Mental health and coronavirus: a human resources perspective

Mental health and coronavirus: a human resources perspective

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mental healthIn March, coronavirus presented a stark challenge to businesses attempting to cope with workplace absence. FirstCare statistics show that during Q1 2020, more than 98 percent of Covid-19-related absences were due to unconfirmed cases, self-quarantining as a precaution, or caring for dependents. This has resulted in huge financial pressure on businesses. Now though, as restrictions are gradually eased, human resources must respond to the mental health challenges the pandemic has manifested in workers, including grief, trauma, PTSD and more general anxiety. More →

Overcoming the fear of going out

Overcoming the fear of going out

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Over the last several months, some workers have exhibited a new ailment that has got nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic that sent them scurrying home to set up virtual offices in the first place. It’s called FOGO, as coined by Forbes magazine contributing writer Jodie Cook, and it refers to a new phenomenon known as the “Fear of Going Out”.

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For the love of procrastination

For the love of procrastination

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Many of us start each day with a long to-do list, a new set of goals and a commitment not to repeat the same mistakes we have in the past. It’s likely that we will have promised ourselves to stop putting things off. On our hit list of the foibles we most want to dispose of, procrastination will be somewhere near the top. The problem is that because procrastination is linked to psychological factors such as an innate preference to do something we deem pleasurable to something we don’t, modern life encourages us to do it. More →

Watch where you sit: new workplace setups could hit productivity

Watch where you sit: new workplace setups could hit productivity

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Slowly, it seems we are seeing a gradual return to some sort of normality. Shops are opening up as well as restaurants and pubs and many of us are now also heading back into the office. But these aren’t the offices as we once knew them. Workspace layouts and seating plans are being completely overhauled to bring in new social distancing and safety measures. Beyond just the physical changes this incurs, this could also have a wider impact on how we work – and businesses need to be prepared and ready for that too. More →

Leaders need to develop a high care quotient for the new challenges they face

Leaders need to develop a high care quotient for the new challenges they face

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Everything has taken a hit in 2020. Nothing has gone unscathed or unchanged – and the same goes for leadership. From boardrooms to living rooms, meeting rooms to spare rooms, leadership has moved away from face-to-face interactions to digital communications. Meanwhile, forward-thinking initiatives, spurred on by continuing diversity imbalances and widening gender pay gaps, have been put on hold. Following government guidance, only half of businesses published their 2018-19 gender pay gap report – which could reportedly push gender equality back a whole generation. We are risking losing sight of what’s important to us – and unless we’re intentional about how we make systemic, much-needed organisational changes, they’re not going to happen if we only focus on more ‘critical’ things, or keeping the lights on. More →

The loneliness of the long term flexible worker

The loneliness of the long term flexible worker

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Flexible working arrangements are those whichallow employees to vary the amount, timing or location of their work and may include part-time working, mobile/home working, compressed hours or job-sharing – among others. Before the lockdown, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), more than half of all employees in the UK used at least one form of flexible working, while a study by Gallup in the US suggests as many as 43 percent of employees already worked flexibly. The practice has been found to have positive effects on job satisfaction, employee commitment, reducing work-family conflict – and for many is now an essential component of modern working life. More →

Cracking the issue of work after lockdown

Cracking the issue of work after lockdown

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Take any issue in the modern era and you’ll find a noisy schism. The big-endians and little-endians yelling at each other about the right way to eat a boiled egg, right over the heads of the majority of people who wonder if they’d be better off just having some toast and a nice cup of tea. Not that the toast-eaters can say anything without being accused by both sides of the divide of belonging to the other. More →

What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge and information

What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge and information

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Unbelievably for those of us who saw him as a personal hero, it’s over 20 years since the astronomer and author Carl Sagan died. At the time of his death in 1996, the Internet was very much in its infancy but Sagan could see what was coming, including how we need to filter what is valuable from the deluge of information we now bob around in. Sagan put it like this: “all of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” More →

Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

Life at the coalface: How the agile workplace first appeared in the mid 20th Century

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agile working began in the coal fields of NottinghamshireThe idea of diffusion of innovation has become so embedded in our culture, and most recently so associated with the adoption of new technology, that we might assume it happens in predictable ways. The steps between innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards seem intuitive and certain even when their peaks might be unsure. And yet history teaches us that sometimes new ideas can take years or even decades to take hold, even when they are potentially world-changing and relevant for the era in which they were formulated. More →

Talkin` about the quarantine generation

Talkin` about the quarantine generation

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The year is 2045. It’s well over twenty years since the Covid 19 pandemic created chaos and fear throughout the world. But just like the ‘baby boomer’ generation who were born, celebrated and cherished in the wake of World War II, so the ‘quarantinis’ are starting to make their way in the world of work. In contrast to baby boomers’ desire to throw off the societal shackles which paved the way for the swinging 60s, the quarantinis are much more reserved in their expectations, especially when their every move can be tracked and traced and their every conversation saved on surveillance software. More →

Work from home advocates beckon us to a living hell

Work from home advocates beckon us to a living hell

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the hell of work from homeLook, I work from home. The liberal in me says: if you want to and can work from home, then why not? Yes, few of Britain’s cramped homes – especially those occupied by young people – are well equipped for home working, which can be stressful. But, as I say, I see no problem in working from home if you choose to. It’s one thing to say people should be free to work from home (WFH). It’s quite another to endorse it as the New Normal, the way to go, and as a path to a low-pollution, low-emissions paradise on Earth, as many are now doing. More →

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

Progress depends on heterodox thought and difficult questions

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Between the 9th and 13th Centuries, the world’s intellectual centre and the source of much of its progress, discovery and achievement was Baghdad. This was the Muslim Golden Age and at its core was the House of Wisdom, established by the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. At one point, this library housed the largest collection of books on Earth and drew the greatest minds in the world to share ideas, innovate and explore ancient sources of science and wisdom from Greek and Persian texts. Muslim, Jewish, Christian and atheist scholars worked together to advance human understanding until a slow decline culminated with a later Caliph declaring that its diversity of thought should bow to a literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadith.

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