Search Results for: innovation

Facebook moves into new California campus headquarters

facebook1Facebook has moved into its much discussed new headquarters building and campus in Menlo Park, California. As is the way these days, the relocation to the Frank Gehry designed HQ was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his own Facebook page and heralded by a number of images shared on social media by staff. Zuckerberg also shared an aerial view of the 22 acre location included its landscaped roof and has promised that more images and video will emerge ‘once we’re fully unpacked’. Controversially – maybe – the building features what is claimed to be the world’s largest open plan office space which will be home to many of the new building’s 2,800 inhabitants. In this regard, the design is resolutely mainstream as are the array of breakout spaces and cafes used to supplement the open plan and give people the chance to take some time away.

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Driverless cars will transform the UK economy by 2030, claims report

Driverless carsA new study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and KPMG claims that the development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320,000 jobs in the UK and deliver huge benefits to society and the economy. The first ever comprehensive analysis of the opportunities provided by the new technology claims that by 2030 driverless cars will deliver a £51 billion boost to the UK economy, reduce congestion and carbon emissions and cut serious road traffic accidents by more than 25,000. By that time all new cars will incorporate some form of connectivity, according to the report’s authors. It also predicts that the UK will be a global leader in the production of this next generation of vehicles, with the support of Government including financial backing. The study was presented at last week’s SMMT conference in London.

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Gamification remains a mystery to employees and unused by many firms

gamificationAlthough it’s currently one of the most talked about workplace ideas, gamification remains a mystery to many workers and even HR professionals keen on the idea are probably not doing much about it. Those are two of the findings of a report from consultancy Penna based on interviews with 2,000 HR directors and employees. The study set out to explore how well senior HR professionals understood gamification, its uses and their perception of the barriers to adoption. Researchers also asked employees about their level of ‘everyday engagement’ with gamification and whether they recognise it as a concept. Over half (52 percent) of HR directors claim to be ‘massively interested’ in the idea although 44 percent also agreed that their organisation was ‘not at all interested’. Remarkably the survey also found that 89 percent of employees don’t even know what it is.

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Report identifies the challenges and opportunities of workplace wellbeing

workplace wellbeingMuch of what has been called workplace strategy in recent years has been more about cutting costs than supporting people, often to the detriment of the latter. That is the central claim of a new report authored by Kate Lister and Tom Harnish of Global Workplace Analytics and sponsored by office furniture maker Knoll. The paper, What’s Good for People? Moving from Wellness to Well-Being, explores how better workplaces, processes and practices can improve workplace wellbeing, employee engagement and organisational performance. The study starts from the premise that people are dealing with unprecedented stresses and pressures in the workplace which now need to be addressed in the context of a recovering economy, the limits of an approach that focuses on doing more with less and an increasingly scant pool of human resources and talents.

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Employers warned of new office malady: ‘Invisible Employee Syndrome’

Employers warned of new workplace malady – 'Invisible Employee Syndrome'While some workers might be happy to stay under the workplace radar, this lack of engagement does not benefit their employers. Now firms are being warned of a previously unrecognised malaise, Invisible Employee Syndrome, which occurs when employees ‘go dark’, disappear off the performance and talent radar, and intentionally or unintentionally become invisible to their employer. The survey cites a range of contributory factors, including inadequate engagement, poor communications, a lack of insights and broken HR processes and systems. The joint survey from HRMS provider Fairsail and HR Grapevine showed that 78 percent of respondents felt employees were poorly engaged. Many UK organisations are suffering from this ailment, which the research suggests is reducing productivity, sapping innovation, undermining competitiveness and fueling attrition.

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Two new reports highlight potential benefits of flexible working for women

flexible working womenTwo new reports published this week highlight the potential benefits of flexible working for both employers and staff, especially women. According to a Workingmums.co.uk Best Practice Report, only 36 percent of employers have a flexible working policy despite over half thinking it improves retention, particularly of women, and over a third saying it makes people more efficient. Meanwhile, a study from the TUC claims that around half of the net growth in female employment in 2014 came from women moving in to lower-paid part-time jobs. The analysis claims that while full-time employment accounted for all of the net growth in male employment last year, for women full-time employment accounted for just 47 per cent of net female jobs growth. The TUC also claims that women who moved into part-time jobs during 2014 were typically employed on much lower rates of pay than those in full-time work.

