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Built environment sector ‘lacks clarity’ on carbon emissions

The majority (58%) of built environment professionals believe the sector is already doing enough to tackle its carbon impact, despite the built environment contributing 36% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions, and the most recent available data showing that CO2 from operational energy use of buildings reached its highest level yet in 2019.

That according to building performance analyst IES’s City of Tomorrow report, which surveyed a wide range of professionals working in the built environment sector about the current status of sustainability methods and targets, including engineers, facilities managers, contractors, developers, planners and architects.

The report revealed that only 29% of those working in the sector felt that it should be doing more to reduce its carbon impact, and 13% were unsure if current efforts would be enough.

The research suggests that this complacency could stem from a lack of awareness around the full extent of the built environment’s carbon contributions.

It’s been demonstrated that the built environment contributes almost 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, yet when asked to estimate this figure, 80% of those surveyed answered incorrectly, with 45% underestimating the total percentage. Six percent guessed as low as between 1-10%.

When asked which aspect of the sector they believe is the place where most sustainability gains can be made, 51% of those surveyed said construction. However, only 22% said operation/energy use, and just 4% said materials development.

Don McLean, CEO of IES, said: “While it’s great that awareness of climate issues in general is now pretty widespread, and 79% of organisations in the built environment sector are actively working towards net zero, it’s clear that more needs to be done to communicate the built environment’s role in carbon emissions to those working in the sector.

“In particular, we really need to raise awareness of the environmental impact of buildings’ operational energy use, with the available data showing that emissions from building operations are still a huge problem, that efforts up til now have failed to tackle effectively.

“Reducing the emissions created during the construction process is of course essential, however considering that 80% of the buildings that will be around in 2050 are built already, optimising the operational efficiency of those already in existence is just as, if not more important.”

7 in 10 employers expect redundancies as furlough scheme ends

New research reveals that nearly 7 in 10 employers (69%) expect to make redundancies within the next year, the majority of which will take place within the coming months.

According to the study from Renovo, 46% of organisations expect to make redundancies within 6 months, while 23% anticipate redundancies within 6-12 months.

The news comes as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends, forcing organisations to make decisions regarding the future of furloughed employees. For employers expecting redundancies, 84% have employees on furlough.

However, for employees, concerns over redundancy are not explicitly linked to the end of the furlough scheme. Fifty-six percent of employees surveyed, who are worried about being made redundant within the next year, are not on furlough. The study Life after furlough: Employer and Employee perspectives on the threat of redundancy’, available to download on October 4th, was completed by 253 employers and 200 employees.

Chris Parker, Managing Director, Renovo sid: “Despite positive signs in the UK employment market, there remains a high level of pessimism and uncertainty at both the employer and employee level – the study shows that the perceived threat of redundancy remains incredibly high.

“In particular, at the employer level, there is a high correlation between those with employees currently on furlough and high levels of expected redundancies in the next year. However, employers must be aware that due to events in the last 18 months, perceptions of job security aren’t only an issue for those on furlough right now.”

The study highlights that both employers and employees hold similar perceptions of the causes behind weakened job security. In fact, half of employers (50%) and 46% of employees state that the key cause of future redundancies within their organisation is the financial impact of the pandemic on business performance.

However, other factors have contributed to a lack of job security as well: more than a quarter of employers (28%) state that redundancies are anticipated as some jobs are no longer needed due to new technology. One in eight (12%) also feel that certain roles are no longer necessary because of the move to remote and hybrid working.

Emphasising the current anxieties within the market, the report also reveals that for employees who expect to be made redundant within the next year, 47% think it will take over 3 months to find a new role with 14% believing it will take over six months to do so.

According to Renovo, given these levels of concern, it’s unsurprising that job search and career support is the most sought after form of redundancy support, with over 4 in 10 employees (42%) stating that this would be the most valuable type of assistance from employers. However, the report suggests that employers may not be fully attuned to this demand. Just 28% of employers believe that their people would most value job search and career support post redundancy, with one in four (43%) believing their employees would most value emotional and wellbeing support.

