As people gingerly prepare to return to the office, the latest advice to employers is clear: ‘Workstations should be assigned to an individual and not shared.’ Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: In the post-Covid office environment, sharing desks will be a no-no

‘I am too embarrassed to say exactly how many unread emails I have.’ Photograph: iStock

Most of us are too resigned to living with a brimming inbox but Hey might be a solution

Getting ahead in the home office requires dedication. Photograph: iStock

Figuring out how to look busy and stay in the workplace politics loop are key

1937, Los Angeles: An evicted couple sits on the curb surrounded by their belongings during the Great Depression. Photograph:  American Stock/Getty

Hyper-connected digitally savvy generation might find a way through

Will Covid-19 derail mushrooming efforts to tackle climate change? Photograh: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Economic impacts of pandemic are unlikely to stifle environmental concerns

Does your boss view you as part of the  office A-team? Photograph:  NBCU/Photo Bank

Employees working remotely may end up being unfairly overlooked for promotions

British health secretary Matt Hancock lost his temper at a BBC radio interviewer asking about the government’s handling of the crisis. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/EPA

The odd outburst on Zoom is only human but this is not a time for angry words at work

The NHS   in March told thousands of GP surgeries to switch to remote consultations to protect doctors and patients from infection. Photograph: Getty Images

Pilita Clark: A jobs website reported nearly half of UK workers said the lockdown had made them appreciate their family more

Will these virtual events ever be as good as the real thing? I hope so, because for networkers and everyone else this will be as good as it gets for quite a while to come

Pilita Clark: In a locked down world the need to build connections has never been greater or more physically impossible

After  Covid-19 lockdown will people  return to the conspicuous consumption of the past? Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Shuttered shops existed to sell stuff for a rushed, commuting office life that millions of people may never lead again

Don’t be a broadband snob. If you have an ultrafast internet connection, congratulations. Bear in mind not everyone can, so do not snigger at people with a fuzzy, freezing image

The Zoom bore can be a windbag who was a remorseless drone even before Covid-19, and revels in the chance to overpower video meeti(...)

New Zealand’s  prime minister Jacinda Ardern  during a press conference after outlining movement restrictions   on April 16th. Photograph: Getty Images

Pilita Clark: Ardern’s leadership has combined mastery of minutiae, smart policies, honesty and co-ordination in her government

‘Having once had the job of drawing up team holiday rotas, I know it has always required the skills of a Nobel-winning diplomat and a butcher,’ writes Pilita Clark. Photograph: Frank Miller

It is difficult to imagine how much harder the task of drawing up the office rota is now

 Researchers predict that people aged over 70 will account for 63% t of Covid-19 deaths in a country such as Australia, even though they make up just 11%  of the population there.  Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

However stubborn and difficult our parents may be, the time we have with them should never be taken for granted

  New York State governor Andrew Cuomo  has torn into people ignoring orders to stop gathering together. Photograph:  Peter Foley/EPA

Leaders who continue to speak clearly and honestly are the ones who deserve our attention

Elizabeth Taylor in the film Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Photograph: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In the face of a frightening pandemic, my partner and I are responding differently

Nursing is one of the careers that many people gravitate towards on the basis that they will be paid to do something they like.  Photograph: Stockvisual/Getty

Urge to stay committed to a firm remains powerful, despite disappointment

BP CEO Bernard Looney is a newcomer to Instagram and a rarity. Only 11% of oil and gas company chief executives are active on social media. Photograph: AFP

Pilita Clark: Social media can be risky but authenticity on such platforms is rewarded

The internet has filled with advice about working from home  for the uninitiated: stick to a ritual, ditch pyjamas and get out of bed, especially for a video call

In China we are seeing the world’s largest work-from-home experiment due to the coronavirus outbreak, and early results look benig(...)

Dominic Cummings, special adviser to UK prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

Dominic Cummings has taken flak for his unconventional attire – but maybe he’s right

Is it reasonable to leave after being kept waiting 20 minutes without explanation for a 30-minute meeting?

Left waiting by a company for no reason should be a warning that this is an organisation to avoid

Siemens faced the wrath of protests over its decision to continue participating in the Adani coal project. Photograph: Hayoung Jeon/EPA

Pilita Clark: Tackling the crisis will be hard enough without firms using it as an excuse

‘There are times when one learns a lot more about one’s leader when they are away from their desk, not behind it.’ File photograph: Getty

Johnson and Morrisson show what not to do when a crisis breaks while off sunbathing

Democratic presidential hopeful and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: ‘It takes a long time to do big things.’ Photograph: Getty

US presidential hopeful Bloomberg vows first 100 days in White House about building team

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? – a guide to the overconfident, reckless narcissists who so often end up in charge – has been one of the most popular business books of 2019

Being considerate and caring towards others is wrongly characterised as a dull trait

Good management: there are lots of reasons to admire forthright feedback at work – the trouble is, too many people do it too poorly.

