Recent Posts

  • Public health criticised

    first_img Comments are closed. Public health criticisedOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Health policy needs to be rebalanced to make it more focused on improvinghealth not just health careGovernment policy on public health is too heavily concentrated on acutecare, hospitals and beds and the numbers of doctors and nurses, an influentialcommittee of MPs has said. The Health Select Committee report on public health, published in March,found there was a need to achieve a better balance in health policy betweenhealth and health care. There was a “strong” case for rebalancing health policy, andmaking it more focused on improving health, not just on health care. MPs also suggested there was “confusion surrounding the leadership ofpublic health at every level” and called on the Minister for PublicHealth, Yvette Cooper, to be given the freedom “to demonstrate morepositive and public leadership for improving health and reducing healthinequalities”. “We consider that insufficient attention has been given to theapplication of knowledge and practice in public health. “For too long the public health function has been dominated by aculture, mindset and training scheme which stresses the epidemiology andscience of public health, rather than its practice in bringing aboutchange,” the committee said. There was also too great an emphasis on “top-down” targets andperformance agreements, and stronger incentives were needed to give healthimprovement priority, it added. The report came at the same time as the Chief Medical Officer for England,Professor Liam Donaldson, published his report on the Government’s project tostrengthen the public health function. This stressed new mechanisms for co-ordination and communication werealready under way. www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk  www.doh.gov.uk/cmo/phfunction.htm Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

  • Whitbread rewards suit employees’ tastes

    first_imgWhitbread rewards suit employees’ tastesOn 12 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Whitbread Hotels is introducing a recognition programme to cut its employeeturnover rate by 5 per cent. The programme, called Recognition First, is intended to improve staffmotivation and will provide rewards that are tailored to individuals’ personalities.The company hopes to reduce its staff turnover from 35 to 30 per cent in 12months. AmandaRavey, HR director of Whitbread Hotels, said, “Employees will fill in aform on their likes and interests, so when we reward them for their efforts, weare able to do so with a gift that suits their lifestyles.” The programme’s pilot in three hotels ends this month and has already provedsuccessful. Sprowston Manor, Norfolk, has reduced its staff turnover from 40 to 35 percent and increased staff satisfaction at work rating by 11 per cent. Phil Mellanby, the hotel’s HR manager, said, “We have even had twoformer employees return to work here, saying they felt undervalued andneglected outside Whitbread.” The company has over 60 UK-based hotels employing over 9,000 employees. Comments are closed. last_img read more

  • Complaints over poor conditions the tip of iceberg

    first_img Comments are closed. The 36 Filipino nurses who walked out on their private sector employer lastweek claiming exploitative work arrangements are just the tip of the iceberg,warns Unison. The nurses were recruited in February by Wilton House, which runs fournursing homes in Hertfordshire, but they left claiming they were forced to worklong hours on low pay, with contracts that stipulated they would be sacked ifthey joined a union. Unison found work for the nurses with NHS hospitals before advising them toleave the homes. Karen Jennings, the union’s head of nursing, said, “It is a significantproblem and a growing trend. We dealt with one case last month, and we’recurrently involved in three more. As the issue receives greater prominence,more overseas nurses are going to come forward.” Seventeen of the nurses are going through the recruitment process at theEast and North Hertfordshire NHS Hospital Trust, which already employs 158 Filipinonurses. Gloria Barber, head of HR at the hospital, said it has a 13 per cent vacancyrate in nursing positions and the new nurses will provide a short-termsolution. Once at the hospital, the Filipino nurses will go on an adaptation courseoverseen by senior nurses, providing support and training in their first sixmonths. Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust will employ the other 19 nurses. Complaints over poor conditions the tip of icebergOn 3 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

  • Skills agenda under pressure?

