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Modern romance: advice to employers on managing workplace relationships

Managing workplace breakups


Despite all the cautionary tales regarding the dangers of office romance, countless employees start up relationships with co-workers every year. Whether sparks fly over the work photocopier or more likely, on a Friday night in the pub after work, the workplace still beats the internet for finding romance. The sheer number of hours we spend with colleagues together with the stresses and strains of work, can lead to close friendships that may go on to become a relationship further down the line. Research shows that couples who met at work are most likely to marry. However, the fact is that many relationships can and do fail and this is no less so for workplace relationships. Whilst clearly there are issues for the people involved to manage, it can also create headaches for employers. More →

Green Building Council slams PM’s plans to slash environmental guidance

Plans to slash environmental guidance

The UK Green Building Council has condemned Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to scrap realms of environmental guidance. In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses earlier this week, the Prime Minister said that by March 2015 Defra will have slashed 80,000 pages of environmental guidance, saving businesses around £100 million per year; “to make it vastly easier and cheaper for businesses to meet environmental obligations.” However Paul King, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council, branded the move utterly reprehensible. He said: “The Prime Minister’s boasts of ‘slashing 80,000 pages’ of environmental guidance is. It is the same poisonous political rhetoric from Number 10, devaluing environmental regulation in a slash and burn manner. These words are not only damaging and irresponsible, but misrepresent the wishes of so many modern businesses, both large and small.”  More →

Latest generation Y survey reflects characteristically idealistic thinking of youth

Latest generation Y survey confirms characteristic idealistic thinking of youth

Maybe it’s the cynicism of middle age, but the most recent exploration of arguably, the most over-analysed cohort of workers in history – Generation Y – seems to reflect the archetypal idealistic thinking of youth. For example, while most Millennials (74%) believe business is having a positive impact on society by generating jobs (48%) and increasing prosperity (71%), they think it can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of most concern: resource scarcity (68%), climate change (65%) and income equality (64%). And quelle surprise, 50 per cent of Millennials surveyed wanted to work for a business with ethical practices. You have to wonder wouldn’t an examination of the hopes and aspirations of the last couple of generations of younger workers reveal similar ideologies, albeit without the benefit of their digital sophistication? More →

Fewer projects put on hold as construction sector recovery continues

Construction sector

In the week the ONS announced the UK unemployment rate has dropped to 7.1 per cent, comes more evidence of the recovery from the built environment. Figures released by construction industry analysts Glenigan have revealed that the value of UK projects put on hold during 2013 was the lowest since the start of the recession in 2008. In total, £12 billion of potential projects were put on hold last year, compared to £47 billion in 2012 and a peak of £80 billion in 2009. According to Glenigan economist Tom Crane, the value of stalled projects have been falling since 2009, but the latest figure shows the continuation of an encouraging trend, with a 16 per cent fall in the value of underlying projects.   More →

Working from Home Week: good idea, but it doesn’t suit everyone

Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workers

Yesterday was hyped as the most depressing day of the year, but it also marked the beginning of Working from Home Week (20-26 January 2014). The idea will resonate with anyone struggling to get out of bed and join the January commute. There are many advantages to home working; but depending on your personality and personal circumstances there are also disadvantages. Yes, you’ll avoid traffic jams/crowded trains, take the dog for a walk when you fancy and can concentrate on a project without annoying interruptions. But working from home has its disadvantages too; including feeling isolated and finding it difficult to remain motivated. Rather like those who decide to move to the country but find it’s too quiet – for some people the buzz of the workplace is vital to their productivity and wellbeing. More →

Insight newsletter is now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smIn this week’s Insight newsletter, available to view online; Mark Eltringham reflects on the need to be aware of the wider world when we are at work; and wonders where we will all fit into an increasingly automated workplace. News that strict controls could undermine the successful implementation of many BYOD programmes; confirmation that BIM technology is helping construction professionals improve productivity, efficiency, quality and safety and why the commercial property sector needs to take a city scale view of retrofit projects. A new survey predicts big changes to come in the way we manage an increasingly flexible workforce and legal expert Pam Loch provides an essential guide to the key pieces of employment law which will come into force over the coming year.

