Search Results for: people management

Firms downsizing property dramatically as agile working takes hold, claims new report

agile workingThe sharp reduction in the amount of office space used by corporate occupiers as they adopt more agile working practices has been confirmed in a new study from facilities management services provider MITIE. The survey, as reported in the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) magazine FM World, found that between the years of 2008 and 2014 firms reduced their floorspace by an average of 45 percent. The results of the report, based on interviews with property directors, mirror those of the Occupier Density Survey published last year by the British Council for Offices (BCO) which also found a marked (if smaller) reduction. The authors of the MITIE report conclude, similarly, that the economic downturn has been the main catalyst for the reduction in property used by occupiers and that the main way firms have accommodated the fall is with the uptake of flexible working practices.

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Generational shift means Gen Y women best suited to take a seat on the board

female-c-suiteOrganisations that persist in appointing all-male boards were named and shamed last week by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable and Lord Davies, who published the ground-breaking Women on Boards report. Now a new piece of research by Hudson has found that Generation Y females – those in their twenties and early thirties – are the natural leaders of the future. Generation Y women top the charts when it comes to being ‘socially confident’, ‘helpful’, ‘organised’ and ‘meticulous’, compared to their Gen Y male counterparts. Far removed from ‘traditional’ leadership skills (persuasion, confidence, extraversion), they bring a completely different, and more relevant, set of skills to the business environment of today – and tomorrow. Interestingly, when compared to Boomer males, (some of whom we’d assume must be well represented on current boards) the difference in skill areas are most acute: Generation Y females ranked 16% higher on people skills, 22% higher on social confidence, 22% higher on altruism, 16% higher on optimism and 21% higher on ambition. More →

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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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 →

We’ve long had ‘overwhelming evidence’ for the link between office design and productivity

office designPerhaps the most widely reported news from the world of workplace over the last couple of weeks has been the analysis from the World Green Building Council that links office design with productivity and wellness. And the two words from the report that have featured most commonly in the associated stories’ headlines have been ‘overwhelming evidence’. While this has been repeated as if it’s some kind of revelation, the truth is that we have had compelling and overwhelming evidence for many years, and barely a year goes past without some study or other making the same point in no uncertain terms. Each report merely serves to raise a more interesting question; given the sheer body of work linking the workplace with productivity (and happiness and motivation and so on), why does the argument still need to be made?

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Julian Assange escapes incarceration to take part in conference as a hologram

Julian Assange escapes incarceration to take part in conference as a hologram

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We have grown accustomed to the way technology distorts time and space. This, after all, is the underlying tension that defines each of the major debates about the workplace, including flexible working, office design, facilities management and the acquisition of commercial property. But, as they say, we ain’t seen nothing yet as the next generation of technologies starts to scale the upslope of the diffusion of innovation curve. People have been talking about telepresence for a little while, but it is about to achieve mainstream awareness thanks to events such as the appearance of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange at a conference in the USA last week. Assange is famously holed up in London in the Ecuadorian Embassy, challenging his extradition to Sweden to face trial and can’t leave the building without being arrested. So the way he appeared at the conference in Nantucket was as a hologram.

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Generation Y make the most trusting managers, finds ILM report

Generation Y are the most trusting managers finds ILM reportMaintaining high levels of trust at work helps to foster an engaged and productive atmosphere, finds a new report by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), which reveals the youngest generation to be the most trusting and those working within the public sector the least trusting. The truth about trust, honesty and integrity at work found that the millennial generation of managers (born 1981 onwards), are the most likely to trust those within their organisation (54%), followed by baby boomers (born between 1946–1964), almost half of whom (45%) say they trust everyone or almost everyone. Generation X, those born between 1965–1980, had the lowest level of respondents saying they trust everyone or almost everyone (44%) at work. The research also reveals that the five fundamental skills and qualities that leaders need in order to be trusted are openness, effective communication, the ability to make decisions, integrity and competence in their role. More →

