Search Results for: people management

Economic recovery, the changing psychological contract and the future of the office

display_img_01There has always been a link of one sort or another between the labour market and office design. So, as the UK’s unemployment statistics continue to fall, they remain moderately high and there continue to be structural changes in the nature of work, typified by this year’s debate about the growing use of zero hours contracts. You have to wonder what impact structural changes,  levels of unemployment and redundancy (around 4 million in the UK since 2008) have had on the way we manage and design our workplaces. There is no doubt that the downturn combined with the structural changes in the way we work have had an effect on demand for commercial property, but what will it all mean in the longer term?

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What happens in a designer’s mind and Mac can be very different to reality

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Pieter Bruegel

Social media is inarguably closing the gap between organisations and consumers of their services. Advances in the way we interrogate the opinions of building users are lifting the veil on some sharp practices in management and the negative impacts of poorly thought out design or badly executed installation of designs into the built environment. The positive impacts of this new, more open world are evident in changing attitudes to mental health and other wellness issues that affect us in the workplace. And it is becoming ever more evident in the response to a clear disconnect between what happens inside the designer or architect’s MacBook and its effect on the physical spaces with, and within which, we interact.

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Job satisfaction keeps employees motivated more than bonuses

Job satisfaction keeps employees motivated more than bonusesThe reported levels of stress felt by banking employees already suggests that generous bonuses do not necessarily equate loving the job. Now a new study published today by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) confirms that across the business sector, the single most effective motivator is job satisfaction (59%), with just 13 per cent saying the prospect of receiving a bonus or other financial incentive motivates them to work harder in their role. The survey of over 1,000 employees found that a competitive salary and a good pension are highly effective motivators (49%) but getting on with colleagues (42%) is nearly as important. The report also highlights how important good managers are to ensuring happy and motivated staff. More →

Workplace Week announces details of visits to London Government buildings

DfE London HQ

DfE London HQ

For the first time, Workplace Week includes visits to two Government offices, the Department for Education at Sanctuary Buildings in Great Smith Street (pictured) and the Department for International Development on Whitehall. The DfE is just a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament and boasts outstanding views of several major landmarks. The building is home to some 2,000 staff who work in a flexible environment with 7 desks for 10 people. The Department for International Development moved to its new London HQ, the oldest purpose-built office in London, at the beginning of the year. The DfID has created a modern, flexible environment which encourages collaborative working, whilst being sympathetic to the historic nature of the building.

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More employers than ever introduce some kind of flexible working pattern

More employers than ever introducing some kind of flexible working patterns

Disenchantment with flexible working appears to be ongoing in the tech sector, with a recent report revealing that computing giant HP is following Yahoo’s lead by quietly discouraging staff from working from home. However, more employers than ever are attaching growing importance to making at least some changes to working patterns as a means of managing rising long-term absence levels. In the annual CIPD / Simplyhealth Absence Management, the number of employers introducing small changes, such as later start times, has increased by 20 per cent in the last year alone. Over 70 per cent of organisations report a positive impact on employee motivation and employee engagement, while a further 46 per cent are using flexible working options to support employees with mental health problems. More →

Firms increasingly likely to eschew BYOD in favour of CYOD, claims new report

Tablet readerCompanies have an inconsistent approach to the implementation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in the workplace and often misjudge the ways in which people use their own technology for work regardless of official policies, claims a snapshot survey of IT managers at 224 UK businesses commissioned by Azzurri Communications. It found that while a greater number of firms are switching to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) as an alternative in which the business keeps control of the account and SIM card for equipment, staff continue to use their own devices anyway to a far greater extent than their employers assume.

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What’s wrong with adopting a more positive approach to work and workplaces?

What’s wrong with adopting a more positive approach to work and workplaces?

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Has there ever been a UK government more interested in the workplace than this one? Most of it has been about cutting costs of course, so the majority of announcements emanating from the Cabinet Office have been about procurement, design and environmental performance. David Cameron even at one point announced that he wanted to measure people’s happiness. The questions needed to work out how happy we are proposed by the Office for National Statistics as a result would have had a very familiar feel for anybody who has ever completed a workplace satisfaction survey even if they miss the most blindingly obvious point that when you’re skint and in mortal fear of losing your job, most other things about work lose their lustre.

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Bosses most likely to lie at work, while still promoting an ethical culture

Bosses tell most lies

Business has been fighting a PR battle in recent years to convince us that ethics and corporate social responsibility is of equal importance to the bottom line. However, when it comes to individual behaviour it seems that managers are far from practising what their employers’ preach. Bosses are  much more likely than other staff to ditch ethics to get ahead in their career (29.4% compared to 13.3%), yet at the same time are more likely than other staff to think it is important to be seen as ethical at work (66.4% compared to 54.0%). According to the research from CMI (Chartered Management Institute) 35.4 per cent of managers bend the truth once a day or more, compared to 25.3 per cent of other workers. More →

The rehabilitation of the cubicle and other lessons from 100% Design

UniteSE from KI

UniteSE from KI

As we’ve said before, acoustics has become the dominant theme at office design exhibitions over the past three or four years. That’s been true at shows in Milan, Cologne, Chicago and London and was certainly the case at this year’s 100% Design at Earl’s Court. A quick whizz around the office zone at this year’s event – which is a useful way of getting an impression before you stop to talk to people about the detail of what they’re doing – revealed that well over half of the exhibitors were showcasing products that addressed the issue of acoustics. And yet things have also moved on from recent events, not least in the rehabilitation of that most demonised of all office furniture pieces – the cubicle.

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Businesses report a growing appetite for social media work tools


Social media, as politicians and celebrities are all too aware is a double edged sword. Just last week David Cameron read out a Twitter message during Prime Minister’s Questions sent to a Labour MP, who had asked people for suggestions about what to ask at PMQs. The first reply was “how happy are you that the Labour leader will still be in place at the next election?” And Cameron himself has not been exempt to the odd twitter gaffe. Social media is such a powerful tool however, that employers can’t afford to ignore it – so demand for enterprise social networks – business tools that use Facebook-style features to allow staff to interact with one another on work projects are on the increase. More →

We deserve better than a polarised debate about cellular v open plan offices

Jacques Tati's Playtime

Jacques Tati’s Playtime

Stimulated by a number of rather unsubtle commercial interests, the ‘in’ workplace discussion seems to have swung from ‘collaboration’ i.e. organisations need more new spaces for formal and informal collaborative interactions, to ‘distraction’ i.e. open plan workplaces are creating a loss of productivity because people whose work requires concentration are impeded by constant interruption. The implication of the latter is that people should keep their ‘cubes’ and open-plan should be avoided at all costs. You can see pretty quickly where the commercial axes are being ground can’t you.

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FMs show support for BIM, though not all are certain about what it does

FMs show support for BIM though not all are certain about what it does

There is a lack of understanding within the FM community about what Building Information Modelling (BIM) is and its full capabilities, according to the full results of a BIM4FM Group poll. The majority of respondents (61.7%) held the view that BIM can support the delivery of facilities management, but just over a third of respondents (35.3%), do not yet understand the intricacies of how this will be achieved at this stage. While 65 per cent of the individual members of the organisation’s that make up the BIM4FM group which represents institutes, trade associations and professional bodies within the built environment had heard of BIM – there did seem to be some confusion as to what actually constitutes a BIM project. More →

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