BY MAURIE BACKMAN--THE MOTLEY FOOL
When you feel like you’re the only one doing work, it can feel miserable.
Here’s what you can do about it
Though the holidays are a popular time for workers to cash in on their vacation days, there are plenty of good reasons not to take time off toward the end of the year. For one thing, holiday travel can be prohibitively expensive, so if you’re looking to visit friends and family, the latter part of the year is perhaps the worst time to do so. Additionally, putting in more face time toward the end of the year can work to your advantage when your manager is focused on things like promotions and raises. And, you’ll probably find that you’re more productive when the ever-present distractions known as your coworkers disappear.
Then again, there’s a downside to having the office all to yourself, and it’s getting dumped on when everyone else is away. If you’re worried that your life is going to be miserable during the holidays because your coworkers will be gone, here’s how to mitigate that concern.
1. Set boundaries
When many of your colleagues take off at the same time, somebody has to pick up the slack. And chances are, that somebody will be you. That said, you shouldn’t have to drive yourself utterly crazy trying to manage your own job plus the work of six other people, so before your colleagues leave, sit them and your boss down and set some ground rules. Explain that while you’re happy to help out, you can only do so much, especially if you have your own deadlines to meet. With any luck, your manager will recognise the tough spot you’re being put in and figure out a way to more equitably divvy up the load so you don’t get slammed.
At the same time, let your colleagues know that while you’d like to serve as a backup for each and every one of them, you can’t help everyone at the same time. This way, it’ll be on them to duke it out and see who gets to ask you for coverage, as opposed to you having to make that decision.
2. Talk to your boss about getting temporary help
It’s common to see a lot of empty desks at the office around the holidays, but if you’re concerned about keeping up with your workload in the absence of much of your team, try suggesting to your boss that you hire some temps to help compensate. Whether your manager says yes will probably be a function of your company’s budget, but if there’s wiggle room to get some extra hands on deck, and you’re willing to train those temps, it might ease the burden on you.
3. Keep your eyes on the big picture
Getting overloaded with work is no fun, especially when it happens because you’re frantically trying to cover for everyone who’s out. At the same time, recognise that in doing all of that work, you’re making a good impression on your boss while building some goodwill with your coworkers. And remember, if you push yourself to step up and cover other people’s workloads when they’re away, they’ll return the favour when it’s your turn to be out.
There’s no question about it: It’s hard being left behind at the office while your colleagues all take time off for the holidays. At the same time, that influx of work you might have to cope with isn’t a long-term or permanent change, so if you can survive the next bunch of weeks, your officemates will be back before you know it.
The following tables show how the legislated increases in State Pension age will be phased in. A
State Pension age calculator is provided on the Gov.uk website. This calculator tells people when they will reach their State Pension age, under current legislation, based on their gender and date of birth.
The Pensions Act 2014 provides for a regular review of the State Pension age, at least once every five years. The Government is not planning to revise the existing timetables for the equalisation of State Pension age to 65 or the rise in the State Pension age to 66 or 67. However the timetable for the increase in the State Pension age from 67 to 68 could change as a result of a future review. Before any future changes could become law Parliament would need to approve the plans.
There is more information about claiming the State Pension, and how to get a State Pension Statement, available here
Changes under the Pensions Act 2011
Under the Pensions Act 2011, women’s State Pension age will increase more quickly to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018. From December 2018 the State Pension age for both men and women will start to increase to reach 66 by October 2020.
Increase in State Pension age from 66 to 67 under the Pensions Act 2014
The Pensions Act 2014 brought the increase in the State Pension age from 66 to 67 forward by eight years. The State Pension age for men and women will now increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. The Government also changed the way in which the increase in State Pension age is phased so that rather than reaching State Pension age on a specific date, people born between 6 April 1960 and 5 March 1961 will reach their State Pension age at 66 years and the specified number of months.
