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The Shape Of Our Story: Kurt Vonnegut Plots The Journey Of Individual Wellbeing

The author Kurt Vonnegut was a man with a singular and unique view of the world. Not just in his stories, either; his literary theories are similarly simple at face value, but gently unfurl to reveal deeper meaning and undercurrents of social commentary. The man himself called one particular theory, his rejected master’s thesis on the shapes of stories, his “prettiest” contribution to culture.  Vonnegut’s idea is that the main character within any story lives through positive and…

Wearable tech in the workplace

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 18 months you’ll have noticed that the wave of wearable technology is about to break into the mainstream at any moment. Analysts agree that sales will easily climb past 100 million units by the end of this year as the likes of Apple and Microsoft look to corner a rapidly expanding market. But what exactly is taking the idea beyond the preserve of tech nerds and fitness freaks? It’s simple. The need for individuals and organisations to gain a…

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The Distraction Trap – 5 top tips for digital wellbeing at work

How often do you check your smartphone? Does it join you on the sofa, at dinner, or even in bed? It wasn’t so long ago – relatively – that we were learning how to switch on our first mobile phones. Yet fast-forward through a few years of leaping technology advances, and many of us have forgotten where the off button is.   Being constantly connected is a serious issue that has left many of us feeling overwhelmed, drained and stressed. Our health and productivity have started to…

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Forget the tech – HR 2.0 can give new meaning to our work and lives

When considering the HR Carnival theme of ‘beginnings’, social media may seem like a strange choice of topic. Even Generation Y’s grandparents have now embraced Twitter – definitive proof that the concept isn’t exactly in its infancy. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that the concept of social media now feels like a maturing part of the fabric of everyday work and home life. Perhaps that’s because it’s the perfect platform to discuss..well, itself, in the form of ever increasing circles of…

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The constant challenge of retail: How employee wellbeing has emerged as a model for success

You don’t need a subscription to Retail Week to know that the British high street has been an unforgiving place of late. Like the markets it serves, the Retail industry has been polarised by recession; a mix of thriving businesses, household names in administration or liquidation and not much in between. Yet it’s this stark landscape which has thrown light on an emergent theme in Retail strategy: employee wellbeing and engagement. High levels of employee wellbeing and engagement unite the…

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The changing face of wellbeing – using Google to track trends

Over the past decade the concept of wellbeing has changed dramatically as organisations and employees respond to the challenges of modern life and work. The scope of occupational health, views on the responsibility of organisations for their staff and the business benefits of different areas of wellbeing have all driven the development of the concept and the terms we use to define it. It’s vital to stay in touch with these changing trends – not just so that we know the right buzz words, but so…

Skills under-utilisation and missed opportunities

As unemployment continues to rise the need to reverse the trend becomes ever more pressing. For many, any job would be a welcome one, for financial reasons, but also to break a spell of long term unemployment which results in low levels of confidence. But taking ‘any’ job increases the likelihood of skills under-utilisation; and according to a recent publication by The Work Foundation this is a particular problem in the UK, especially among low-wage workers. The situation has developed as a…

The reality of working life today

Today the TUC released their Labour Force Survey results (Summer Quarter 2011) showing that 5.3 million workers put in an average of 7.2 hours of unpaid overtime a week last year, worth around £5,300 a year per person.  The headline is that “Workers gave bosses almost 2 billion hours of unpaid overtime last year, or the equivalent of 1 million full-time jobs” .  I have to take issue with this conclusion. Just because there is extra work to be done (there is always extra work to be…