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23rd June 2022
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More than half of employees in Scotland work from home
More than half of employees in Scotland are now working from home either all or part of the time, according to a research paper drawn up by Flexibility Works, which promotes the adoption of flexible working. The survey found 58% of businesses who responded said they could not offer flexible patterns as people were in frontline or customer-facing roles. Yet 64% of people in those positions cited a desire for flexible work as the main reason they would seek out a new job. Lisa Gallagher, the co-founder and director at Flexibility Works, said: “We know it’s harder to create flexibility in frontline roles. But the fact someone can’t work from home shouldn’t mean they’re written off when it comes to new ways of working. We’re urging employers to get more creative, or they’re going to lose great workers and struggle to recruit new ones.” A separate report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) indicated 76% of people believe flexible working is having a positive impact on their life. The Working Lives Scotland document found 54% of Scots are working fully remotely or in a hybrid situation between home and office.
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Most UK employers failing to act against ageism, survey shows
The vast majority of UK employers claim to care about ageism in the workplace but are not acting to combat it, according to research by the Chartered Management Institute.
Barristers warned over court walkouts
Barristers could face wasted costs and disciplinary proceedings by staging a walkout over the government’s legal aid reforms, the lord chief justice has warned. Hundreds of barristers have voted to go down the most drastic route for escalating their legal aid action – no court attendance, no new instructions and no returns. Starting on Monday, barristers will gather outside the Old Bailey and Crown courts in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff. Solicitors have been encouraged to join them on the picket line. In a statement entitled “non-attendance at court by members of the bar”, the lord chief justice told judges that cases in which a communication is received from any member of the bar that they will not be attending court because of the Criminal Bar Association’s ‘days of action’ should remain listed. "Judges should seek an explanation in open court as to the current position. If an instructed barrister does not attend, the judge should ask the defendant, if present, whether they have discussed the matter with their barrister and whether they have agreed to their barrister’s non-attendance. It will be a matter for the CPS in each case to decide whether to make an application for wasted costs," the statement said.
The workers who are battling long Covid
BBC Worklife takes a look at how ‘Long Covid’ – the term used to describe the hundreds of possible symptoms that can linger for weeks, months or even years after initial infection from Covid-19 - is affecting careers worldwide. An estimated 31 million Americans may have had long Covid at some point in the past two years, according to recent analysis from Brookings, a US-based think tank. And 1.1 million were likely out of work because of it. In the UK – where an estimated 1.8 million people were actively experiencing self-reported long Covid symptoms as of April 2022 – the Office for National Statistics found the illness is most prevalent in women, people living in “deprived areas,” social and health care workers, teachers and those in their 30s and 40s. Some workers with long Covid have reported their careers have stagnated because they're unable to put in the time or focus that employers require, and for some affected workers, it may be difficult to put in intense screen time or be constantly available for bosses and clients. The illness is presenting unprecedented challenges for employers, says Rachel Suff, a senior policy adviser at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Human resources teams are struggling to come up with possible accommodations and absence-management frameworks – and, in some cases, even trust what their employees are experiencing is real.
The case for turning off your Zoom camera
Workplace experts say turning off video call cameras could improve worker wellbeing and make meetings more efficient. "At the beginning of the pandemic, it made a lot of sense that people wanted to be on camera, because we were living under the premise that this was going to be a two-week pause of our lives – and so we were like, 'We want to see everybody, we want to connect'," says Allison Gabriel, professor of management and organisations at the University of Arizona, who has studied the effects of Zoom fatigue. But most workers now well know that leaving cameras on for everything can exacerbate Zoom fatigue: a tiredness linked to factors including fixating on your own on-camera appearance and the cognitive strain of trying to identify non-verbal cues that are much easier to interpret in person.  These distractions may also reduce productivity, if workers are "focusing on themselves and how they might be being perceived,” rather than the meeting itself, says Winny Shen, associate professor of organisation studies at York University, Canada.
Political storm erupts over banker bonuses
Labour has urged the government to reveal whether Boris Johnson was lobbied by bankers for the cap on their bonuses to be lifted. According to reports, Downing Street chief of staff Steve Barclay has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak with a plan for “deregulatory measures to reduce the overall burden on business” and attract companies after Brexit. The measures could include cutting restrictions on director and non-executive director remuneration. Number 10 rejected claims that the PM was trying to relax a separate cap on bankers’ bonuses, saying: “That remains in place and is the responsibility of the independent Prudential Regulation Authority.”
