Do emails outside of work hours breach employment law?

Do emails outside of work hours breach employment law?

Share Button

<img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/128408/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important" />It is common for many employees to send, read and reply to work emails at all hours of the day and night, including weekends. This change in work culture developed in recent decades and has accelerated with the advent of smartphones. But is this a breach of employment law? The short answer is that “it depends” and we need some test cases to clarify the situation, not least in the UK. Some workplaces have a culture of long working hours and it can be difficult for an individual employee to go against it. The contract may refer to a 40-hour week but the reality may be very different. Smartphones and other digital devices have contributed to a culture of “digital presenteeism”. More →

Listening in on an enormous conversation about the workplace

Listening in on an enormous conversation about the workplace

Share Button

One of the best tricks Clive James ever pulled was finding acceptance as a public intellectual in the UK. It’s not easy in a country in which it is possible to be too clever by half or even too clever for your own good. Stephen Fry continues to pull it off as does Mary Beard, but it’s a hell of a thing to achieve. In the UK at least it seems to rely on straddling at least two worlds. More →

Is work important to us because we need it to be important?

Is work important to us because we need it to be important?

Share Button

The ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside robots is something we will have to address very soon. It is a point well made in this conversation between Kate Darling of MIT and the neuroscientist Sam Harris. But we’ve had parts of this conversation before. For example, while most people will not have read the book from which it came, those with an interest in work, workplaces and their links with our happiness (or perceived lack of it) will know that the British philosopher Bertrand Russell once famously said that “one of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important”.

More →

For the love of workplace art, where have all the walls gone?

For the love of workplace art, where have all the walls gone?

Share Button

A survey exploring art in the workplace (‘Making Art Work in the Workplace’) conducted by the British Council for Offices (BCO) found that almost 88 percent of respondents felt that “art is more relevant in the workplace than ever before”. Yet, with the arrival of the generic modern office, full of open plan space and glass partitions, we frequently find ourselves rather short of walls on which to hang any workplace art in the first place. “There are no bloody walls left’ and those that are left are glass,” protests Jack Pringle of architects Perkins+Will, pointing to the fact that traditional hanging space is on the decline.

More →

The four day week will make management support more important than ever

The four day week will make management support more important than ever

Share Button

four day weekWith work collaboration tools like Facebook Workplace growing more common and constant out of hours access to work emails, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between work and leisure. This lack of separation between the office and home risks creating a situation where we have less time to unwind. So it’s not surprising that the World Health Organisation officially classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon. Rising workloads, limited staff and resources, and consistently long hours are all contributing to half a million people in the UK suffering from work related stress, with 15.4 million working days lost as a result. Business and politics are hoping to buck this negative trend by finding ways of improving people’s work-life balance – most recently by experimenting with a four day week.  More →

Designers may be ignoring leadership style in quest for productive workplaces

Designers may be ignoring leadership style in quest for productive workplaces

Share Button

productive workplacesLeadership styles are not considered in the design process for productive workplaces despite the majority of organisations agreeing they have a major impact on productivity. These are the latest findings in report authored by Leeson Medhurst, Director of 36 Workplace, The United Workplace (TUW) and WORKTECH Academy.  Productivity – linking Workplace Design to Leadership (registration) is the next chapter in a research conversation presented and discussed at WORKTECH London this week. The new report builds on “The Puzzle of Productivity: What enhances workplace performance?” that pointed to leadership as the major factor influencing workplace productivity. More →

The future of work will be defined by a harmony of people and technology

The future of work will be defined by a harmony of people and technology

Share Button

the future of workAs modern-day employees and consumers, technology has become so commonplace that it now impacts almost every aspect of our lives – both personally and professionally. We can now communicate with whomever we want, wherever we want with the simple click of a button or tap of a smartphone. We can also automate mundane workplace tasks, and even customise software to our hearts’ content. This is not the future of work but the presents More →

Working carers occupy a blind spot and are suffering because of it

Working carers occupy a blind spot and are suffering because of it

Share Button

working carersThe working world has changed almost beyond recognition over the past half century. Historically, employers had to fulfill two criteria to attract the best talent: be large or have a well-known brand and pay well. Of course, priorities have shifted. Growing demand from staff for a healthier work/life balance including for the country’s working carers has resulted in flatter hierarchies and a more relaxed atmosphere, even in the largest firms. More →

Office design can be a vehicle for equality and change

Office design can be a vehicle for equality and change

Share Button

workplace design for inclusionThe way companies design physical environments is a direct reflection of their values and beliefs. Inequality is hardwired into the “standard” office layout, with perimeter offices and fixed desks offering limited settings for unstructured collaboration and recreation, further perpetuating the issue. Modern office design often favours extroversion and emphasises a hierarchy with values that benefit only a small portion of the overall workforce, contributing to organisation-wide imbalance. So how do we create more inclusive workplaces that can be leveraged as vehicles for change? More →

Merging workplace cultures and breaking habits

Merging workplace cultures and breaking habits

Share Button

Ricoh London workplaceHuman beings are hardwired to be creatures of habit. From birth, we learn behaviours and develop routines that are reinforced over time through repetition. Researchers at MIT claim the neurons in our brains are responsible for this process. When someone begins a new activity a certain part of the brain kicks into gear, helping them to learn the exercise quickly. But once the action is repeated successfully, the scientists found, those same neurons only really come to life at the beginning and end of the activity. This is the reason that mundane tasks, like getting dressed or driving a car often feel like they’re performed on ‘autopilot’ and why breaking bad habits is so difficult, including those we develop in the workplace. More →

The agile workplace: try to catch the wind

The agile workplace: try to catch the wind

Share Button

Wheatfield with Crows depicts the pointlessness of trying to capture agile workIn the chilly hours and minutes, of uncertainty sang Donovan in ‘Catch the Wind’. That’s us, arriving at the agile workplace. We are all Donovan. The comment was recently made on Twitter that agile is “as natural as the wind”. Seemingly however, the anxiety and frustration generated by our experiences are proving as impossible as catching it. Change programmes issue us with a metaphorical bag to catch it in. Where the problem seems bigger we get given a proportionally bigger bag, forgetting the problem of mass.

More →

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

Throwing open the window to a new world of work

Share Button

An illustration of a frog, a key metaphor in Charles Handy's writing about the world of work While working at a Viennese Obstetric Clinic in the mid 1840s, a Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that mothers were far less likely to succumb to a potentially fatal infection called puerperal fever when the medical staff treating them washed their hands. When he started collecting data to confirm his insight, he found that hand washing reduced mortality rates from around 10 percent to as little as 1 percent. Although, his findings predated the germ theory of disease, which left him without an explanation, in 1847 he published a book in which he proposed that the link was so evident that in future staff should always wash their hands in chlorinated lime before treating patients, to protect them from infection.

More →

Translate >>