Business Info - issue 151

01732 759725 magazine 07 BULLETIN EVENTS BACK TO THE FUTURE Solotech UK has helped break new ground in immersive entertainment by contributing its audio, video and lighting expertise to the production of ABBA Voyage. The show, which opened on May 26 in a purpose-built arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, brings the ‘70s icons back to the stage in a seamless blend of computer-generated imagery (CGI) – entirely realistic digital avatars of group members singing and dancing – and reality in the form of a 10-piece band providing live musical backing. Solotech UK worked in close collaboration with ABBA’s production team, from the design stage to installation and the opening night, drawing on its experience as live production specialists for the world’s biggest festivals and concerts. In addition to its expertise, it supplied audio, lighting and video equipment from leading manufacturers such as ROE, VYV, Robe and L-Acoustics, backed up by its Service+ managed services software platform. This included one of the largest, and at 19 tiles high, tallest installations of ROE Black Pearl v2 LED screens, driven by Brompton 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors. HYBRIDWORKING NO ROOM TOWORK Over one third of UK office workers have no dedicated workspace at home and only 6% have been trained for hybrid meetings, reveals a new report from Leeds University Business School. The report and interactive tool, based on research led by Dr Matthew Davis, Associate Professor in Organisational Psychology, and six colleagues at Leeds University Business School and the wider University, advises staff in charge of designing or updating hybrid working schemes to avoid trying to force a ‘one size fits all’ policy and to include employees in the creation process. The report’s authors point out that the availability of dedicated workspaces at home and familiarity with technology means workers can have very different experiences of hybrid working. Leeds University Business School’s analysis of employee data shows that working from home without access to a specific desk or separate room (i.e. having to use a kitchen table or the sofa) is associated with lower performance, job satisfaction and engagement. The implementation of hybrid working schemes can also cause some to feel disconnected from colleagues and managers, engender an ‘us versus them’ mentality and lead to excessive supervision from managers. Dr Matthew Davis said: “An effective hybrid workplace is more than an HR policy or office design issue; it is a socio-technical problem, essentially affecting all aspects of work and requiring knock-on changes to IT, work processes, organisational goals and culture to be successful. The key to successful hybrid working is good management – clear and demonstrable objectives and outputs, active communication and feedback.” The researchers advise employers, where possible, to implement principles of work rather than strict rules that can reduce working flexibility and undermine the main benefit many employees say they get from hybrid working. SUSTAINABILITY FRIENDS ELECTRIC Mer, an electric vehicle (EV) charging company backed by Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy provider, has been selected by Allstar Business Solutions to deliver charging points at its offices in Swindon andWalsall where employees and guests can charge their electric vehicles with 100% renewable energy from Mer. Allstar, a provider of bespoke fuel cards and fleet management solutions, supports EV drivers with the Allstar One Electric card, which incorporates more than 5,700 electric charging points into its multi-brand network of refuelling stops, including Mer public EV chargers. Tom Rowlands, MD of Global EV Solutions at Allstar, said: “While our mission is to support UK fleets in the transition to EVs, we also want to ensure we lead from within by equipping our staff and colleagues with onsite charging facilities at our offices.We’ve noticed a significant increase in electric and hybrid vehicles on our Company Car and Salary Sacrifice schemes and Mer is a great partner to ensure we’re ready for this shift.” BULLETIN WORKPLACE QUIET PLEASE! More than half (54%) of office workers in the UK and US surveyed by IRIS Clarity say they wear headphones to block out unwanted noise, compared to 46% who say they like the buzz of a busy office. Male respondents are more likely to thrive on office noise (53%) than female respondents who tend to prefer quieter offices (58%). When asked if they wished their working space was quieter, 79% of UK respondents said they did, compared to 63% of respondents from the US, perhaps due to the preponderance of open plan offices in the UK. IRIS Clarity is an AI-powered voice isolation app that removes distracting background noise from video meetings and customer calls. Where is Your Office Today? A research-led guide to effective hybrid working Find out more about the research project, access resources and connect with the research team at Citation: Davis, M.C., Hughes, H.P.N., Rees, S.J., Wu, C., Gritt, E., Collis, C., & Fang, L. (2022) Where is your office today? A research-led guide to effective hybrid working. Leeds, UK: University of Leeds. SUSTAINABILITY PITCH TO THE GREEN Over the past five years, the Crowdcube platform, which gives its community of one million investors the opportunity to put their money into some of Europe’s fastest growing private companies, has seen annual investment into green or sustainable companies rise from £5.5m in 2017 to £41.1m in the year to April 2022. This trend is reflected in the number of investors that green pitches attract, with the average green business receiving backing from 29% more investors than those which were not categorised as green or sustainable. The desire for green investment has been fed by the ever increasing number of green businesses looking to obtain funding from ‘the crowd’. In 2021, six times more green and sustainable businesses turned to Crowdcube for investment than in 2017.