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Work and Economy

Subcategories from this category: Flexible Working, Economy, Retail

Currently the world of workplace wellbeing and HR are focussing on flexible working, with recent studies showing that it can actually boost productivity. In the UK every worker has had the right to request flexible working since a new law was introduced in 2014. This law is a very positive step in the right direction.

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Is work-life imbalance contagious?

Posted by on in Flexible Working

[1] indicates that children spend an average of 35 minutes per day with working fathers which is significantly higher than the five minutes registered in 1974. Around that time, when he wasn’t away on business, my father used to return home from work and then spend hours on the landline to colleagues: the 'always on' era was not invented with the introduction of mobile technology!I used to sit on his knee and pretend to take an interest in the financial documents splayed out in front of him. Like millions of other men, he was a thoroughly committed employee and father but I sometimes wonder what impact all this had on my own attitude to work, home and the blurring between the two.

Recent news that a multimillion pound earning CEO had quit his job when his daughter presented him with a list of milestones he’d missed sparked a flurry of reactions about the value of work-life balance. After all what price could be attached to taking a child to their first day of school or watching them take part in a sports event?  This kind of reality check certainly must have landed hard for the CEO in question and then changed his life radically.

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Letting go as open plan goes global

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A few days ago another son turned his back and strode off into the university halls of residence. Letting go is never easy; one can only resort to a combination of hope, qualified expectation and trust.  Would he need reminding to do his washing, eat hot meals and complete his assignments on time?  As for missing his presence around the house, that would at least be a little easier to deal with thanks to Skype, Facebook and his mobile. On the journey home it occurred to me that these growing pains, the behavioural shifts, have a parallel in the workplace as we transition to a new, more agile way of working.

Over the Summer holidays Daimler was reported to have automatically deleted emails sent to staff whilst they were on leave.  Reactions to this drastic attempt at securing a better work-life balance for their staff were mixed.  Many heralded Daimler's move as sympathetic.  Others expressed the obvious concern that important work developments would be overlooked thereby inadvertently exacerbating rather than alleviating stress.  In a similarly well-intentioned move, a labour agreement in France was recently secured obliging staff to 'disconnect communication tools' after working a certain amount of hours.

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‘Behave like the boss’. It’s an out-dated understanding of how to get on at work but many of us could probably draw a stereotype of success in our organisations – of the behaviours, personalities, and ideals which are valued.

A new trend in Silicon Valley is taking people’s desire to meet those ideals to the extreme. Local plastic surgeon Dr Seth Matarasso has noted a shift in his clientele, away from former beauty queens and towards middle-aged board members who are looking to fit in with the perceived ruthless ageism of the tech industry. It might seem like a weird and distant subculture but it’s one with many parallels across the working world, in how society and businesses react to ageing populations.   

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Last week, Employment minister Chris Grayling promised to fund companies to the tune of £5,600 for each ex-prisoner they employ for longer than two years. The proposed policy aims to lessen the strain on the welfare state, but more importantly to help rehabilitate those released from prison to be able to lead meaningful, productive lives, contributing to society. 

It’s a much needed initiaitive. As a social group, ex-prisoners currently have amongst the highest long-term unemployment rates in the UK – official figures show that half of ex-offenders were on out-of-work benefits two years after being released from prison in 2008. Now, those released will be placed straight into the Work Programme, which provides specialist support to improve employability and reduce the risk of reoffending. And the statistics show that 61% of prisoners reoffend within two years of their release; but only 19% of prisoners who manage to find work following their sentence will reoffend within that same time period.

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Cary CooperGood Day at Work®

The new wellbeing resources hub founded by @profcarycooper and Roberston Cooper. Join for FREE and access blogs, videos, downloads, podcasts and more.

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MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

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Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School.

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