*For people born after 5 April 1969 but before 6 April 1977, under the Pensions Act 2007, State Pension age was already 67.
For the purposes of calculating an individual’s State Pension age the following applies:
Increase in State Pension age from 67 to 68 under the Pensions Act 2007
Under the Pensions Act 2007 the State Pension age for men and women will increase from 67 to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
The Pensions Act 2014 provides for a regular review of the State Pension age, at least once every five years. The review will be based around the idea that people should be able to spend a certain proportion of their adult life drawing a State Pension. The first review must by completed by May 2017. As well as life expectancy, it will take into account a range of factors relevant to setting the pension age. After the review has reported, the Government may then choose to bring forward changes to the State Pension age. Any proposals to do so would, like now, have to go through Parliament before becoming law.
The Government is not planning to revise the existing timetables for the equalisation of State Pension age to 65 or the rise in the State Pension age to 66 or 67. However the timetable for the increase in the State Pension age from 67 to 68 could change as a result of the review.
In the Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013, the Chancellor announced that this Government believes that future generations should spend up to a third of their adult life in retirement. This principle implies that SPa should rise to 68 by the mid-2030s, and 69 by the late 2040s. However, the Government is not currently legislating for this change – these dates are indicative only, showing a general direction of travel for future SPa changes.
The information in the table below is based on the current law.
The technique has been used to help people fall asleep in the most uncomfortable circumstances, and best of all, it’s said to work for 96% of the people who tried it for six weeks.
If you often find yourself having trouble falling sleep, you’re not alone. The American Sleep Association (ASA) says that 50 million to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder. Among that group, insomnia is the most common. The ASA says that 30% of adults have reported short-term, insomnia-like symptoms, and 10% of American adults deal with chronic insomnia.
A major study of 440,000 adults showed that 35% of us get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. That means there are millions of people at risk of facing serious health problems that lack of sleep can cause, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. But it’s not just health problems these people have to deal with.
Lack of sleep is a big problem for your productivity–and for the company that employs you. A 2015 Harvard study showed the average worker loses the equivalent of 11 days of productivity every year due to sleep issues. And a 2017 study found that poor sleep cost U.S. businesses a staggering $411 billion in lost productivity every year.
The recommended amount of sleep an adult needs is between seven and nine hours each night. But for many, finding this time isn’t the problem–it’s falling asleep once your head hits the pillow. I’m one of those people who occasionally has this problem, and in the past have tried everything from meditation to medication. But for the last four weeks, I tried something different–and it’s something worth trying if you have sleep problems.
Recently, an old method used by the U.S. Army to help soldiers fall to sleep in less than ideal conditions (like battlefields) has resurfaced. The Independent says the technique was first described in a book from 1981 called Relax and Win: Championship Performance by Lloyd Bud Winter.
In the book, Winter describes the technique designed by the U.S. Army to make sure soldiers didn’t make mistakes due to grogginess. The technique apparently sends you off to sleep within two minutes.
Here’s the quick sleep technique
So four weeks ago, I tried it. The technique mainly involves muscle relaxation, breathing, and visualization tricks anyone can do. Here’s how it works:
How the technique worked for me
When I began the technique I was heartened that the Army found that it worked for 96% of people who tried it–but that was for people who tried it for six weeks. That’s why I wasn’t too bummed when I tried this technique every night in the first week and nothing happened.
But then something changed starting at around the ninth night. And honestly, I can’t be sure if it was due to the technique itself or the sheer boredom caused by trying to calm my body into a lump-like state. I relaxed my muscles and visualized swinging in a velvety hammock. And the next thing I knew, it was around 3 a.m., and I woke up, awkwardly splayed over my bed, with my feet still touching the floor and the bedside light still on. I was deeply tired and only woke enough to swing my legs into bed and turn off the lamp.
But the event gave me hope, and the next night I did it again. This time I didn’t pass out right away, but felt a great release come over my body after my hammock visualization, and I crawled into bed and turned out the light. Next thing I remember is waking eight hours later, feeling rested.
