Search Results for: people management

2020 vision is a useless metaphor for far-sightedness in a number of ways

Looking in telescope wrong wayThe year 2020 is a mere seven years away. Yet the designers of the future workplace and those who invite them to talk about it are still referring to it as if it marks the next frontier of human endeavour and as if we weren’t already up to our collective armpits in the 21st century. The idea of 20/20 vision is considered, in ophthalmological circles at least, to represent “normal” visual acuity and is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain. In practical terms, this means it’s about seeing and interpreting what is directly in front of us at a distance of around 6 metres. So as a metaphor for farsightedness regarding the future of work or workplaces it’s always been a poor one. And as we get closer to the eponymous year, it becomes worse day by day.

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Interview: Dave Coplin of Microsoft on Big Data, engagement and culture

Microsoft Thames Valley 1Dave Coplin joined Microsoft in 2005, and is now its Chief Envisioning Officer, helping to envision the full potential that technology offers a modern, digital society. He is a globally recognised expert on technological issues such Cloud computing, privacy, big data, social media, open government, advertising and the consumerisation of technology and is the author of a recent book called “Business Reimagined: Why work isn’t working and what you can do about it”. He is also one of the main speakers at this year’s Worktech conference in London on 19 and 20 November. In this exclusive interview with Insight he offers his thoughts on the lack of engagement between firms and employees, the most common misunderstandings about flexible working and the challenges facing managers in IT, FM and HR.

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Quarter of the UK workforce report they’re suffering long-term ill health

Quarter of the UK workforce report they're suffering long-term ill health

Administrative and support activities, which includes facilities management, is one of five UK industries where employees have reported the highest levels of long-term ill health. However across all the sectors a staggering eight million people, or a quarter of the UK’s workforce (27%) say they suffer from a health problem that’s lasted more than a year. According to the new Health at Work Index from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) one in ten workers (12%) – approximately 3.5 million people – said their ability to do their job is limited by poor health. This includes over half of diabetes sufferers (58%) and the same proportion of people suffering from depression, mental illness or panic attacks (58%). More →

Workplace Week highlights the changing shape of the office

'High Street' at Network Rail's Milton Keynes base

‘High Street’ at Network Rail’s Milton Keynes base

This year’s Workplace Week  which took place last week was a great success, with more people participating and more money raised for charity. Across the week, over 500 people took part, visiting innovative workplaces, attending the Workplace Week Convention or going along to one of the many Fringe events. Workplace Week is organised by Advanced Workplace Associates and supported by CoreNet Global, BCS, RICS, FMA and BIFM. All proceeds go to the Children in Need charity. Around 60 people joined the speakers at the headquarters of PWC on London’s Southbank for the Workplace Week Convention to discuss ‘Driving productivity through the connected organisation.’ The informal atmosphere and roundtable format encouraged participation, with a focus on developments in organisational design, change management and technology.

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UK leads the world in talent, but it needs the right culture in which to thrive

London at nightWe should never take the UK’s talent base for granted. According to a new report from Deloitte, when it comes to employment levels of people in knowledge based jobs in high skill sectors such as digital media, banking, legal services, software development, telecoms and publishing, London is comfortably the world’s leading city. The study found that London employed 1.5 million people in the 22 sectors surveyed, compared with 1.2 million in New York, 784,000 in Los Angeles, 630,000 in Hong Kong and 425,000 in Boston. The report also predicts that London will enjoy rapid growth in employment levels in these sectors over the next seven years, adding around 100,000 more people and that while a decline in employment is foreseen in financial services, this will be more than offset by strong growth in creative and media businesses.

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Looking back on a year in which the office sought a clearer sense of identity

JanusIt’s not often that workplace management becomes national business news but that happened at the end of February when  the world became very interested for a while in the way we design and manage offices. The reason for this was the decision by Yahoo to ban homeworking for staff at its headquarters.  The resultant period of shirt-rending at this challenge to received wisdom told us more about the changing view of the workplace than the actual decision by Yahoo. As the dust settled, we discovered that the Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had based her decision to change working practices on data from the company’s network that showed people working from home didn’t log on to the company Virtual Private Network as much as those in the office.

