Category Archives: Workplace

Got that 3 day work feelin’?

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A THREE-DAY-WEEK gets the best performance from workers aged over 40, a study by the University of Melbourne has found called ‘Use It Too Much and Lose It?
The Effect of Working Hours on Cognitive Ability’.

Researchers found the cognitive performance of middle-aged people improved as the working week increased up to 25 hours a week.

However, when the week went over 25 hours, overall performance for the test subjects decreased as “fatigue and stress” took effect.

article-1140673-035C7CCA000005DC-783_468x674.jpgThe report, which was published in the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper series, invited 3,000 men and 3,500 women in Australia to complete a series of cognitive tests while their work habits were analysed.

It was found those working 25 hours a week performed best while those working 55 hours a week showed results worse than retired or unemployed participants.

One of the three authors, Professor Colin McKenzie from Keio University told the Times: “Many countries are going to raise their retirement ages by delaying the age at which people are eligible to start receiving pension benefits. This means that more people continue to work in the later stages of their life.

“The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours. Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time long working hours can cause fatigue and stress, which potentially damage cognitive functions.

“We point out that differences in working hours are important for maintaining cognitive functioning in middle-aged and elderly adults. This means that, in middle and older age, working part-time could be effective in maintaining cognitive ability.”

The research comes amid moves from July 1, 2017 to increase the qualifying age for Australian Age Pension from 65 to 65 and six months.

The qualifying age will then increase by 6 months every 2 years, reaching 67 years by 1 July 2023.

 

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Friendly workplaces are less innovative

A boss shoutingWork friendships can contribute to a lack of creative diversity in the office, according to new research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

‘Relational capital and individual exploration: Unravelling the influence of goal alignment and knowledge acquisition’, a paper that examines the double-edged sword of friendships between colleagues, has revealed that work friendships discourage employees from challenging ‘group think’.

Tom Mom, along with co-authors Pepijn van Neerijnen, Patrick Reinmoeller and Ernst Verwaal, demonstrate that by aligning themselves, employees become less likely to innovate away from the established and accepted ‘norm’.

The researchers examined 150 respondents within large R&D departments of three Fortune Global 500 firms, gauging whether their accounts of personal friendships affected individual creativity, in information obtained from their colleagues.

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Tom says: “Of course, having a network of friends at work is a positive circumstance, both personally and professionally. Not only does this enable innovation and creativity through increased knowledge exchange, but being able to trust one another and speak candidly opens doors to growth. Business development has always been huge priority for firms and the focus has recently shifted to maximising individual employees’ outputs. By taking measures such as cross-sectional working, mixed training exercises or even the rotation of teams, managers can ensure that they reap the positive benefits of work relationships without slipping into the trap of over-familiarity and goal-alignment.”

He adds: “This also highlights the very real need for companies to increase diversity at board level in order to combat ‘group-think’, which would ultimately hinder innovation. Steering away from having a standardised business ‘identity’ – even if that may seem counter-intuitive – is a necessity in protecting from a herd mentality.”