Parker added: “As we emerge from the furlough period, it seems clear that employers will need to work hard to rebuild a sense of job security for their workforces. If redundancies do need to occur, employers must make efforts to understand the real problems their people are experiencing in order to support them to move on appropriately. Increasing communication between employers and staff and improving employee listening are the crucial steps that organisations must take to reassure workforces and properly aid those facing redundancy in the coming months.

“Many employers have made great strides in improving the provision of emotional and wellbeing support as we have all tried to weather the storm of the pandemic. This type of support will continue to be hugely important for those facing redundancy. However, the report sends a message to employers of the importance that their people place on the more practical, focussed careers and job search support that they will need post redundancy. These elements are essential to give them the confidence and tools to move on quickly and effectively.”

Poor connectivity impacting business productivity – Report

Almost two thirds (63%) of US and European enterprises suffer reduced productivity and efficiency at the hands of weak and unreliable connectivity.

This is according to results of new research commissioned by Quortus and carried out by Sapio Research, which probed enterprises on their current pain points related to connectivity. The results highlight the growing awareness, interest in, and appetite for private networks among enterprise IT decision makers.

The study surveyed 260 execs in the US, UK, Germany and France, in companies with between 1,000 and 10,000 employees and revenue of more than $1 million a year, operating in the manufacturing/industrial, retail, healthcare, automotive, defense/security, shipping, logistics and local government sectors.

The survey findings, published in a report entitledBuild, don’t buy: the road to private networks,’ highlight the perceived inadequacies of public fixed and mobile networks:-

·        91% of enterprise respondents believe the limitations of their existing connectivity is squarely tied to the limitations of macro public networks

·        The major limitations of public networks frustrating enterprises include weak security, restricted network speeds and limited available network capacity limiting innovation

·        97% of organizations are ready to invest more money to ensure better connectivity, and almost half (47%) would increase current budgets by 10% if it reduced existing fears and limitations and helped drive operational efficiency

·        A fifth of enterprises do not believe the quality of their existing connectivity will support the achievement of their future digital ambitions

The Quortus study revealed that many global enterprises are taking the safeguarding of high-quality connectivity into their own hands by building and operating private cellular networks:-

·        Almost a quarter (23%) of enterprises surveyed currently operate their own network

·        A third (33%) would prefer to build their own network with the help of specialist partners, rather than buy it directly from a public operator

·        The top perceived enterprise benefits of private networks include greater security, increased performance and tighter network control.

“Enterprises, until recently, have had to rely on public macro networks for broadband connectivity,” said Neil Dunham, VP Sales, Quortus. “Our study reveals significant levels of frustration with the inherent limitations of macro networks. Too often global enterprises are finding that the quality of connectivity they receive is decided by an enterprise’s location, relative to network sites, and the number of users relying on them. As this study shows, strong and reliable connectivity is a significant enabler to greater operational efficiency, enhanced service innovation and better productivity. It is therefore no surprise that enterprises are evaluating their future needs so closely and evaluating alternative means of supply.

“This burgeoning excitement towards private networks is seeing enterprises consider their options when it comes to build, design, and deployment. The key areas of motivation amongst enterprise IT decision makers include a willingness to benefit from specialist vertical knowledge and expertise, not being limited by a public operator’s footprint or service capability and need for bespoke requirements now and in the future. Only private networks can offer a truly bespoke connectivity solution to guarantee appropriate levels of performance, reliability, security and control for all global enterprises.”

FREE white paper reveals how to make your office Covid-secure

Facilities managers face a monumental challenge – preparing the workplace for the return of its workforce.

To lend a helping hand, Zip has launched a FREE whitepaper, published in partnership with Facilities Management Journal, which reveals top tips from industry experts about modifying the workplace for a covid-secure return to work.

Read ‘6 Steps to Facilities Management in the Post Pandemic World’ to find out more on ways to keep the workforce safe, what a post-pandemic office might look like, how to create a space of belonging, strategies for managing c-suite and finally, ways to encourage staff back and generate trust.

