Everyone seems to be on their smartphone or tablet at the moment. After all, when was the last time you read a book? Or let me ask you a slightly different question, when was the last time you coloured in a colouring book?
“Coloured in a colouring book!? I’m not a child”, I hear you say but whilst most people will come to the conclusion that the last time they coloured in a colouring book was when they were a young child, things may be changing.
One of the latest crazes doing the rounds in the UK at the moment is adult colouring books where grown men and women are buying adult colouring books to colour in. A quick Google search of “adult colouring books” will reveal the vast variety of such type of books (as an aside make sure you include the word “colouring” when searching for adult colouring books otherwise you may get an unexpected search result).
It’s been reported that more than 3 million adult colouring books were sold in the UK last year which represented over £20 million worth of revenue for the publishing industry.
Now, whilst certain trendy people may well be rushing to buy colouring books, the tax authorities in the UK are also getting interested in the trend.
The reason behind the tax authorities interest is that colouring books are currently treated as children’s books and as such are zero rated for VAT purposes (in other words VAT is not charged on the books).
The tax authorities are currently in talks with publishers about plans to classify adult colouring books as uncompleted books which would then make them liable to VAT at 20% in the same way that diaries and notepads are.
The net result is that if the tax authorities do reclassify the adult colouring books then either the books will become 20% more expensive for the individual purchasers or if they remain at the same published price, the publishers will have to take the hit.
More expensive adult colouring books? It’s enough to make you throw your toys out of the cot.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/colouring-book-vat.jpg529941Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2016-06-01 18:33:522016-06-01 18:33:52You can't read this book...
Let me ask the men who are reading this a quick question – how would you feel if you had to wear uncomfortable high heels during a 9 hour working day?
My guess is that unless you have a pretty unusual job, as a man you wouldn’t feel too happy wearing high heel shoes. There would also probably be some fairly blunt discussions with your employer if they made it compulsory that you wore high heels.
If you’re a woman though, then it’s a different matter.
Nicola Thorp, a 27-year-old lady was temping at PwC’s office in central London as a receptionist. She turned up for her first day of work at PwC in flat shoes but she was told she had to wear shoes with a “2 inch to 4 inch heel” (5 cm to 10 cm).
According to the BBC, when she refused and complained that male colleagues were not asked to do the same, she was sent home without pay.
To be fair to PwC though, they had outsourced the reception duties at their London office to outsourcing firm Portico and the dress code was not a PwC policy. A PwC spokesman told the BBC that “PwC does not have specific dress guidelines for male or female employees.”
Portico said that Ms Thorp had signed the appearance guidelines but would now review them.
Ms Thorp however has taken the matter further. She has launched a petition on the UK Parliament website calling for it to be illegal for companies to demand that women wear high heels.
The UK Parliament website works in such a way that if a petition receives more than 100,000 signatures the matter will be considered for debate in parliament.
As at the time of writing, the petition has received over 140,000 signatures so it’s likely that the matter will be debated in Parliament.
My guess is that being debated in the UK parliament was the last thing on her mind as Ms Thorp put on her shoes to head into her first day of work at the offices of PwC in London…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/pwc-heels.jpg8841571Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2016-05-29 17:29:252016-05-29 17:29:25High heels at PwC
WOW – thank you so much. We’re celebrating 200,000 fans on Facebook so a big, big, big thank you to all of you that follow us on Facebook – it’s much appreciated!
Whether you attend one of our classroom courses, our online courses or access our free courses on our website thank you so much for your trust in us and we hope we’ve helped you in your professional development.
Thanks again from all of us here at The ExP Group.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/exp-group.jpg8991598Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2016-05-07 18:32:502016-05-07 18:32:50Thank you 200,000 times from ExP...
It’s always nice to grab a social bite to eat with colleagues or clients but if I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d recommend the Bunyadi restaurant for such events.
The reason I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant for such events is not because of the food, location or service (which I’m sure are all very good).
