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WHY GOOGLE SEARCHES FOR ‘STANDING DESKS’ HAVE MORE THAN TRIPLED IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS

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Why Google Searches for ‘Standing Desks’ Have More Than Tripled in the last 12 Months With searches more than tripling in the US and growing by more than 20% in the UK in the last 12 months, demand for standing desks is on the rise, indicating that more firms and individuals are becoming interested in new ways of approaching health and wellness at work. According to research by leading project and cost management consultancy, TowerEight, over the last five years, searches for standing desks have increased more than six times in the UK, showing a massive surge in occupier interest. Taking a Stand for Health Workspace Lead at TowerEight, Sam Addison, conducted the research with interior design groups Wagstaff and Parcour, adding that: “standing desks were initially dismissed as a curio, a throwback famously used by eccentrics such as Dickens or Hemmingway, but the health evidence now seems indisputably positive and as a result, corporate demand has really picked up. The move towards more agile working from larger firms also chimes with standing desk demand; office workers are increasingly confident in seeing the office in a different way and demanding more from the space they occupy every day.” Google data shows that demand peaks at the start of each year as health and wellness campaigns kick in and staff interest in healthier, active workplace options increase. Mark Shepherd of the Wagstaff Group says, “this is not a trend being driven by creative firms or smaller companies as might be pre-supposed. The wellness agenda and ensuring productivity benefits have become central to occupier strategy, driven by growing awareness of wearable tech and fitness tracking,” According to a post in Forbes on the biggest workplace trends to expect in 2017, workplace wellness is set to become a huge focus with more companies using programs to ‘lower absenteeism, attract talent and save on healthcare costs’. With the realisation that work stress is a big issue for employees, more firms are looking at ways to create healthier environments. 5 Ways to Increase Wellness at Work Research shows employees are 38% more engaged at work when they feel their employers care about their wellbeing. With most employees spending more time at their desks than anywhere else, it’s more important than ever for managers to encourage both sitting and standing for optimal health at work. 1. Invest in Ergonomic Seating Sitting isn’t all bad. Some office tasks are more easily performed when seated and it also provides a moment to rest and shift the load to a different set of muscles. The trick is that, according to whitepaper research, sitting shouldn’t be static. A good chair will allow for a wide range of postures and support the spine better, enabling more motion and the option to recline and shift when needed. Health professionals also say that periodically switching between sitting and standing can reduce fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort. 2. Encourage Standing Research by Authority Nutrition shows that almost 1000 extra calories are burned each week by standing at a desk each afternoon. The health benefits are said to include a lowered risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, a reduction in back pain and improved mood and energy levels, not to mention an increase in productivity. HealthPartners Research Foundation says that employees reported feeling the following when using a standing desk periodically: • 87% more comfortable • 87% more energised • 75% healthier • 71% more focussed • 66% more productive • 62% happier • 33% less stressed 3. Make Walking a Habit Whether by holding meetings on the move, actively encouraging employees to walk to each other’s desks more regularly or installing treadmills at work, more companies are recognising the benefits of movement and the role that walking plays in a healthier workplace. 4. Make Posture a Priority There is a direct association between poor posture and health ailments, including back, neck and spine problems, as well as muscle pain. A workplace consultant can advise on posture by identifying workstation-related issues and providing tailored support recommendations for individuals. 5. Encourage Mindfulness More employees are being encouraged to practice daily mindfulness at work to reduce stress and anxiety. It also has neurological benefits linked to increased emotional intelligence. Daniel Moodey, Director at Parcour Consulting, says he sees demand growing even further: “I can only see this rising to a point where the sit/stand solution will become a workplace standard for desking. This will cross over into other areas of the working environment such as meeting rooms where we have already started delivering sit/stand meeting tables.” ENDS About TowerEight TowerEight is an experienced, independent, project and cost management consultancy, which provides first class services to the construction and property industry. The team pride themselves on finding intelligent solutions for our clients and conduct themselves with a “total commitment to deliver as trusted partners”. With a team of over 70 based in headquarters on London’s Great Portland Street, TowerEight offers a range of services including project management, cost management, project monitoring, and acquisition support services. For more information contactbryony@mediavisioninteractive.com

 

With searches more than tripling in the US and growing by more than 20% in the UK in the last 12 months, demand for standing desks is on the rise, indicating that more firms and individuals are becoming interested in new ways of approaching health and wellness at work.

According to research by leading project and cost management consultancy, TowerEight, over the last five years, searches for standing desks have increased more than six times in the UK, showing a massive surge in occupier interest.