So I can confidently say this decades-old technique worked for me. Mind you, it didn’t work every night. Some nights during that second week I didn’t get that “release” after my visualization. But as the weeks went on, the trick seemed to work more often than not. And it seemed to work more effectively when I visualized myself in a velvety hammock instead of in a canoe, so it helps to switch up visualizations to see what works best.
So should you try it? There’s no reason not to, based on my experience. By the fourth week, it was working more often than not. One thing I know for sure is that trying this is better taking an Ambien–and doesn’t take much more time than swallowing a pill.
So go ahead and give it a try. Then sleep on it. You might be surprised by the results.
Twitter and Facebook aren’t doing enough to curb hate, but the roots of this problem go far deeper
By Lance Ulanoff - Medium
Modern society failed to kill racism and intolerance. It only buried that angry, black heart deeper, where it beats as furiously as ever.
Cesar Sayoc, the man who allegedly mailed bombs to at least a dozen liberal or democrat-affiliated people and officials, had a predictable Twitter history. Like the van he allegedly drove, it was wrapped in pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton, conspiracy-theory rhetoric. Sayoc often attacked and threatened others on the platform. He’d been doing so for months.
Naturally, people called out Twitter for not doing enough. The account had been reported into Twitter’s abuse system, which inexplicably gave at least one of Sayoc’s online attacks a pass.
After Sayoc was apprehended, the account was suspended, and Twitter apologized. By most measures, it was the least Twitter could do.
I understand the difficulty Twitter faces, though. Twitter is full of people saying things they shouldn’t. They argue and sometimes threaten each other. Much of it goes unreported. Even when it is reported, it can be hard to know when someone is serious. On the other hand, a zero-tolerance policy would also mean that those tasked with deciding what does rise to the level of violating Twitter’s policies would need to set a really low bar. They’d have to deem almost all abusive language reported to them as a violation. Facebook could conceivably implement a similarly restrictive policy.
We’d like to believe that would solve the problem. Without Twitter, without Facebook, Sayoc and others like him would have no platform for their anger, attacks, and abuse.
Intuitively, I’ve never believed this. Hate is like water, always finding a way in or out.
As far as I know, Robert Bowers, the man who allegedly murdered 11 people at a Pittsburgh Synagogue in an anti-Semitism-fueled rage on Saturday, wasn’t on Twitter or Facebook. Bowers found another outlet for his apparent hate: the alt-right social network Gab.
Gab, a self-described platform for folks who “share in the common ideals of Western values,” looks a lot like Twitter. It has posts, followers, following, videos, and something called a Score. From Gab’s March 2018 annual report:
In other words, Gab built a social media platform for the alt-right.
Bowers was active on the platform and apparently posted shortly before the synagogue attack.
Soon after the horror unfolded in Pittsburgh and Bowers’ social media activity was discovered, PayPal banned Gab and its host provider, Joynet, dumped it. It wasn’t the first time Gab had been called out for hosting hate speech. Microsoft threatened to end hosting services in August over hate speech and its domain registrar threatened to do the same in 2017.
I would love nothing more than to see Gab and its hate- and conspiracy-filled conversations vaporize — which, as of right now, it has. However, watching founder Andrew Torba scramble to find new hosts and even collect some support online leads me to believe Gab will resurface.
That would be a sad and frustrating development. But what if we could shut down Gab for good and stop all hateful and abusive behavior on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? White supremacists, anti-Semites, and misogynists would have nowhere to digitally congregate. We’d lower the pain and suffering quotient in the world, at least incrementally.
Except we wouldn’t. Social media is just the digital mountain angry souls climb to shake their fists at the sky. Flatten one and a new alt-right social platform will rise up to take Gab’s place.