No, the reason I think it would be an awkward location for colleague or client dinners is due to the fact that, how can I put it but using business terminology, they have taken an extremely differentiated approach to competing.
The Bunyadi restaurant has announced that it is opening in central London in June and the different thing about it is that it will be a naked restaurant.
Whilst an increasing number of people are choosing to eat their food in a more “natural” state without additives or preservatives, the company behind Bunyadi are taking things a step further by having a naked section in the restaurant.
Seb Lyall, the founder of the company behind the restaurant said “we believe people should get the chance to enjoy and experience a night out without any impurities: no chemicals, no artificial colours, no electricity, no gas, no phone and even no clothes if they wish to. The idea is to experience true liberation.”
When you arrive at the restaurant, you’ll enter the bar area (where everyone is fully clothed) and then head to the changing rooms where you will be given a gown. You then go to the naked area, take off your gown, fold it and put it on your seat and then sit down to enjoy your meal (and no doubt concentrate very carefully when eating your hot soup so that you avoid spilling any of it in your lap).
If you are interested in going to the restaurant you can sign up on their website but you’d better hurry. At the time of writing, there were over 15,000 people on the waiting list.
Well, if you are male and your boss is also male there could be some disappointing career news for you if you think you are better looking than your boss.
A recent study has suggested that male bosses are less likely to promote good-looking men who work for them.
The study by University College London’s School of Management concluded that good-looking men were considered competent by their male bosses but as a result were also seen as a threat to them and their own personal career aspirations.
This raises an interesting point. Organisations no doubt want to employ the most competent people but if a male boss is reluctant to recruit or promote good-looking men because they take the view they are a threat to them personally then it means that good-looking men could be discriminated against whether or not they are competent.
Dr Sun Young Lee, the lead researcher on the study was quoted as saying “organisations want to hire competent candidates but individuals have their own agenda. When employing someone, they do not want the newcomer to do better than them and show them up”.
“What about good-looking females” I hear you say?
The study concluded that the same prejudice did not apply to women. Being a good looking lady was not associated with competence according to the study.
The study was published in the Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes journal and Dr Lee felt her results suggested that organisations should consider appointing external recruitment consultants to avoid personal preferences impacting on recruitment decisions.
One additional point though is that if you yourself are male and have recently been overlooked for a promotion by your male boss then surely the only reason you didn’t get the promotion was because you are better looking than him…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ExP-Blog.jpg9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2016-02-27 19:38:022016-02-27 19:38:02Are you better looking than your boss?
Most of us have been there. Sat in a meeting when somebody decides to use “management speak” or “corporate jargon” to make something sound more impressive than it is.
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “think outside the box” but what about “let’s not boil the ocean”?
Michael Sugden, chief executive of the advertising agency VCCP, recently put together a list of the most irritating metaphors used in the corporate world.
He wrote in Marketing Magazine that the increased use of corporate jargon in recent years has resulted in meetings degenerating “into a quagmire of nonsensical verbal piffle”.
He put together his top 10 of the most annoying phrases and in reverse order the results are shown below.
Oh and in case you’re “not singing off the same hymn sheet” I’ve translated the “management speak” into English in the italics below the phrase.
10. Think outside the box – come up with new ideas…
9. I may have a window for you – I can see you on…
8. Content is king – first used by Bill Gates in 1996 to indicate that content would drive the success of the internet. It now appears to be used for random purposes in meetings…
7. Let’s not boil the ocean – let’s not make this too complicated…
6. Level playing field – keep things equal…
5. Let’s workshop this – let’s spend far too long talking about this in a meeting…
4. Shift the dial – to be honest I’m not 100% sure but possibly means talk about something else. Either way it sounds very dramatic in a meeting…
3. Let’s socialise this – let’s talk about this…
2. Fail forward – when something doesn’t work but we try to learn from it (if we still have a job after the error of course…)
1. Growth hacking – again, I don’t think anyone is 100% sure what it means but it does sound very impressive…
So, there you go. A list of 10 phrases to [impress / annoy – delete according to how you feel about the phrases] your colleagues at meetings.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/management-speak.jpg9231641Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2016-01-12 23:17:072016-01-12 23:17:07Let's not run this up the flag pole...
