‘Private equity is capitalism on steroids,’ says Oxford university’s Prof Ludovic Phalippou

Pilita Clark: The study found that after a buyout, as higher-paid (often male) workers departed, the average pay gap between men a(...)

US economist Tyler Cowen has claimed that on a good night he can get through ‘five whole books’. Photograph: iStock

If you want to join this elite band of book-devourers, they’ve found time to share tips

Net Zero Banking Alliance requires banks  to calculate and model the carbon footprint of loan portfolios worth billions of euro. Photograph: Getty

Banks are turning on the taps for green finance but they are far from closing them for fossil fuels

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, who overlooked a basic lesson of the pandemic  – certainty is fleeting in a world beset by uncertainty. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

One important thing we learned this year is to be wary of any suggestion the worst is over

Can a company be sure that, nearly two years into the pandemic, customers will still tolerate an employee distracted by a doorbell, or speaking faintly on a home computer line?

Many traditional office practices were pointless but remote working brings its own problems

‘I went from a busy job in financial services to being a busy climate activist and as I look back now, I think that was a form of denial in itself.’ Photograph: iStock

Former global investor officer argues sustainable investing is like ‘selling wheatgrass to a cancer patient’

McKinsey’s  ‘rookie moment’ bungle videos are positive example of how to survive early career howlers.

McKinsey ‘rookie moment’ bungle videos are positive example of how to survive early career howlers

The effect of a short holiday is just as strong as that of a longer one, some studies have shown, and getting away for less than five days is still a powerful way to improve health and happiness

Pilita Clark: One reason we like holidays is because we are programmed to enjoy novelty

 This is the first Cop to be held in an English-speaking G7 country since Canada had one 16 years ago, and its British hosts are no slouches when it comes to massaging messages. Photograph:  Ian Forsyth/Getty

This is my sixth Cop and I have never seen such organisational mayhem

The share of US workers who say they would simply quit with no other job in hand if forced back to full-time office work has steadily risen this year, from 6.1 per cent in June to 7.8 per cent in September.

Well-educated and culturally rich employees will quit jobs if work from home not option

BrewDog, a Scottish-based craft beer group, has allowed its staff to take a week of fully paid leave when adopting a new puppy or rescue dog since the start of 2017. Photograph: Getty Images

Demands for time off to be with lockdown pets is jarring when millions still lack paid parental leave

If I had started work later and knew nothing but today’s always-on culture, I might have been a lot more insistent about carving out time to unplug

For those of us who started work before the iPhone arrived in 2007, downtime was far easier to find

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian at a press conference to announce her resignation. Photograph: Bianca De Marchi/EPA

Affairs of the heart spell double trouble for female leaders

Several executives cite more autonomy, more recognition, more flexible hours and better holidays  as more important than pay when it came to hiring and keeping staff. Photograph: iStock

People are rethinking what they really want from working life and employers need to watch them closely

Actor Jason Sudeikis, who plays Ted Lasso, a small-time US football coach hired to coach a professional soccer team in England. Photograph: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Sweet-natured US comedy shows it pays to be a kind and decent manager

In a 2019 survey a majority of workers in Australia, the US and the UK told researchers  that office noise caused stress and anxiety, and the chief culprit was other people talking

Lack of quiet spaces to work uninterrupted leaves impression staff not hugely valued

For a boss to say people cannot smoke inside their own homes, where they do lots of other unwise but legal things, crosses quite a threshold. Photograph: iStock

Many companies now adopt a ‘no nicotine users’ hiring policy, but is this fair?

‘The traditional face-to-face job interview, a mainstay of assessing job applicants for at least a century, has morphed into a gruesome tech shadow of itself.’

Pilita Clark: The tale of one boss who thought Uber ratings were the answer is instructive

Pre-pandemic, a business trip offered the winning combination of getting out of the office and into a new place you had always wanted to visit.  Photograph: iStock

Covid has exposed a great unspoken truth: a lot of trips had nothing to do with business

 More than 1,400km of cycling infrastructure was built during the pandemic in Europe alone, and  similar shifts are afoot from Bogotá to Sydney. Photograph: Getty Images

Will the benefits that came from the pandemic crumble as it eases?

