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..

Another step towards Future Work

I’m writing this blog on December 1st, the day the new regime of Shared Parental Leave came into effect in the UK. Employment legislation now recognises that fathers and mothers can share responsibility for caring for a new baby. This is a period of 50 weeks, in addition to the 2 weeks of paternity leave, which means a father can potentially take a whole year off to look after a new baby whilst the mother goes back to work. This…

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Is flexibility becoming the norm?

We have lived for the last 200 years with a model of work that involved a fixed contract of employment for the majority of employees. In exchange for an individual’s time an employer is prepared to pay them to do a job. That is usually based on a fixed number of hours per week and a fixed location to do the work. Now, however, we have technology that allows us to do a high percentage of work without having to…

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Flexible working is no longer family friendly

For the last decade flexible working has been officially ‘family friendly’. In the UK we have had legislation that gave the right to parents to request flexible working since 2003. That gave a clear message that the reason for allowing someone to vary their work pattern was to accommodate family commitments and this was reinforced in 2007 when the legislation was extended to carers for adults as well. This has led to the inevitable link between flexible working and other…

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Flexible working for all

Today is a key date in the evolution of work. In the UK there is a change to the legislation giving employees a right to request flexible working. It will now apply to all employees not just parents and carers. You could just dismiss this as a minor change which will involve a quick revision of the appropriate HR policy. Or you might see it as a fundamental change in our assumptions about work. I think it’s the latter. For…

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Webinar about the changing workplace

I’ve had the pleasure of being on a couple of panel discussions run by Philip Tidd of Gensler and know that he has an informed view of the way the workplace is developing. So I’m delighted to be running a webinar with him where I will be covering the changing world of work and he will be looking at the implications for the workplace. It’s happening on Thursday May 22nd 18.30-19.30 UK time I will be basing my contribution on…

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Why I’m no longer hitting my head against a brick wall!

I have spent the last 20 years trying to get managers to change old habits. I ran the Future Work Forum at Henley Business School in an attempt to collect the best research information on the changing world of work and use it to show managers how work is changing. I kept asking the question – If it’s so obvious that work is evolving then why are managers not grasping this as an opportunity to change the way they manage?…

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Why should we take employee engagement seriously?

There are lots of surveys showing that employees are not engaged at work. It varies a bit by country, but as a rough guide only a third of employees are fully engaged.  So what? The consultancy Blessing White regularly surveys 30,000 people across the world and measures levels of engagement from fully engaged to fully disengaged. The figures for Europe show that 31% are engaged and a further 24% are almost engaged.  But that means that just under half the…

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Productivity and Pay

A new report has just hit the media in the UK defining the level of pay that constitutes a ‘living wage’. Below this people are deemed to be living in poverty, so the idea is that employers should adopt this instead of the minimum wage already in force.It would be great to have everyone paid more but I can’t quite see how this will add up. If we increase the hourly rate of pay and people continue doing the same…

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At Last – Business Leaders Champion Agile Working

After 20+ years of promoting the business benefits of flexible working I’m pleased to see the launch of the Agile Future Forum (AFF), with the aim of maximising the competitiveness of UK businesses in the global marketplace. Twenty-two businesses – including several well-known brands – who currently realise financial benefits through using workforce agility have joined together to help other UK businesses to do the same.  The purpose of the AFF is to define the business value of workforce agility as a key input of the…

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Managers out of touch with employees

Two recent surveys have shown how managers are out of touch with their employees. The first was carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and found that too many managers have an inflated opinion of their ability to manage people. Eight out of ten managers say they think their staff are satisfied or very satisfied with them as a manager whereas just 58% of employees report this is the case. This ‘reality gap’ matters as the…

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