Workplace culture can eat strategy for breakfast

Workplace culture can eat strategy for breakfast

Share Button

It was management consultant and author Peter Drucker who coined the well-worn maxim that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. But often it is used in the wrong way. Far from suggesting that culture alone dictates workplace function, he presented culture as a first among equals. A strategy that does not heed culture is more likely to fail. A culture without strategy is prone to go adrift. It is vital for an organisation to be aware of its own culture and subcultures. Without self-awareness, the steps to improve or nuture those within the organisation will be futile. More →

We might spot patterns in office design, but a global picture is beyond us

We might spot patterns in office design, but a global picture is beyond us

Share Button

The ongoing evolution in the design of the places we work has much in common with evolution in the natural world. But whereas natural selection is dependent on its ‘Blind Watchmaker’ to indirectly shape creatures in response to the constantly changing forces in their environment own, office design is anything but blind – at least it is when done intelligently and with insight. More →

The vaguery of workplace serendipity

The vaguery of workplace serendipity

Share Button

It has become vogue to refer to the workplace as being ‘all about people’. It points in all directions at once. Organisations need fit, healthy, happy, skilled, motivated, engaged and purposeful people being (and feeling) productive and doing their best work every day. They want their people working closely together – they’ve spent a lot of time and money drawing in those they feel can contribute to a whole that is other than the sum of the parts. More →

Digital culture is key to attracting contingent workforce

Digital culture is key to attracting contingent workforce

Share Button

digital cultureOver the past decade, we’ve witnessed a radical change in the makeup of workforces in the UK and globally. The rise of flexible workforces continues unabated, to the point where contingent workers are a significant and vital part of the employment fabric. Demonstrating this point, recent research by the City & Guilds Group found that 84 percent of UK employers use contingent workers, and 35 percent anticipate they will rely on them more in the next 3-5 years. More →

Forget all the talk of Blue Monday; work is still (largely) good for us

Forget all the talk of Blue Monday; work is still (largely) good for us

Share Button

blue mondaySo here it comes. Blue Monday. Next Monday. Officially the most depressing day of the year. We say ‘officially’, but like the idea of ‘Body Odour’ its common usage hides the fact that it was originally created as part of a PR campaign, in this case one for Sky’s travel channel in 2005. The whole idea of Blue Monday is couched in a pseudo-mathematical equation which includes factors like the weather, levels of debt, time since Christmas, low levels of motivation and, apparently, an unspecified variable known simply as ‘D’. More →

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

Share Button

tall buildings“What Baloo had said about the monkeys was perfectly true. They belonged to the tree-tops, and as beasts very seldom look up, there was no occasion for the monkeys and the Jungle-People to cross each other’s path.” Of course, Rudyard Kipling meant this figuratively but there is a clear link between ‘up’ in the figurative sense and ‘up’ in the physical sense. The executives at Omnicorp don’t lease the most expensive offices in a tower in so they can sit around on the ground floor watching the hoi polloi pass by at street level. They need to be at the top of the building looking down on them. More →

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and we`re not ready for it

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and we`re not ready for it

Share Button

fourth industrial revolution Cast your mind back a decade or so and consider how the future looked then. A public horizon of Obama-imbued “yes we can” and a high tide of hope and tolerance expressed in the London Olympics provides one narrative theme; underlying austerity-induced pressure another. Neither speaks directly to our current world of divisive partisan politics, toxic social media use, competing facts and readily believed fictions. More →

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility 0

Share Button

corporate social responsibilityYou’re probably aware of the experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in which volunteers were asked by men in white coats to administer what they believed to be electric shocks to another person, who they could not see, but could hear, from behind a screen. Around two-thirds of the volunteers agreed to deliver what they were told to be potentially fatal shocks to the subject, who they could hear screaming and begging them to stop. What they didn’t know was the person they were agreeing to inflict this on was in fact an actor. Although now questioned, Milgram’s findings remain the famous of a series of studies that have attempted to highlight the willingness of humans to bow to authority figures and comply with group norms irrespective of what their own morals might tell them.

More →

The culling of freelancers with IR35 is a really, really bad idea

The culling of freelancers with IR35 is a really, really bad idea

Share Button

IR35 and freelancersImagine a world with no freelancers, holiday cover workers, or people to help fill the hiring gaps on projects. With IR35 extending into the private sector, this could be a reality; and we should be worried that a skilled and flexible workforce of freelancers could soon be extinct. Instead of dealing with the headache of the new regulations, 20 percent of UK businesses said they plan to axe contract workers. Freelancers themselves might be worried about how the new iteration of IR35, due to come into force in April next year, will affect their ability to work, and hastily take on permanent positions. More →

Burnout remains a risk for workers of all generations

Burnout remains a risk for workers of all generations

Share Button

burnoutFlexible working has become an important part of the modern UK economy, with over half of employees taking up a flexible working arrangement. However, Nuffield Health’s latest whitepaper The effects of remote working on stress, wellbeing and productivity has found while remote working is associated with higher workplace wellbeing, it can also present many business challenges including the risk of burnout for an increasingly diverse workforce. More →

Personality is not only about who you are but also where you are

Personality is not only about who you are but also where you are

Share Button

personality and placeIn the field of psychology, the image is canon: a child sitting in front of a marshmallow, resisting the temptation to eat it. If she musters up the willpower to resist long enough, she’ll be rewarded when the experimenter returns with a second marshmallow. Using this ‘marshmallow test’, the Austrian-born psychologist Walter Mischel demonstrated that children who could resist immediate gratification and wait for a second marshmallow went on to greater achievements in life. They did better in school, had better SAT scores, and even managed their stress more skilfully. More →

Anthropology might hold answers to the most difficult workplace challenges

Anthropology might hold answers to the most difficult workplace challenges

Share Button

anthropology and the workplaceMany recent discussions have centered on the drawbacks of the open-plan office, a major format in the UK, and possible pathways to the communal workplace of the future. As part of this, it has been acknowledged that the factors responsible for determining the open-plan office’s performance are complex, and a number of the present-day workplace’s characteristics are messy and hard to quantify. In this brief article, I present anthropological methods as means for practitioners to further unpack the symbolic aspects of communication in open-plan offices and spark workplace solidarity.

More →

Translate >>