‘Algorithmic systems are being used across the economy to control fundamental aspects of work,’ warns a study from the UK’s Institute for the Future of Work. Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: It hard not to be suspicious about how information from ‘digital wearables’ will be used

 The great Covid remote-working experiment is complex, and that is why it is far too early to draw fixed conclusions about it just yet. Photograph: Getty Images

Remote working makes it easier to identify those contributing less

I have also found lately that on the rare occasions I have met someone new, some sort of muscle-memory has made me shoot out my hand for a shake, after which I make a flustered apology and create general embarrassment for all.  Photograph: iStock

Divergent views mean an awkward mix of shakers, bumpers and fist-knockers

A woman writes on a notebook as people rest at the Oregon Convention Centre cooling station in Portland, after a heatwave moved through the region. Photograph: Kathryn Elsesser/AFP/Getty

North America’s deadly heatwave last week a wake-up call for workers and bosses alike

More than 40%  of the global workforce is ready to resign at some point this year

Pilita Clark: Hard to know precisely what is causing the ‘Great Resignation’

Last week an annual list of ‘top chief executives’  came out, but recent experiences lend heft to the idea that it might also be good to have a reliable list of the worst of them. Photograph: iStock

Employees and customers could benefit from knowing more about least impressive chiefs

A draining, always-on work culture was a problem before the pandemic and has worsened considerably since. Photograph: iStock

The right to switch off is needed more than ever amid a burnout epidemic

Technically the term ”hard pants” means trousers with zips, buttons or non-elasticated waistbands – the opposite of the stretchy soft pants remote workers have lived in for the past year

Some organisations may have to plunge into largely uncharted waters of hybrid working

One curious Covid development is that restaurants are reporting difficulties in hiring chefs and other staff, in spite of so many people being out of work. Photograph: iStockphoto.com/David85

Staff shortage is forcing offers of incentives that would have seemed ludicrous last year

‘It is clear that a welcome new mood of experimentation is afoot. Like so much else in the pandemic, it is impossible to know how it will end.’ Photograph: Getty Images

As hybrid working evolves, offices of the near future could be in a museum or leisure venue

The imperative to cut emissions is urgent and will only grow more so in decades to come

Pilita Clark: All new oil, gas and coal projects and exploration must stop if global warming is to stay below 1.5C

It turns out that if people can choose which days they work at home and which in the office, a large number will stay home on Mondays and Fridays. Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: In Australia the spread of hybrid work is leading to fears for the future of city centres

More than 80% of leaders with a suddenly remote workforce said their companies were at least as productive as they had been before, a study in Europe found last year. Illustration: iStock

Structural changes not motivational quotes are needed before we go back to the office

The pandemic has fuelled a lack of camaraderie, but research suggests putting everyone back in the office again won’t entirely fix the problem.

Studies show many workers felt isolated by the way their work in teams was organised

‘I’m not a cat’: Rod Ponton in a Zoom call for a  US court session in February. Photograph: Judge Roy Ferguson/394th District Court of Texas/PA Wire

UN climate meetings last week showed difficulties and downsides of running events online

The divide between those who could and couldn’t work at home has long been large, especially if the frontline stalwarts were paid less. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Pilita Clark: A serious threat to office harmony is the deep gulf between those who have and have not been on furlough schemes

Florida congressman Matt Gaetz has been fighting allegations he had sex with an underage woman and broke federal sex trafficking laws. Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

Spotlight on Washington and Canberra amid new sexual misconduct allegations

This year, as fresh lockdowns returned for millions in a northern hemisphere winter, a tone of  defiance has become more evident. Photograph: iStock

The humble auto-reply has come into its own now that time off really has to mean time off

If the BBC’s  Line of Duty flounders, it won’t be because of the jargon in it. Photograph:   Steffan Hill

Pilita Clark: We like to use it to show off, especially when we feel insecure

A woman  receives  the AstraZeneca vaccine at Lichfield cathedral, UK, which has been converted into a temporary vaccination centre. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

Companies should try to replicate the volunteers’ sense of purpose and goodwill

A Covid-19 certificate of vaccination app on a mobile phone

Pilita Clark: In an Israeli catering firm the unvaccinated have to take their packed lunch outside

The average worker now sends and receives about 126 business emails a day. Photograph: iStock

Revolutionary fix needed to address the tyranny of the bloated inbox

 Former star correspondent for 60 Minutes  Mike Wallace. His  bad behaviour behind the scenes has been revealed in a new book. Photograph: Courtesy of Mongrel Media

One common complaint comes from people who belatedly discover they have not been invited to big online work meetings

Economist Nicholas Bloom says that even when tech works, ‘people at home know they will miss out on crucial post-meeting huddles that only those in the office can have’.

Pilita Clark: Research shows people at home are forgotten while office workers accumulate ‘managerial capital’

 European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has just brought an end to the tiresome idea that female leaders are better in a crisis. Photograph:  Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Female leaders should have the freedom to be as mediocre as any man

Wisconsin snow storm. When researchers combed through the biographies of 1,188 board members at the 100 largest US companies,  they found just three directors had specific climate expertise. Photograph: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP

Boards talk the talk on climate and social inequality but don’t act

In a crisis, community-minded companies represent a kinder face of capitalism. Photograph: Getty Images/Cultura RF

Pilita Clark: They embody the best of corporate behaviour by thinking long term

What if an employer wants existing staff to be injected and some refuse? Can they ban them from the office or shop floor? Or force them to switch jobs? Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

Pilita Clark: How can employers entice hesitant employees to get the jab?