JD Sports pledges governance overhaul
JD Sports is to overhaul its corporate governance and internal controls following the departure of executive chair Peter Cowgill. The athleisure retailer said that “a number of regulatory issues” had highlighted the need for “a more formalised approach to governance, risk management and the documentation and appraisal of internal controls.” As part of the changes it is splitting the position of chair and chief executive officer, and is currently in the process of filling the positions. JD announced the overhaul along with its results for the year to January 29th.
Investors flag concerns over weakening pay rules for non-execs
Investors have warned government ministers not to water down rules on how non-executives are paid because of concerns that any changes could compromise the independence of their watchdog role.
Swedish gaming firm hit by war is reorganising
Stockholm-headquartered gaming company G5 Entertainment is overhauling its organisational footprint by opening offices in Georgia, Malta, Montenegro and Turkey after its 1,000-strong workforce, which was split evenly across Russia and Ukraine, was upended by the outbreak of war on February 24th. Vlad Suglobov, the company’s Russia-born CEO who himself is based in California, said the aim of the changes is to diversify the staff base and to offer safe relocation for those forced to flee their home countries. “We will still probably be Eastern European-focused in terms of developer talent,” Suglobov said. “That’s where the company grew out of and this is where people running the company are from.” G5 is a free-to-play gaming specialist with titles such as ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Jewels of Rome.’ The company has significantly more women customers than men.
Beyonce’s paean to the Great Resignation
Many media commentators are saying Beyonce’s new single, “Break My Soul,” sounds like an anthem for the millions of Americans who have quit their jobs over the past year and are seeking better opportunities with unemployment at a record low. The song’s first verse explains: “Now I just fell in love / And I just quit my job / I’m gonna find new drive / Damn they work me so damn hard / Work by nine / Then off past five / And they work my nerves / That’s why I cannot sleep at night.” Nick Bunker, an economist at job site Indeed, said Beyonce’s track “is one instance of a broader public awareness or discussion about people quitting their jobs, which is reflective of what’s happening in the labour market and society.”  The track, which debuted Monday, is part of Beyonce’s new album, “Renaissance: Act 1,” that’s due to be released on July 29th.
German hotel industry says COVID mistakes can’t be repeated
The head of Germany’s DEHOGA hospitality body says lawmakers need to prepare now to be ready for the coming winter, as the country’s hotels seek to recover after the pandemic. "The mistakes of the past cannot be repeated," said DEHOGA president Guido Zoellick, as he urged the state and federal governments to issue clear rules and a unified course on COVID-19 policy for the winter. Zoellick said a lack of workers continues to be a major hurdle to recovery. He wants labour immigration rules for non-EU countries to be simplified. There were roughly 1 million full-time workers in the industry recorded in March 2022, he said - 63,700 fewer than the in same month in 2019 but 61,000 more than in March 2021. "This is encouraging and shows quite a few employees are returning and new employees are also being recruited," said Zoellick.
Qatar Airways isn’t facing labour shortages, says CEO
The CEO of Qatar Airways says the carrier isn’t experiencing the labour shortages that have beset airlines in Europe and the US and which have resulted in widespread disruptions. “Qatar Airways does not see any labour shortages in our company or the region,” said Akbar Al Baker during IATA's AGM in Doha, adding that the airline is “inundated” with job applications. “We are in need of around 900 additional pilots and we had 20,000 applications,” said Al Baker. He blamed massive operational disruptions amid labour shortages across all segments of the industry in Europe and the US on employees' preference for hybrid working. “There is a shortage because people have gotten into the bad habit of working from home,” he said.
London bike use soars
Rides on London's public bike-rental network have reached record levels in each of the past nine months amid recurring strikes on the capital’s Tube network. A record high of 12 million journeys were taken on Santander Cycles in the last year, according to Transport for London (TfL) data, and on strike days, thousands of commuters get to work using the hired bikes. “The cycle hire scheme plays an important role in ensuring Londoners have as many transport options as possible,” a TfL spokesperson said. “During strike action, TfL provides additional staffed Santander Cycles hubs to guarantee customers can hire and dock bikes.”

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