Search Results for: work-life balance

Over a third of Scottish businesses are based at home (and a fifth started there)

Scottish businesses home workingOver half of businesses in Scotland started in somebody’s home and over a third are still based there, according to a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and researchers from the University of Glasgow. The study of 1,000 Scottish businesses found that 39 percent are based from home and a further 19 percent began life there. The FSB claims that Scottish home based firms turn over around £20 billion a year with three quarters of them with a turnover of less than £100,000 and – perhaps unsurprisingly – only 3 percent with a turnover greater than £500,000. Two thirds also employ at least one additional member of staff. The report’s authors are now calling on Government to acknowledge the significance of these firms and develop policies to help them thrive.

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Connecting to the workplace out of office hours can damage wellbeing

Out of office hours workplace connectivity damages employees' wellbeingThe use of tech outside of office hours can have a detrimental effects on workers’ wellbeing according to a paper presented this week at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology conference in Glasgow. A meta-analysis by Svenja Schlachter and colleagues from the University of Surrey sought to determine the effects of being constantly “switched on” for work and found a blurring of boundaries between work and private life. The research showed that employees use a number of devices outside of office hours in the hope that staying “switched on” will increase flexibility and efficiency and because they believe there is a strong expectation to be available 24/7. This often has a negative effect on their work-life balance and increases stress.

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Flexible working could boost economy by £90 billion, claims report

Laptop on Kitchen Table with Cup of CoffeeThe widespread adoption of flexible working in the UK could boost the economy by as much as £90 billion each year according to a new report from mobile tech firm Citrix and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The study of 1,272 British knowledge workers claims that their ‘best case scenario’  calculation is based on saving UK workers £7.1 billion in commuting costs and over half a billion hours spent travelling. This would add around £11.5 biliion annually to the economy. The report also suggests that an even greater boost to GDP could come from the introduction of a large number of currently unemployed and underemployed individuals such as the retired, disabled and  stay-at-home parents. By tapping this pool of talent the report claims that the economy would benefit by up to £78.5 billion annually, equivalent to nearly 5 percent of GDP.

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Employers unprepared for employee take-up of new flexible work rights

Employers unprepared for new flexible working rightsThe new Shared Parental Leave legislation comes into force next week (1 December), but according to a new report, employers are unprepared for the changes. The Workforce View 2014/15 – an annual barometer of the views and attitudes of UK workers and employers by ADP,  also indicates that employers have underestimated the likely level of interest amongst employees. More than one in five (21 per cent) HR Directors admitted they are not ready for the requirements of the legislation, while 70 per cent say they predict little or no interest from employees in the first 12 months. Yet when employees were asked their views, a third (33 per cent) of 16- to 34-year-olds said they anticipate taking advantage of it within the next five years. Shared parental leave is a new right that will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed. It will be an option for parents with a child due to be born on or after 5 April 2015. More →

UK Government announces new research programme into workplace wellbeing

workplace wellbeingThe UK Government’s interest in what makes us happy continues unabated with the news that it has officially launched its new What Works Centre for Wellbeing. The centre will commission researchers  to study ‘the impact that different interventions and services have on wellbeing’. It will focus initially on work and learning, communities, cultural and sporting activities. It claims that the results of the research will help the government, councils, health and wellbeing boards, charities and businesses make decisions on what ‘really matters for the wellbeing of people, communities and the nation as a whole’. The centre is the latest addition to the What Works Network, which was launched by the government last year to improve public services through evidence-based policy. It builds on the work of the Office for National Statistics which has been tasked with measuring national wellbeing, and of the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy.

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The solution to complex issues like green building is to become more sophisticated

office designOne of the current preoccupations of the World Green Building Council is to demonstrate how green business is good business. The way it is presenting this argument is intriguing because as well as extolling the most anticipated benefits of green building design, such as lower energy bills, it is linking green building design with human factors such as productivity, wellness and  work-life balance. It has produced a number of reports on this subject, most recently in September with a publication titled Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices which found ‘overwhelming evidence’ of the link between office design and productivity.  What such compelling reports also highlight are the complex challenges we face and the sophisticated approach we must take to environmental issues and corporate social responsibility. Fortunately this is already exhibited by many organisations.