Photograph: iStock

Long resented, the workplace minimalist now raises risk of burnout for colleagues

Many publs have pivoted to takeaway pints in the lockdown. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Companies have transformed themselves, while others have failed make the cut

In a year of far too little cheer, anything that lifts a spirit here and there is welcome. File photograph: Getty

‘There was widespread agreement that not having to rush for the Tube was an advantage’

More open-plan space could be transformed into something else most offices lack: ultra-quiet areas where people can easily work uninterrupted for hours at a time

Pilita Clark: A hybrid way of working could end much of what was hopeless in open-plan offices

A bad meeting is like a virus. By failing to produce good decisions, it often requires another meeting to be held, then another and another. File photograph: Getty

Evidence suggests meetings are not helping busy people make good decisions about important stuff

‘At some point after the lockdowns started this year, I found myself signing off work emails differently.’ Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: 2020 has upped the value of the polite, swift and considerate email

Reviews on web site Trip Advisor have helped us research the perfect holiday. Why can’t we have something similar for financial investments? Photograph: Per-Andre Hoffmann/Getty Images

If only we could compare green investments online as easily as hotels and flights

Officers patrol Melbourne’s St Kilda esplanade markets on November 8th, as Victoria’s state government announces an easing of restrictions with no new cases of Covid-19 for ninth day in a row. Photograph: William West/AFP via Getty

Australia’s special power may be, as Johnson might say, its nanny-statism

Journalist Bob Woodward arrives for a meeting at Trump Tower in January 2017. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty

From politics to business and beyond, evergreen elders are setting the bar far too high

Some companies are rewarding employees for longer working days by giving them more time off. Photograph: iStock

Pilita Clark: The average working week has lengthened since home became our office

 Crowded rush hour commuters in the London Underground before the pandemic. File photograph: Getty Images

Pilita Clark: Some of the attempts at recreating normality amid pandemic are shocking

‘People at work say they have fun on morning team calls ... but these isolated pockets of online fun are no match for the way jokes hurtle around an office full of people.’ Photograph: iStock

The pandemic has stolen a basic ingredient from everyday working life: humour

What’s ahead? Some things may change, but not as many as we  think. An expert in disaster recovery says that  over time people will crowd back into bars and restaurants. Photograph: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Will we ever return to paying gyms and hair salons now we have discovered other ways?

What’s ahead? Some things may change, but not as many as we think. An expert in disaster recovery says that over time people will crowd back into bars and restaurants.

Pilita Clark: Will we ever go back to paying gyms and hair salons a lot of money now we have discovered other ways?

A poll of over 750 European employers published last week showed 41 per cent have plans to make it easier for staff to keep working remotely once offices reopen.

What an employer can and cannot require of staff has suddenly become much more complicated

One study of remote working in a Chinese travel agency showed staff at home were more productive and happier, but less likely to be promoted

Most leaders will go back to the office. Over time everyone will know that to get ahead you should be in the office

The more lofty sounding purpose statement has proliferated since the 2008 financial crisis. Photograph: iStock

Lofty ideals can sound great on paper, but too many struggle to match reality

Providing commuting bicycles is one great way for employers to help their staff. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘We don’t think productivity is a big problem, but a sense of belonging is’

American women are twice as likely as men to have been working at the kitchen table in the pandemic, while men tend to have a home office. Photograph: Getty Images

Pilita Clark: Things have been unusually bad on many levels, starting with job losses

Jane Austen’s house in Hampshire where the she spent the last years of her life.  The author was a whizz at saying no. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Knowing how to do it in a pandemic, when job insecurity is rife, is even more important

IAs companies gingerly prepare to reopen their offices, workers are coming to terms with the reality that it is impossible to make things 100 per cent safe.

A post-Covid return to the workplace comes with a lot of uncertainties

Employee analytics firm Peakon found two of the top five words employees used at the height of the pandemic in March and April were “hours” and “pressure”. Photograph: Chemistry

Making time for one-to-one conversations with staff is a must for managers

In the space of 48 hours at the start of July, more than 12,000 people in the UK alone learned their jobs were about to go. File photograph: Getty

Multilayered world of work will be far better when there is a lot more of it to think about

Slacking off from Slack makes a lot of sense to me. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Beware the office instant messaging system – it can become a monumental distraction

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

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