Social media didn’t create hate. It certainly has helped it congregate, grow and maybe weaponized it. But we have to remember that it’s always there. It’s no great revelation that anger, resentment, hatred, and fear of The Other is as old as humankind. It’s always looking for a foothold and will usually attach itself to modern culture through popular communication mediums.
And it didn’t start with Twitter, Facebook or Gab. Back in the early days of electronic Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), there were almost a dozen devoted to white supremacy. Modern social media makes the viral spread of hatred easier than those BBS days, where you literally needed a phone number to dial in and participate.
Finding like minds and getting support for your worst impulses is a characteristic perhaps unique to modern social media. However, what drives the hate and fear isn’t only found in the digital space. It’s at the heart of who these people are, how they were raised, how they were educated, and their life experiences.
Fixing social media may declaw some of these monsters, but it won’t end hate. I want social media to be a safe place, but I won’t mistake it for a safe world.
Every swear word in the English language has been ranked in order of offensiveness.
The UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, interviewed more than 200 people across the UK on how offensive they find a vast array of rude and offensive words and insults.
People were asked their opinion on 150 words in total. These included general swear words, words linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions, religious insults and sexual references, as well as certain hand gestures.
They were asked to rate words as mild, medium, strong or strongest.
And this is what Ofcom found.
For general swear words, the following words were seen as...by Jessica Brown
Words rated as mild were thought to be okay to use around children, whereas medium words were seen by most to be potentially unacceptable before the 9pm watershed. The vast majority thought the strong words should definitely be saved for after 9pm.
For sexual insults, most words were rated as strong.
Ofcom, which says this has been its most in-depth research yet, found that TV viewers are becoming less tolerant of racist and discriminatory language.
Most words relating to gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity, were seen as strong, whereas most relating to disability were seen as mild or medium.
An Ofcom spokesperson told indy100:
When we think of the term “millionaire”, it’s only natural for our thoughts to be skewed towards the famous business magnates that have amassed giant fortunes, likeJeff Bezos,Elon Musk, or Warren Buffett.
However, the reality is that those types of ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) with fortunes above $30 million are a fairly rare commodity – and when it’s all said and done, they make up a very tiny percentage of the millionaire population as a whole.
The vast majority of millionaires (90.0%) globally have fortunes between $1 million and $5 million, and you’re probably not going to find many of them with a sprawling mansion or a new Rolls Royce in the garage.
In fact, most millionaires drive a Ford.
So where will you find all of the world’s millionaires?
They are most likely to be found in big cities – places where they can use and display their wealth. These are also the places where big opportunities tend to be found, so it’s no surprise to see millionaires cluster in world-class cities like New York, Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, or Singapore.
Regions below are sorted by the total millionaires in each city. Data comes from the Knight Frank 2017 report.
Top cities in Asia
Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore are the undisputed millionaire population capitals in Asia, but mainland China is coming up quick from behind.
In just the last 10 years, China has upped its millionaire count by 281% to 719,400 in total – and Beijing (with 122,100 millionaires) now cracks the top five list in Asia.
Top cities in Oceania
Australia’s millionaire count has soared 85% over the last 10 years, thanks in part to red-hot property prices.
London is the millionaire capital for the world, with 357,200 of them.
Despite its relatively small size in comparison to the European heavyweights, Switzerland also has two cities in the top five: Geneva and Zurich.
Not surprisingly, Dubai is the biggest destination for the ultra-rich to flock to in the Middle East.
Mexico City, and then the two big ones in Brazil (São Paulo and Rio), are where millionaires congregate in Latin America.
The U.S. has 4.3 million millionaires, and they are widely dispersed through the country.
The Knight Frank 2017 report lists five cities: NYC, Washington, D.C., San Francisco (incl. Bay Area), Los Angeles, and Miami – all of which, according to their calculations, have more than 30k millionaires.
Canada’s Toronto also has broken the six-digit barrier with over 100,000 millionaires. That puts the Big Smoke in pretty unique company, as only 17 cities globally can make such a claim.