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Few employers offer digital tools or support for flexible working

Majority of staff not been given digital tools to work remotelyAs we reported recently, flexible working has become a massive recruitment incentive, and this is reflected in yet another survey which found nearly three quarters of parents rate flexible working as very important when they are looking for a new job. Homeworking remains the most popular form of flexi-work, yet according to the survey from of over 2,000 parents, relatively few employers supply equipment or technical support to enable people to work outside the office. It seems the desire amongst employers to accommodate home workers is there, but not the will to furnish them with the tools they need to do the job properly. In fact, the majority of homeworkers use their own equipment and have to deal with any problems themselves. Though 36 per cent can call on technical support if they get into trouble, unsurprisingly, the survey of over 2,000 parents, sponsored by BBC Future Media, found that many still lack full confidence in remote communications tools despite their desire to work from home. More →

Two thirds of the world’s workers would move to another country to find a better job

Publication1Almost two thirds of job seekers worldwide say they would be willing to move abroad for work, a ‘startlingly high proportion’ that says a lot about the evolving marketplace for talent, according to a new study by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of more than 50 recruitment websites. The report claims that the proportion of people willing to seek a better job abroad is particularly (and unsurprisingly) high in developing and politically unstable countries. But there is also a very high willingness to work abroad for workers in countries that don’t face such challenges. For example, more than 75 percent of survey respondents in Switzerland, more than 80 percent of respondents in Australia, and more than 90 percent of respondents in the Netherlands say they would consider moving to another country for work, according to the report, Decoding Global Talent: 200,000 Survey Responses on Global Mobility and Employment Preferences, and their preferred destinations are London, New York and Paris.

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Why a more flexible approach to where and when we work is long overdue

Virgin's flexible work initiative makes sense when you learn average British commute is increasingAs Virgin boss Richard Branson throws his considerable influence behind flexible working, with the revelation that his personal staff can now take time off whenever they want for as long as they want; new research published for National Work Life Week illustrates why we need a more flexible approach to where and when we work. The average British one-way commute has increased in the last couple of years, at nearly half an hour (29.6 minutes) compared to 26 minutes two years ago. Employees in large firms appear to endure the longest commutes, clocking up a one-way average of 39 minutes. The knock-on effect means over-crowded trains, roads and buses and an increasingly stressed workforce more prone to stress and ill-health. Branson has promised to extend the policy if, as he notes in his blog, it results in similar productivity gains as Netflix, which has pioneered this approach. More →

Flexible working celebrated, as Top Employers for Working Families revealed

Flexible working champions named as top working families employers revealedDeloitte, KPMG and Barclays are among the companies recognised for their work-life balance policies in the annual list of the Top Employers for Working Families. The Top Employers for Working Families Benchmark is designed to encourage employers to focus on their flexible working and work-life integration practices, and how they measure up against other organisations. Brand Learning, CiC Employee Assistance and Digital Mums were included in an alternative benchmark provided to smaller organisations to help them evaluate and develop their own work-life thinking. The top scoring employers were named by work-life balance group Working Families as part of series of events to mark National Work-Life Week, which today features ‘Go home on time day.’ This is held to help encourage people to leave their workplace on time and help redress the thirty five per cent of parents who – in a poll by Working Families, said that their work affects their home life in a negative way. More →

Third-place workspaces as well as flexible hours are key to success, says workplace provider

Flexible people and place is key to success argues workplace providerAs the summer holidays draw to an end, many working parents will be appreciative of the benefits of flexible working. Now new research from Regus has highlighted the long-term benefits of agile working in helping employers to attract and retain staff. Prospective employees are increasingly demanding some form of flexi-working deal, while nine out of ten employers report that offering flexible working options – including flexi-location as well as flexi-hours – is proving a highly effective way of improving staff morale and helping them to achieve a better work-life balance. While the workplace provider is understandably in favour of the flexi-location concept, as a provider of ‘third-place’ workspaces, for instance at railway stations, this kind of multi-location working is undoubtably growing in popularity More →

Rise in staff social media profiling will transform the workplace

Digital monitoring of staff will transform the workplace claims surveyWhether or not the younger generation are in fact more technically astute is still open to debate, but one thing is clear, they’re far less perturbed at the idea of being digitally monitored than the older generation. New research reveals that the younger generation are more open to sharing their personal data with their employees, with 36 per cent of Generation Y workers saying they would be happy to do so. Nearly a third of people would be happy for their employer to have access to their personal data, such as social media profiles and this kind of data monitoring of employees will rise over the next decade as Generation Y enters the workforce. Given the fact that by 2020 this generation will form half of the global workforce – they’re set to bring with them their different attitudes to technology and personal data. More →

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