August 14th 2015
14 Aug

5 Things The Employee Benefits World Taught Us This Week – August 14th

August 14th 2015

Here on DAM’s employee benefits blog, we take each Friday to review what’s gone on in the employee benefits world the previous week, looking at the five main employee benefit stories from the five previous days.

1. Companies see workplace deliveries as productivity hindrance

A number of British employers have now decided to ban staff from receiving personal mail delivered to the workplace. The move comes as more and more UK employees are taking to online shopping, meaning that mail rooms cannot cope under the strain of personal packages. HSBC, JP Morgan and Citi are amongst some of the more prominent London based offices which have instigated the ban. However, longer working hours and restricted delivery times mean that many workers have no choice but to have their post delivered to their work or face missing their parcels altogether. Some delivery companies are attempting to tackle the problem, with Amazon offering customers the option of having their packages delivered to one of 300 lockers placed across the UK. Some 10,000 Royal Mail depots allow customers to come and collect their mail free of charge, and Doodle, which already has 37 stores in the UK, has recently opened a new one in Canary Wharf. However, some are worried that this new ban will only be counterproductive, leading to an unhappy workforce. Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics at Warwick University, explained in an interview with The Guardian: “Having cheery workers really does seem to have a payoff for the employer. Giving workers small freedoms makes a big difference to job satisfaction.

2. The number of stay-at-home mums declines in the UK

The number of stay-at-mothers in the UK are falling by 12,000 a month, new Office for National Statistics figures have shown. Record numbers of women are now in employment while more fathers are opting to care for their children at a rate of 4,000 more a month. There are now two million stay-at-home mothers in the UK, 800,000 less than twenty years ago. Campaigners believe increased financial pressures are behind the fall, with new Government policies favouring those in work. Couples with both partners working will receive an allowance of up to £2,000 per child from September, in an attempt to encourage women to return to work.

3. BYOD: potential for security breaches

Phil Beckett, Partner at Proven Legal Technologies, said that personal devices may provide flexibility, but are putting confidential company information at risk: “As employees increasingly rely on remote working, they require access to corporate material beyond the office walls, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has provided a straightforward solution. “However, the risks this incurs for business needs to be calculated on an individual basis. If HR is to encourage BYOD, there must be a critical understanding of the threats, and measures put in place to minimise them. Alternatively, some companies may choose to introduce a blanket ban of BYOD if the risks to confidentiality are too great.” The reduced costs and increased employee engagement need to be counterbalanced with appropriate L&D: “HR should ensure staff understand the dangers and abide by a clear set of company rules. “Companies have some catching up to do in educating themselves and employees on data protection regulations and how to comply. Management must work closely with HR teams to ensure security measures are implemented across the board, and sufficient training given to employees – who hold company data in their hands.”

4. High-earners have nothing to fear from robots

Are you worried about robots stealing your job? Well, if you are earning over $80,000 (£50,000) it would seem you are less concerned than everyone else.  A new study by YouGov has found that just 37% of American workers with incomes that exceed $80,000 are worried about technological advancements and the possibility of being made redundant by a machine. However, US employees earning less than $40,000 (£25,000) are more concerned about the issue. 15% of low income workers described themselves as “very worried”, whereas just three per cent of those earning between $40,000-$80,000 claimed to be so. Similarly, this new research by YouGov has found that these issues have influenced government policy. 52% of US citizens believe that the American government should be in favour of protecting jobs. However, amongst employees who earn over $80,000 more people (45%) say that technological advancements should take precedence over conserving low wage jobs.

5. Employment prospects improve for young jobseekers

Research from the CIPD reveals a sharp rise in the number of UK employers turning to the skills of young jobseekers, giving a welcome boost to the thousands of new graduates and school leavers entering the recruitment market this summer.  The Labour Market Outlook survey for summer 2015 shows that the number of employers planning to hire more apprentices and school-leavers has increased sharply since last year. One-third (33%) of companies currently reporting having hard-to-fill vacancies expect to recruit more apprentices – a notable increase from 22% in 2014. Just over a quarter (26%) predict that they will hire more graduates, and 12% plan to employ more school leavers (an increase of one-third from the 9% recorded in 2014). The CIPD noted that these findings help to explain the latest Office for National Statistics data, which shows that the employment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds not in full-time education has risen to 74.3%, a level not seen since 2008.

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