Taking a Stand for Health

Workspace Lead at TowerEight, Sam Addison, conducted the research with interior design groups Wagstaff and Parcour, adding that: “standing desks were initially dismissed as a curio, a throwback famously used by eccentrics such as Dickens or Hemmingway, but the health evidence now seems indisputably positive and as a result, corporate demand has really picked up.

The move towards more agile working from larger firms also chimes with standing desk demand; office workers are increasingly confident in seeing the office in a different way and demanding more from the space they occupy every day.”

Google data shows that demand peaks at the start of each year as health and wellness campaigns kick in and staff interest in healthier, active workplace options increase.

Mark Shepherd of the Wagstaff Group says, “this is not a trend being driven by creative firms or smaller companies as might be pre-supposed. The wellness agenda and ensuring productivity benefits have become central to occupier strategy, driven by growing awareness of wearable tech and fitness tracking,”

According to a post in Forbes on the biggest workplace trends to expect in 2017, workplace wellness is set to become a huge focus with more companies using programs to ‘lower absenteeism, attract talent and save on healthcare costs’. With the realisation that work stress is a big issue for employees, more firms are looking at ways to create healthier environments.

5 Ways to Increase Wellness at Work

Research shows employees are 38% more engaged at work when they feel their employers care about their wellbeing. With most employees spending more time at their desks than anywhere else, it’s more important than ever for managers to encourage both sitting and standing for optimal health at work.

1. Invest in Ergonomic Seating

Sitting isn’t all bad. Some office tasks are more easily performed when seated and it also provides a moment to rest and shift the load to a different set of muscles. The trick is that, according to whitepaper research, sitting shouldn’t be static. A good chair will allow for a wide range of postures and support the spine better, enabling more motion and the option to recline and shift when needed. Health professionals also say that periodically switching between sitting and standing can reduce fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort.

2. Encourage Standing

Research by Authority Nutrition shows that almost 1000 extra calories are burned each week by standing at a desk each afternoon. The health benefits are said to include a lowered risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, a reduction in back pain and improved mood and energy levels, not to mention an increase in productivity.

HealthPartners Research Foundation says that employees reported feeling the following when using a standing desk periodically:

  • 87% more comfortable
    • 87% more energised
    • 75% healthier
    • 71% more focussed
    • 66% more productive
    • 62% happier
    • 33% less stressed

3. Make Walking a Habit

Whether by holding meetings on the move, actively encouraging employees to walk to each other’s desks more regularly or installing treadmills at work, more companies are recognising the benefits of movement and the role that walking plays in a healthier workplace.

4. Make Posture a Priority 

There is a direct association between poor posture and health ailments, including back, neck and spine problems, as well as muscle pain. A workplace consultant can advise on posture by identifying workstation-related issues and providing tailored support recommendations for individuals.  

5. Encourage Mindfulness 

More employees are being encouraged to practice daily mindfulness at work to reduce stress and anxiety. It also has neurological benefits linked to increased emotional intelligence.

Daniel Moodey, Director at Parcour Consulting, says he sees demand growing even further: “I can only see this rising to a point where the sit/stand solution will become a workplace standard for desking.  This will cross over into other areas of the working environment such as meeting rooms where we have already started delivering sit/stand meeting tables.”

About TowerEight

TowerEight is an experienced, independent, project and cost management consultancy, which provides first class services to the construction and property industry. The team pride themselves on finding intelligent solutions for our clients and conduct themselves with a “total commitment to deliver as trusted partners”. With a team of over 70 based in headquarters on London’s Great Portland Street, TowerEight offers a range of services including project management, cost management, project monitoring, and acquisition support services.

For more information contact[email protected]

Business

Stella McCartney Transforms Financial Consolidation And Lease Accounting With Board

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Stella McCartney Transforms Financial Consolidation And Lease Accounting With Board 1

Board revamps financial analysis, consolidation and reporting for luxury lifestyle brand’s IFRS 16 compliance

Board International, the leading provider of the #1 decision-making platform, has today announced that luxury lifestyle brand Stella McCartney is working with Board to transform financial consolidation and lease accounting.

Board is enabling the luxury lifestyle brand to automate financial consolidation from multiple locations worldwide, replace manual and time-consuming consolidation activities, model the impact of different scenarios on financial performance and achieve full lease accounting compliance with ease, for IFRS 16.

Stella McCartney is a luxury lifestyle brand that was launched under the designer’s name in 2001, with collections available in more than 100 countries and 53 freestanding stores including London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

“The Board platform’s ability to streamline our finance consolidation activities, whilst preserving the accuracy of financial data from Stella McCartney locations across the world and ensure IFRS 16 compliance, has been vital to the management of the brand” said Sandra Federighi-Oni, Chief Financial Officer, Stella McCartney.