Are you Facebook friends with a colleague at work? Have you ever been tempted to unfriend them?
Whilst unfriending someone on Facebook only involves a simple click, the Fair Work Commission (an employment tribunal) in Australia has found that unfriending a colleague on Facebook was workplace bullying.
Rachel Roberts worked at the Australian estate agent View and alleged that the firm’s owner and his wife had subjected her to workplace bullying on 18 separate occasions.
Rachel Roberts argued that amongst other things James and Lisa Bird deliberately left her work unprocessed for more than a week and refused to showcase her properties in the business’s front window.
Perhaps the most interesting allegation though was that after a meeting between Ms Roberts and Mrs Bird where Mrs Bird described Ms Roberts as “a naughty little schoolgirl running to the teacher,” Ms Roberts tried to leave the room but was initially prevented from leaving by Mrs Bird standing in front of the door.
She eventually managed to leave the room and was sat in her car in a “very distressed state” when it occurred to her that Mrs Bird may make a Facebook comment about the incident.
Miss Roberts went on to Facebook to check for any comments but found that she had… (wait for the drama to unfold)… been unfriended by Mrs Bird.
Yes, shock of all shocks but she had been unfriended on Facebook…
Now, whilst a lot of you may well be thinking that being unfriended on Facebook isn’t a major deal, the Fair Work Commission specifically cited the Facebook unfriending in its decision, saying that it evidenced “a lack of emotional maturity and is indicative of unreasonable behaviour.”
Now, before everyone starts worrying about which colleagues they are friends with on Facebook and whether or not they should unfriend them, it’s worth noting that the Facebook unfriending incident in this situation was one of 8 occasions when it was considered to be “unreasonable behaviour”. In other words, it’s unlikely that unfriending someone in isolation would be considered to be bullying.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/office-friends.jpg7891403Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2015-10-12 18:35:232015-10-12 18:35:23Is it a good idea to unfriend a colleague?
Is this a clever way to improve productivity or a big brother surveillance system creeping into corporate life?
Humanyze, a technology company, produces devices which monitor the activity of employees and one of the more well known companies that has used it recently is Deloitte in Canada where volunteers in their St John’s, Newfoundland office wore the devices which are like oversized ID cards.
According to Humanyze their “social sensing platform” uses a variety of sensors and is capable of capturing face-to-face interactions, extracting social signals from speech and body movement, and measuring the proximity and relative location of users.
They combine these with other data sources such as electronic communications, objective productivity metrics, and spatial analysis to provide insights on how complex work gets done in the modern organization.
CBC Canada reported that the Deloitte team in Newfoundland were changing from a traditional cubicle office layout to an open concept space and the Humanyze badges were used to measure how well employees were performing in the new layout.
The participation by the Deloitte staff was optional and they were provided with contracts that made them the owners of the data.
All the information was collected anonymously and the employees were given personalised dashboards that showed their performance benchmarked against their colleagues.
Silvia Gonzalez-Zamora, an analytics leader at Deloitte said that “The minute that you get the report that you’re not speaking enough and that you don’t show leadership, immediately, the next day, you change your behaviour. It’s powerful to see how people want to display better behaviours or the behaviours that you’re moving them towards.”
So, is this a clever use of technology or the first step towards big brother monitoring?
Either way, I guess it may help identify the office winner of the “who spends the most time in the toilet award”…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/trendy_office.jpg8441500Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2015-10-08 16:12:222015-10-08 16:12:22Improving productivity or big brother surveillance?
