Working hard, or working effectively?

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The North American work ethic pervades most businesses, with many people not even taking all of their meagre two-week annual vacation allowance and employees often at their desks long after 5 pm. Yet Europeans are frequently confounded by this attitude – vacation allowances of five or six weeks a year are common there, often coupled with long lunch hours or siestas, particularly in Mediterranean countries. More recently, some businesses in Sweden have begun experimenting with a six-hour work day. Yes, you did read that correctly; employees get the same salary for working two fewer hours each and every day. The result? Reportedly happier employees and improved productivity. Could this work in the US or Canada? Fear of competition, of being outperformed by rivals or even ambitious coll ...

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Past The Halfway Mark – Your Year So Far…

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Last weekend was a long weekend in most of North America; Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4) in the U.S. This summer weekend of celebration falls not only close to the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, but also at the halfway mark of the year. Yes, 2016 is now more than halfway through; we have passed the summer solstice and the days are already growing shorter, a sobering thought. As we wind down a little and enjoy the long hot lazy days of summer, maybe even take a few days off, it’s not a bad time to take stock of the year so far. How has your business fared in the first half of 2016?   Taking stock can provide a clear indicator of what you’re doing right and where your business is heading, or possibly give you a wake-up call that things are ...

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Why Every Business Needs a Plan B

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I was likely not alone, last night, in watching – in mounting disbelief – the progress of the UK’s Brexit vote. I wouldn’t normally allow politics to feature in a business blog but there was one thing (among many, many others) that seemed apparent in the process and immediate aftermath – there was no Plan B!     I should immediately qualify this by saying this was only my impression, and – for the sake of the British people – I sincerely hope I am wrong, but it appeared that neither the ‘Leave’ campaigners nor the government had any kind of concrete plan for moving forward in the event of a ‘Leave’ win. The immediate fallout is a dramatic fall in the pound sterling and in stocks worldwide – no doubt this is j ...

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