Remote work and the coming race to the bottom

Remote work and the coming race to the bottom

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One of the most significant consequences of the 2008 economic crash was a remarkable shift in the nature of employment. The recession led to a surge in the number of people categorised as self-employed. The numbers have been increasing ever since, albeit at a more stable rate. By the end of 2019, the number of self-employed people in the UK exceeded five million people for the first time. That’s fifteen percent of the workforce. More →

A new social contract can improve the everyday experience of work

A new social contract can improve the everyday experience of work

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It’s not happening quickly enough for some and too slowly for others, but most companies are in the midst of managing a return to work and grappling with a very different post COVID-19 world and what it means for employees. HR professionals are paying close attention to how well employees are faring and are looking to build new forms of employee care into company cultures and values. But maybe there is something more they can do to foster employee trust and safety? More →

Working from home and the future of work. How quaint

Working from home and the future of work. How quaint

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In 1962, a professor of communication studies called Everett Rogers came up with the principle we call diffusion of innovation. It’s a familiar enough notion, widely taught and works by plotting the adoption of new ideas and products over time as a bell curve, before categorising groups of people along its length as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. It’s a principle bound up with human capital theory and so its influence has endured for over 50 years, albeit in a form compressed by our accelerated proliferation of ideas. It may be useful, but it lacks a third dimension in the modern era. That is, a way of describing the numbers of people who are in one category but think they are in another.

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The challenge for the office is to stay relevant

The challenge for the office is to stay relevant

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The world is going through some painful changes at breakneck speed. As a result, the word unprecedented has reached number one spot on our ‘words to avoid’ list. What’s the big deal with unprecedented anyway? Our obsession with all things unprecedented taps into our fear of the unknown. But life itself is an unknown: Life is beta. Nothing is permanent. Every single day things happen that are unprecedented. Damn, said it again. More →

Is it time to get rid of all workplace policies and procedures?

Is it time to get rid of all workplace policies and procedures?

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workplace policiesAfter twenty-five years of telling employers that their first response to any workplace problem should be ‘draw up a policy’, it pains me to even suggest this; but what if we abolished all workplace policies and procedures? Yes, you heard me correctly – no policies for discipline and grievances, for handling sickness absence, menopause, mental health, flexible working, redundancies, emails, dress codes, discrimination etcetera. More →

Survival, inquiry, sophistication – picking the right workplace battles

Survival, inquiry, sophistication – picking the right workplace battles

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We know, and have for a long time, that the workplace is in a state of near constant flux. The meteor strike of lockdown is an accelerant, not a deviation. It has also laid bare -yet again – the faulty assumption that there is some sort of general evolution towards an idealised version of the office. That is why we see so many people routinely willing to suspend their critical facilities to make extravagant and even absurd predictions about the office of the future or even the death of the office. More →

Casting a spell on the future of work and workplaces

Casting a spell on the future of work and workplaces

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There was a time we used to talk with dismay about the Japanese phenomenon of intense social distancing known as hikikomori. We would consider with horror the isolation, lack of engagement with society, poor mental health and loneliness of the people who had almost completely withdrawn to their rooms. Those poor bastards locked up in enclosed spaces linked to the outside world only by screens. More →

The death of the office? Wait a minute

The death of the office? Wait a minute

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death of the officeI have observed with some disbelief the numerous articles that have heralded the “death of the office” and other click-bait driven headlines. It makes for a fun read but fails to really understand exactly what the office is for and how the modern workspace is actually used.  The best way to take a view of this is to understand why we will be desperate to return to the office and why organisations should be doing everything they can to ensure it does. More →

A dog`s life in the future of work

A dog`s life in the future of work

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Once upon a time. Not so long ago. We used to get ideas for stories on lots of different topics. These included those I often dismissed at the time as quaint, such as somebody’s thoughts on why you should bring your dog to work. Now I often hanker for such whimsy, faced with day 127 of an inbox stuffed with nothing much more than ‘how to return to the office after lockdown’. More →

Cycling might be about to change our lives and offices permanently

Cycling might be about to change our lives and offices permanently

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According to the latest data from the Cycle to Work Alliance, June 2020 saw a 120 per cent increase in the number of people joining the government Cycle to Work scheme. Introduced in 1999 as part of a series of measures under the government’s Green Transport Plan, it is now undergoing a revival as thousands of people remain reluctant to use public transport fearing exposure to COVID-19. More →

Boardroom heroes needed to transform working cultures

Boardroom heroes needed to transform working cultures

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Even as the UK starts to open back up following the COVID-19 enforced lockdown, there are still many unanswered questions about how almost every aspect of our lives will be impacted. What is certain though, is that we will continue to see a paradigm shift take place across all areas of the workplace. Employers must ensure they have the right measures and policies in place to deal with the transformations that have taken place across the UK’s labour market throughout the lockdown period. This is crucial, as only those who have a strong workplace culture will succeed in the post-pandemic world. More →

Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

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Making predictions about the future can leave people hostages to fortune. Just ask the Decca record executive Dick Rowe who in 1962 rejected a contract with The Beatles confidently asserting that “guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein” or even multi-billionaire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who declared in 2007 that “there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Some people buck the trend however. More →

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