Work-life balance

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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Low-income Americans most at risk of coronavirus, experts say | World news

The US health agency overseeing coronavirus has told Americans that to curb the inevitable spread of the respiratory illness, they only need to take simple steps: wash your hands, stay home from work if you feel sick and speak to a doctor if you have symptoms of the disease. But in the US healthcare system, things are never as simple as they seem. From the cost of healthcare to the lack of guaranteed paid sick days in the US, experts…

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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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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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