“Board’s expertise in automating and analysing key financial reporting to obtain new insights, by simulating what-if scenarios adds a new dimension to our strategic financial planning,” said Federighi-Oni. “We can plan for future progress and model multiple scenarios to inform our decision-making, with a fully holistic view of our latest financial data and metrics and ensure all accounting calculations generated are IFRS 16 compliant.”

“In today’s fast-paced, data rich and evolving business environment, modelling for effective financial scenario planning, whilst ensuring the latest compliance is critical to compete,” said Gavin Fallon, Managing Director for UK, Nordics & South Africa at Board International.

“Board transforms financial decision-making, saving time through the automation of repetitive activities, creating full visibility of vital data, to enable the big decisions global

luxury brands like Stella McCartney make daily to thrive in today’s economy” continued Fallon.

Financial closing, financial consolidation, and other accounting activities require high levels of manual, repetitive work and the collation of data from a multitude of spreadsheets and data sources. These activities must also meet strict requirements in terms of compliance to corporate internal control systems.

IFRS 16 specifies how an IFRS reporter must recognise, measure, present and disclose leases.  Introduced in January 2019, this new standard will affect most companies reporting under IFRS and will have a major impact on the financial statements of lessees of property and high-value equipment. Under IFRS 16, if a company has control over, or right to use, an asset they are renting, it is classified as a lease for accounting purposes and, under the new rules, must be recognised on the company’s balance sheet.

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Business

Can your company data make you famous?

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Can your company data make you famous? 2

By Kerry Gould, Associate Director, Speed Communications

Businesses gather and generate reams of data every day on everything from purchasing habits to customer behaviour. But too often, it gets ignored or restricted to ‘internal use’. Is this a big opportunity missed?

Perhaps more than in any other sector, finance and banking companies hold a goldmine of data. Of course, individual customer transactions are highly sensitive and need to be kept secure. But when these are collated into trends across an entire customer base, it can paint a compelling picture of people’s changing priorities. What are people spending money on? How are they using credit cards differently? Are they shifting their savings goals or looking at mortgages differently? And it’s not just consumer-facing businesses that can use their data to tell stories. It’s a growing area in the world of B2B marketing, especially for firms targeting the UK’s 5 million+ SMEs.

Insight in the COVID-19 era

Appetite to share data is increasing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, too. We’re already seeing companies step up and share this intelligence; barely a day goes by when there’s not a report on how people are changing and adapting. In an era when everyone is trying to be a ‘thought leader’, having this unique insight can really set a company apart and elevate its public profile.

There are some great examples out there. Barclaycard revealed in its SME Barometer that the number of small businesses actively taking payments has increased by 24 per cent since the start of lockdown, an indicator of recovery. Meanwhile, Bottomline revealed in its Business Payments Barometer that 89% of firms continued to pay its suppliers late and £164,000 was lost by the average mid-sized business to payment fraud.

These reports achieved media coverage in print and online, and likely to have been shared widely over social networks, been promoted in email newsletters, discussed in online webinars and provided talking points in customer meetings. In today’s multi-channel world, there are a plethora of ways to reach customers (and potential customers) and we know that a ‘layered approach’ to these communications stand the best chance of getting you noticed and remembered.

Commissioning a survey through an independent research agency is a tried and tested method for marketing and PR teams to gather insight to use for content marketing and news generation. But often, your company’s own proprietary data can be even more compelling. It’s based on actual facts and behaviours, immune from the public’s continually fluctuating opinions. Plus, it doesn’t cost you thousands of pounds to commission. If your company has a strong enough dataset that can tell a story or indicate a trend, it should absolutely be used.

Overcoming hurdles

Like all well-meaning initiatives, data-led PR doesn’t come without its challenges. Here, we tackle three.

  1. Getting buy in to go public
Kerry Gould

Kerry Gould

Sometimes, business stakeholders can be nervous about releasing data that may be deemed commercially sensitive, revealing market share or insight that competitors could take advantage of. In this case, it’s about considering risk versus reward. The marketing benefit for making yourself known could be offset by competitive intelligence that your rivals may have through other sources anyway. Ultimately, there’s often a compromise to be stuck and there may be some data that you can’t disclose. Bringing stakeholders on the journey with you from the start is often the best way to ascertain this.

