Search Results for: work-life balance

More law firms introducing flexible working, but progress remains slow

SisyphusWhen it comes to the adoption of flexible working, law firms have proved to be one of the more intransigent sectors in the UK. But there are signs of change with news that more firms in Scotland are embracing new working practices. A survey of 3,400 solicitors carried out by the Law Society of Scotland found an increasing number were making use of flexible working. The research shows that while the majority of respondents (77 percent) continue to work full time, two thirds are now allowed to work away from their main place of work although take-up remains sluggish with only a quarter doing so at least once a week. In marked contrast to other professions, around two thirds of respondents did not access emails and work files while away from the office.

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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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Nearly two thirds of SMEs now trust employees to work flexibly

One of the main arguments against flexible working amongst blue chip organisations – which was well documented following the Yahoo furore earlier this year, is that it is detrimental to fostering a collaborative working culture. Amongst small and medium sized companies, the reasons against are more straightforward, in that it demands a level of trust small business managers can ill afford to bestow unwisely. Now a new survey, carried out among over 200 UK-based SME decision-makers, highlights a growing acceptance of flexible working within these businesses. Well over half (63%) of senior executives say they trust their employees to remain productive when working away from the office, the Citrix-commissioned YouGov survey has shown. More →

UKIP quip that women not competitive enough for business obscures real debate

UKIP comment on women not competitive enough for business obscures real debate

The comment by UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler that women are not competitive enough to merit a place in the boardroom grabbed all of the headlines from an important debate on the introduction of gender quotas on City boards. The news broke on the same day that employment body the CIPD issued a warning that businesses will continue to lose talented female workers if they don’t offer them a better work-life balance.  With research showing that around half of female managers choose not to return to work following maternity leave, how far should employers be going to retain female talent and encourage workplace diversity, and does gender equality really require a legislative stick? More →

UK workers mistrust more contented home-based colleagues

UK workers mistrust more contented home-working colleagues

The debate which ensued following the Yahoo ban on home working earlier this year was as much as about the level of trust felt towards home workers as it was about the importance of collaboration within the workplace. The fact is that for the majority of home workers, day to day life is easier. No commuting, work where you please, no irritating colleagues and the freedom to nip out to the dentist, doctors or parents meeting without having to book a half day off. As a result, while home workers enjoy the best mental health and wellbeing of four groups in a survey of contact centre workers, office workers, home workers and mobile professional workers, their distance from the office-based working population breeds suspicion between them and everybody else. More →

BIFM workplace debate focuses on links between FM and design

Clerkenwell_Design_WeekClerkenwell Design Week was the appropriate setting for the inaugural event staged by the newly formed Workplace Special Interest Group (SIG) of the British Institute of Facilities Management. The event was staged at the showroom of office furniture giant Haworth on the 22 May, during Europe’s largest exhibition of workplace products and services. It saw a panel of industry experts debate in lively fashion the deliberately provocative proposition : Form or Function? Do you need office designers to create a great workplace environment? 

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Groundbreaking study reveals work is better for you than retirement

Groundbreaking study reveals work is better for you than retirement

The scrapping of the UK’s Default Retirement Age (DRA) two years ago is seen by many employers as a negative step. But now a ground-breaking new study provides evidence that working past a set retirement age is much better for the nation’s health. Work Longer, Live Healthier: The relationship between economic activity, health and government policy, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Age Endeavour Fellowship finds retirement has a detrimental impact on both mental and physical health over time. The stats make for uncomfortable reading for anyone considering taking that long cruise. You’re more likely to be clinically depressed, have at least one diagnosed physical condition and are less likely to enjoy good or excellent health. More →

Will an upturn spark a revival of interest in the idea of employer branding?

Employer brandingYou may recall that a few years ago there was a voguish interest in the idea of employer branding. This is the kind of thing that has always gone on but can always be defined and popularised,  in this case following the publication of a book on the subject in 2005. By 2008 Jackie Orme, the head of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, was calling it ‘an integral part of business strategy’. Still, it appears to have dropped off the radar a bit over the last few years, a fact we might put down to the effect of the recession. Firms certainly seem to have their mind on other things. Research published last year by PriceWaterhouseCoopers showed that  in 2009, 54 per cent of businesses said they placed a special focus on retaining talent. By 2012 that had dropped to 36 per cent.

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UK employers failing to measure effectiveness of workplace wellness

MeasureFurther data from Buck Consultant’s Global Wellness Strategies Report reveals that UK employers know what they want from their workplace wellness strategy, but less than one in 10 (9 per cent) actively measures specific outcomes, and three quarters (74 per cent) of those that don’t say it is due to limited resources. According to the study, increasing employee morale and engagement (73 per cent), improving staff productivity and reducing presenteeism (69 per cent), and reducing absenteeism (66 per cent) are the three top goals for UK businesses; with the top four health risks identified as stress, workplace safety and work-life balance issues and depression.

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Employee burnout commonplace in third of UK companies

Burnout

Employee burnout is endemic within a third of UK organisations. According to new research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK three out of ten (30 per cent) UK HR directors reported high levels of employee burnout, which rises to more than a third (35 per cent) for those in London and the South East and publicly listed companies. Two thirds (67 per cent) of UK HR directors cite “workload” as the primary reason for employee burnout, although this figure rises to three quarters (75 per cent) for large and 73 per cent for public sector companies. More →

Ban team building exercises for a feel good Friday

workplace relationships

Anyone who hates team building exercises will welcome a survey published by Samaritans and Simplyhealth today, which reveals that at 4%, the least popular option for making people feel good at work is team activities, including away days. When asked to select their top two factors, 42% of workers felt that positive relationships helped them to feel good at work, compared with a mere 14% for hitting their targets. The poll of more than 1,400 workers found having a good work-life balance was the second (40%) most common reason for feeling good at work followed by receiving praise (26%).

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An office reset was what we all needed, and wanted

An office reset was what we all needed, and wanted

The UK's best officePressing the ‘reset’ button is never easy. But I’m a firm believer that, once we do, we become much less averse than we perhaps expected to the change it inevitably brings. This is particularly true of the past eighteen months. From all of the sadness and hardship endured, we are beginning to emerge into a new, changed way of living. One that is both familiar and altogether different. The dichotomy is particularly evident in our workplaces. For many sections of the economy, the office was the ecosystem of our daily working lives. Initial questions of whether the office would survive quickly fell by the wayside, and a more interesting, nuanced, debate of what we want the office to be began. More →

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