are out of step with the expectations of their staff when it comes to working hours and conditions. The CIPD launched a new report Getting Smart About Agile Working, at the start of its annual conference in Manchester on 5 November which claims that a third (35 percent) of employees would like to change their working arrangements with nearly half (43 percent) saying they would most like to change the start or finish time of their working day. Meanwhile a separate report from BUPA claims that half of employees of SMEs think their employees underestimate the part that benefits including flexible working have to play in the overall feel of the company, and a similar number (51 percent) believe that not offering such benefits damages an employer’s attractiveness to new recruits.

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Two-fifths of global employees would choose flexible working over a payrise

flexible workingA friend of mine went for a job recently and asked about flexible working. They were informed that: “we don’t like to allow people to work from home as we can’t keep our eye on them.” This attitude is a disincentive to job applicants and existing staff, and makes employers who take this attitude look at best old-fashioned and at worse foolish. Even the UK’s pro-employer government extended the right to request flexible working to anyone with over 26 weeks service this June, which illustrated how ‘mainstream’ flexi-work has become. A new piece of research reveals there is currently something of a global shift in culture towards a ‘Flex Work Imperative’, described as a perfect storm of employee demand, improving job market, and legislation that is shifting flex work from job perk to an employee’s right. It’s why 43 per cent of employees surveyed said they would prefer flex work over a pay raise. More →