Guest blog: Why you should get involved with Road Safety Week - By Sam Nahk, Senior Public Affairs Officer, Brake

Guest blog: Why you should get involved with Road Safety Week - By Sam Nahk, Senior Public Affairs Officer, Brake

It’s almost that time of year again… The UK’s biggest road safety event, Road Safety Week, will run from 19–25 November, and we will be encouraging everyone to shout about the safety of those on two wheels and sharing how we can all be ‘Bike Smart’.

Cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of all road users; in the UK, more than a third of all people killed or seriously injured on our roads were travelling by bike. However, every single one of these crashes could have been prevented with the right policies, infrastructure and behaviours in place. That’s why this Road Safety Week we are going to do something about it.

Every single one of us has a role to play in being Bike Smart. Whether you’re a policy maker deciding on the rollout of safer speed limits, a driver committing to be alert and give bike riders plenty of space, or a cyclist/motorcyclist yourself, using safe riding behaviours and with appropriate training and equipment.

Throughout Road Safety Week we will be focusing on several key topics, where evidence indicates that significant improvements can be made to protect the safety of cyclists and motorcyclists – a crucial one of these is rural road safety. A shocking two-thirds of all deaths involving a cyclist or motorcyclist take place on a rural road and the cause can often be attributed to speed. We believe that the current 60mph default limit is far too high for many of these roads and is a key factor in their increased risk – rest assured we will be making this point loud and clear.

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Guest blog: Beating the commuter blues - By Frances O'Grady - General Secretary of the TUC

Guest blog: Beating the commuter blues - By Frances O'Grady - General Secretary of the TUC

As November bites, many of us will be commuting in the cold and the dark.

Most weather forecasters are predicting a very cold winter, which is certainly a chilling thought. You don’t have to live in Scotland, where the first snow fell back in 20 September, in order to suffer a case of the commuting blues.

Commute Smart Week, which is organised by Work Wise UK, is a great opportunity to talk about how we can make travelling to work take less time – or even eliminate the journey altogether

Commuting is taking too much of our time

New TUC research published today shows that commuting is taking up more and more of our time.

Ten years ago, the average commuter spent about 200 hours a year getting to work and back – the equivalent of five week’s work. Since then, the average commute has increased by 18 hours a year. 

Longer commutes often feel like wasted time and the experience can be frustrating and unpleasant. With more commuters travelling for longer, we all too often find ourselves sitting in a traffic jam or squeezed into packed public transport.

BME workers have the most time-consuming commutes

Our research shows that the average employee from a black or ethnic minority background spends an hour and 9 minutes each day commuting – or 12 minutes more than their white counterparts. BME workers are also more likely to live in urban areas, have lower average pay and are more likely to travel by bus, which is a relatively slow way of getting to work

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Chairman's blog: Brexit and the future of work - Don't panic!! - By David Lennan - Chairman - Work Wise UK

Chairman's blog: Brexit and the future of work - Don't panic!! - By David Lennan - Chairman - Work Wise UK

Commute Smart week is with us again and what a year it’s been, disruption in many sectors, trade wars, confusion and misinformation all adding to worry and fear as new events and emotions impact on us daily. Have we really got that much to worry about and fear?  I don’t think so. No matter what the headlines and pundits say, or whatever discomforts or displeasures we may suffer or witness in our workplaces, the world of work changes relatively slowly. This is not because we are slow learners or developers, but in reality we really don’t like change and most people would rather rake over the past rather than think positively about creating the future.  We can’t put the clocks back, well only by an hour at this time of year and even that is a point of controversy and indecision.

And so it is today,  when we still can’t make our minds up about “ In or Out” whether we want to be Global or European, Adventurers or Followers, Entrepreneurial  or Steered along,  supported by Common or Civil Law and these are just  some questions that we should have answers to by now, or at least our Leaders should!

Around this time last year The Government set Sir Charlie Mayfield the task of finding “The Missing Billions” £130bn to be more precise, which was said to be lost to the British economy through poor productivity. Well, here we are now in full flow and ebb on occasions, towards Brexitgate, the Missing millions team don’t seem to have found the answers, or at least they haven’t told us yet.  

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Guest blog: How to stay secure when working from home - By Alex Tebbs, co-founder of unified communications specialist VIA

Guest blog: How to stay secure when working from home - By Alex Tebbs, co-founder of unified communications specialist VIA

The latest statistics on flexible working show that it’s the new normal for British workplaces. It’s no longer a desirable benefit, but something that’s seen as a key component in becoming an ‘employer of choice’ and providing employees with a better work-life balance. 

According to one 2017 survey, 58% of employees are already offered some form of flexible working arrangement. Another survey puts that figure at 63%, which rises to 87% when you include workers who say that they would like their business to provide the option if they don’t already. 

In addition, 70% of workers say that flexible working makes a potential job more attractive to them and it’s hard to imagine an employee who currently benefits from it moving to a new job where they wouldn’t. Perhaps more than any of the others, these statistics should encourage forward-thinking employers to consider implementing a flexible working policy.

Understanding the risks and benefits

However, any policy that allows employees to work outside of the office comes with security risks. Proper precautions must be taken to ensure that these risks don’t turn into problems that outweigh the benefits of flexible working. 

In this article, we’ll focus on three areas of risk: online security, hardware and offline risks that come from using paper materials. Each of these areas demands a different solution, but employers can’t afford to ignore any of them.

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Guest blog: The sounds of the office - By Dr Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in Organisational Studies, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England

Guest blog: The sounds of the office - By Dr Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in  Organisational Studies, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England

Think about the sounds of your office or place of work. Phones ringing; printer printing; coffee machines percolating; office banter; traffic; laughter; raised voices; steps down a corridor; the hubbub of the canteen; the lift ‘pinging’; the clicking of heating pipes in a radiator; the gentle whir of a laptop; the hum of a hairdryer; the swish of a mop; the car engine; the radio; the colleague next to you eating their lunch…

Our senses are varied but our understanding and exploration of the sounds of work is limited. Contemporary organisational research and debate in this area is strangely silent and there is a sort of hierarchy to the senses where images and the visualisation of work and our offices make up a vast part of our hyper-visible/ visual society. In this blog (which is a kind of think-piece on the topic), I’d like to suggest we consider what we hear at work and why it might be important. What are the sounds of the workplace? What do employees hear when they are at work and what do these sounds mean to them? Do you have music in the office – if so, should it be a playlist or the radio? And what are the ‘unmanaged sounds’; the murmurs and auditory normality of everyday life? As is often the case with the familiar and the ordinary, we let it pass us by and rarely stop and examine (or listen to!) how these aspects of work may give us greater insight into the cultural experiences of everyday life in an organisation.

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