Work-life balance

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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Let’s call time on unpaid electronic labour with a legal right to disconnect | Will Stronge | Opinion

Too many of us know the feeling: you sign a contract for a nine-to-five job, but you find yourself answering emails, texts or even phone calls well into the evening. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the working day ever truly ends: the very thought – or threat – of an email pinging into your inbox means your free time isn’t really free at all. This shared experience makes Rebecca Long-Bailey’s recent announcement of a proposed policy enshrining the “right to…

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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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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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Koizumi is first of Japan’s top ministers to take paternity leave | World news

Japan’s environment minister has announced that he will take paternity leave when his first child is born this month, the first time a cabinet minister in the country has publicly committed to such a move. Shinjirō Koizumi, a media-savvy 38-year-old, married to a former television anchorwoman, told a ministry meeting it had been a difficult decision to balance his duties as minister and his desire to be with his newborn. “I want to take a total of two weeks off…

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‘Always on’ hi-tech work culture is hitting family life, says report | Life and style

Evening emails and an “always on” working culture means that for many parents their job has become too big for the hours they are supposed to allot to it, according to an influential survey. The 2020 Modern Families Index reveals that while more than half of parents have flexible working arrangements, poor job design has left many struggling to cope with the competing demands of home and workplace. It found that more than a third fake illness to meet family…

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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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Work it! Can you learn to love the job you have? | Money

What would it take to make our working lives better? Steve Jobs once said about work that it was our life’s mission to “do what you love”, but for most of us it is the compromise of “finding what you can put up with”. So, if most of us are never exactly going to love work, what can we do to make it a little less awful? For starters, let’s be honest about what work is like. According to the…

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Shakira: ‘I needed surgery – or divine intervention’ | Music

There was a time, in late 2017, when Shakira thought she might never sing again. After suffering a haemorrhage in her vocal cords, she could barely speak. “I always thought there were going to be things in my life that would go away, like beauty, youth, all of that stuff,” she says. “But I never thought that my voice would leave me, because it’s so inherent to my nature. It was my identity. So when I couldn’t sing, that was…

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The Guardian view on boosting maternity leave: from small beginnings | Editorial | Opinion

It is a mark of how much society has moved on that a woman’s right to paid maternity leave, introduced in the UK in 1975, is now taken for granted. That fathers’ rights to time off lag so far behind, meaning that women continue to do the vast majority of unpaid domestic work and earn less money as a result, is a mark of how far we have still to go. Labour’s announcement on Thursday that statutory maternity pay (which…

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UK work absence due to sickness ‘halved in past two decades’ | Society

The rate of absence from work due to sickness in people in the UK with no long-term health problems has halved in the past two decades, official figures reveal. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said minor illnesses were the most common cause of absences when all groups of people were taken into account in 2018, accounting for more than a quarter of the more than 141m days missed. That was followed by musculoskeletal problems, at nearly 20%. Discounting “other”…

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Microsoft Japan tested a four-day work week. Productivity jumped by 40% | Technology

Microsoft tested out a four-day work week in its Japan offices and found as a result employees were not only happier – but significantly more productive. For the month of August, Microsoft Japan experimented with a new project called Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, giving its entire 2,300 person workforce five Fridays off in a row without decreasing pay. The shortened weeks led to more efficient meetings, happier workers, and boosted productivity by a staggering 40%, the company concluded at…

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‘It’s in complete crisis’ – architects form trade union amid fury and despair over exploitation | Art and design

Unpaid overtime, precarious contracts, working hours so antisocial your only friends are people who do the same job … after a minimum of seven years’ education and professional training, the reality of working as an architect can be a bleak prospect. It’s not hard to see why so many of them wear black, as if in permanent mourning for the lives they once had. “Spending almost 10 years at uni to be paid £20,000 doesn’t seem right,” says Joseph, a…

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How to clock off: five ways to leave work and its worries behind | Money

Don’t leave it for tomorrow if it can be done today Equally, don’t do it today if it can wait until tomorrow. This is not contradictory. If you can get something done before the end of the day, do it while it is important, rather than leave it to become urgent tomorrow. This will encourage you to prioritise and work more efficiently during the day as you know you have to stop working at 5pm or 6pm. “Organised workplaces are…

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A grandfather’s tale taught me the true value of time spent with my children | Daryl Austin | Opinion

I was at the park with my daughters some time ago when I fell into a conversation with a kind grandfather. He was there with his grandson and confessed that he loved spending so much time with his grandchildren because he missed so much when his own kids were growing up as he was “working all the time”. He added that he wished he would have “said ‘no’ to my boss more, and to my family less”. This grandparent isn’t…

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