flexible working

Facebook is best company to work for in Britain!

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stick_figure_liking_it_500_wht_9170Shocked as I am to repeat that headline (because I detest Facebook’s disregard for privacy) according to website Glassdoor, which asks employees to rate their employers anonymously, it appears that it’s true.

Paying an average salary of £66,000 (More than 2.5 times the national average), providing free food (throughout the day) and drink and flexible working it came out ahead of other technology companies and way ahead of Amazon.

You may recall Amazon was criticised recently for providing a dystopian work environment with some employees working 80 hours a week.  The company denied the allegations but still didn’t even make the top 25. Loved by customers but hated by the staff it seems.

At the rate Amazon are progressing with its algorithms and plans for robot pickers and drone deliveries there probably won’t be many staff left to moan anyway.

Facebook pays its software engineers more than Google, Skype and Amazon although not as much as a principal associate at McKinsey & Company who came 16th.

It isn’t only about pay however, according to Mark Di-Toro of Glassdoor “For some workers it is about making the most amount of money but others told us it’s about perks such as healthcare for the family, free food, generous holiday allowances, game consoles in the offices and even spas“.

The number of Facebook employees in the UK is unknown but they employ 10,000 in 13 countries.

The top end of the list was  dominated by software companies and being cynical I wonder if there was any hacking going on to inflate the data in a positive direction.  Of course software companies wouldn’t do that kind of thing, would they? Except some employees seemed to be encouraged to write positive blogs at Amazon.

The good news is that more than half of the top 25 companies were located outside London with an online appliance company, appropriately called Appliances Online, based in Bolton coming in at No 5 and another software company, Netbuilder, based in Wigan

People want more flexible working

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brain_with_questions_1600_wht_9219In the search for a better work-life balance some people are giving up their traditional jobs and building up a portfolio of part-time jobs instead.

Portfolio working was a term coined by Charles Handy back in the 1980s which has now been replaced by the “gig economy“.

With the developments in new technology and easier access to free wi-fi in coffee bars (but not to our shame in most hotels) people who were once described as Nomads were the exception. Freelance consultants or trainers in the main.

But attitudes have changed and young people, stay-at-home Mums, and those approaching retirement or who have retired i.e. not middle-aged people with a mortgage to worry about, a make up an increasing proportion of the workforce – already a third in the USA – opting to work in this way.

Uber, the taxi service, says many of its drivers have other jobs or are students (I remember when firefighters used to work as taxi-drivers among other things in their time off). Although working from home has become more popular, not everyone thinks this way including, perhaps surprisingly, Generation Y employees.

The desire for flexibility, and I would say control over the work they do, is what seems to be driving this trend. Together with the unavailability of traditional jobs for those in this segment of the economy.

The research behind this story was carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

Working from home becoming more popular

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puzzle_piece_house_outline_1600_wht_4232Fed up of that stressful commute to work or having a bad day at the office?

Avoid all that by working from home. It’s the new status symbol – according to the Office of National Statistics.

1 in 7 of us now work from home ie 4.2 million people of which 1.5 million actually work there with the others using home as a base while working in different places.

Three-quarters of home-based workers are classed as higher skilled compared to one half of office-based workers.

So working from one seems to be restricted to high-flyers; 1/7 are managers or senior officials, 1/3 are professionals, and 1/4 are from high-skilled trades.

Median earnings for home-workers are £13.23 an hour compared to £10.50 for other workers. A third work for other people or companies with two-thirds are self-employed and the older the worker the more likely are they to work from home.

The age difference might be due to seniority or the fact that older workers made redundant find it more difficult to get jobs and often end up working for themselves.

There are regional differences with home-based working more popular in the south-west and far less common in the north.

Better technology has made working from home more cost-effective although many bosses still don’t trust staff who work from home even though there is evidence that they put in more hours and can be more productive.

Deloitte has introduced an “agile working programme” and is inviting its 12,000 UK employees to apply to work from home or in other flexible ways. They think it will attract and retain female staff but also improve working lives generally.

Not everyone agrees. Marissa Mayer banned Yahoo! staff from working from home when she became Chief Executive.

She said “some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussion, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo! and that starts with being physically together“.

Easy for her to say and not doing women any favours when she built a crèche for her baby next to her office.

Flexible working not for everyone

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geek_icon_1600_wht_9297Flexible working seems to be on the increase, desired by many workers, and even welcomed by many employers.

However it seems that many Generation Y (those born between 1980s and early 1990s) employees think people who work flexibly are not as committed to their jobs as those who work from the office every day.

At least according to a survey by a company of employment solicitors.

They found that while Generation Y employees were quick to complain about discrimination they were also more likely to display hostile attitudes towards equality policies.

The report said it reinforced the reputation of these younger workers as being “awkward” and “difficult to manage“.

It does seem a paradox that these Generation Y employees, who love their technology (ideal for flexible working) and work-life balance are so disapproving.

Working flexibly with a coffee

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coffee_table_talk_PA_500_wht_6082Brits have now gained the right to have flexible working after 26 weeks of employment but a survey by O2 found that half of us would rather work from a cafe.

They found the environment more conducive to working productively than in an office.

2 in 5 of us spend more than 4 hours a week working from a coffee shop adding up to millions of hours each week and 1 in 4 of us would choose to work there if they had the option.

The smaller the company the more likely it is that they will work in this way, about a fifth compared to 1 in 7 from larger companies.

Almost 1 in 3 self-employed people use coffee shops as their base while others use their homes, trains or the local pub.

It seems more people are working away from the office but working from home does have its downsides.