Is flexible working the answer to improved employee mental health and productivity?

Is flexible working the answer to improved employee mental health and productivity?

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flexible workingOne of Labour’s flagship policies for its 2019 general election campaign was to introduce a four-day week. More accurately, its policy is to introduce a 32-hour week. This brought flexible working again into the media spotlight. Research suggests that flexible working and reduced hours can have multiple benefits, including improved mental health and greater productivity. More →

Avoiding the minefield of WhatsApp communications

Avoiding the minefield of WhatsApp communications

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Whether to keep colleagues updated or to share a new idea, WhatsApp groups are increasingly becoming a go-to communication tool in the workplace.  There are benefits to having such informal communication channels – they can be less hierarchical and improve cohesion within the team, as well as being a fast and easy way to communicate and share images. On the flip side, the lack of formality means that there are risks associated with them.   More →

Tech trends to watch that will disrupt 2020 and beyond

Tech trends to watch that will disrupt 2020 and beyond

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An eye on tech trendsThe next decade promises to offer both incredible opportunity and challenge for all of us. Technologies like artificial intelligence will no longer be considered new but will instead be at the heart of some huge disruptive changes that will run right through our society. In particular, AI will start to enable the automation of many things that were previously deemed too complex or even too “human”. We’ll see these changes and tech trends at work – traditional professions like accountancy, lawyers and others will over time, see significant portions of what they do be taken over by virtual robots. Vocations such as lorry drivers, taxi drivers and even chefs may disappear as machines are introduced to perform the same function but with more consistent results and less risk. More →

Wellbeing is increasingly in the hands of HR and the future looks bright as a result

Wellbeing is increasingly in the hands of HR and the future looks bright as a result

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Wellbeing in office designThe future of workplace wellbeing is in HR’s hands; hence, the discipline is even more pivotal to organisational success. As admin and payroll become increasingly digitised and automated, time can be spent more effectively, supporting good people to do good work. Influential people are now catching on to the importance of wellbeing. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told More than GDP, “We need to address the societal wellbeing of our nation, not just the economic wellbeing”. Her government will set a budget to measure wellbeing and the long-term impact of policy on the quality of people’s lives. More →

Do emails outside of work hours breach employment law?

Do emails outside of work hours breach employment law?

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<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

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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?

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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”.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 →

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