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Discussions on a range of proposals to change the EU directive have been ongoing for some time. One of the most important of these is the potential for workers to opt-out of the fixed maximum of an average 48-hour working week. Less clear cut is the discussion on whether or not any time spent on call should be treated as working time, not least because of problems defining what is ‘on-call’ in a world of mobile and ubiquitous technology. This could potentially lead to significant changes to the UK working time laws in due course. This has dragged on for long enough. In April 2009 the initial negotiations from the EU came to an end without agreement being reached. In March 2010, the European Commission started a new consultation looking at the options for reforming the directive. In December of that year the Commission launched the second stage of the review and it will now be preparing formal amendment proposals for this year. Given the long and troubled history of this legislation and the fact that it can sit at odds with the way we work nowadays, and you have the makings of another delay

We all know how dependant we have become on our electronic communications over the last 10 years. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing your mobile signal part way through a conversation or even worse not getting a signal at all…

Well good news for all, thanks to the people at NCELL you are now able to make a phone call and even surf the internet on Mount Everest. Imagine how disappointing it must have been reach the summit and then not be able to tweet all your friends back home about your achievement.

I do have to ask the question of how can people make a mobile call at 8,000 m in Nepal but I struggle to make a call from my kitchen in Manchester….

Einstein famously said that ‘If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.’ It may not be entirely true but we do rely on bees more than many might suppose and not just for something to spread on our toast. Bee populations are collapsing around the world, threatening crops and the wider economy. This may be down to the ubiquitous mobile phone, the signals from which are thought to disorientate bees. But we can do our bit, and we don’t need to go the whole hog with beehives and beekeeping outfits either.  The people at www.omelet.co.uk have come up with an urban ‘beehaus’ that can be bought for a few hundred quid and installed in your garden or on your roof. In years to come this may be a design classic for all the right reasons …

posted by Ann Clarke

http://www.estatesreview.com/news/virtual reality


With all the talk of reductions in expenditure within the public sector, buildings are easily the second highest item of expenditure for the majority of organisations after staff costs. One of the more obvious ways to save money is to reduce the size of the organisation’s property requirement, not always a popular move with staff. People like their own space and firms know that it is no good addressing employees as their major asset, only to see them walk out of the door because they don’t want to sit in a different place in the office whenever they are in. Space will have to be designed and managed more intelligently, with better, faster and more intuitive technology. There will be even more focus on social spaces, in particular to support the needs of mobile workers and visitors to the building.

I believe that whilst offices will continue to get leaner, supporting more people from the same or less space, there will be an even greater emphasis on identity both for clients and employees as a way of binding everybody to the organisation.

Click on the link above to see my whole article published in Estates Review

Posted by Ann Clarke 10th July