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.jpg7891403Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-10-12 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.jpg8441500Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-10-08 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.png9641714Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-08-26 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.jpg9821745Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-08-13 15:07:532015-08-13 15:07:53Is Toby the Gorilla more talented than you?
If you wanted to buy clothes 10 years ago the chances are that you would have purchased them in a shop. Nowadays though things have changed and in a lot of countries internet shopping is incredibly popular.
After all, why travel to the shops, try to find somewhere to park and then purchase your items when instead you can order the items in the comfort of your own home and they can be delivered to you the next day.
One challenge though is the delivery the next day as where will you get your shopping delivered? If you’re at work you don’t want your shopping delivered at home as you’re not there. The obvious solution is to get your internet order delivered to your office.
Well, if you thought that getting your internet shopping delivered at work was a good idea then you are not alone. According to the office for National Statistics in the UK, 75% of Britains have brought at least one item online during the last year and a lot of them are getting their shopping delivered to the office.
That’s great news for the companies that are selling online (more sales means more revenue), great for the buyer (items delivered to the office so no waiting at home for the postman) but it’s not so great for the employers.
The cost and security implications for handling all the personal parcels delivered to offices have caused a number of firms to tell their employees to stop having personal items delivered to the office.
In Canary Wharf, the east London financial centre, there were reportedly more than 130,000 parcels delivered in the last year alone. One Canada Square (the main office building in Canary Wharf) has over 11,000 deliveries per month with an estimated 30% of these being private parcels.
The extra cost of receiving, storing and security testing these parcels has resulted in a number of companies telling their staff not to have personal parcels delivered to the office. HSBC, Citigroup and JP Morgan have all now instructed their employees not to have personal parcels delivered.
Is this a good move in that it helps keep control of costs and minimize security risks or is it a bad move in that it could demotivate staff?
Only time will tell but one thing for sure is that other organisations are not standing still.
Doddle, which is a collection service where parcels can be delivered and people can pick them up has recently opened a depot at Canary Wharf. My guess is that they will soon have plenty of people picking up their parcels which can no longer be delivered to the office.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/parcel-deliveries.png484861Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-08-07 20:25:372015-08-07 20:25:37No personal deliveries to the office please.
If you’ve just had a baby the concept of taxation is probably one of the last things on your mind but for anyone who has purchased a SnuggleBundl for their baby there is an interesting link to taxation.
According to the manufacturers the SnuggleBundl is “the world’s first lifting wrap for babies. This beautiful multi-award winning hooded baby garment ties at the front and the soft, strong handles on this wearable wrap let you lift and lay your baby so gently that they’ll stay sleeping”.
It seems that they have been selling very well and there have no doubt been lots of parents, babies and possibly very small adults who are extremely pleased with the warmth and comfort of the SnuggleBundl.
The tax authorities though had different things on their minds. They were more concerned as to whether the SnuggleBundl was baby clothing or was a blanket.
And the reason the tax authorities were so concerned about the classification was because of?
Well, the reason was all down to VAT. As is the case in a number of countries, the UK tax authorities do not levy VAT on children’s clothes. They do however levy VAT at 20% on blankets.
The tax authorities claimed the product was a blanket whilst the company claimed it was clothing.
The simple difference was that if it was classified as clothing it would be sold for £34.99 whereas if it was classified as a blanket it would be sold for £41.99 (£34.99 plus 20% VAT of £7).
This difference in price would have a major impact on the number of SnuggleBundl’s sold as it’s a big difference for a parent if they have to pay £34.99 or £41.99 for the item.
Given that in both of these cases the company would end up with the same amount of money, it was obvious why the company wanted it to be classified as clothing (if the item was classified as a blanket and sold at £41.99 the £7 VAT would need to be paid over to the tax authorities by the company leaving them with £34.99).
In what no doubt caused a huge sigh of relief the company (plus a few happy gurgles by some babies) the company won the case and the courts found that the product was in fact clothing and not blankets.
The directors of the company can sleep peacefully now…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.png00Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-06-13 09:57:262015-06-13 09:57:26Is it clothing or a blanket?
Be honest now – have you ever thought that it would be nice to be able to cheat in your exams and get away with it? Have you ever thought it would be great to be able to pass your exams with ease without putting in any real effort?
Well, if the thought has crossed your mind you are not the only one. The girlfriend of Ayan Zhademov thought it would be a good idea to cheat in her exams and she managed to persuade 20 year old Mr Zhademov to help her cheat.
