Search Results for: health and safety

Public neither knows nor cares about the coming era of smart cities

Public neither knows nor cares about the coming era of smart cities 0

Smart cities reportThe smart city is the poster child for the new era of immersive digital living, but the British public remains ‘clueless or indifferent’ about the nature of smart cities and what they will mean for their lives, according to a new report entitled: Smart Cities – Time to involve the people published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.  The report claims that only 18 per cent of the British public has heard of a ‘smart city’ and many are unaware that city-wide technologies could improve the quality of life in urban areas. One third of respondents were unable to select the correct definition of a smart city from a list of options. Eight per cent of respondents opted for “a city that has a higher than average proportion of universities and colleges and aims to attract the most intellectual”. And a further five per cent saw it as “a city that has a strict cleaning regime for its buildings, roads and public places”.

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Effect of robots at work on people’s future wellbeing still very uncertain

Effect of robots at work on people’s future wellbeing still very uncertain 0

Robots at workThe effects of robotics on workers’ and managers’ motivation and wellbeing are not widely known, meaning psychosocial factors related to robotics will require more attention in the field of safety and health. This is just one of the conclusions of a new discussion paper – drawn up by EU-OSHA (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work) on the influence of robotics on the future of work. While the use of robots in a complementary role would be the least challenging for society, economic and productivity pressures are likely to result instead in a substitution approach, whereby individuals and groups are replaced in their jobs by robotics and automation. Fewer workers will be needed for jobs that are routine or have clearly definable tasks, as they will be done instead by industrial and service robots. A result of this technical change will be a relative increase in the demand for highly educated workers and a reduced demand for less educated workers traditionally carrying out jobs consisting of routine cognitive and manual tasks.

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Growth in freelance economy, as people seek better work-life balance

Growth in freelance economy, as people seek better work-life balance 0

Freelance US workersNearly one in four employees freelance in some capacity, a recent study of office workers in the US claims. Overall, twelve percent of US employees work as freelancers as their primary source of income, and the same percentage freelance in addition to their primary job. The Staples Advantage Workplace Index reveals that employees freelance for a variety of reasons, including the flexibility to make their own hours (37 percent), make more money (39 percent), and achieve a work-life balance (32 percent). Businesses also benefit from this arrangement by getting access to highly skilled workers needed for special projects. Freelance workers need temporary access to IT services and equipment, designated work spaces, open communication with co-workers, and the right supplies to help deliver projects. As a result, finds the report, smart, collaborative technology is becoming more ‘mainstream’, in helping establish efficient team structures and collaboration models.

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The six things all people need from their workplace

The six things all people need from their workplace 0

Herman Miller workplaceWhether we like it or not, we all have to work for some, or more usually, most of our adult life. During this time, many of us will work in an office, which is a place that has changed immensely – not only in the last ten years or so, but almost entirely since the start of the twentieth century. The management structure and style of companies, the tools available to the workforce, and the places within the office buildings have been changing and evolving. There has been a shift from hierarchical management structures to a more diverse and organic model. The tools of work have changed from the humble typewritten letter and Bakelite telephone to 24/7 access to emails though laptops and smart phones. And finally the workplace itself has evolved from one with enclosed offices for the senior managers, or a sea of cubicles to workplaces that encourage creativity and collaboration.

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RIBA signs UN Compact as part of an increased focus on ethics

RIBA signs UN Compact as part of an increased focus on ethics 0

RIBARIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) has become a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and has undertaken to support its principles on human rights, labour standards, the environment and corruption. Joining the UNGC is part of the RIBA’s focus on ethics which has recently included co-founding a new coalition to develop a set of globally recognised ethics standards for real estate and related professional organisations. RIBA President Jane Duncan said: “As our profession changes and becomes increasingly international, so must our approach to developing and reinforcing professional ethics. Architecture has a direct impact on societies and economies; it shapes and influences the world we live in. For this reason, we architects have a duty to uphold the highest standards wherever we practice. I am delighted that RIBA has signed the UN Global Compact and undertaken to support and promote its principles.”

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Cycling to work better for motivation than bus, car, rail or tube

Cycling to work better for motivation than bus, car, rail or tube 0

Conference delegates get on their bikes to make a presentationThe naming and shaming of Britain’s most overcrowded trains in a new report from the Department of Transport highlights the uncomfortable journey many workers have to endure every day. This is why a significant number of commuters long to be cyclists, according to recent research from Aviva, which found more than half of those who cycle to work said they arrive refreshed after their commute. Just 1 in 10 car and bus users claimed the same thing and that figure dropped to 1 in 20 for train and tube passengers. Almost a quarter of cyclists (24 percent) also reported feeling motivated after their typical commute, scoring higher than any other common form of commuting, including walking. This is double the proportion of bus passengers (12 percent) who claimed that their commute improved their motivation levels, and triple the proportion of drivers (8 percent) and four times the proportion of train and tube users (6 percent).

