Work-life balance

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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Out of control: is too much work the real cause of burnout? | Life and style

Carolyn King reached a crossroads moment in her life, ironically, while negotiating a roundabout on the way to work. She hated her job, but had always been able to push through the Sunday night dread to turn up on time. Yet on this particular Monday morning, almost two years ago, King couldn’t exit the roundabout. “It was like I was possessed, my body was telling me not to go to work,” she says. “Instead, I turned around and drove to…

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Parents, can you spot a ‘toxic’ school? A headteacher writes … | Education

The banners are up, the adverts are in local newspapers. No sooner has the autumn term begun than schools are recruiting the next cohort of students. If it sometimes seems that they all say the same things about their engaging curriculum, personalised pastoral care and professional ethos, how can you tell them apart? For some parents, it’s all about outcomes. Which school tops the league table for results? Which has been judged by Ofsted as outstanding? For others, it’s more…

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Six ways to stay healthy when you’re stressed | Life and style

Human beings are not built to endure prolonged periods of stress. If you want to see an extreme example of what it can do to a person, observe prime ministers as they enter and exit Downing Street. Before, fresh-faced, they simper for the cameras. Afterwards, they are gaunt, grey and lined. It is like watching an accelerated version of ageing, and a reminder of how stress corrodes the human body. We live in stressful times, though. More people are scratching…

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Workers feel more stress and anxiety than ever before. We need to talk about this | Elliot Perlman | Books

In towns and cities across Australia, one gets the sense that many people are just barely hanging on. You see it on their faces, hear it in their voices, and sometimes even fear the consequences of it via spontaneous outbursts of public incivility over things that, decades ago, one would not have expected to cause any disturbance of the peace. You see it on the street in the menacing – or at least defensive – looks people give one another,…

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John McDonnell pledges shorter working week and no loss of pay | Politics

Workers will enjoy longer holidays under a future Labour government as part of a 10-year plan to see the length of the average full-time working week drop by five hours, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has announced. Speaking at the party’s conference in Brighton, McDonnell said he wanted to see a marked cut in the average working week from 37 to 32 hours within a decade, with no loss of pay. The shadow chancellor said Labour would adopt a two-pronged…

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Shirking from home: why bosses still insist on pointless presenteeism | Money

Name: “Working from home.” Age: The child-rearing years. Appearance: “Busy.” Seriously “busy”. What’s with all this “quotation business”? Obviously some people need to work from home sometimes to look after their kids or whatever, but … “Working from home” always sounds as though it has quotation marks around it, don’t you think? No. I work from home all the time. Ah, but do you really? Do you sit at your desk when the working day begins, and work just as…

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‘An enormous price to pay’: can politicians live a sane and balanced life? | Australia news

When the 2019 class of new MPs came to Canberra this week, one of the people who spoke to them about their impending political life was a doctor. Mike Freelander, a paediatrician and MP for the suburban Sydney seat of Macarthur, had a clear message to the 27 new MPs who will take their seats in parliament’s bear pit for the first time on Monday: “Don’t lose track of your family.” The pointed message comes amid an ongoing discussion about…

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To secure pro-worker legislation, hold politicians' feet to the fire | Steven Greenhouse

Unions should draw up a Contract for the American Worker and make it clear they will only support candidates who endorse it Donald Trump will no doubt tell the world he deserves to be re-elected because the economy is “the best ever”. Never mind that nearly 40% of Americans say they can’t afford to pay an unexpected $400 bill, and that nearly one in four Americans skipped some form of needed medical care last year because they couldn’t afford it.…

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Danielle Steel is a prolific writer, but is that to be envied? | Oliver Burkeman | Money

The novelist Danielle Steel has written 179 books, releasing them at the rate of seven a year – and for all I know, she’ll have released a few more in the days between my writing this column and you reading it. But how? In an interview this month with Glamour magazine, Steel revealed the productivity trick that is central to her success: she works all the time. No, I mean, all the time: for at least 20 hours a day,…

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Let me into your home: artist Lauren McCarthy on becoming Alexa for a day | Art and design

In a gallery in downtown Manhattan, people are huddling around four laptops, taking turns to control the apartments of 14 complete strangers. They watch via live video feeds, and respond whenever the residents ask “Someone” to help them. They switch the lights on and off, boil the kettle, put some music on – whatever they can do to oblige. The project, called Someone, is the latest in a series exploring our ever more complicated relationship with technology. It’s by the…

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Most of us feel sleepy in the afternoon. Why can’t work fit round that? | Andre Spicer | Opinion

In the early afternoon, I often catch myself listlessly staring into the computer screen. I have things to do, but I can’t concentrate. I try writing the same sentence five times and delete it six. During one of these afternoon torpors, I came upon a word: acedia. It seemed to perfectly define my mid-afternoon weariness. I discovered this originally Greek word was widely used by medieval Christian monks to describe a sense of indolence, a mood of lethargy, a feeling…

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Much shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis – study | Environment

People across Europe will need to work drastically fewer hours to avoid disastrous climate heating unless there is a radical decarbonising of the economy, according to a study. The research, from thinktank Autonomy, shows workers in the UK would need to move to nine-hour weeks to keep the country on track to avoid more than 2C of heating at current carbon intensity levels. Similar reductions were found to be necessary in Sweden and Germany. The findings are based on OECD…

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What’s it like to live with a chef? | Food

James Petrie and Úna Palliser James “Jocky” Petrie, group executive development chef for the Gordon Ramsay Group, lives with his wife, musician Úna Palliser, near St Albans. They have two daughters: one four-year-old and one a few months old. Petrie has appeared on MasterChef, Heston’s Fantastical Food and Hell’s Kitchen. Úna has worked with Shakira, the Killers, Moby and Gnarls Barkley. How did you meet?James: It was a classic blind date. Úna: You’d recently had your heart broken. I’d come…

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Is it possible to work 22-hour days? Danielle Steel says it is the secret of her success | Books

It says something about the author Danielle Steel’s work ethic that her desk, built to resemble a stack of her own books, is less remarkable than the hours she puts in at it. The 71-year-old romance novelist is notoriously prolific, having published 179 books at a rate of up to seven a year. But a passing reference in a recent profile by Glamour magazine to her 20- to 22-hour workdays – not to mention the 24-hour session “a few times…

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Red Bull wants us to leave work at 4pm. I couldn’t agree more | Opinion

I’m not squeamish, except for one small thing: I cannot repeat rhyming couplets. So I can’t tell you exactly what Red Bull’s latest London Underground advert says because it uses this mawkish lyrical form. I can tell you that it was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for promising health benefits that fizzy drinks aren’t allowed to do (nope, not even Shloer). I can even describe that promise, in a roundabout way: Red Bull will make you feel so energetic…

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