Download your copy today – you’ll just need to input your email address and the 34-page, easy to read whitepaper packed with useful hints and advice will be at your fingertips.

Don’t forget you can also benefit from Zip Water’s touch-free trial!

One simple way to make your workplace more covid-secure is to install touch-free technologies such as our industry-leading HydroTap. Zip is offering a free 60-day trial, which includes its popular touch-free infrared sensor operated model.

Simply sign up and one of our team will be in touch to arrange a site visit and installation. It’s entirely free.

Verdantix report – 5 best practices for success in the hybrid working era

When you look back to the beginning of the first lockdown, are you proud of how rapidly your facilities team was able to adapt to enable your business to survive – and possibly even thrive? But what now? Do you have concrete next steps for your workplace strategy?

A growing number of organisations have announced their plans to shift to a hybrid system of remote and in-office work. Corporate real estate and facility management leaders have a key role to play in operationalising these hybrid strategies and implementing change at the building level.

For a limited time, Planon is offering free access to a report by Verdantix which outlines five best practices for success in your future workplace strategies for 2021 and beyond. The report is based on a thorough evaluation of 100 return-to-work strategies and global interviews with 250 corporate heads of real estate on their post-COVID strategies.

Click Here to Request Report

70% of workers feel optimistic about returning to the workplace

As pubs, shops and other workplaces re-open, the success of the vaccine rollout has helped workers feel much more optimistic about their return to work than they were following November’s lockdown, according to Aviva’s research of more than 2,000 employed adults across the UK.

Aviva’s third Employee Back to Work Index shows that 71% of workers surveyed agreed that the rollout of the vaccine made them optimistic about returning to work, compared with 50% after November’s lockdown who said that news of a vaccine gave them optimism about returning to work. Two-thirds (64%) of employees surveyed said the vaccine will make them feel safer at work.

Another piece in the puzzle of opening up safely is regular testing of workers for Covid-19. Aviva’s research shows that three-quarters (75%) of employees would feel comfortable to be tested for Covid-19 in order to work. Only 7% of employees said they would be uncomfortable with such a requirement.

Aviva’s Employee Back to Work Index comes as the UK takes its next steps out of lockdown, and captures the attitudes of full-time or part-time employed adults working in a wide variety of industry sectors across the UK on their feelings about their health and safety in the workplace.

Returning to the workplace – safely
Businesses have had to adapt at pace in the face of continually changing Covid restrictions. In some instances, this will mean that operations have fundamentally changed, including the role of employees in carrying out their duties. Aviva’s survey found that 23% of employees surveyed said their job had changed as a result of new business operations due to Covid, but that they were not offered any training on their new role, compared to 11% who said their job had changed and they had been offered training.

Likewise, employees who have been absent from the workplace since the beginning of the January lockdown could benefit from refresher training. Overall, 60% of employees surveyed who had been off during previous lockdowns said that their employer had not offered them refresher training to ensure they are able to continue to do their job safely.

Homeworking
Working from home looks set to stay for many employees. Of those employees surveyed that are currently working from home, 40% said that after lockdown restrictions have ended, they will split their time between home and their usual workplace, while 30% said their employer has told staff that they should continue to work from home. Just one-in-four (24%) said their employer expects all employees to return to the office on a permanent basis after pandemic restrictions ease.

Only 52% of employees surveyed who have been working from home said their employer had taken steps to ensure their home office is set up safely to prevent injury or strain. However, 40% of employees said their employer had not taken any steps to make their workstation safe, potentially putting them at unnecessary risk of injury. Employers should ask employees to complete a homeworking assessment and if the employee is likely to continue working at home into the longer term, then more rigorous assessments might be required.

Cyber risk not being addressed
Working from home has also increased the risk of a cyber attack. As Covid forced businesses to work remotely and – increasingly, digitally – cyber attacks increased, with 46% of UK businesses reporting a cyber breach or attack in 2020. However, Aviva’s survey found that just under half (48%) of employees working from home said their employer did not take any steps to reduce their cyber risk.

