Blog

Peter Thomson blogs regularly about the changing world of work and how WiseWork is helping organisations to benefit from new working practices. This site also hosts blog contributions from Wisework Partners and other guest bloggers..

Flexible working, flat-lined or the new normal?

A recent report from the CIPD shows that the number of employees using formal flexible working arrangements – such as part-time working, term-time working, compressed hours and job-sharing – has flat-lined since 2010. This is despite the right to request flexible working being extended to all employees in 2014. Why is this? The government is taking this seriously enough to set up a Flexible Working Task Force to look at the issue and run a campaign to try and increase…

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Are home workers over working?

A recent survey from health insurance company BHSF adds to the concerns about people’s ability to turn off when working at home. 92 percent of the 897 survey respondents said they reply to emails outside of their normal working hours. Of these, 44 percent respond to emails out of hours every day, and 82 percent responded to out of hours emails at least once a week. But it can’t automatically be assumed that this is a bad thing. The act…

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Flexible workers are happier and more effective

Yet another survey has shown that flexible workers are more effective than those working normal office hours. Research commissioned by the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) looked at the productivity of a group of workers who set their own hours or working location against a group of those who are not doing so. Flexible workers said they felt they worked effectively for more of a typical working day than those working a traditional ‘nine-to-five’. A quarter said they work longer…

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Prejudice against flexible working still widespread

According to research by Dr Heejung Chung from the University of Kent, a third of all UK workers believe those who work flexibly create more work for others. A similar proportion believe their career will suffer if they use flexible working arrangements.  The research also found that the majority of respondents that held negative views against flexible workers were male, while women and especially mothers were the ones who were most likely to suffer from such stereotypes. Based on data…

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Has flexible working stalled?

New research from Manchester University has revealed that there has been no significant overall increase in the number of employees working flexibly since the legislation came into effect in 2014. They analysed data from almost 25,000 employees and looked at those working flexible start and finish times, fewer hours, or from home. In 2010, 44.1 percent of all employees worked flexibly, and by 2015 the figure was 44.3 percent. Despite the legislation being extended to cover all employees in 2014…

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How do you measure ‘Good Work’?

The RSA and the Carnegie UK Trust have teamed up to produce a report on measuring the quality of work. It follows on from the Taylor Review that recommended that the government should find a way to monitor work quality.  ‘Measuring Good Work’ sets out a roadmap for how that ambition can be achieved. It identifies a series of new questions – from work-life balance to mental health, and from opportunities for progression to feelings of purpose, involvement and control…

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Why is UK productivity so low?

The recent Budget Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed to the low productivity in the UK compared with other countries. This is probably caused by all sorts of complicated factors which economists can deliberate over for hours, but I have a simple explanation. Productivity at national levels is calculated by taking the GDP of the country and dividing it by the number of hours worked. So there are two ways of increasing the figure. You can increase GDP…

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Where are we more productive – Office or Home?

Almost every day we hear of yet another survey that ‘proves’ people are more productive when they are working from home, only to see other surveys that favour the office. It’s worth looking a bit closer at who is sponsoring or running the ‘research’ and how objective it really is. Recently, a survey of 5,500 ‘respondents’ concluded that 66% of professionals think they would be more productive working remotely rather than in a traditional office. Just 7% chose ‘The office…

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What is Good Work?

I’ve just posted this on a CIPD discussion forum on Good Work, so thought I’d repeat it here… It’s great to hear that the CIPD is championing Good Work and encouraging the HR profession to think more broadly about Work as a topic. Work is not just jobs and employment. Good work is not just engaging with employees and providing them with rewarding conditions of employment. Work is an activity carried out by people in order to produce a result.…

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Modern Working Practices need further reviews

The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices has taken a fresh look at the way work is evolving and has come up with some sensible suggstions. It looked at non-standard working patterns and the introduction of ‘gig working’ using platforms such as Uber which has resulted in confusion about the status of workers.When are they ‘self employed’ versus being employees of some sort? The review goes part way to a solution by recommending a ‘dependent contractor’ category fitting between employees…

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