Tag Archives: work

Friendly workplaces are less innovative

A boss shoutingWork friendships can contribute to a lack of creative diversity in the office, according to new research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

‘Relational capital and individual exploration: Unravelling the influence of goal alignment and knowledge acquisition’, a paper that examines the double-edged sword of friendships between colleagues, has revealed that work friendships discourage employees from challenging ‘group think’.

Tom Mom, along with co-authors Pepijn van Neerijnen, Patrick Reinmoeller and Ernst Verwaal, demonstrate that by aligning themselves, employees become less likely to innovate away from the established and accepted ‘norm’.

The researchers examined 150 respondents within large R&D departments of three Fortune Global 500 firms, gauging whether their accounts of personal friendships affected individual creativity, in information obtained from their colleagues.


Tom says: “Of course, having a network of friends at work is a positive circumstance, both personally and professionally. Not only does this enable innovation and creativity through increased knowledge exchange, but being able to trust one another and speak candidly opens doors to growth. Business development has always been huge priority for firms and the focus has recently shifted to maximising individual employees’ outputs. By taking measures such as cross-sectional working, mixed training exercises or even the rotation of teams, managers can ensure that they reap the positive benefits of work relationships without slipping into the trap of over-familiarity and goal-alignment.”

He adds: “This also highlights the very real need for companies to increase diversity at board level in order to combat ‘group-think’, which would ultimately hinder innovation. Steering away from having a standardised business ‘identity’ – even if that may seem counter-intuitive – is a necessity in protecting from a herd mentality.”


When To Take A Sickie – Reasons to be Uncheerful


A NEW study has found the best excuse to tell your boss when you want a day off is tummy trouble… while a head cold is the worst.

It revealed telling your boss you’ve been vomiting will get you the most amount of sympathy with almost three quarters of respondents saying it’s a valid reason to stay at home. The survey of 2,500 employees and employers named diahorrea as the second most legitimate excuse with 71 per cent saying they wouldn’t want to leave the loo when ill.

reasons to call in sick to work

The research looked at the best and worst excuses for calling in sick according to employers. Surprisingly, workers who said they were stressed and had mental health issues were much less likely to be believed and received less sympathy. Earlier this year, research revealed employers were more likely to accept back pain as an excuse for not going to work than mental health issues.

Only 19 per cent of employees said they would call in sick to say they were stressed and just 17 per cent said they’d stay at home if suffering from mental health problems. The research also found that two-thirds of employers don’t believe stress, anxiety or depression are serious enough reasons for a day off. And when calling in sick to their boss only 39 per cent of employees said they would admit they were suffering from stress, depression or anxiety according to the study.

What #Londoners secretly think about their workplace – 2015 survey findings revealed

Unhappy worker in office

The London Office Workers’ Survey 2015 has uncovered what London workers really think about their colleagues, offices and what they can’t live without…

When faced with the question “what is the one thing you can’t live without in the office?” our shameless London office workers have no qualms in dropping their colleagues! According to the results from the survey, what we really want to get us through the 9 – 5 is simply ‘coffee’ (27%). The caffeine buzz is even more important than our friends (4%) and mobile phones. (We’re sorry tea drinkers, you came second).


The survey carried out by Swift Office Cleaning Services Ltd presents interesting findings on office workers’ perceptions of their working environment and details of their commute.

So, what about the offices we work in – how do we feel about the premises in which we spend our working week?

As the trend for companies to move towards open plan working instead of the traditional segregated office continues– results from the Survey suggest workers would actually invite the return of the individual office format. Open plan working is proving to be too noisy and cluttered for workers. 20% of people cited the space in the office to be one thing they would change if they have the opportunity, be it having their own office, or to “have smaller office areas rather than the large open plan layout”.

The minimalist design in offices is also a gripe for many London workers. 10% of survey respondents would change the look of their office saying “paint it a bright colour”, “less clinical white on the walls”, “more inviting décor”, make it “more colourful and spacious”. And the significance of office décor should not be underestimated, 66% of people questioned gave décor a mark of 4 or 5 out of 5 for importance compared with just 2% who gave it little or no value at all. And of course someone wanted a slide installed…

It’s not just office décor that holds great value to workers. Companies who get the environment and cleanliness right could see their work productivity soaring as 90% of London workers say they feel more productive in a clean environment and 86% of Londoners in the survey strongly agree that a clean office is important. 9% would like to see “people be more clean around the office”, have “better cleaners” and “have it cleaned on a regular basis”.

Perhaps surprisingly only 9% of London office workers taking the survey said they’d change the people they work with. Of course there were a couple of people saying they’d change “the boss”, and someone simply wants “more women”!

However, other people-related issues include wanting to have “better teamwork”, “the best people, clean and tidy people” and to “get rid of the lazy workers”.

It would appear that our office managers need to take a good look at office provisions too. Of course there are the requests for free biscuits in the kitchen and requirements for better coffee machines (we already know this is THE most important thing in the office…) but when it comes to eating and drinking in the office, the general consensus is “not to allow staff to eat at their desks”. This brings us back to the desire for “more space effective” layouts in the office and specifically areas to relax and to eat away from desks.