  1. Organising reams of data

It can be overwhelming to organise complex data sets, gather trends from different silos, departments and platforms. Many finance companies have in-house data analysts and insight teams whose job this is, but for others, outsourcing to a specialist provider like Data Cubed or Beyond Analysis can be a helpful move. By building a dashboard that collates everything in one place, teams from across the business, and external PR or marketing agencies, can get access in real time.

  1. Not having enough data

It may be that your business doesn’t generate reams of data or lacks a large enough sample size of customers. In this case, you can partner with an organisation that does. In the Jobs Recovery Tracker developed with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we partnered with EMSI to tap into their database of live job vacancies. This helped to track the employment market amid COVID-19, generating masses of media coverage, insight to inform its content marketing and talking points for its upcoming REC 2020 conference.  This can sometimes be treated as a commercial arrangement but often considered a joint PR opportunity that’s win-win.

Data journalism is a growing discipline in the world of media, with news outlets dedicating talented people and resources to telling stories with numbers. The BBC and Guardian do it particularly well. With marketeers – particularly in data-rich industries like finance – waking up to the power it can hold for true thought leadership, the future is likely to be one ever more governed by data-led insight. How long before ‘data-PR’ becomes a discipline in its own right?

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Business

Advice for contractors closing down their contracting company

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Advice for contractors closing down their contracting company 3

By John Bell is Director of insolvency firm Clarke Bell, which he founded in 1994.

Contractors with a limited company/Personal Service Company (PSC) have been going through more than their fair share of turbulent times recently.

In the last two years contractors/PSCs have been bracing themselves for the impact that the new off-payroll legislation (IR35) will have on their lives and livelihoods, as the Government ploughed ahead with its plans to roll out the reforms to the private sector; as it, wrongly in many cases, believed some contractors should be deemed as employees and not genuine self-employed contractors.  Then came Covid-19 and once again those self-employed workers were dealt another blow as the pandemic left many without work overnight, albeit there was some relief as Off-Payroll was paused until April 2021.   And let’s not forget Brexit and all the uncertainty around it which is having a huge effect on a lot of businesses in the UK.

It has been a bumpy ride for businesses of all sizes over the last few months and, despite the emergency measures announced by the Chancellor in an effort to keep the economy afloat, not every contractor will want to carry on trading. Some will want to retire earlier than they’d previously planned – to get away from all the turmoil and ‘cash in’ all their hard earnings. Others, however, will have seen their income falling to such an extent that they are now having cash flow problems and are unable to pay some of their bills.   Some may be considering taking up a PAYE role for job security whilst others may be forced to put their retirement plans on hold and continue working until they feel confident that their pension pot will serve them well.

The combined effects of Brexit, Covid-19 and the new Off-Payroll tax have hit businesses hard and some company directors now think that closing down their company is the best course of action for them.

A Members’ Voluntary Liquidation is the best option for contractors

If a contractor is planning on moving into an employee/PAYE role, retiring or pursuing some other life or career plan then a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) is likely to be the most tax-efficient way to close a solvent company – particularly if the assets of a company are more than £25,000.

An MVL is an HMRC-approved process and a licensed insolvency practitioner must be appointed. While it may have a negative-sounding ring to it – with terms like ‘liquidation’ and ‘insolvency practitioner’ – there is nothing negative about it. Quite the opposite, in fact. By placing a company into an MVL it is a clear illustration that someone has been running a successful company.

An MVL allows a contractor to draw any remaining profit as a dividend, paying income tax on the dividend amount.  With the help of the licensed insolvency practitioner who will liquidate a company, the reserves can then be distributed as capital, which are then subject to capital gains tax (CGT) at either 18% or 28%.

Through an MVL, a contractor can also take advantage of Business Asset Disposal Relief, formerly known as Entrepreneurs’ Relief before 6 April 2020.  If someone qualifies for this relief, this can mean that CGT will be paid at a rate of 10% on qualifying assets, which can translate into considerable tax savings.  Each shareholder of the limited company could also benefit from a tax-free allowance of £11,000, the Annual Exempt Amount.  If there are multiple shareholders, this can be highly efficient.

To ascertain eligibility for Business Asset Disposal Relief / Entrepreneur’s Relief, contractors should speak to an accountant and also look at the Gov.uk website.

Off-Payroll (IR35), Brexit and Covid-19 are all things that are likely to have a huge impact on contractors and their limited companies and most firms of Insolvency Practitioners will offer free and confidential advice.

My advice to contractors is to talk to their accountant and help decide whether an informal strike-off or an MVL is the best option.  If a contractor is having serious cashflow problems then an insolvent liquidation might be the best option.

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