News in brief: FinTech, auto-enrolment, cyber crime, HR

News in brief
News in brief

FinTech start-ups set to embrace disruption in 2016

Disruptive non-relational database technology is set to increase in popularity in 2016 due to its better flexibility and scalability compared to traditional options, according to Couchbase EMEA general manager David Maitland.

Investment ibn FinTech is on the rise, and Maitland believes that non-relational database tech is the foundation of future economies. He said: "FinTech start-ups are taking on the traditional financial sector, whose outdated standards and systems have been in dire need of disruption for decades. The use of technology and innovative business models will bolster SME’s and start-up businesses as they continue to disrupt the status quo in 2016.”

Investment in FinTech has wider implications for the global economy too, as communities in LatAM, Africa, Middle East and Israel are coming online for the first time and relying on the CloudStack to deliver virtual data centres as a service in a simple open source software package.

Maitland continues: “Agile database solutions such as NoSQL are vital in supporting the growth and development in emerging markets and beyond. We’re expecting an exciting year, with continued global adoption of the not so humble smartphone, and the investment in blockchain technology challenging the very concept of money itself.”

Review into auto-enrolment for SMEs

Following the announcement that MPs are to launch a review into the impact of auto-enrolment on small businesses, managing director of business solutions at Aviva Andy Beswick has stressed the importance for SMEs of planning for the future.

He said: “It’s sensible that there is going to be a review of how auto-enrolment is going to impact very small companies. All employers will have to set up a workplace pension scheme for their employees and it’s important that the process is well thought through to make it as smooth as possible.

“Planning is key here. SMEs of all sizes should be looking now to find out when their staging date is so they can begin to prepare. There is plenty of information and support available as well, including Aviva’s guide to auto-enrolment for SMEs. Start doing your research now and the process will be much easier in the future.”

You can download Aviva’s guide to auto-enrolment for SMEs here

New programme for companies facing cyber-crime threats

ThinkingSafe’s Cyber Awareness in Action is a new programme to help company directors understand the reality of cyber-crime and its business impact.

A recent report commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills highlighted businesses of all sizes suffer from cyber-crime and that 74% of small businesses have experienced a cyber security breach in the last year, costing each business between £75,000 and £310,000.

ThinkingSafe has developed the Cyber Awareness in Action programme, which includes briefings, workshops and one-to-one sessions, using its experience of developing systems and software for cyber protection in the healthcare, commercial, government, defence, security and policing sectors.

ThinkingSafe’s Chief Technical Officer Julian Dean said: “Companies, no matter their size, have to understand more about cyber-crime and its potential impact. Our Cyber Awareness in Action programme gives Chief Executives, Directors and key staff an understanding of the very real threat of cyber-attacks and its potential practical and financial impact.”

Seasonal effective disorder saps employees’ productivity levels

Nearly a quarter of UK employers have encountered Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the workplace, new research has revealed.

In a study commissioned by employee health risk specialist Willis PMI Group, 23% of UK Human Resource (HR) professionals said employees had reported suffering from the condition. However, almost one in five (18%) believe that SAD is an unnecessary label created to explain natural, seasonal changes in mood.

“SAD is a medically recognised condition, believed to be caused by reduced sunlight levels affecting hormone production, that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern and is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ because symptoms tend to be more severe during winter,” said Willis PMI Group director Mike Blake.

“Although not all HR professionals are aware of this, it is reassuring the majority (79%) recognise SAD’s authenticity as it can have far reaching effects on employees’ mood and productivity.”

Stress levels for employees’ peak in December

New research from MetLife Employee Benefits has found that 42% of people believe that December is one of the most stressful months of the year. The biggest cause of stress in December is balancing work and home life, which was identified by 38%, while colleagues taking holidays was cited by 32% as a driver of stress.

With such high stress levels, letting their hair down at their Christmas party is not much consolation for many employees. 18% do not have a Christmas celebration at work, and for those that do, around two in five (37%) choose not to go. 41% of those who are not going say they prefer to keep their work and home life separate while 24% say the date clashes with family duties.

MetLife UK employee benefits director Tom Gaynor said: “Stress is a major issue at work and has a major impact on business performance. Unfortunately it doesn’t go away at Christmas…

“Employers – and particularly managers – can benefit from recognising the signs of workplace stress and taking early action to help employees cope, including a focus on physical and mental health at work.”