    first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. The close of 2002 brought encouraging signals that the Government iscommitted to the skills agenda. Yet as we move into 2003 the ‘Skills forBusiness’ network still has a long way to go in boosting skills and the demandfor them. Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Charles Clarke has already hadto defend the skills agenda. Speaking at the first-ever UK Skills Convention,organised by the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) in November, healluded to criticisms that skills had taken second place to education in theDepartment. “I have absolutely no intention that skills should be seen asanything other than an absolutely major priority for this department and thisGovernment,” he said. He also promised closer ties between the DfES and the DTI. “PatriciaHewitt, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and I have already metto decide how we can get our two departments working more closely together.Because the truth is we haven’t worked as closely together as we need to.”Various sector skills stakeholders – employers, Sector Skills Council (SSC)members, trade unionists, training providers and those from the former NTOnetwork – attended the two-day convention. The organisers will summarise keyissues emerging from their workshops and present them as a challenge to theGovernment. This is intended to feed into the National Skills Strategy andDelivery Plan, scheduled for publication in June. Ivan Lewis, Adult Learning and Skills Minister, spelt out his expectationsof the Skills for Business network. He wants the SSDA to make an impact onlevels of employer engagement and awareness and deliver measurable progress onspecific skills needs and issues within particular sectors. Employer engagementwas insufficient at present, he said, being pitched far too much at the levelof the old NTO network. “As part of the SSDA’s corporate planningconsultation process, I shall be looking for evidence that the new network ismoving significantly beyond the usual suspects and engaging fresh blood in thechallenge of implementing a more ambitious vision for sectors,” he said. The biggest concern to those attending the convention, however, was that itcould take five years for the network to be fully up and running. The following week the SSDA gave the go ahead to two more prospective SSCsto move into development. The Automotive Skills Council will take over fromformer NTO the Motor Industry Training Council to meet the skills, workforcedevelopment and business needs of the motor retail industry and SummitSkillswill represent the electrotechnical, heating, ventilating air conditioning,refrigeration and plumbing industries. Simon Bartley runs two companies in the latter sector and is chairman of theSummitSkills implementation group. He acknowledges the need to improve employerenthusiasm but believes his council has a solid foundation on which to developthe skills agenda. Bartley has clear views on the role of the SSDA. “There is so muchgoing on, with the work of the skills task force, review of ModernApprenticeships and 14-19 education and other initiatives. I think the SSDAneeds to be at the heart of that, drawing things together, working inpartnership with SSCs on the interpretation of these messages. It needs to bethe keystone of the arch,” he said. “The SSDA needs to keep talking to the DfES and DTI to try andstreamline many of the ideas that relate to the mechanisms of delivery. It hasto ensure the Government keeps those two departments talking to each other on aregular basis.” Bartley believes the SSDA must keep in touch with grassroots. “It hasto understand where employers are coming from. It’s got to answer back togovernment on behalf of SSCs – if it doesn’t it will just become an enforcingbureaucracy.” By Elaine Essery Skills agenda under pressure?On 1 Jan 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

  • Virtual reality: Welcome to my world

    first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Virtual reality: Welcome to my worldBy Personnel Today on 3 Feb 2010 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Virtual reality is a common theme in popular fiction. Movie makers have repeatedly explored the concept of an alternate, and often sinister, existence that has been created alongside the real world. Films such as The Matrix, Total Recall and Lawnmower Man have encouraged the viewer to imagine an entirely man-made reality. But the fascination with virtual, alternate and parallel existences stretches back further than the past two decades. Doctor Who was arguably one of the first television shows to depict different worlds that coexisted with our own, and Lewis Carroll created an elaborate and sometimes bizarre alternate existence for his heroine in Alice in Wonderland. Director James Cameron’s current multi-million dollar 3D blockbuster Avatar has taken this concept a step further, with the hero being able to telepathically control and ‘exist’ within an alien being in another world. So is this still fantasy, or is it