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Is 9-5 no longer the norm?

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Air Canada Renews Normal Course Issuer Bid and Automatic Share Purchase Plan

Recently, it has been publicised that accountancy giant PwC has launched a new scheme allowing new recruits to propose the hours of the week they wish to work.

The UK’s largest independent tech retailer Ebuyer investigated this new trend and how businesses can adapt to more flexible working hours to maximise employee productivity.

By 2021, it is estimated that half of the working population in the UK and the US will be working freelance and flexibly. This is the way the global workforce is moving and yet many organisations haven’t fully understood the implications, and more importantly, opportunities – according to The Hoxby Collective, a global community of talented professionals.

Stephen James, Marketing Manager at Ebuyer, said: “We believe that having a flexible work life can help improve productivity and overall employee wellbeing. With developments in technology evolving all the time, we are constantly finding new ways to help employees become more flexible when working. It’s important to find the perfect work-life balance, and thanks to smartphones, virtual networks and video calls, employers should embrace new technology to help employees work remotely and during hours that sit outside the 9 to 5.”

A new YouGov survey[i], conducted among 1,800 UK workers, reveals that almost six in ten (58%) UK workers would choose to start work earlier than 9am if they could leave earlier than 5pm. Almost four in ten (37%)1 also said that their preferred working hours would be 8am till 4pm.

Flexible working is important to people of all ages and stages in their life. Almost four in five (78%) parents, already working flexible hours, state that the adaptability allows them to juggle work with family commitments.

Millennials are high on recruiter’s target lists with organisations looking to secure new talent to drive their business forward. This demographic believes that being given flexible working hours means they are trusted by their employers and by having this sense of trust, they also feel more loyal towards the company.[ii]

Stephen James continued, “2018 is the time to embrace flexible working hours, especially to attract and retain employees. It isn’t just for people who have families, younger generations are starting to expect schemes like this too. It’s important to adapt to new cultures in order to be successful. Experiment with agile working, integrate it in to your workforce and see what benefits it can bring to your business.”

If you’re thinking about making your work life more flexible, then visit Ebuyer’s blog post about working from home: https://www.ebuyer.com/blog/2014/05/are-you-thinking-of-working-from-home/

[i]“Over nine in ten not working the usual 9-5 week” YouGov UK, 24 Aug 2018. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2018/08/24/over-nine-ten-not-working-usual-9-5-week/

[ii]“Millennials’ confidence in business, loyalty to employers deteriorate” Deloitte, 15 Jan 2018. https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html

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EDF announces delay, price rise for UK nuclear plant

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EDF announces delay, price rise for UK nuclear plant 1

PARIS (Reuters) – Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be delayed by six months to June 2026 and the cost will rise by another 500 million pounds ($687 million) France’s EDF said on Wednesday citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plant, originally expected to open in 2017, has witnessed repeated delays and cost rises, with the estimate now 22-23 billion pounds ($30.2-$31.60 billion).

EDF announced in November that it would review its work schedule and costs estimate in light of the pandemic.

“A detailed review of schedule and cost has been performed to estimate the impact of the pandemic so far. The start of electricity generation from (Hinkley’s) Unit 1 is now expected in June 2026, compared to end-2025 as initially announced in 2016”, EDF said.

“Despite being affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, Hinkley Point C has made significant progress in 2020 on site, in the design execution plans and on the manufacturing of equipment,” the company said.

Shares in EDF were down 1.5% in early trade.

The 3.2 gigawatt nuclear power station in Somerset, southwest England, is being built by the British arm of EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp.

It is the first nuclear plant to be built in Britain in decades.

In November, EDF also said it would begin decommissioning Britain’s Hinkley Point B plant, which began operation in 1976, by July 2022.

($1 = 0.7280 pounds)

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Benoit Van Overstraeten; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)

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UK mobile networks Vodafone, O2 and Three tackle rural coverage

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UK mobile networks Vodafone, O2 and Three tackle rural coverage 2

LONDON (Reuters) – British mobile networks Vodafone, O2 and Three are teaming up to build and share 222 mobile masts to boost 4G coverage in rural areas where there is only a patchy signal.

The first stage of the shared rural network will increase coverage in each of the UK nations, with 124 new sites in Scotland, 33 in Wales, 11 in Northern Ireland and 54 in England, the companies said on Wednesday.

Construction will start this year and is scheduled to be completed by 2024, they said.

The mobile industry and the government agreed last year to create a shared rural network, at a cost of 1 billion pounds provided by operators and public funds to improve rural coverage.

In this first stage, the operators will target areas reached by only one network currently.

A second stage to tackle areas where they is currently no signal at all will be funded by the government.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Andy Bruce)

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Google revives Australia news platform launch amid content payment fight

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Google revives Australia news platform launch amid content payment fight 3

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Google is reviving plans to launch its own news website in Australia within weeks, according to a local media outlet contracted to provide articles for the venture, as the search giant fights world-first proposed laws on content payments.

The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month is Google’s latest tactic in a high-profile campaign against the Australian government’s planned legislation to make the company pay local news providers for content that appears in its search engine.

Misha Ketchell, editor of the academic-penned newsite The Conversation, said on Wednesday he was approached by Google “to resume discussions about launching the News Showcase product as soon as possible, potentially in February. We are working with them on this”.

Google had announced plans to launch News Showcase in Australia last June, signing deals with seven small local outlets, including The Conversation, for content. It subsequently delayed the launch, citing regulatory conditions, when Australia’s competition regulator published a draft copy of the proposed media bargaining code.

The decision to push ahead with the launch was an apparent show of Google’s willingness to run its own content deals, negating the need for government-mandated legislation.

A spokesman for Alphabet Inc owned Google in Australia declined to comment on Wednesday. Two other local publishers confirmed they had content details in place for the news site, without discussing recent talks.

Google Australia Chief Executive Mel Silva told a parliamentary hearing last week the company would pull its flagship search tool from Australia if the laws, the first of their kind in the world, went ahead.

In a post on its local website, Silva says Google opposes paying for showing links to articles, not for publishing news.

“Right now, no website or search engine pays to connect people to other sites through links,” Silva said in the undated post. “This law would change that, making Google pay to provide links for the first time in our history.”

Under the planned laws, Google and social media behemoth Facebook Inc must negotiate binding commercial contracts with Australian outlets whose content drives traffic to their platforms. If they can’t strike a deal, the government will appoint an arbitrator to do it for them.

Google has argued that the legislation, which is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry but expected to be passed into law soon, is unworkable.

“If Google can demonstrate that it can reach agreement with some publishers then its aim is to show that commercial arrangements can be made in the absence of some kind of legislative intervention,” said Derek Wilding, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition.

“The question is whether those arrangements are suitable for all publishers. The kind of arrangements that Google can propose will suit some publishers, but not others.”

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Jane Wardell and Michael Perry)

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