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Employers advised to take a more preventative approach on Stress Awareness Day

Employers encouraged to take a more preventative approach on Stress Awareness DayToday is national stress awareness day. According to the HSE stress accounted for a massive 40 per cent of all work-related illnesses last year, which resulted in a loss of 10.4 million working days. As well as being a major contributor to long term physical illnesses, including obesity, stress also contributes to poor workplace performance caused by lack of concentration. The financial cost to the UK has been estimated at £60 billion or about £1,000 per man, woman and child. Yet according to the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) most organisations tackle stress at the wrong end. They wait until someone becomes ill, and then start to provide services to improve their health. This is too late. More →

Interview: Greg Lindsay on engineering serendipity and harnessing chaos

Render of Plaza at Zappos offices in LA

Render of Plaza at Zappos offices in LA

Greg Lindsay is a journalist and urbanist. He is a contributing writer for Fast Company and co-author of the international bestseller Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next as well as a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute, and a research affiliate of the New England Complex Systems Institute. He is also one of the main speakers at this year’s Worktech conference in London on 19 and 20 November. In this frank and enlightening interview he offers his thoughts on how firms can engineer serendipity into their workplaces and cultures and how the way we design offices is already taking clues from the way we plan urban environments.

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There is very little about flexible working that is actually flexible

upside_down_officeIt’s pretty clear why some of the world’s greatest writers have been drawn to the human propensity for moral and linguistic inversions and subversions. Books like 1984, Catch 22 and A Clockwork Orange are predicated on the idea. And it’s not one limited to literature. If we look, we can see it going on all around us. In the field of workplace design and management we can see it in the use of the word ‘flexible’ as used in the phrase flexible working. This is a word that in this particular context is coming to mean something like its opposite.  According to a survey from YouGov, the 9 to 5 is a thing of the past, supplanted by a style of work labelled flexible but which involves a third of us working for over ten hours a day, many at home right up until the point we go to bed with a smartphone that sits by our side, to wake us with a beep and a wodge of new notifications the next morning.

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Workplace Trends conference justifies the workplace in a virtual world

In his lightning summary of five decades of the office at Workplace Trends 2013: Making it Work, which took place last week, architect Frank Duffy remarked on the challenge of justifying place in an increasingly virtual world. It’s never been easy to gauge the productivity of offices and knowledge workers – a conundrum the conference returned to throughout the day. Tim Oldman from the Leeman Index, which has gone some way to measure workplace effectiveness, revealed that only 53 per cent of 42,677 workers questioned had agreed their workplace enables them to work productively. Yet despite this, as most of the sessions of the day confirmed, the office is far from obsolete, and as a place for workers to congregate and collaborate, it remains king. More →

‘Beleaguered’ UK workforce is poorly motivated and unproductive

UK workers are lacking motivation and job satisfaction, with over half either feeling neutral or unhappy about going to work most days, only one in four very satisfied with their jobs and 20 per cent who dread going to work. According to a new report, ‘The Forgotten Workforce’ a series of blows to UK workers, including cuts to their working hours, increasingly inconsistent working patterns, pay freezes, and introduction of zero hours – coupled with little or no investment in technology to support employees – has led to a UK workforce lacking morale and disengaged from the business. An efficient business needs an efficient workforce. If this cycle continues, businesses will face increasingly poor productivity and the UK economic recovery will suffer warns the report. More →

‘Them and us’ mentality rife, as third of staff report low levels of trust in senior managers

Level of trust in senior managers not as high as they believeA counterproductive “them and us” mentality is being bred in too many of the UK’s workplaces, as more than one in three employees report that their level of trust in senior managers is weak (34%), According to the latest research by the CIPD, while an overwhelming majority report that they trust in their colleagues and line managers to some or a great extent (92% and 80% respectively), trust ratings increase with an employee’s seniority, with senior managers much more likely to report strong trust between employees and senior management than non-managerial workers. Creating a better level of trust isn’t difficult however, with the majority of employees pointing to simple and effective practices such as ‘approachable’, ‘competent’  and ‘consistent leaders’ who ‘act with honesty and integrity’ and ‘lead by example’. More →

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