just possible that we are now at a point where these notions are not altogether as far-fetched as they might have once seemed?When two worlds collideAlthough computer-simulated worlds are by no means a new concept, the past few years has seen an explosion in the number and type of virtual worlds being launched. According to research and analysis company KZero, there are about 150 in existence. Indeed, investment in virtual world technology and the development of new virtual world experiences does not appear to have been significantly dampened by the recession.Originally called MMORPGs (massively multi-player online role-playing games) they have, as the name would suggest, traditionally focused on gaming. More recently, however, virtual worlds have moved more towards social interaction and community generation, especially for children. In addition, the past 18 months has seen organisations such as Michellin and Intel start to use virtual worlds for business collaboration, training and shared learning, citing benefits in cost savings through reduction in travel, and greater inclusion of a geographically dispersed workforce. So what do virtual worlds offer that more traditional video-conferencing, webinars or group telephone calls don’t? Virtual learning Central to the appeal of virtual worlds for learning and collaboration is the concept of immersion; that is the suspension of disbelief that allows the perception of actually being with other individuals in time and place. One creates a virtual representation of oneself, commonly known as an ‘avatar’, and interacts with others through it using voice or text chat. Just as one would do in the real world, the avatar can see everyone around them, hear what others who are near them are talking about, and move around the virtual environment by either walking or, for longer distances, flying or teleporting.It would seem intuitive that this kind of application of virtual worlds could also be used to deliver low-cost, but high-impact health promotion and coaching to populations and specific high-risk groups. Using virtual environments to deliver health advocacy solutions is new so there is little good research about the outcomes, but there already appear to be a number of established uses of virtual worlds for health-related activities. A recent review of virtual world Second Life found 68 separate instances, covering a wide range of uses including education and awareness, support, training, marketing and recruitment for research.Virtual world technology has been successfully used to simulate emergency hospital scenarios to train physicians and medical students. Indeed, London’s Imperial College has created a virtual world hospital that it is being used to augment the training of medical students and junior doctors. OutcomesAlthough there is a lack of good quality published research, the medium has the potential to improve engagement and drive behaviour change if used with more traditional health management channels. Technology-based health improvement programmes have been shown to decrease health risks, improve work performance and generate a return on investment for employers. The anonymity of participants within the environment can help with discussions about potentially sensitive health-related topics. People have a shared (rather than isolated) online experience with peer-to-peer communication and support. There are no geographical limitations to participation. And there is no need for expensive technological infrastructure, as all participants need is a PC/Mac, a broadband internet connection and a headset. A recent pilot implementation of a virtual world-delivered healthy eating and weight management programme in Second Life showed 65% of the eligible population registered for the programme, with 54% of participants reporting at least one lifestyle change based on the information and advice received during the pilot, and a high level of acceptance of the medium. Healthcare systems need to better understand how they can use existing and emerging technologies to enhance the management of the populations they serve. Technological advances – be they virtual worlds, other social media or wearable devices – have the potential to improve societal health while managing costs. Consultations with a healthcare professional in an artificial world are no longer beyond the realms of Hollywood fantasy. These are indeed exciting times, but only if we are prepared to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. By Dr Peter Mills, population health expertReferencescenter_img A Survey if Health Related Activities on Second Life. JMIR.LeRoy Heinrichs et al. Simulation for team training and assessment: case studies of online training with virtual worlds. World Journal of Surgery 2008; 32: 161-70Mills et al. Impact of a Health Promotion Program on Employee Health Risks and Work Productivity. American Journal of Health Promotion 2007; 22: 45-53.CIGNA-vielife in Second Life: Engaging and Interactive Health & Lifestyle Training for the Global Workforce. Comments are closed. last_img read more