What risks do you face as you come out of lockdown?
Aviva asked workers what risks they believe they face as they come out of successive lockdowns. Workers could choose multiple responses. While it is positive to see the gradual increase in the proportion of workers saying ‘there is no biggest risk’ (now at 26%), there are still a number of workers who are concerned about Covid-19, and a significant and growing number of workers who say lockdown has impacted their mental health.

Chris Andrews, Director of Aviva Risk Management Solutions, said: “The vaccine rollout has had an enormous benefit to employee confidence in returning safely to the workplace. Our research found that 80% of employees who have been working or furloughed feel confident their workplace is safe and that their employer has standards that they meet to keep employees and the public safe. This is a significant, positive step in our journey back to working normally.

“There are, however, a number of risks that businesses must address to ensure that the return to the workplace is wholly successful. Training for employees who have been off work for some time is essential to reduce the chance of injury upon return. Likewise, those employees whose jobs have changed as their business has adapted to Covid restrictions should also receive training on their new ways of working. And if working from home becomes the norm, employers need to do more work to ensure their employees are safe at home and have the appropriate tools and environment to work effectively.

“Businesses also really need to consider how they can protect their organisation from cyber attacks while their employees work from home. Cyber attacks come in many forms, and increasingly target employees through phishing and social engineering fraud. It’s clear from our research that more needs to be done to help employees understand and identify the various forms of cyber attacks while working from home to protect the business.”

Verdantix report – Planon opens up its IWMS platform

By Planon Software

Large organisations are having to adopt new technologies at an increasing pace to stay up-to-date and competitive in the market. As a result, the IT landscape for your building operations will become more complex.

To support this digital transformation, we have added several components to our IWMS – including a new suite of mobile apps, extended partnership ecosystem and new functionality for COVID-19 management – turning it into a truly open application platform which allows you to leverage the growing number of innovative property technology solutions available in the market in an efficient, manageable and scalable way.

For a limited time, we are offering free access to a report by Verdantix – an independent research and consulting firm – which was published in November 2020 and thoroughly evaluates the Planon Platform.

Click here to download the white paper.

 

Impact of COVID to push FM market to $1.62 trillion by 2027

The global facilities management market is projected to reach $1.62 trillion by 2027, driven by technological advances and the impact of COVID.

According to a report published by Fortune Business Insights, Facility Management Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, the market was worth $1.24 trillion in 2019 and will experience a CAGR of 4% during the forecast period.

The report covers a wide range of FM segments, including maintenance, support, project management and user management.

It says rising investments in the development of efficient management services will help FM companies improve their overall business outlook, ensuring safety and comfort in the workplace and subsequently enhancing the quality of the work environment for clients.

The report asserts that the global facility management market will derive growth from massive technology investments as well as advances in the deployment of advanced concepts by major companies across the world. The rising demand for an improved workplace environment and the increasing awareness regarding workplace safety will create several growth opportunities for the companies operating in the market.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of panic among people across the world. Accounting to the rapid spread of the disease, governments across the world have imposed well-documented lockdowns. Moreover, the practices followed by people to curb the spread of the disease have led to a shutdown in businesses.

However, corporate offices are resuming operations under certain conditions and this will subsequently create several opportunities for the companies in the facility management market, the report says. In particular, it says the demand for sanitized and safe workplaces due to the coronavirus outbreak will bode well for the growth of the overall market in the immediate future.

New White Paper helps employers foster safe and productive homeworkers

iHASCO, a market-leading provider of workplace eLearning, has released a free white paper to help support organisations with Health & Safety, compliance and productivity for homeworkers. It is free to download from the iHASCO​ website.

With many organisations used to operating from offices across the UK and having the luxury of time to implement strategies and carefully plan any big projects, being thrown into homeworking has been tough. It has brought up many questions, including those of logistics and feasibility in order to ensure business operations can continue. In some cases, a huge deal of adaptation is required but if an organisation has any employees working from home they still have a number of Health & Safety, HR & compliance considerations to assess.