Indoor air quality and the quest for a breath of fresh air in the workplace

indoor air quality

Edward Hopper, Office in a Small City, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

The modern workplace has to work harder than ever before. It must reflect corporate values, express something of the organisation’s brand, allow people to work to the best of their ability as well as look after their wellbeing, keep touch with the pace of changing technology and meet the demands of an ever changing legislative environment and keep costs down. All of these issues conflate around the challenge of providing a sustainable, comfortable and productive working environment in buildings that are filled with an increasing number of people and computers. It is estimated by the Building Research Establishment that even in a typical office each person and their technology will generate some 1500 W of energy per hour, the equivalent of the sort of fan heater that the EU is now keen to ban outright.

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Key to successful BIM implementation is collaboration, says RICS

Key to success of BIM implementation is collaboration says RICSThe need for collaboration between all the professions working within the built environment was the overriding theme of a free seminar on BIM, hosted by RICS last week, reports RICS’ Schemes and Accreditation Manager Jon Klahn. The event featured speakers from quantity surveying, engineering and architecture, and was designed to help delegates learn more about BIM and RICS’ role in establishing BIM industry standards. Addressing the 80 plus attendees, Dr Anne Kemp FRICS, Director of BIM Strategy and Development at Atkins and Chair of ICE’s BIM Action Group said the various professions can no longer be driven by self-interest. BIM in itself is not the solution. But the change required to make BIM successful will ultimately allow for better construction, better buildings and a better environment. Successful BIM implementation requires a partnership of people, process and technology and for project teams to understand and appreciate each other’s roles as professionals. More →

Report claims workplace fails to support employees with musculoskeletal disorders

musculoskeletal disordersWhen determining what constitutes a well-designed office, it’s easy to overlook the overriding need to ensure a workplace is designed first and foremost to be inclusive. Given the fact that musculoskeletal disorders remain the largest single cause of days of work lost due to sickness absence, it’s worrying to discover that many organisations fail to meet the needs of those dealing with such conditions. The new report ‘Self-management of chronic musculoskeletal disorders and employment’ from the Fit for Work UK Coalition and The Work Foundation found that despite sufferers’ efforts to remain at work, many are forced to ‘self-manage’ their condition without adequate support; with for instance an employee being forced to partake in a hot desk policy when they required their own, fixed workspace. As the report states, this lack of help is ‘all the more perverse’ when you take into consideration the role that work can play in helping to contribute to mental and physical wellbeing. More →

Workplace design is increasingly interwoven with the dynamics of the city

workplace designThe Workplace Strategy Summit, held near my adopted home town of Reading in June attracted some of the world’s most renowned experts on workplace design and management. As is the case these days, much of the talk focussed on urbanisation, both in its own right and in terms of its influence on the design of work and workplaces. One speaker, Andrew Laing of Aecom argued convincingly that the city is just as much a part of the modern workplace as the traditional office. ‘As we explore the future of work and place, we are beginning to see a shift towards an urban scale in how we frame the workplace problem,’ he said. ‘Our starting point is perhaps no longer the office but the city at large. And what we mean by the city may not be the bricks and mortar urbanism of the twentieth century, but a bricks and mortar urbanism imbued with digital information and connectivity: a powerful combination of the physical and digital.’

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We may not know what the future holds, but we can certainly be prepared for it

unknown-futureGiven the track record of people when it comes to making predictions about the future, it’s easy to grow cynical, especially when it involves a profession as subject to the vagaries of technological and cultural change as facilities management. But while we should be wary of more fanciful and long term thinking, any natural scepticism shouldn’t blind us to those predictions that we know will largely come true, especially those based on what we know is happening already. For example, recent research carried out by Cass Business School and Henley Business School and presented in the book Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work found that two-thirds of managers believe there would be a revolution in working practices over the coming ten years. Given what we’ve seen over the past ten years, it’s impossible to argue any different. In fact the only quibble we should have with this is that it won’t take another ten years for this to happen because the process is already well underway.

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