  • As flex-office space contracts, Industrious grows NYC footprint

    first_imgTagsbrooklynCommercial Real EstateIndustriousManhattanOffice Real Estate Share via Shortlink Email Address* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink According to Industrious executives, its unconventional business strategy — entering into agreements with landlords rather than signing traditional leases — helped it weather the storm.“We partner with landlords on these spaces, so there’s not a high fixed rent component,” explained Doug Feinberg, the company’s director of real estate. “When you’re in a downturn or you’re in a pandemic, your unit might not be performing as well, but in our case, we share on the upside, and we share on the downside.”With traditional leases, flex-office providers are on the hook for fixed long-term costs, while having “highly variable and short-term” income streams, said Scott Homa, JLL’s director of U.S. office research.But Industrious’ agreements are akin to those between hotel operators and the owners of their buildings. Industrious gets paid a management fee as well as a share of the profits from its spaces based on their performance. The sharing formula varies on a case by case basis, according to Feinberg.The collaborative business model has been “extremely helpful” during the pandemic, not only because of the risk-sharing aspect, but because it allows Industrious and landlords to work together to navigate the complexities of operating offices during the health crisis, said Jamie Hodari, the company’s CEO and co-founder.Brooklyn-based developer LIVWRK is one landlord who saw the value in these agreements.After coworking company Ignitia went out of business last summer, the landlord partnered with Industrious, which took over a 20,000-square-foot space at 1000 Dean Street.Industrious’ Carnegie Hall Tower space (Photo via Industrious)Historically, landlords have preferred long-term leases with regular rent payments that typically go up 2 to 3 percent a year, said Matt Ciccotti, LIVWRK’s executive vice president, which allows a building to have a predictable income.But what people want from offices is changing rapidly — and increasingly for tenants, that’s flexible options.“From a landlord perspective, it’s all about striking the right balance between retaining the investment value of the building and offering our tenants what they want,” said Ciccotti. He declined to elaborate on the terms of the deal with Industrious.The company’s partnerships go even deeper with some landlords, including TF Cornerstone, the owner of Carnegie Hall Tower. That company was among the investors for Industrious’ $80 million Series D funding round that closed in August 2019, along with Brookfield and Granite Properties. (TF Cornerstone declined to be interviewed.)Still, Industrious hasn’t emerged from the pandemic totally unscathed. In April, the company laid off about 20 percent of its workforce and furloughed 10 percent more. Industrious officials said those furloughed workers have been brought back.Meanwhile, Stockbridge Capital Group, a Chicago landlord, sued Industrious in September, claiming that the flex-office provider shut down its space at 600 West Jackson Boulevard before the lease’s expiration. According to the complaint, Industrious told the landlord that a special-purpose entity named in the lease is responsible for the remaining rent.Chambliss declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but told The Real Deal that the location “was a legacy leased unit that came to us via an acquisition and as such, we made the difficult decision to shut it down.” Industrious took over the space in 2018 when it acquired Assemble, a coworking provider that initially signed the lease in 2014.Despite those setbacks, the firm is confident that it can keep its momentum going, and is even exploring the option of going public later this year or early next.“We’re putting the supply out because we’re seeing so much demand from small businesses and large enterprise users alike,” Feinberg said recently. “A lot of these companies are no longer signing traditional 10- to 15-year leases. They’re looking at flex operators like Industrious for their real estate needs.”That includes Ryan Stroker, who set up his startup, single-family rental platform Avenue One, at Industrious’ Hudson Yards location last year. Out of Avenue One’s 25 employees nationwide, eight people are based in the Industrious site and use a 400-square-foot office as they please. Stroker works out of a private office at the site about four days a week.Compared to WeWork, which Stroker also looked into, Industrious costs slightly more — starting about $300 per person, per month for the Hudson Yards location — but he’s happy to have his own suite overlooking the Hudson River, Stroker said. The membership also includes perks like conference rooms and phone booths.“As long as Industrious works, it’s a pretty excellent setup,” he said.Contact Akiko Matsudacenter_img Industrious CEO Jamie Hodari (right). Inset (clockwise): TF Cornerstone’s Frederick Elghanayan, Vornado’s Steven Roth, LIVWRK’s Asher Abehsera, Thor Equities’ Joseph Sitt, and George Comfort & Sons’ Peter Duncan (Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)Flex-office provider Industrious is doubling down on New York at a time when the future of the office market — and flex offices in particular — is facing unprecedented uncertainty.The company recently opened a 17,000-square-foot site in Midtown’s Carnegie Hall Tower, the third location it’s launched in the city since the pandemic took hold.Industrious’ Carnegie Hall Tower space (Photo via Industrious)In March, it plans to open a 53,000-square-foot location at the Sioni Group’s 44 West 37th Street, and a 60,000-square-foot site at George Comfort & Sons’ 135 W 50th Street. By the end of this year, at least part of a planned 100,000-square-foot site at Vornado Realty Trust’s One Penn Plaza is expected to open. The new additions will make New York the company’s largest market, with 580,000 square feet.In all, Industrious operates over 100 locations with more than 3 million square feet, and it’s set to grow even further in 2021. The company will expand by 1 million square feet this year, company spokesperson Corey Chambliss confirmed. And that could include moving into spaces abandoned by other flex-office providers.Many of those competitors are facing their own issues. Regus and Knotel both recently filed for bankruptcy, with the latter set to be acquired by Newmark Group. WeWork is “rightsizing” its footprint as it looks to achieve profitability. And Breather’s CEO, Bryan Murphy, said that company’s business model “doesn’t make sense” after closing all of its locations last year.Traditional offices, meanwhile, remain mostly empty as the pandemic drags on. As of Jan. 27, offices in the top 10 metro markets are 24.2 percent occupied on average, according to Kastle Systems, which manages security access for office buildings. The figure is even lower in New York City, at 14.4 percent.Read moreIndustrious expands with 21K-sf space in Crown HeightsIndustrious partners with landlords to offer tenants satellite workplacesIndustrious and Wythe Hotel turn empty rooms into offices Message* Full Name*last_img read more

