September 13, 2013
Remote working is becoming the new normal
Professionals who are chained to the office desk will soon be in the minority, according to a poll of 4,000 businesses commissioned by Regus. It found that 42% now work remotely for at least half their working week, up from 39% last year. Employers cite greater productivity, improved staff retention and lower operating costs as the main benefits. However, the research also suggests that many firms are slow to address the challenges of managing staff at a distance, with half of those polled saying that managers do not trust remote workers to remain focused on work tasks.
High street challenger bank exceeds £1bn lending
Shawbrook Bank has exceeded £1bn in lending to SMEs and personal customers in the UK. It's one of the new banks providing an alternative source of finance for small businesses. Shawbrook has lent over £766 million to SMEs. Ian Henderson, CEO of Shawbrook Bank, said: "While the high street banks continue their long struggle to address deep-rooted issues, we've been able to enter the market and appeal to increasing numbers of customers who are looking for something different – a bank that wants to lend, rather than claims to lend."
Tea drinkers make better colleagues
Coffee drinkers earn more than tea drinkers but tea drinkers make better colleagues, according to a new study for Zip HydroTap. Researchers found employees who rely on coffee to make it through the day are likely to be more argumentative, whilst tea drinkers are more likely to have a laidback approach. In addition, coffee drinkers are more likely to be late in the mornings. However, coffee drinkers on average earn £34,490-a-year, around £2,160 more than the typical tea fan.
Employee burnout costs businesses billions
British businesses could be losing in excess of £1 billion in direct costs due to stressed-out workers taking time off. New research by Business Environment shows that as many as one in five employees (19.6%) has taken time off work due to stress, with more than a quarter (28.8%) saying they feel stressed at work all, or most of, the time. One fifth (21%) of employees take work home at least one to two times a week, with factors such as unrealistic deadlines, pressure from above and lack of support cited as the biggest culprits in causing stress.
No interest in waiving employee rights for shares
The legal expenses insurer, DAS Law, has said that it has not had any requests from policyholders for legal advice regarding the new employment rights for shares scheme. The new legislation allows employees to potentially waive employment rights in return for £2,000 worth of shares in their employer's company. Andrew Lear, solicitor and head of employment at DAS Law, said: "While it's still early days for this new scheme, judging by the lack of interest we have had from our advice helpline, it looks as though take-up among businesses and employees may be surprisingly small. However, regardless of the take-up, there still remain serious legal issues regarding the practicality for both employer and employee and we would anticipate legal challenges in the fullness of time."
New regulations on first aid at work
A month ahead of changes to first aid regulations, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance to help businesses put in place appropriate arrangements for the provision of first aid. From 1 October 2013 the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 will be amended to remove the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications. The changes apply to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors. Andy McGrory, HSE's policy lead for First Aid, said: "The guidance documents clarify what the law requires and provide practical help to businesses in assessing and understanding their first aid needs."