Figuring out how to deliver analysis that is truthful and kind is not easy

It might be sensible for companies to showcase the expertise of a new female board member rather than her gender

Study finds businesses that put woman on the board suffer decline in market value

Marc Benioff: give him a break. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Only about 15% of US employers offer sabbatical leave, and most of that is unpaid

People have to feel it is safe to report a problem. The Chernobyl disaster showed the dangers of a culture of fear.

Subeditors are unsung gatekeepers without whom no serious news body can function

Julia Gillard will speak at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London on November 13th. Photograph: Reuters/Parth Sanyal/Files

New report highlights gender-based issues but its recommendations won’t work

Unilever has 158,000 staff and it spends about €6.5 billion a year on their pay. Most are remunerated in the same way that people in big companies have been paid for decades. They get a fixed salary

What if people lower down the pay ladder had a chance to take part in the executive share scheme?

“Broadband, wifi and smartphones made email constantly available, but people kept dealing with new mail as it arrived, as they had in the dial-up era.”

We should not have allowed technology to doom us to what is an endless distraction

An Extinction Rebellion protest in London. A barricade was  set up  outside the BBC to demand more coverage of climate change

Pilita Clark: a new scheme will encourage firms to give staff two days off a year to take a train, bus or boat instead of a plane (...)

“This is literally the worst person I’ve ever sat beside,” I moaned at an attendant. “On by far the longest flight”

Pilita Clark: a flight to Australia showed how it takes very little to turn a customer relations disaster into triumph

Mark Zuckerberg: ‘We wouldn’t even be here if I didn’t have control.’ File photograph: Stephen Lam

Social media mogul defends control by recounting 2006 rejection of $1bn Yahoo offer

Pushed out: Adam Neumann, WeWork’s former chief executive. Photograph: Cole Wilson/The New York Times

Company Cassandras, even junior ones, can be invaluable in delivering early warnings

 There is never an excuse to say ‘key learnings’ instead of ‘lessons’. This phrase has been rightly ridiculed for years. Yet it persists with the tenacity of an ugly weed that resists all attempts at eradication. Photograph: Getty

Britain is being helmed by PM Boris Johnson. What is wrong with plain old ‘run’?

Damian Kestel committed a number of errors, the least of which is the joke itself. Yes, it smacks of tedious cliches about how men and women relate and yes, it suggests the sender thinks his audience is entirely male

Pilita Clark: The world has changed in ways that some men still don’t seem to understand

Older workers may be more expensive, but experts say they outperform younger ones on almost every measure of job performance. Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: Finding ways to keep older people happily employed for longer helps all

No  weekends, no holidays – UK government adviser Dominic Cummings expects a lot from his staff. Photograph: Joss Barratt/Channel 4/PA

Darwin took it handy, so did Dickens – why 80-hour weeks are unproductive

Researchers say people who swear can seem more honest, credible and persuasive

People doomed to hot-desking waste an average of two weeks a year just looking for a place to sit, one study claimed last month. Photograph: Getty

Pilita Clark: The only benefit of hot-desking is financial – and even that is questionable

Organisations should think twice before rejecting a qualified woman. Illustration: iStock

Pilita Clark: The idea that women are happy to let men lead is increasingly hard to believe

I have always thought the office toilet was more important than one might think and last week I found some research that backs up my hunch

The real office throne: Why the most private room in the office can influence bottom line

A People Before Profit climate change demonstration outside Leinster House in Dublin  earlier this year. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Pilita Clark: A planned global action in September will test corporate resolve on the issue

Official figures show long-term immigration to the UK for work has fallen since 2016, the year of the Brexit vote

Pilita Clark: LinkedIn survey supports official data – skilled workers won’t move to UK

Boris Johnson: his contrived bluster concealed a man who was fantastically well prepared. Photograph: Darren Staples/Bloomberg

Pilita Clark: few speakers truly have the ‘wang’ to wing it

Sweden fans before the match  against Thailand in Nice, France, in the   women’s World Cup. Photograph:   Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

If money keeps rolling into the women’s game, how will organisers make sure it is used for the whole game and not just big stars?