Retaining valuable employees is top global priority for CEOS this year

Retaining valuable employees is top global priority for CEOS this yearThe number one priority of business leaders worldwide this year is how best to develop, engage, manage, and retain existing talent. This worker-centric approach means that employee engagement and better management will take centre stage as the way to improve competitiveness, win new customers and raise productivity. According to new research from The Conference Board and UK partner CMI (Chartered Management Institute), CEOs will concentrate on creating a strong internal talent pipeline rather than seeking to recruit externally, with nine out of the top 10 global Human Capital strategies focused on current employees, including providing training and development, raising employee engagement and increasing efforts to retain critical talent. Other closely linked priorities identified in the CEO Challenge 2014 are customer relationships, innovation, operational excellence, and corporate brand and reputation. More →

Workforce to grow across the regions next year, bolstered by flexible working

Workforce to grow throughout the country in 2014The management issues which dominated 2013 centred on the rise of flexible working; if pay scales would remain below inflation; and whether jobs recovery would continue and if so, could expand beyond the fringes of London. As today’s ONS figures show unemployment at the lowest rate since 2009, the latest CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey reveals that more than half of UK companies expect to create jobs over the next 12 months for the first time in over five years. It says private sector workforces are anticipated to grow across all regions, Yorkshire and Humberside and the east midlands being the most buoyant. Bosses will continue to take a cautious approach to pay however, with flexible contracts used to bolster economic growth and job creation. More →

Good practice guide for employers on using social media as a vetting tool

Advice on social media vettingThe debate over the right to privacy of job applicants whose activities may be checked on social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, has led to some confusion over what is legally acceptable. Employers’ body the CIPD’s recent social media research revealed that two in five employers look at candidates’ online activity or profiles to inform recruitment decisions, but few inform applicants as a matter of course that this is being done. But just how aware are employers of the legalities around this kind of vetting? Managers have wide discretion within the law to decide whether or not to recruit a particular candidate, but to avoid risk of legal challenge they should be fully aware of the law on data protection and discrimination in employment. The CIPD has now published some useful guidance on what constitutes good practice. More →

Extended rights to flexible working could prove a logistical headache for employers

Extended rights to flexible working could prove a logistical headache for employers

A recent decision by the government could result in emptier offices on Fridays and Mondays as staff vie with each other to work from home. This is because from April 2014 onwards, employers will have to be prepared to consider flexible working requests from any employee, not just for employees who have children under the age of 17 or responsibilities as carers. One of the more challenging areas for employers is how to manage condensed hours requests and to keep enough staff covering core office hours, without affecting the business. This could result in employers having to juggle competing flexible working requests from employees who they may not be able to accommodate all at the same time. More →

Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workers

Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workersFlexible working is on the rise. However, as reported today, while employers are happy to equip workers with the facilities required to work away from the office, there is a worrying level of unwillingness amongst many bosses in checking the safety and comfort of home workers. Employers have a duty of care to their home workers under health and safety legislation and the Working Time Regulations 1998. This means that care should be taken by employers to ensure that home workers operate in a safe and appropriate environment. This duty of care goes beyond supplying an ergonomic workstation. Managing home workers requires a varied set of management skills and best practice processes. More →

CIPD research finds zero-hours contracts unfairly demonised and oversimplified

CIPD research finds zero-hours contracts unfairly demonised and oversimplified

Further evidence has been published this week that maintains the use of zero-hours contracts is not the evil employment practise portrayed by the media. According to new research by the CIPD, the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK economy has been underestimated, oversimplified and unfairly demonised. The survey of more than 2,500 workers found that zero-hours workers are just as satisfied with their job as the average UK employee, and more likely to be happy with their work-life balance than other workers. The CIPD has also published new guidance, in collaboration with law firm Lewis Silkin, to help tackle poor practice highlighted in the research, such as the poor level of understanding about employment rights among many employers and zero-hours workers.  More →

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