August 21st 2015
21 Aug

5 Things The Employee Benefits World Taught Us This Week – August 21st

August 21st 2015

Each week we take the time on our employee benefits blog to spell out the 5 top employee benefits news stories of the week. We do the same this week, of course, and so here are the week’s top stories.

2:16pm is the least productive time of the day according to study

2:16pm has been found to be the least productive time in the office, according to research conducted by the NHS. In response, some offices have set up healthy employee benefits such as ping pong tables, lunchtime jogs and even free trips to the salon in an effort to boost productivity and engagement. However, according to new research, introducing plants into the office can improve mental capacity without reaching for that extra cup of coffee. Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius, an office landscaping company, explains how smaller offices are more at risk of the “afternoon slump.” He explains: “The reason behind these afternoon feelings is a rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels throughout the day in the office. The primary source of indoor CO2 is humans. Typical outdoor concentrations are around 380ppm (parts per million) but this can increase to several thousand indoors, over the course of one day.

Are millennials key to corporate growth?

Almost nine in ten (86%) small and medium enterprises (SMEs) say their growth relies on an ability to recruit millennial talent, research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has found. The survey of 400 SMEs found that the skills most valued in millennials were the potential for fresh ideas (61%), a different perspective (44%) and digital skills (38%). As a result, more than three quarters (77%) of SMEs said they feel under pressure to sell themselves to millennials when hiring. Peter Vogel, assistant professor at the University of St. Gallen and author of Generation Jobless? Turning the Youth Unemployment Crisis into Opportunity, confirmed that hiring young people is good for business. “People ask if there is a business case for hiring younger people, and the conclusion is that there is. The positive aspects of getting young people on board outweigh the negative aspects."

60% of British workers have experienced bullying in the workplace

Almost six people in 10 have witnessed or suffered bullying at work, according to a survey by law firm Slater and Gordon. More than one-third of respondents said they had been bullied themselves. However, more than half of those who had witnessed or experienced bullying did nothing about it. The poll of 2,000 workers found that more than two-thirds of workers who witnessed the bullying of a colleague saw them harassed over a prolonged period and often sworn at. One in 10 of those surveyed said they had heard racist insults, while one in six heard a colleague subjected to sexist remarks. Almost a quarter had witnessed childish pranks in the workplace, and a small percentage even saw others’ work being sabotaged. Slater and Gordon found that one-fifth of workers had been reduced to tears by others’ behaviour towards them, and around 40% felt stressed.

50% of jobseekers turn down zero hours contract offers

Almost half of those that have been offered a zero hours contract have turned it down, according to research from employer review specialist Glassdoor.  The company’s survey of 1,000 employees found that of the one in four unemployed adults that have been offered a zero hours contract, 47% did not take it up. The main reason for this is the lack of guaranteed income that comes with such contracts – more than half (54%) of those surveyed said that it was not worth the gamble, because in order to stop receiving benefits a certain level of salary is required. Another reason (at 44%) is the “significant level of distrust” towards the employers offering them, while irregular working hours (30%) and negative press (13%) is also putting people off. Despite the fact that, according to the Office for National Statistics, nearly 700,000 people are on zero hours contracts, they have proved a contentious issue since their introduction. Some employers argue that they like to use them to build a more flexible workforce. However, unions have raised concerns that employees are being taken advantage of as they are not guaranteed how many hours they will be working from one week to the next. The report’s findings seem to corroborate this, with 45% saying that they think such contracts are exploitative, 39% wanting to see them banned altogether, and 34% feeling that they are only beneficial to employers.

UK techies are looking for opportunities abroad

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of UK-based technical professionals would consider an international move for the right opportunity, according to research from technical recruiter Dice. The UK Mobility Survey found that 41% of respondents cited lifestyle factors or a better work-life balance as the primary reason for considering a move abroad. The US, Australia and Canada top the list of the most attractive places to relocate to, followed by France, Germany, New Zealand and Spain. More than two-thirds (69%), however, indicated they were just as open to moving within the UK if the right opportunity came up, pointing to an avenue for UK employers to retain technical talent within the country.

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