Guest blog: Cake in the Office - health hazard or edible symbols of collegiality and teamwork? - By Dr Harriet Shortt, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies, Bristol Business School

Guest blog: Cake in the Office - health hazard or edible symbols of collegiality and teamwork? - By Dr Harriet Shortt, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies, Bristol Business School

I am sure many of us are familiar with cake in the office – cakes to celebrate a colleague’s birthday, cake sales for fundraisers in the office canteen, exotic sweet treats brought back by co-workers returning from holiday, and office bake-offs between competitive teams.

The BBC reported last year that this ‘office cake culture was a danger to health’ and the Royal College of Surgeons argue ‘workplace cake culture’ is impacting the health of workers in the UK, citing obesity and dental problems as key issues caused by such activities. The latest report from the Royal Society for Public Health (published in August 2016 and featured here on the Work Wise UK guest blog by Shirley Cramer CBE in November 2016) discusses the impact of rush hour commuting on our health and well-being and notes that unhealthy food and drinks that are made available by outlets in train stations during our commute is potentially adding ‘an average of 767 calories’ to our diets each week. And only in January of this year, The Telegraph reported that civil servants had been warned that ‘office cake culture could be a public health hazard’ by a blog post written by a member of the Treasury’s ‘Wellbeing Workstream’.

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Guest blog: Commuters: get happy! - By Melissa Addey - A full-time writer and the 2016 Writer in Residence for the British library

Guest blog: Commuters: get happy! - By Melissa Addey - A full-time writer and the 2016 Writer in Residence for the British library

Commuting is bad for you. Really bad for you. If you commute you are more likely to be overweight, suffer from anxiety, stress, depression and social isolation. You are more likely to sleep badly and be exhausted, have high blood sugar (which could lead to diabetes), high blood pressure and cholesterol (which could lead to heart attacks) and experience neck and back pain. Oh, and you are 40% more likely to get divorced.

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Contribution from freelance writer: Why there is an increase in employees working from home in the United States - by Jenny Hart - based in the USA

Over the last few years, there has been a substantial rise in flexible working hours and the number of employees working from home. This is a hotly debated topic as to if the pros of this outweigh the cons for organisations. As employees are becoming increasingly mindful of having a healthy work-life balance whilst still being dedicated to their careers, it is therefore important that companies are willing to offer the work flexibility and adapt to this modern outlook on working hours.

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Guest blog: 30 Powerful Time Management Tips That Really Work - By Andrew Boswell, who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms.

Guest blog: 30 Powerful Time Management Tips That Really Work - By Andrew Boswell, who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms.

Don’t you just hate it when you have too much to do and you’re running out of time? I can help you boost your productivity. These time management tips will accelerate your performance, and you can start right now.

Whether you are a student, professional or home-maker, these tips will help you manage your time effectively.

1. Measure your use of time

Look back at yesterday. How much time did you spend doing key tasks? Where did the rest of the day go?

How many hours did you you spend travelling? Doing your emails? Attending meetings? Taking breaks? Dealing with interruptions? Doing key tasks? Or doing stuff that keeps you busy but is just a chore?

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Guest blog: Our ticketing system is structurally sexist - we need part-time tickets now - By Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport

Guest blog: Our ticketing system is structurally sexist - we need part-time tickets now - By Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport

The need for part-time and flexible season tickets has never been greater. Over eight million people are now working part-time, with many more working from home or one or more days a week.

But the country’s ticketing system has not kept pace, and is still stuck in an outdated model of five-day-a-week commuting. Whilst annual, monthly and weekly discounts are available, they are based on travelling five days a week.

Campaign for Better Transport’s Fair Fares Now campaign has been calling for cheaper, fairer and simpler train fares for years. So we welcomed the Conservative Party’s manifesto promise to introduce part-time season tickets, so that the millions of people who work part-time would be able to travel to work more cheaply. Over a year later though, and little progress has been made. Part-time commuters are still having to pay through the nose for 5-day a week season tickets they don’t use two days a week; or pay full whack for peak time daily fares. Part time workers get paid two thirds less than full time workers on average, and many must cope with the high cost of childcare. Why should we have to pay extra for travel too?

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Guest blog: Smarter working and better transport needed to beat the commuter blues - By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Guest blog: Smarter working and better transport needed to beat the commuter blues - By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Travelling to work can be unbearable. Long commutes feel like wasted time, and clog up our transport networks. Commute Smart Week is a great opportunity to talk about how we can make the journey better, shorter, or even eliminate them.

As November bites, many of us will be commuting in the cold and the dark. Trees will have shed their leaves. You don’t have to live in the Pennines, where the first snows fell a month ago, in order to get the feeling that simply getting to work can itself be hard work. 
And things are not getting any easier. The average yearly commute has increased by 10 hours since 2010. One in seven employees are now commuting for more than two hours a day, up by 900,000 since last year. 