The major stock markets around the world have had a rough ride this last week. The drop in share prices has been driven by the heavy falls on the Chinese stock market. At the time of writing the Shanghai Composite index (a stock market index of all stocks that are traded at the Shanghai Stock Exchange) has fallen by nearly 16% over the last week.
If you read the financial press words such as “bear market”, “bull market” and “correction” are being used a lot.
What do these phrases mean and where do they come from?
A bear market is where share prices are falling and is commonly regarded as coming into existence when share indexes have fallen by 20% or more. A market correction is similar to a bear market but not as bad (a market correction is where there is a fall of 10% from a market’s peak).
A bull market on the other hand is where share prices are increasing.
So, where do the phrases bear market and bull market come from?
There are two main views on the origin of these terms.
The first view is based on the methods with which the two animals attack. A bear for example will swipe downwards on its target whilst a bull will thrust upwards with its horns. A bear market therefore is a downwards market with declining prices whilst a bull market is the opposite with rising prices.
The second view on the origin is based around the “short selling” of bearskins several hundred years ago by traders. Traders would sell bearskins before they actually owned them in the hope that the prices would fall by the time they bought them from the hunters and then transferred them to their customers. These traders became known as bears and the term stuck for a downwards market. Due to the once-popular blood sport of bull and bear fights, a bull was considered to be the opposite of a bear so the term bull market was born.
Whatever the actual origin of the terms though I’m sure most people will be hoping for a bull market rather than a bear market.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/bear-market.png9641714Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2015-08-26 13:50:212015-08-26 13:50:21Is it a load of bear or a load of bull?
Gorillas are the largest member of the primate family and 98% of their DNA is the same as humans. They are amazing animals but unfortunately they live in areas of the world that have suffered from genocide, war and natural disasters. They are on the verge of extinction and have been classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
There are less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world today.
This really is a shocking statistic but luckily there is hope out there.
The not for profit (charity) industry is a significant sized industry. The latest reported figures for the UK alone show that there are over 164,000 registered charities with a combined annual income of £64 billion.
Although these organisations are not for profit organisations they share a lot of business characteristics with commercial organisations but there is one key difference.
Commercial (for profit) organisations generate revenues and incur expenses. The expectation is that the income they generate will exceed the expenses incurred and as a result there will be a profit for the shareholders.
Not for profit organisations also generate revenues and incur expenses. The key difference though is that the focus isn’t on making a profit. Instead, they aim to have as high a surplus as possible between their revenue and their expenses so that this surplus can be spent on supporting the causes they want to support.
The revenue for a not for profit organisation includes for example donations from the public whilst the expenses would include the costs of running the charity such as staff salaries and office rental expenses.
In simple terms therefore, the more a charity can increase its income whilst keeping their expenses as low as possible means that they will have more to spend on the causes they are supporting.
One of the challenges facing charities in today’s environment is getting awareness of the work they do to the public in the hope that the public will help with donations. Awareness and PR campaigns can be very expensive and are out of the reach of most charities.
The Gorilla Organisation is an excellent charity. They have a team of hard working inspirational people who are doing as much as they can to help the critically endangered species. The brains behind the Gorilla Organisation have recently pulled together some fantastic volunteers who also just happen to have some amazing talent.
Some famous actors, producers, directors, editors and creatives have all got together to produce a series of short films.
If you go to mygorilla.org you can see some marvellous short videos featuring an extremely talented Gorilla called Toby.
As well as being the creators of what is in my opinion without a doubt the best series of short gorilla films, the Gorilla Organisation also hosts the iconic Great Gorilla Run where thousands of people dress up as Gorillas and run around the City of London.
In the film below, Toby the Gorilla is promoting the Great Gorilla Run as well as showing off his skills on the piano.
For details on the fantastic work the Gorilla Organisation does visit gorillas.org.
The image at the top of this post is courtesy of the Gorilla Organisation.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/gorillas-org.jpg9821745Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2015-08-13 15:07:532015-08-13 15:07:53Is Toby the Gorilla more talented than you?
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