‘6 of the Best’ from the London Office Workers’ Survey 2015

1: 42% believe men and women are equally messy in the office, yet 40% think it’s just the men…
2: 20% of commuters read the free papers
3: 90% of workers feel more productive in a clean environment
4: 27% of people choose coffee over anything else in the office…
5: … including their friends! 4%
6: In fact 9% of you would change the people you work with – including your boss!

For more information visit Swift Cleaning.co.uk

An End To Benefits Street

james turner street
AKA Benefits Street

And so it came to pass that a programme which told it’s participants they were recording a show about “community spirit” and how individuals “were working together and helping each other in tough times” finally ended.  The fact that the programme makers lied to the participants (they filmed lots of working people and community events over 18 months that was just dumped) – doesn’t seem to matter as they would have been made to sign contracts waiving any rights to what material was used and how the show was edited (under the guise of – we are programme makers – we understand this process – you are poor and stupid…errr you are in need of some well deserving attention brought upon you and (fairy dust sprinkle) (annoyingly enthusiastic voice) – we can make it happen.

The series ended with a ‘live’ debate, involving  the participants and other interested parties including MPs and journalists who written some nasty stuff – about these benefits scum…I mean those people who claim additional financial support from the state.

Two of the documentary participants
Two of the documentary participants

Mass hysteria had been whipped up in the press and from commentators about the fairness of the welfare system and this programme was all the evidence they needed.  “It’s not fair that people should sit about all day doing nothing and then get paid money for it” they shrieked!!  Really?   so what do these so called commentators do with the rest of their 37 hours after they’ve spent just 3 slagging off lazy, idle, work shy scroungers into 500 words?  Does yet another afternoon lunch with Sebastian and Felicity for a skinny Mocha -chocca-latte -chino-frappo crapo chato – followed by attending yet another pretentious “must see” exhibition at a tiny art gallery – quaffing free champaign – really count as work?

The truth is, seeing laziness in others is easy.  Seeing it in ourselves – when we spend so much time flapping and “frapping” about from one “rendezvous” to another….not so.  And therefore I don’t rush to criticise nor condemn the people that channel 4 made minor celebrities out of.

Actually, I think on the whole they came across ok.  There are much worse streets out there where the people aren’t full of witty remarks and camaraderie – but nasty and truly awful to each other – where stealing from their neighbour is just as commonplace as stealing from the state.  Streets where the police only go when required and for whom society and it’s morals might as well be on another planet.

And then, like the benefits themselves – it all finished.  I’m hard pressed to come to a conclusion about what the merits or otherwise of watching the programme had on me – or for that matter, the general debate on welfare.  In the first episode I learned that if you want to try and shoplift something – try wrapping kitchen foil in the bottom the bag – as it stops…something….from doing…something… or something like that?  Then in the second episode I learned that gangs of european men come over here on a promise of easy work and easy money – only to find themselves in squalid conditions, working 12 hour days and only receive token payments for their labour.  When they try to report the dodgy gang master who is not paying them money  – and our police and state seem impotent in it’s ability to deal with the situation…”go after the bloody businesses where these men work and are being exploited” I shouted at the TV screen.  Nothing happened.

There were of course other characters:  the rather annoyingly chirpy church woman who is keen to transform James Turner Street from a rather downtrodden, ugly, messy street into a downtrodden, ugly clean-ish street; the guy who knocks on people’s doors selling things for 50p – hence why he is known as the “50p man” – but doesn’t have much luck and (capitalists look away now) seems to take pity on every other person he meets – and gives them stuff from his bargain box free.

Deirdre Kelly or White Dee on Benefits Street
Deirdre Kelly or white Dee on Benefits Street

Finally, we got to the “Live Debate” – hosted by Richard Bacon and stuffed full of people I think I’d heard of and faces I think I recognised.

This mass-debate was pretty poor – lots of uncoordinated shouting or cheering – depending upon what point was ineloquently made.  White Dee (it seems she prefers to be called Dee – real name Deirdre Kelly) was the only human from the programme that was allowed (or trusted) to speak more than one sentence.

There was the Minister for Work and Pensions – whose name I forget, but who used to be a fireman in a previous life (told us twice) and whom at one point, if I heard correctly, made a joke about shagging white Dee’s mum??  The Minister’s shadow Minister (do try and keep up) had been too busy to watch the programme (too many functions with free booze & cold sandwiches to attend) and so watch 3 of them that day and was appalled by stuff that I can’t remember and don’t care to regurgitate.

One of the interesting angles that came out of this debate for me was seeing those hard nosed columnists, who normally write whilst cocooned in the safety of their middle class homes – their venom slowly dripping onto the page – come face to face with those people whom they’d slagged off.  Being people on benefits – of course they had actually read any of the articles and so weren’t offended in the least – but Mr Bacon did try and get a bit of a confrontation going – alas there was nothing to bite.  The columnists didn’t want to say things such as “I wish you hadn’t had any children you couldn’t afford” or “I have not met such nasty dole-scum since one traveled on a train in London”.  More of this – commenter -v- commentee would be interesting.

James Turner Resident Dee Roberts (Black Dee)
James Turner Resident Dee Roberts (Black Dee)

The debate only had Richard Bacon as it’s thread and I didn’t feel he really managed to weave it together very well and generally it seemed the pre-production of it had been sloppy and lazy at best.  So, basically, it couldn’t have finished better.