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Guest blog: Cycle safe, cycle smart over the winter months - By Fredrik Carling, CEO of Hövding, the world's first and only airbag for cyclists

Guest blog: Cycle safe, cycle smart over the winter months - By Fredrik Carling, CEO of Hövding, the world's first and only airbag for cyclists

The growth of cycling in the UK has taken many people by surprise, especially considering the British long-standing love of the motorcar.  People are embracing cycling in many ways – from the daily commute to competitive pursuits, as riding has been widely acknowledged as a great way to stay fit.  However as we move into the winter months, British cyclists do need to be aware of the potential dangers and how to minimise their risk on the roads.

On average, 5.7 million UK adults cycle regulary every month and many British organisations aim to increase this number by accelerating their promotions of cycling, working hard to highlight the benefits that the sport provides. The ‘Cycle to Work Scheme’ is just one example of plans that encourage cycling commuters, promote a healthy workforce, and provide environmentally friendly travel options.  

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Guest blog: How many of us enjoy our commute? - By Ali Clabburn: CEO of Liftshare.com

Guest blog: How many of us enjoy our commute? - By Ali Clabburn: CEO of Liftshare.com

Meet Rob. Rob enjoys his commute. Which is a surprise - as its long. Very long. He commutes from Manchester to London. By Car!

Rob Scott is one of a huge number of people who now car-share to work and never get bored. The secret? Well for him perhaps it was his Biscuit Club?! 

“We come up with little games to keep ourselves amused,” he admits. “For a while, one of us would bring biscuits into the car a couple of times a week, and we’d taste them and give our opinions. It was like a biscuit club. We must have tried about 45 different packets over a couple of months. It was a blissful period, but ultimately detrimental to our waistlines.”

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Guest blog: Commuting, People, Planet and Profit - By Steve Mosser, CEO, Sensée

Guest blog: Commuting, People, Planet and Profit - By Steve Mosser, CEO, Sensée

On average, UK citizens spend an hour a day commuting to and from work. Over and above the actual time involved, there is also a significant number of other downsides: the high cost of public transport, escalating fuel costs, traffic jams, bad weather, packed commuter trains, personal risks related to late night commuting (visibility and safety), transport delays and cancellations, leaves on the line… I could go on.

You may have assumed that I don’t like commuting. And you’d be right - I don’t! But it’s not my dislike of commuting that that’s important or relevant during National Commute Week, it’s how companies can support Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals by implementing flexible – and smarter – ways of working that also happen not to involve commuting.

"People, planet and profit", also known as the ‘triple bottom line’, is a term used to describe CSR which was coined by John Elkington in 1994, and I’d like to explore briefly the relevance of those terms in the context of the daily commute.

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Guest blog: Help for the age-old home/commute/office/commute/home cycle - By Roddy Campbell, Founder and Chief Executive of Vrumi

Guest blog: Help for the age-old home/commute/office/commute/home cycle - By Roddy Campbell, Founder and Chief Executive of Vrumi

I am really pleased to have been asked to write a blog post for Work Wise UK, especially for Commute Smart Week, about what Vrumi, the company I founded two years ago, can do to help the age-old home/commute/office/commute/home cycle.

What’s changed in the way we work, in the last five years?  Really, the cloud; the ubiquity of all our work being available where we are all the time, not just email.  So workplaces are not factories you go to where the tools sit, the only places the work can be done, but rather places of collaboration, of combinations, of thought, of social and collegiate interaction, of creation.

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Guest blog: Health in a Hurry - the impact of rush hour commuting on our health and wellbeing - by Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health

Guest blog: Health in a Hurry - the impact of rush hour commuting on our health and wellbeing - by Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health

Estimates show that 90% of the UK workforce commute to work every morning. This is due largely to the industrialisation of modern modes of transport, which has revolutionised and mobilised our workforce. In London, for example, just under 50% of workers commuted using public transport in 2011. Surveys completed in 2008 and 2013 showed the rise of the ‘extreme commuter’, individuals willing to travel more than 90 minutes each way to get to work, with further indications that this may be a growing trend. It is often assumed that those who commute long distances receive pay-back in terms of enhanced job prospects, higher wages, or the ability to live in more affordable areas. But what cost do we pay for these conveniences and opportunities?

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Welcome to Commute Smart Week 2016 from Phil Flaxton - Chief Executive of Work Wise UK

Welcome to Commute Smart Week 2016 from Phil Flaxton - Chief Executive of Work Wise UK

The dark mornings and evenings are with us again and Winter is on its way so, it’s time for me to launch Commute Smart Week, which start’s our annual campaign to raise the awareness of implementing smarter ways of commuting during the winter months.

Throughout the week, we will publish a series of guest blogs from some of our strategic partners as well as the heads of organisations who will share their views and knowledge on the way we commute.

Commuting for long periods of time has become a part of the UK’s working culture. The excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors involved in the work-life balance issue. Not only is the amount of time commuting an issue, the 9 to 5 culture with its peak travel times generates congestion on railways, underground and road networks and as a consequence, increases stress for commuters.

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Guest blog: Get rid of your paper clutter - By Andrew Boswell, who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms.

Guest blog: Get rid of your paper clutter - By Andrew Boswell, who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms.

Do you see piles of paper everywhere? On your desk, beside your bed, on the kitchen table? Are you thinking about buying a bigger bag?

I can help you. It’s time to fight back.

Grab a couple of hours, right away. It might be a pain, but at the end of it you’ll feel a lot better.

Step 1: Gather loose paper

Find a big, empty table to work on. Gather all your loose paper. Letters, memos, reports, receipts, bills, whatever. Not only the piles you can see around you, but also look in your purse or wallet, and in your briefcase or laptop bag. Don’t forget post-it notes stuck on the walls or on your computer screen.

Put them all in one huge pile. Then away we go…

Step 2: TRAF

TRAF stands for Trash, Refer, Action, File.

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Guest blog: Smarter Meetings - By Andrew Boswell who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecomms.

Guest blog: Smarter Meetings - By Andrew Boswell who is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecomms.

Working smarter can do a lot for your own productivity and life style. But working with your colleagues can become even more of a challenge if you are at home or far away from them. So it is vital that the time you spend with them in meetings is well spent.

I’ve worked in lots of big companies over the years. All are very different, but they do have one thing in common – they all spend a huge amount of time in meetings. They love them! They think nothing of arranging a 4 hour meeting attended by 30 people. That’s 120 man-hours nobody will get back. If the meeting is weekly, 10% of the week has gone for ever.

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Guest blog: "The pros and cons of working from home abroad" - By Annette Morris, Digital Marketing Consultant, LaFranglaiseWeb.

Guest blog: "The pros and cons of working from home abroad" - By Annette Morris, Digital Marketing Consultant, LaFranglaiseWeb.

For some, the ultimate work-life balance is working from home while living abroad. Research by Bergerac Airport, in South-West France, found almost one in five British residents in the region were commuting back to work in the UK.  With the ever increasing speed and consistency (for some people this can be more important than speed) of internet connectivity, a seamless connection to the office server can be within anyone's reach.  Even in the wilds of Lozère (the least populated area in France), a Satellite dish will instantly connect you with the office via video call, phone, email or VOIP. 

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Chairman's blog: Brexit or Nexit - Productivity remains the key - By David Lennan, Chairman of Work Wise UK

Chairman's blog: Brexit or Nexit - Productivity remains the key - By David Lennan, Chairman of Work Wise UK

23rd June will be a big day for all of us and whatever the outcome there will be substantial and lasting impact on our working lives. Never before in our history have we as individuals had such an important decision to make, that will have such major consequences for future generations.

Yet, I am far from convinced that we all feel adequately prepared and confident to cast our votes, as we are subject to so many conflicting views hitting us from all sides of the debate and through the media channels. One place that really does have impact on all of us as individuals, is our Workplace and it is my firm belief that employers small and large should be doing all they can between now and 23rd June to help their staff understand the arguments for and against membership of the EU.

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Guest blog: I've seen the benefits of homeworking, but too many are still missing out. By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Guest blog: I've seen the benefits of homeworking, but too many are still missing out. By Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC

Working in central London I know exactly what a grind daily commuting can be.  I relish the rare chances I get to work from home when I can.  It wouldn’t work for me every day, but when I need to really focus and avoid interruption, there’s no better workspace than my kitchen table.

I’m not the only one. Surveys suggest that there is a huge unmet demand for home working. Millions would like to, but don’t yet have the option. 

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Guest blog: The power of people and technology in an ever-changing work environment - By Steve Byrne, Managing Director, Travel Counsellors

Guest blog: The power of people and technology in an ever-changing work environment - By Steve Byrne, Managing Director, Travel Counsellors

As a company an integral part of our growth and success has been down to the flexibility and empowerment we give our people in running their own travel franchises from home. Since launching Travel Counsellors over 20 years ago this business concept has seen the company grow to over 1,500 Travel Counsellors agents across seven countries enjoying the benefits of flexible working, for both themselves and their customers.

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Guest blog: Freedom and technology in the workplace - By Andreas Koenig, CEO of TeamViewer

Guest blog: Freedom and technology in the workplace - By Andreas Koenig, CEO of TeamViewer

The workplace is constantly evolving and so too are the workers. A staggering 81% of 16-24 year-olds think traditional 9-5 office life is no longer relevant in the 21st century. This statistic comes from a survey of over 1,000 UK office workers undertaken by TeamViewer for a new report about the future of of the workplace. With such a high number of the younger generation feeling this way, businesses and employers need to cater to the evolution of work life.

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Guest blog: 7 productivity hacks for homeworkers - By Victoria Binz, freelance digital marketing consultant and co-founder of the Brighton Homeworkers group.

Guest blog: 7 productivity hacks for homeworkers - By Victoria Binz, freelance digital marketing consultant and co-founder of the Brighton Homeworkers group.

Many studies aim to prove that flexibility is the new productivity when it comes to work. In the case of homeworkers, most people will agree that flexibility doesn’t mean a lack of structure. Key qualities for working from home include independence, resourcefulness, self-motivation, solution finding, resilience and communication. In other words, homeworking is not for the faint-hearted!

Why not give it a try this Friday 20th May for National Work from Home Day? Here are a few productivity hacks from people who work regularly from home.

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