“We wanted to pool our knowledge to the benefit of all those organisations being thrown into homeworking at present” says Will Davies, Marketing Manager at iHASCO. “Here at iHASCO, we are lucky to have the expertise and knowledge to continue to run operations and support our staff. We wanted to help other businesses that may be struggling to achieve smooth homeworking operations.”

The white paper touches on the importance and requirements of general health and safety for homeworkers, such as fire awareness and correct DSE (Display Screen Equipment) set up, along with:

  • ●  The benefits of home working
  • ●  GDPR, Cyber Security and other compliance implications
  • ●  Practical tips for homeworkers to remain effective and productive
  • ●  The best forms of communication when homeworking
  • ●  Free working from home resources
  • ●  A working from home checklist

You can download the white paper here.

$1.5 trillion global economy boost from ‘smart factories’

Smartfactories could add at least $1.5 trillion to the global economy through productivity gains, improvements in quality and market share, along with customer services.

However, two-thirds of this overall value is still to be realized: efficiency by design and operational excellence through closed- loop operations will make equal contributions.

According to new data from the Capgemini Research Institute, China, Germany and Japan are the top three countries in smartfactory adoption, closely followed by South Korea, United States and France.

The report entitled Smart Factories @ Scale, identified the two main challenges to scaling up: the IT-OT convergence and the range of skills and capabilities required to drive the transformation including cross-functional capabilities and soft skills in addition to digital talent.

The report also highlights how the technology led-disruption, towards an ‘Intelligent Industry’, is an opportunity for manufacturers striving to find new ways to create business value, optimize their operations and innovate for a sustainable future.

Key findings of the study, which surveyed over 1000 industrial company executives across 13 countries, include:

Organizations are showing an increasing appetite and aptitude for smart factories: compared to two years ago, more organizations are progressing with their smart initiatives today and one-third of factories have already been transformed into smart facilities. Manufacturers now plan to create 40% more smart factories in the next five years and increase their annual investments by 1.7x compared to the last three years. 

The potential value add from smart factories is bigger than ever: based on this potential for growth, Capgemini estimates that smart factories can add anywhere between $1.5 trillion to $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next five years. In 2017 Capgemini found that 43% of organizations had ongoing smart factory projects; which has shown a promising increase to 68% in two years. 5G is set to become a key enabler as its features would provide manufacturers the opportunity to introduce or enhance a variety of real-time and highly reliable applications.

Scaling up is the next challenge for Industry 4.0: despite this positive outlook, manufacturers say success is hard to come by, with just 14% characterizing their existing initiatives as ‘successful’ and nearly 60% of organizations saying that they are struggling to scale.

The two main challenges to scale up are:

·       The IT-OT convergence – including digital platforms deployment and integration, data readiness and cybersecurity – which will be critical to ensure digital continuity and enable collaboration. Agnostic and secure multilayer architectures will allow a progressive convergence.

·       In addition to digital talent, a range of skills and capabilities will be required to drive smart factory transformation including cross-functional profiles, such as engineering-manufacturing, manufacturing-maintenance, and safety-security. While soft skills, such as problem solving and collaborative skills will also be critical.

According to the report, organizations need to learn from high performers (10% of the total sample) that make significant investments in the foundations – digital platforms, data readiness, cybersecurity, talent, governance – and well-balanced “efficiency by design” and “effectiveness in operations” approach, leveraging the power of data and collaboration.

Jean-Pierre Petit, Director of Digital Manufacturing at Capgemini said: “A factory is a complex and living ecosystem where production systems efficiency is the next frontier rather than labor productivity. Secure data, real- time interactions and virtual-physical loopbacks will make the difference. To unlock the promise of the smart factory, organizations need to design and implement a strong governance program and develop a culture of data-driven operations.” 

“The move to an Intelligent Industry is a strategic opportunity for global manufacturers to leverage the convergence of Information Technology and Operational Technology, in order to change the way their industries will operate and be future ready,” he further added.

The report also details that PLM, MES / SCADA and robotics are key components of industrial architecture. However, the main areas of investment for at-scale deployments are IoT and AI, which support data-driven operations, as well as remote and mobile capabilities.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay