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

Carolyn McCall: when  she left after seven years as chief executive of EasyJet  the company’s share price had quadrupled

I never want another job with the word ‘deputy’ in the title

It was impossible to know which tap to turn in what direction for hot or cold. One false move threatened disaster.

High-tech luxury executive travel is all very well until you can’t even find the light switch

‘A suit looks so weird in many offices that people think the wearer must be off to a job interview.’ File photograph: Getty Images

Pilita Clark: It is now impossible for workers to know if they are dressing for the occasion

The scourge of spam: we need to rethink the practice to sending spam and ask a once unthinkable question: should we start charging for email?

The responsibility should lie with the sender and I like the idea of charging to send

The sad truth about millennials is that they are not nearly as special as they have been told. In fact I am not entirely sure they were ever really here at all.

Pilita Clark: The ‘futr’ belongs to everyone, thanks to the ‘millennial mindset’

Life-long personal avatar assistants are deemed to be at least 10 to 20 years away. Photograph: Getty Images

Our working life could change if even a fraction of the technologies they are working on take off

Taylor Swift:  “I don’t see how that would work,” said a frowning 22-year-old about office music. “Listening to Taylor Swift all day would be very grim”

Music in the office is part of a growing move to make the workplace less formal

South Louisiana village Jean Lafitte: Steven Pinker is on firmer ground when charting the progress countries make as they grow richer and can afford to clean smog from their skies and start conserving, not plundering, nature. Photograph: William Widmer/The New York Times

Steven Pinker rejects view that carbon-powered industrial society could destroy itself

Personal mugs  offer a measure of personal control and identity in largely anonymous open plan offices. Photograph: iStock

Workplace change is often poorly explained and generally designed mostly to cut costs

It is thought that at least 37m   meetings are held each day in the US alone, and up to 45%  of them probably start late

It is a great truth of modern life that punctuality is an underrated virtue

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren, who is to take a salary cut to demonstrate his 'personal commitment' to equal pay. Photograph: EasyJet/PA Wire

EasyJet chief’s salary gesture is eye-catching but fixing the issue requires more tedious work

For his voyage to Antarctica, Sir Ernest Shackleton picked a meteorologist with almost no qualifications for the post, as well as a physicist he took a shine to after asking the man if he could sing. Photograph: PA

Shackleton among those who showed there are valid alternative ways to recruit

Act like a new mother. Snatch sleep whenever and wherever possible. Photograph: Getty Images

The best weapon against jet lag is a seat in business – but here are three less pricey ways

According to a 2005 Cornell University study, mothers could expect a deficit in average starting salaries compared to childless women

Pilita Clark: there has rarely been a time when so much is being done to improve the lot of working women

A man entering the doors of the WeWork coworking space in Washington, DC. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

WeWork, where old firms and start-ups rub shoulders, is turning the office into a village

Humanyze gathers data from ID badges hung around people’s necks that have microphones and sensors that know where you are and who you are talking to. Photograph: Getty

It is easy to see why more employers are being tempted to snoop on their staff

 Studies have also  found that oddly named boys are over-represented in the ranks of US juvenile delinquents regardless of race

Pilita Clark: A study suggests people with an unusual first name are less likely to be hired

Unlimited vacation policies: “It is hard to think of another work perk that promises so much and delivers so little – to workers.”

More employers are offering bottomless holidays – but who really benefits?

Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias and Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg  at the launch of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in  London. Photograph:  Getty Images

Good to see what a billionaire and a starchitect can achieve in Bloomberg’s new office

People often soldier on  because they work for leaner, more stressed, companies where  the pressure to do more with less is constant

Pilita Clark: Many people go to work when ill because they fear they will be targeted in the next round of redundancies

The idiotic mistakes we make at work are awful and getting worse. Photograph: Getty Images

If you do send an idiotic email at work, just apologise and move on – never try to recall it

Company victims of a DDoS attack think a competitor was more likely to have been the perpetrator than a standard cyber criminal. Photograph: Getty Images

From florists to poker sites, when your site goes down it might not be a random hacker

PowerPoint presentations are typically a festival of unfathomable graphs and bullet points, often read out verbatim.

Problems stem from users who mistake complexity for expertise

Self-deprecation is “a disarmingly effective tool” in the workplace.

People who breezily crack jokes at their own expense ooze self-confidence

Study after study suggest open-plan offices make employees more miserable, more ill, less friendly and less productive but they’re much cheaper and so they’re here to stay.

With private offices all but history, we must hide behind plants and filing cabinets

The best mentors can be the worst employees. Photograph: iStock

I’ve had some sensational mentors, it’s just that neither they nor I knew it

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri comments on the panel’s climate report in Stockholm last Friday. Photograph: Reuters/Jessica Gow

Paris to host biggest UN talks on curbing emissions since 2009 Copenhagen meeting

 Lower cotton prices and markdowns meant Primark’s operating profit margin in the first half was higher than a year earlier. Photograph: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Annual sales are expected to be 22% ahead of last year

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