Work & careers

Working from home? Video conference call tips for the self-isolating | Money

The first rule when it comes to video conference calling is, don’t dress for the beach. Or the gym. Or bed. “One time I had a woman on the call in a spaghetti strap tank top,” says technology executive Amy Bailey. She manages a team of 10 remote workers from her home in California. Video conferencing technology is integral to her job: her team could not function without their daily morning video call. “I said: ‘I know you’re at home,…

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It’s time to end 9-5 office hours: the business case for the five-hour workday | Alex Soojung-Kim Pang | Opinion

When he first heard about the five-hour workday, David Rhoads thought: I want to give this to my employees. David is the CEO of Blue Street Capital, a California-based company that arranges financing for enterprise IT systems. He’s also an avid surfer. So when he saw an article about how Tower Paddle Boards – an online, direct-to-consumer company that sells stand-up paddleboards – had moved to a five-hour workday, he was intrigued. Stephan Aarstol founded Tower in 2010. Stephan was…

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One in five students lose money by going to university, IFS finds | Education

One in five students would be financially better off if they skipped higher education, according to groundbreaking research that compares the lifetime earnings of graduates and non-graduates. Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found while 80% of former students gained financially from attending university, about 20% earned less than those with similar school results who did not attend, highlighting how some subjects, such as creative arts, offer negative financial returns. The IFS research – which uses tax data to…

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‘Abuse of power’: should universities ban staff-student relationships? | Education

Within weeks of starting her postgraduate degree, Allison Smith, then a student at Sussex University, entered a relationship with her lecturer. They had met at an induction party celebrating the new term with drinks and fireworks, where she found him “drunk and loud” but not inappropriate. He later approached her on Twitter. “That escalated quickly into flirtatious talk,” she says. Her lecturer, Lee Salter, assured her that the university approved of the relationship and said it would be “fine as…

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Where did the weekend go? How work stole our Saturdays and Sundays | Money

When they are under attack, or celebrating a big birthday, trade unions sometimes like to remind us about the historic fights they have won: holidays, sick pay and the big one, the weekend. The weekend was the best of the battles, because the victory was the most audacious. It makes me swell with pride – albeit of the most hypothetical kind (somehow I doubt the National Union of Journalists freelance chapel had much input). Sick pay, one feels, would have…

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Leavism: the troubling truth behind the trend to keep working while on holiday | Money

‘I can’t wait for my holiday,” a colleague told me. “I’m going to get so much work done!” At the time, I wasn’t shocked. Many professionals I know use their holidays as an opportunity to work. I have to admit that when I’m on holiday, I wake up early so I can do some sneaky work before the rest of the family appear and demand I “relax”. Now this trend of working on holidays has been given a name: leavism.…

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‘Naked intimidation’: how universities silence academics on social media | Education

When Cardiff University PhD student Grace Krause began getting headaches and back pain after staring at a computer screen for days on end, she decided to speak out online. “Staff are marking hundreds of essays in an impossibly short time. It is exhausting. Everyone is in crisis mode. Stressed, moody, morose, everyone feels like they’re drowning,” she wrote on Twitter. The tweet came after a colleague had killed himself on campus and the inquest cited workload as a factor. Within…

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Flying solo: self-employment will change you – but not in the ways you think | Life and style

Feeling unappreciated by your employer? Struggling to muster enthusiasm for the work piling up on your desk and flooding your inbox? Perhaps it’s time to make a change, and join the numerous other disgruntled employees who, as jobs site Indeed notes, mark the early parts of the year with a new determination to find a more fulfilling career. Maybe you’re looking to jump ship, or maybe this is the year that you will finally “go out on your own” and…

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Give people right to ignore work emails at home, says Long-Bailey | Politics

Rebecca Long-Bailey has called for workers to be given the right to ignore work emails and messages outside working hours to end the “24/7 work culture” and protect mental health. The Labour leadership candidate said she would bring new ideas to the party, having worked on her policy positions for four years. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Long-Bailey, the MP for Salford and Eccles, defended the manifesto Labour fought on in December’s election, saying it contained “some of the most transformative…

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As white sports lecturers, we’re learning how to make our classroom less racist | Michael Hobson and Stuart Whigham | Education

We write this piece as two white academics, privileged to gain our posts as lecturers. We both predominantly teach sports sociology and regularly discuss the topic of racial discrimination in sport, drawing on the experiences of star athletes such as Serena Williams, Colin Kaepernick and Raheem Sterling. We welcome the fact that these discussions are happening, but question whether this has made universities more inclusive spaces for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students. We’ve realised that when discussions of…

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What are apprenticeships? Essential questions answered | Education

What are they? An apprenticeship is a training programme for those aged 16 or over, combining hands-on paid work with the chance to learn and earn qualifications. In theory, anyone can become an apprentice, as there is no maximum age limit for applying. How long do they take? They take at least 12 months to complete, but can last up to six years. This depends on the apprenticeship chosen, the level it is at and the previous experience of the…

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As CEO, starting out as an apprentice in my industry taught me what drives people | Education

I went to a grammar school but I wasn’t really into the academic scene back then. As a teenager, I was more interested in tinkering with cars, to be honest. I couldn’t ever see myself in an office job, which is why I applied for an apprenticeship. I figured it would teach me something practical. I applied to various companies and eventually landed a position as a cable jointer with the North Eastern Electricity Board in York. I’ve got to…

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Horticulture apprenticeships: the UK growers tackling a skills shortage from the ground up | Education

Green skills are in alarming decline in Britain, according to the director general of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Despite the horticulture industry contributing about £9bn to the UK economy and employing around 300,000 people, 70% of businesses in the sector say they struggle to fill vacancies and 83% put this down to the poor perception of horticulture in schools and colleges, according to the RHS. But at the foot of the South Downs in East Sussex, one institute has…

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Career paths: how these apprentices from the 1990s reached the top | Education

Government figures indicate that almost a quarter of a million people started a modern apprenticeship scheme in the five years following their introduction in 1994. The people below are just six of those hundreds of thousands who became apprentices in sectors from business to stonemasonry between 1994 and 1999. Although not all of our six interviewees enjoyed or valued every aspect of their apprenticeship, every one considers now that the scheme they joined was a worthwhile way to start their…

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I stopped writing to-do lists – and learned to enjoy what I’d already achieved | Life and style

As the oldest of three daughters, I always felt an acute sense of responsibility and a weight on my shoulders to prove myself. I had to be better than everyone else, excel against the boys and show that I was worthy of my place in the world. Yet, as relatives and strangers speculated over my parents’ future and lack of a son to provide for them in old age, I had a crushing and debilitating foreboding that I would not…

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Will Finland introduce a four-day week? Is it the secret of happiness? | Money

Finland’s new prime minister, 34-year-old Sanna Marin, once floated the idea of a four-day week. It sounds quite glorious, doesn’t it? However, critics of reduced working hours, such as the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, think the idea is bonkers. He believes we could all work four-day weeks, but we just don’t want to. Is he right? The evidence says not. Reducing the length of the working week boosts productivity. When, in August, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day week, productivity work…

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