Not waving, but drowning: why we need to take languishing more seriously

Not waving, but drowning: why we need to take languishing more seriously

A becalmed boat faces a storm to describe the problem of languishingThe word ‘languishing’ is being bandied around in the media as the world tries to recover from the pandemic and is experiencing many struggles resuming a semblance of ‘normal life’. Recent articles in The New York Times and The Guardian have detailed languishing as an inability to focus, being off peak performance, feeling joyless and aimless and having a sense of stagnation and emptiness. More →

The unshocking truth about work and workplaces

The unshocking truth about work and workplaces

I recently read an interesting little book called Office by Sheila Liming. It’s a small book, easy to read in a sitting and linked to a series of essays in The Atlantic. The author is a Professor of English so it’s no surprise to find that it’s beautifully written and draws on a range of sources to illustrate its points. It’s pretty sound on its own terms but also illustrates perfectly what is wrong with so many current narratives about work. The writing may not be clichéd but the thinking often is. More →

Who watches the workplace watchmen?

Who watches the workplace watchmen?

an eye on the workplaceOne of the world’s best known and most enduring foundational psychological experiments does not appear to be as clear cut as we commonly think. It was back in 1961 that a team led by the American psychologist Stanley Milgram asked a number of ordinary people to administer what they believed to be increasingly high levels of electric shocks to a person in another room while listening to their responses. More →

Is it time for a carbon tax?

Is it time for a carbon tax?

productivity and environment carbon taxMost people now recognise that we are facing a climate emergency – the record breaking temperatures in the US are, perhaps, another reminder. Many would agree that economic and legislative change is the only way forward to achieve a sustainable change in behaviour. Who should pay for greater environmental responsibility? Is it time for a carbon tax to limit carbon hungry products and fund investment? More →

The weird science of personal creativity

The weird science of personal creativity

creativityPerhaps the most famous single act of personal creativity – with apologies to Archimedes – is Mary Godwin’s moment of inspiration for the story of Frankenstein in 1816. It was born from a wet summer in a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva, largely spent with her future husband Percy Shelley, John Polidori and Lord Byron. The poor weather and isolation meant the party had to entertain themselves the best they could. More →

Time to get real on what companies need from their real estate

Time to get real on what companies need from their real estate

A new era for real estateAs businesses return to their offices they are faced with a challenge – how do they reappraise their space requirements post-Covid? Social and technological advancements are changing real estate from being a fixed physical product, into flexible, employee-centric spaces that enable new models of hybrid working and business operations. These have a significant impact on the ways that businesses work and the options available to them. More →

Yoga is not a wellbeing strategy

Yoga is not a wellbeing strategy

Yoga is not a wellbeing strategyOne of the problems facing businesses right now isn’t the so-called mental health pandemic, it’s that no one seems to know what to do about it. The increased focus on employee mental health and wellbeing has seen progressive leaps in the conversation that were unimaginable 10 years ago. Even the most cynical manager has had to concede that the circumstances of the pandemic have raised the profile and importance of taking care of your employees. The reaction is knee-jerk. Companies want to do something about their employees mental health and wellbeing and they want to do it now. Whatever ‘it’ is. The appetite is there, but they can’t find the menu. More →

Indoor air quality needs to be talked about far more than it is

Indoor air quality needs to be talked about far more than it is

An open window indoor air qualityOne of the unintended consequences of the pandemic has been to focus attention on the issue of indoor air quality. But as Sarah Zhang points out in a recent piece in The Atlantic, this is an issue that we have long understood, and not just as a way to reduce the risks of infection. It is essential for our wellbeing. More →

Setting out the known unknowns about work

Setting out the known unknowns about work

With the majority of COVID-19 restrictions in England due to be lifted later this month, it is understandable that many are limbering up, ready for some grand ‘return to the office’.  Yet, unlike the pubs, hairdressers, and gyms we are not going back to what we left. This was an inevitability. The workplace was, and remains, an ever evolving and multifarious beast.    More →

If you’re certain about the changing world of work, you’re certainly wrong

If you’re certain about the changing world of work, you’re certainly wrong

world of workIf you click on the first link in any article on Wikipedia and keep repeating the process, eventually you will land on the Philosophy page. Or you will 97 percent of the time, according to Wikipedia itself. There’s a dry explanation for this involving the site’s classification system, as explained by the mathematician Hannah Fry here. But there’s a more poetic explanation that I prefer. That every subject leads back to a consideration of ourselves, our lives and our place in the world. Anthropocentric maybe, but then again, the proper study of mankind is man. More →

We need to take a long term view on workplace sustainability 

We need to take a long term view on workplace sustainability 

workplace sustainabilityOne of the more welcome outcomes from the pandemic has been a reinvigorated and better conversation about the environment. There were some immediate quick wins in the Spring of 2020. Cleaner air became evident in atmospheric readings and satellite images. People literally took to the streets as traffic all but vanished. Planes were grounded. We could hear birdsong. Wild animals populated some streets. It was as if Nature itself breathed a sigh of relief.   More →

The new era of flexible working and knowing when to lie flat

The new era of flexible working and knowing when to lie flat

flexible working and knowing when to lie flatWhen people first started working from home in large numbers for the first time in the Spring of 2020, one of the most talked about issues was how the productivity of most stayed the same or improved. This shouldn’t have been that surprising given all that we have learned about remote and flexible working over the years, but it certainly drove the debate for a while. More →

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