  • De Blasio admin opposes Corey Johnson’s land use overhaul

    first_imgCity Planning head Marisa Lago, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council speaker Corey Johnson (Getty)City Council speaker Corey Johnson is facing an uphill battle on getting approval for his proposed overhaul of the city’s land use process, especially now that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has come out against the proposal.City Hall officials, including Department of City Planning head Marisa Lago, will testify against the bill during a Council hearing later today, the New York Daily News reported. The reason? It’s too expensive.According to estimates from the Office of Management and Budget, the bill would cost the city close to $500 million per decade, with much of that going toward carrying out environmental impact assessments for different development scenarios. Johnson’s proposal calls for having stakeholders weigh in on three land-use scenarios for each community district when a change is proposed, each of which would require its own assessment.The bill, which Johnson introduced in December, lays out a 10-year planning cycle that incorporates more opportunities for community members to weigh in on land use decisions in their neighborhoods.But it has already faced pushback from the usual sources outside of City Hall. A coalition of community groups, including Soho Alliance (which opposes the rezoning of Soho and Noho) and Voices of Gowanus (which opposes the rezoning of that Brooklyn neighborhood), have joined forces against the legislation.Land use attorneys also see issues with the plan. “The idea of additional community input into each of these aspects raises two questions, the most important of which is, how do you balance citywide needs with local concerns? That is a fundamental conundrum,” Kenneth Fisher, an attorney with Cozen O’Connor and a former City Council member, told The Real Deal in December.The Council hearing on the bill will begin at 10 a.m. [NYDN] — Amy PlittContact Amy Plitt Share via Shortlink Email Address* Message* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Full Name* Bill de Blasiocorey johnsonPoliticsRezonings Tagslast_img read more

  • Modeling the ionospheric effects of ion and electron precipitation in the cusp

    first_imgThe effect of increased ion production due to the precipitation of both ions and electrons in the cusp region has been studied using a computational model of the high-latitude ionosphere. The modeling assumes that the cusp region is subject to fluxes of precipitating electrons which have a Maxwellian energy distribution at a temperature of 50 eV. In addition to the electrons the modeled cusp ionosphere is also subjected to precipitating ions with a Maxwellian energy distribution, at a temperature of 500 eV and a “low energy cutoff” for ions with an energy less than 900 eV. The results reveal both ion and electron precipitation to be important production sources in the cusp region, but at markedly different altitudes. Electron precipitation produces dominant effects at F2 peak altitudes of around 300 km while the ions, at higher energies, are capable of creating a precipitation “F1 ledge” at altitudes of around 150 km. A simulation of the ion dispersion with latitude, known as the “velocity filter effect,” reveals that this leads to large enhancements in lower-altitude electron concentration on the equatorward edge of the cusp, the enhancement tailing off sharply in latitude.last_img read more

  • Molecular detection and isolation from Antarctica of methylotrophic bacteria able to grow with methylated sulfur compounds

    first_imgThis study is the first demonstration that a diverse facultatively methylotrophic microbiota exists in some Antarctic locations. PCR amplification of genes diagnostic for methylotrophs was carried out with bacterial DNA isolated from 14 soil and sediment samples from ten locations on Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, Antarctica. Genes encoding the mxaF of methanol dehydrogenase, the fdxA for Afipia ferredoxin, the msmA of methanesulfonate monooxygenase, and the 16S rRNA gene of Methylobacterium were detected in all samples tested. The mxaF gene sequences corresponded to those of Hyphomicrobium, Methylobacterium, and Methylomonas. Over 30 pure cultures of methylotrophs were isolated on methanesulfonate, dimethylsulfone, or dimethylsulfide from ten Signy Island lakes. Some were identified from 16S rRNA gene sequences (and morphology) as Hyphomicrobium species, strains of Afipia felis, and a methylotrophic Flavobacterium strain. Antarctic environments thus contain diverse methylotrophic bacteria, growing on various C1-substrates, including C1-sulfur compounds.last_img read more

  • Ice core records as sea ice proxies: An evaluation from the Weddell Sea region of Antarctica

    first_imgIce core records of methanesulfonic acid (MSA) from three sites around the WeddellSea are investigated for their potential as sea ice proxies. It is found that the amount ofMSA reaching the ice core sites decreases following years of increased winter sea icein the Weddell Sea; opposite to the expected relationship if MSA is to be used as a sea iceproxy. It is also shown that this negative MSA-sea ice relationship cannot be explained bythe influence that the extensive summer ice pack in the Weddell Sea has on MSAproduction area and transport distance. A historical record of sea ice from the northernWeddell Sea shows that the negative relationship between MSA and winter sea ice existsover interannual (7-year period) and multidecadal (20-year period) timescales.National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research(NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis data suggest that this negative relationship is most likely due tovariations in the strength of cold offshore wind anomalies traveling across the WeddellSea, which act to synergistically increase sea ice extent (SIE) while decreasing MSAdelivery to the ice core sites. Hence our findings show that in some locations atmospherictransport strength, rather than sea ice conditions, is the dominant factor that determines theMSA signal preserved in near-coastal ice cores. A cautious approach is thus requiredin using ice core MSA for reconstructing past sea ice conditions, including the need fornetworks of ice core records and multiproxy studies to assess the significance of past MSAchanges at different locations around Antarctica.last_img read more