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Special edition of Ergonomics in Design focuses on sedentary work

Special edition of Ergonomics in Design focuses on sedentary work 0

ergonomics and muffin topsThe Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) has published a special edition of its in-house journal dedicated to the much discussed topics of sedentary working and the need for us to get out of our seats. You’ll have to pay for it however, although individual sections are available for a one off cost. HFES claims to be the  world’s largest scientific association for human factors and ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,800 members worldwide. The July issue of their journal Ergonomics in Design looks at the range of ailments associated with sedentary working, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes, weighs up what can be done to change the way people work, as well as the benefits and possible downsides to the most commonly suggested solutions, including sit-stand workstations, alternative seating designs and – God help us – treadmill desks.

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Fit note scheme is not reducing long term sickness absence, claims new study

Fit note scheme is not reducing long term sickness absence, claims new study

long term sickness absenceThe UK government’s fit note scheme, introduced  five years ago to help people back to work from long term sickness absence, has failed to deliver its intended reductions, according to research from manufacturing and engineering trade association EEF and Jelf Employee Benefits. The study of 345 companies claims more than two-fifths (43 per cent) of employers believe the policy had not helped employees return to work, up from 35 per cent in 2010. Employers also told the survey that the quality of GP advice on fitness for work has deteriorated, which the report’s authors claim is largely down to the fact that only around one in eight GPs in the UK have been trained in specific health and work and the Government has shown no willingness to invest in more training to bring the numbers of those qualified up to the necessary levels necessary to meet its own goals.

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How facilities management brings organisational values to life. Or not

A story about facilities managementWe have used stories to pass on information for thousands of years and they remain the most powerful way we know to communicate. Indeed, the power of story is magnified in today’s super-connected, transparent world – the truth gets out fast and can be widely communicated – to millions of people all over the world – in such a short space of time. Here is a story which illustrates how employees’ “felt experience” every day strongly shapes their perception of an organisation and how the impact compares to official “corporate messaging”. This, in turn, highlights the critical (often under appreciated) role played by facilities management in reinforcing organisation brand and values. What are the implications for the role of FM and the wider HR agenda?

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Campaign aims to help European employers manage work-related stress

Campaign aims to help European employers manage work-related stressWork-related stress is the second most frequently reported health problem in Europe – with mental health disorders estimated to cost European employers around 240 billion euros per year. Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention – published jointly by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions (Eurofound), reveals that although fewer people report working long hours, job insecurity has increased across Europe, and in some countries work intensity has risen in companies struggling in the economic crisis. Work-related stress is also seen as a ‘sensitive’ or ‘difficult’ area — a perception that may however differ from one country to another. The publication of the report coincides with the theme for the 2014 European Week for Safety and Health at Work, (20 to 24 October) – Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress. All this week, EU-OSHA and its community of partners aims to get Europe talking about stress and how the psychosocial risks in the workplace can be tackled together. More →

Flexible work arrangements are leading component of wellness policies globally

Flexible working policies leading component of wellness policies globallyIn the midst of the August summer holidays; it’s now more than ever that flexible working policies can benefit both employees and employers, so that those who need to get stuff done can get on with it without having to sit in a near empty office for form’s sake. So it comes as little surprise that in a new global survey, polices related to flexible work arrangements and paid time off rank as the number one component of wellness programs globally. According to “Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies,” the concept of wellness at work has evolved over the last seven years, moving from a focus on basic health promotion activities to a culture where seventy-eight per cent of the world’s employers are strongly committed to creating a workplace culture of health, to boost individual engagement and organizational performance. More →

Is it time to stamp out e-cigarettes in your workplace?

e-cigarettes at workElectronic cigarettes, love them or hate them, they are here, but are they here to stay? Since 1 July 2007, smoking in enclosed or substantially enclosed public places and workplaces in the UK has been prohibited. E-cigarettes however emit water vapour rather than smoke and therefore could be legally used in public places and workplaces. But there is increasing debate about the use of e-cigarettes in public places, as concern grows about their potential harmful effects. It’s been alleged that e-cigarettes contain chemicals that could make them as harmful as normal tobacco. The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls the devices safety “illusive”, noting that the chemicals they contain are often not disclosed and have not been properly tested, while a report commissioned by Public Health England said e-cigarettes required “appropriate regulation, careful monitoring and risk management” if their benefits were to be maximised. More →