Is this the NSA whose mass snooping was exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden? Photograph: Natalia Fedosenko\TASS via Getty Images

Pilita Clark: Many modern businesses offer baffled outsiders no clues about what it is they actually do

Theresa May, the departing prime minister, wanted a job for which she was manifestly unsuited. She was wooden, robotic, secretive, unimaginative and  would have struggled to lead at any time. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Being careful about openly backing a favourite applies to politics and office life

 Over the past six months I kept coming across men who were not just unafraid of nappies but actively fretting about how to nab more paternity leave

Hopefully the day will come when not a head will turn when a father heads off for a few months of parental leave

‘It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight,’ says Virgin Group chief executive Josh Bayliss

Climate debate is shifting and companies are failing to match green claims with action

‘It is hard to worry about the threat of artificial intelligence when a computer shows no sign of intelligence at all.’ Photograph: Getty

Pilita Clark: daft new phone system with its garbled messages is source of unintended joy

A few employers have tried the four-day week, lured by research suggesting shorter weeks can make people less ill, less mistake-prone and more productive. Photograph: Getty Images

The four-day week has much going for it. But its complexity cannot be ignored, and it cannot be reserved for white-collar workers

I have certainly been to gabfests where I have been bored to a semi-coma by a parade of dull speakers. Photograph: Getty

Staid panels have been disrupted by agenda-free events, but freedom comes with risks

More countries should follow Sweden, a pioneer of well-designed paternity leave policies and home to some of the EU’s highest female employment levels.  Photograph: Getty Images

When a father takes parental leave, mothers go back to work more easily, female employment rises and the gender pay gap is lower

Oh how we laughed. Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: You can get away with a prank if the victim is a pal or a more senior colleague

A new US study shows  something quite alarming: making jokes in a work presentation helps men but hurts women

Pilita Clark: in a presentation female humour seems to be seen as more disruptive and male more helpful

The man sitting next to me arrived at work to report he had been in a Morrisons supermarket on the weekend and the toilet paper shelves were empty

Pilita Clark: Office colleagues who have long feared the worst now look savvier

‘Mindfulness proponents do not get much bigger than Arianna Huffington’ Photograph: Reuters/Ruben Sprich

Pilita Clark: Is mindfulness demotivating? Professor bravely takes aim at a sacred cow

Every Weight Watcher I have ever known only joined up for one reason: to lose weight. Photograph: Melissa Ross via Getty Images

Pilita Clark: ‘We were anniversary-ing what was truly a Freestyle phenomenon.’ Anyone?

With an International Crap Women’s Day we could celebrate the likes of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, the self-styled face of lean-in feminism whose brand came a cropper after she was caught up in the string of controversies surrounding the company. Photograph: Pascal Lauener/Reuters

Constantly being urged to celebrate an inspiring or spectacular woman is exhausting

Former London Evening Standard editor Charles Wintour said exciting assignment “do not grow on trees to be plucked by hungry young mouths”. Photograph: Getty Images

Tendency to confuse direct words with unacceptable behaviour does us no favours

‘As far as I can tell, people are in more of a muddle than ever over what constitutes acceptable office behaviour.’ Photograph: iStock

It’s years since I heard anyone in the office come close to trying to make a flirty joke

Jack Ma, founder  of Alibaba, at the   World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23th, 2019.  Photograph: EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller

Ma is an admirable man, but the idea one’s career should start gliding into oblivion after 50 is foolish when people need to work (...)

In Scotland, the BrewDog craft beer company offers people with a new dog a week’s leave to help settle it in. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Office workers have always seemed pampered compared with what others endure

Teaching someone the importance of saying thank you is not just good manners – it is a gift that lasts a lifetime, at work and far beyond.

Pilita Clark: Ultimately, saying thank you is a vastly underrated activity

Holiday rostering: nothing exposes the divide between the conscientious and the cunning so deftly

The office festive leave rota generates a huge amount of resentment and anger

As the laptop whirred to life so I could try the computer game for myself, a familiar sinking feeling formed: interview dread

McKinsey added an island game to its interviewing hurdles to unearth suitable candidates

It is hard to imagine hundreds lining up for handcuffs, especially full-time workers. A criminal record can make a lot of things trickier at work: getting a visa, finding a new job and keeping an old one. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Pilita Clark: Employers are having to think about how to deal with staff who set out to be arrested

Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management. Does he really email other chief executives’ PAs when he wants to set up a meeting? Yes, quite frequently, he says.

Yngve Slyngstad is the head of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund but has no secretary

“No one really has a clue what whole-self working means. A lot of companies use the term to suggest they are in favour of a diverse and inclusive workforce.” Photograph: Getty Images

The people who find it easiest to be themselves at work are the ones who run the show

Jonathan Brownlee and Alistair Brownlee taking part in  the 2014  World Triathlon in Japan.  Two years later the brothers shot to global fame in the final moments of a big international triathlon.  Photograph: ITU/Delly Carr via Getty Images

The Brownlee brothers impressed Theresa May but we could all learn something from them

The NHS is one of the world’s largest buyers of fax machines. Worse, NHS doctors are still being issued with hopelessly outdated pagers

The bias towards the status quo explains everything from ordering the same pizza each week to sticking with the same power company(...)

Have millennials normalised bragging for the rest of us? Photograph: Adam Peck/PA Wire

It is one thing for millennials to foam about themselves all over Instagram and YouTube but not by email

When Leonardo DiCaprio discovered his feet were the same size as Kate Winslet’s – 11 –  on  Titanic, he dubbed them her ‘canoes’.