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US FCC agrees net neutrality deal to classify Internet as a public utility

digiCord_t479The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a reclassification of the Internet as a public utility for the first time. It follows last month’s call from the UK Government for a similar approach to ensure that everybody has equal access to the online world. The FCC ruling specifically forbids Internet service providers creating a range of fast and slow services as a way – critics argued – of hijacking the Internet to gain monopolistic control over the digital economy and favour larger websites able to afford the higher rates. The ruling on ‘net neutrality’ has been broadly welcomed, not least by those campaigners who have argued for years that it would mean an end to the Internet as we have known it; an open platform that offers equal opportunities to all users and content providers and so fosters innovation.

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Design Museum Awards: the buildings may be accessible, but the language isn’t

UC Innovation CentreOne of the fundamental challenges when asked to offer a critique of something is that you may find that you actually like a great deal of what you are presented with. And this is precisely the challenge offered up by the shortlist for The Designs of the Year awards, organised annually by London’s Design Museum to honour work “that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year”. It would be churlish indeed to take issue with projects that seek to address the provision of education in deprived areas; remove pollutants from the air and from the oceans; advance technological solutions to help people with impaired sight or mobility and improve sanitation to eliminate the diarrhoea which kills approximately 1.8 million people annually, primarily children under the age of 5.

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Government making progress in flexible working and green tech

flexible workingThe Government has published the latest edition of its ‘Greening Government ICT Strategy’ report, which looks at how central public sector bodies in the UK are addressing environmental issues directly associated with hardware as well as related issues such as travelling to work, the use of property, working cultures and the delivery of services. For the first time the report includes details of energy consumption. The main commitments of the strategy are the ongoing shift to cloud based ‘digital by default’ operations and a focus on the flagship the Way We Work (TW3) flexible working programme which aims ‘to ensure that civil servants have the modern tools they need to enable them to work effectively together and with customers. New greener digital technologies and working practices will help do just that.’

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Why would you want a Google office when you can create your own?

You don't want a Google office do you?Google has dramatically shaken up the world of the Internet and also changed the face of the traditional office environment forever. Nothing has ever been the same, since the ubiquitous four-colour logo first appeared on the worldwide web. Everything that Google does creates a ripple in the business world. Whether it’s giving employees 20% of their time to focus on their own projects, allowing them to form teams to peruse the idea of their choice or installing slides instead of stairs many are asking “should we also be doing that?” And it’s not surprising. All companies want to be successful and there’s no better success story around than Google. So let’s try and model ourselves on or imitate Google, right? I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard “could we have an office a bit more like Google?”

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Government launches scheme to attract US tech sector to UK

tech sectorThe Government has launched a scheme to attract US tech firms to set up or ramp up their businesses in the UK. The tech sector is already worth around £120 billion to the UK and the Government hopes the HQ-UK programme will offer investors a chance to tap into a well-established pool of talent and a business-friendly and low tax economy. The initiative is a joint venture between Tech City, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. HQ-UK will simplify and quicken processes for visa applications and setting up UK bank accounts. The programme will also highlight the UK’s high skilled tech savvy workforce, the Government’s commitment to the development of programming skills in schools and the second largest labour market in the EU.

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Employers fail to design inclusive workplaces for disabled jobseekers

Employers failing to design inclusive workplaces for disabled jobseekers Organisations that claim to be equal opportunities employers need to consider whether their workplace has an inclusive design. According to research commissioned by the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) there is a significant disparity between the perceptions of candidates and recruiters in terms of the provision of ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate disabled job seekers – a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010. Despite the fact that 82 percent of recruiters claim reasonable adjustments are made to cater for disabled jobseekers, 58 percent of candidates say that no such adjustments exist. The research also found that up to 37 percent of disabled candidates have been discriminated against during recruitment, while 82 percent have reported a negative experience with a recruitment consultancy, which they attribute to a lack of knowledge of disability issues.

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