Unfortunately for the lady (but fortunately for all the hard-working honest students who were sitting the exam) the plan wasn’t the smartest and her boyfriend didn’t look much like a woman.
“Didn’t look much like a woman” – why does it matter whether or not he looked like a woman I hear you say?
Well, the plan was for Mr Zhademov to pretend that he was his girlfriend and to sit her exam for her.
When the day of the exam came around, he wore her clothes together with a wig and lots of make-up.
It was reported that despite his efforts to dress up as a woman he simply look like a man wearing a dress and make-up which had been put on badly. The exam invigilators noticed something was wrong and became even more suspicious when he spoke as he had an extremely deep manly voice.
The end result was that he was caught out, his girlfriend failed her exam and he was fined £1,400.
The morale of the story is that it doesn’t pay to cheat and no matter how tempting it may appear to be, just don’t do it. Not even if your girlfriend or boyfriend is a genius and looks exactly like you.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.png00Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-06-04 09:43:462015-06-04 09:43:46Not the brightest individual.
Those of you that are attempting the June 2015 ACCA exams will no doubt be feeling a mixture of emotions.
Some of you will be fully confident of passing although probably the majority of you are only hopeful of passing at this stage and are frantically trying to cram as much knowledge into your heads as possible by undertaking some last minute revision before the exams next month.
One of my students at a recent session was unfortunately ill during the run up to the exams and wasn’t feeling at all confident entering the exam hall. Pleasingly he managed to pass his exams and when he told me he the good news he referred to it as his “great escape”.
Hopefully you’ll be successful in your exams and won’t be relying on a “great escape” when you sit your papers but we’ve now released our ACCA exam tips for the June 2015 ACCA exams and the link to them is at the bottom of this blog post.
For those of you interested in seeing an example of a “rubbish escape” as opposed to a “great escape” the video below of two prisoners trying to escape from a New Zealand court makes nice viewing.
Good luck with your final revision and here are the June 2015 ACCA exam tips (after selecting this link, click on the paper you are interested in and the exam tips are on the right of that paper’s page).
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.png00Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-05-27 09:40:512015-05-27 09:40:51ACCA exam tips released. Will you have a great escape or a rubbish escape?
If you do, how long do you spend sat there before you get up to move around?
If you sit at your desk and work on your computer without moving around then I’ve for some unfortunate news for you because a sedentary lifestyle where you sit at your desk without moving around is bad for you.
Researchers at the University of Utah examined the health, exercise and nutrition records of over 3,000 Americans over a 3 year period and on average they spent 34 minutes sitting or lying down per hour whilst working.
Ignoring the question as to what were they doing lying down it will come as no surprise that the more time they spent on sedentary activities the more likely they were to die during the study.
Swapping sitting with standing up appeared to make no difference to the risk of death but what did make a difference was replacing 2 minutes sitting with 2 minutes of walking around
2 minutes of walking around per hour instead of sitting down reduced the risk of death by 33%.
So, the trick is to make sure you walk around for a couple of minutes an hour whilst at the office.
Of course, if those 2 minutes are spent walking to the vending machine to stock up on crisps and chocolate to eat at your desk there may not be that much of a benefit…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.png00Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-05-02 09:17:232015-05-02 09:17:23It’s a good idea to start walking in the office…
How much do you get paid? My guess is it’s not as much as the chief executive of WPP.
Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured) is chief executive of the advertising business WPP and his annual pay has just been revealed in the company’s annual report.
His total pay was £42.98 million. In case you think that’s a typo – it’s not. He received nearly £43 million in pay.
As well as being the chief executive, Martin Sorrell is the founder of the company.
The company has grown significantly since it was founded in 1985 and it is now quoted and part of the FTSE 100 (the largest 100 companies on the London stock market).
As a result of being quoted there are numerous corporate governance requirements which need to take place. One of these is the disclosure of the directors’ remuneration policy in the published accounts.
Following the publishing of his remuneration package in the accounts it became apparent that one element of his package was very unusual.
Included within his remuneration package of $43 million is a payment to him in respect of his wife’s travel expenses. Now his wife’s travel expenses which were paid by his employer were pretty significant and definitely amounted to more than the occasional taxi journey. In fact, they amounted to £274,000!
That’s not a bad amount for travel expenses is it?
So, should you suggest to your boss at your next salary review that you should receive a travel allowance for your husband or wife?
My guess is that if you do, the response to your request would be fairly brief and probably include a rude word or two…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.png00Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2015-04-30 09:16:002015-04-30 09:16:00Should you be able to get this benefit at work?
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