Big feet? Well, women’s are getting bigger but larger shoes are still difficult to find

Image problem: stills from Haigh Associates’ recruitment video

While unconscious bias training can raise awareness there is little evidence it changes behaviour

Negative reaction to US President Donald Trump’s ownership of Turnberry golf resort is having an adverse effect on  nearby Turnberry Holiday Park,  and might become a rare example of a necessary name change. Photograph: Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images

Evidence suggests rebranding does little for companies, especially those abandoning long-standing names or logos

City of London. Investec is not the only company going deskless. One new London office building has traded-in a normal security desk for a concierge-like receptionist and fancy facial recognition technology. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Investec is the latest London company to ditch the traditional reception desk at its office

The reaction in UK boardrooms was “quite vehement” against the notion of placing job ads for board positions. Photograph: Andia/UIG via Getty Images

Pilita Clark: It couldn’t hurt – relying on a private headhunter’s list perpetuates gender imbalance

“Today’s offices are full of people staring at their screens at open-plan desks with headphones jammed unsociably over their ears to block out noise.”

Pilita Clark: Rising interest in effect of random office chat on productivity growth rates

A generation of hot-breathed millennials has risen up behind since 2006. They already outnumber boomers globally. Photograph: David Jones/PA Wire

Being old does not mean you are past it and being young does not make you clueless

The finest parting addresses are given by people who do not merely thank their fellow trench-toilers but offer a glimpse of who they are and how an organisation works

Pilita Clark: some leave without a word, others to tears of laughter

Photograph: Getty

‘The only people who should worry about the push for gender equality are dopey men’

Businesses with a lot of happy, engaged workers are 17 per cent more productive and 21 per cent more profitable than companies at the other end of the spectrum, according to Gallup, the research outfit

A company can do as many surveys as it likes, but if it irks workers with doltish managers, idiotic dress codes, petty rules on at(...)

 Donald Trump with Omarosa Manigault in  2016. The former White House aide has caused a stir with what she says is a recording of her sacking by the president’s chief of staff. Photograph:  Erik S Lesser/EPA

There are many ways to fire people but it always helps to be upfront and honest

On Mumsnet, the parenting website, women going on maternity leave fret openly there about the threat of the brilliant replacement.

The anxiety of being upstaged is one of the great unspoken fears of working life

When I googled “how to pack your bag” last week I got 449 million results, more than “how to end poverty” and “how to cure cancer” combined

The wardrobe of a former foreign correspondent for a three-week trip to Uganda included just three pairs of underpants

Steve Jobs: Whether the late Apple boss launched the iPhone because he could be such an awful bully, or despite it, is hard to say. But the fact is that he did

Pilita Clark: There is a good deal of evidence that disagreeable people are more successful at work and paid more

One person said that twice this year he thought he had recruited a software engineer, only to have each candidate cease all contact as soon as a formal offer letter was sent. Photograph: iStock

An abrupt and permanent silence from a candidate, even after accepting a job, is not unusual now

A protestor in the People’s Vote demonstration against Brexit,  June 23rd,  London. Photograph:   Simon Dawson/Getty

If companies feel at risk from an unworkable Brexit, their bosses should speak out now

Ava  has just been rolled out by Autodesk, a US design software company, where she is the face of customer support

It’s depressing to realise that gorgeous, subservient fembots are on the march

“No one needs to be ‘excited’ about anyone at work, not even an intern.”

Pilita Clark: Advice for interns that we could all heed

 A new cabin set-up is to be rolled out in more than 200 of the aircraft American Airlines uses on domestic flights. Photograph: Reuters/Mike Blake

It is astonishing American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker has not flown in one of the new aircraft that so many complain about

I have  seen a study showing that people who simply hold an alcoholic drink in their hand are deemed less intelligent than those without one, a phenomenon the researchers called “imbibing idiot bias”. Photograph: Getty Images

A US experiment backed up the idea that being mildly sloshed makes one more creative

The state of mind that academics call “chronic unease” is a relief amid the welter of positive blither one hears from the likes of Sir Richard Branson.

Pessimism and chronic unease help us avoid mistakes and can make good business sense

‘Manswering’ is where a man answers another man, even though a woman is asking the question. Photograph: iStock

A 10-year-old knows if someone asks you a question, it is polite to respond to them

With a five-hour day, we could hit the beach in the afternoons. Photograph: Stephen Collins

An Australian company has made the switch to shorter hours. Business is booming

A cyclist cycles in London city centre. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

For cyclists, ignoring the rules of the road can be a matter of survival

I have some very clever friends who swear by meditation and mindfulness apps. This clearly works for them, and it seems churlish to poke fun at anything that eases the stress of working life

Mantras and meditation do not remove the stress of long hours and lay-offs

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