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Stories by Fiona Smith

Office trends emerge from the ashes

In 10 years' time, workers could find themselves at the beck and call of employers obsessed with measurement, or their loyalties may be won with the promise of greener, cleaner workplaces, or they may just be cut free to offer their services as freelancers.
These are the three scenarios for the future offered by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers in its report assessing the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Written by Fiona Smith18 Oct. 09 22:00

Getting inside the mind of a manager

Do you hate coming into work in the morning? It is probably not the work you mind so much, but rather your boss is making your life a nightmare. Once you might have quit but, since the recession, you are probably stuck and you have to find a way to deal with it.
Research shows that one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is because of poor relationships with their managers or inadequate leadership. So with a tough job market, there are many people gritting their teeth and biding their time until they can make an exit.

Written by Fiona Smith30 Aug. 09 22:00

Rewarding excellence and creativity

Scientists and technicians can be an ornery bunch. Heads bent over arcane machines or swirling solutions in test tubes, they are not easily impressed by the management fads of the "suits" who come and go over the years that it takes to turn an idea into a winning product.
But when the board of 3M hired its first outsider as chief executive in 2000, it was a revolutionary change for the 100-year-old company.

Written by Fiona Smith30 March 09 23:00

They're older - and they should know

The voters in the United States were presented with some historic
choices in the past election: would they vote for a woman? For a black

Written by Fiona Smith26 Nov. 08 22:00

Staff care about the company they keep

It is one way to kill a dinner party. The icebreaker question: "So, what do you do for a crust?" starts an avalanche of disaster stories as the other guests regale you with problems they have had dealing with your employer.
The collapse in your social standing is just one of the perils of working for an organisation with a bad reputation.

Written by Fiona Smith29 July 08 22:00

Ungodly power of boss' moniker

When it comes to nicknames, a surprisingly large number of male CEOs are known simply as "God". The names underlings bestow often point to the omnipresent nature of the boss, the power wielded and the leader's elevated nature.
Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder is one "God", having taken the place of the outgoing "Saint Mike" Chaney, now chairman at the National Australia Bank. According to at least one report, the well-respected Chaney, too, had his moments as "God" while at Wesfarmers.

Written by Fiona Smith28 July 08 22:00

Deceptive downsizing leads to new life

Tim Ferriss's first book, The Four-Hour Work Week, has been a runaway success. In the past year, 500,000 people have shelled out their cash to learn why desk jobs are for suckers.
The book instructs readers how to outsource their lives - at least all the annoying bits that can be palmed off to virtual assistants. In the meantime, you find a niche business that can tick over by itself while you go travelling, learn languages and live the "life of Riley".

Written by Fiona Smith14 May 08 22:00

The value of creating order

When chief executives start banging on about company values, people start to switch off. Yawn. Boring. Irrelevant. Throw in the words culture, employer value proposition, employer of choice and diversity, and if you're still awake, you probably work in human resources.
It can be hard to convince cynics they should take these well-meaning concepts seriously. But just because something is difficult, it doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

Written by Fiona Smith29 April 08 22:00