BY KC IFEANYI
[Photos: John Levy/Creative Management Associates/Wikimedia Commons; Carl Lender/Wikimedia Commons]
Spotify’s API lays bare basic information about its catalog of songs, like “key,” “tempo,” and so forth.
But how exactly does one measure “energy,” “danceability,” or “valence”? The latter dataset, which is defined by Spotify as a song’s positiveness, has become a key component in creating a gloom index for Radiohead songs and or finding out which Christmas song is the most depressing. Now, data journalist Miriam Quick has used Spotify’s data on the “energy” and “valence” of all the number one songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 in its 60-year history to pinpoint the top five saddest songs to top the charts.
Let’s count them down:
5. “STILL” — COMMODORES
4. “MR. CUSTER” — LARRY VERNE
3. “ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT?” — ELVIS PRESLEY
2. “THREE TIMES A LADY” — COMMODORES
1. “THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE” — ROBERTA FLACK
It’s a fun exercise, yes, but one that raises more questions than it answers. “Mr. Custer” is sad for many other reasons than what we’re here for. It’s hard to classify “Three Times a Lady” or “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” as sad songs, per se. They’re slow, and they both espouse the unending love for a significant other. As Quick mentions in her post, what isn’t taken into account with Spotify’s API data is the lyrical content of its songs.
The data Spotify creates and collects helps to parse its catalog to create playlists. While much of the heavy lifting is done by algorithms, there are indeed humans tasked with fine tuning the curation. But it all calls to mind the conversation around man vs. machine in providing recommendations through services like Spotify or Netflix. It’s something Tim Cook flagged as a concern in an interview with Fast Company recently. Apple Music leans on human curation for its playlists, and while he didn’t mention Spotify directly, he did note that he’s worried “about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft.”
If the humanity completely dies in music curation, at least we’ll know where to go to find a sad (sad-ish?) song to play at its funeral.
You, like most people, probably use your phone too much. People spend an average of four hours a day staring at their handheld screen, according to the time-tracking app Moment, and that doesn’t include time spent using their phones to do other things, like listen to podcasts or take calls. Engage in any activity for that long and it changes your brain. Those changes may be positive if we are talking about, say, meditation. Less so if it’s time spent staring at your phone.
For the past three years, I have been conducting research and writing a book about our relationships with our phones. I’ve since concluded that phone time is affecting everything from our memories and attention spans to our creativity, productivity, relationships, stress levels, physical health, and sleep. In short, if you feel like your phone is changing you — and not always for the better — you’re not crazy. You’re right.
Phones, advertising-based apps, and social media are designed to be hard to stop using. It’s their business model: The more time and attention we spend on them, the more data they can collect and the more targeted ads they can show us. These companies are so good at manipulating our brain chemistry that we often don’t even realise that we’re being manipulated. By always making sure there’s a new post or a potential “like” waiting for us, they have conditioned us to associate checking our phones with getting a reward— which makes us want to check even more.
We have become like Pavlov’s famous dogs, trained to salivate when they heard the sound of a bell. And when we can’t check our phones, our bodies release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. We become twitchy and irritable. We reach for our phones in our pockets, even if we know they’re not there. We exhibit what addiction specialists would immediately recognize as symptoms of withdrawal.
All of which is to say: Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve tried and failed to change your phone habits, or if the idea of having a happy, healthy, and sustainable relationship with your phone sounds difficult. It isdifficult. But it is possible.
Here’s the right way to change your relationship:
Identify what you do and don’t like.
There are elements of phone use that are useful or enjoyable, and there are elements that make you feel like you’re wasting your life. Your goal is to keep the former and minimise the latter.
Stop saying, “I need to spend less time on my phone.”
That is a vague and meaningless statement, the equivalent of announcing that you’re going to “eat better.” If you want to change a behaviour, you need to know why you’re trying to change it — and what you want to be doing instead. Otherwise, you won’t last beyond breakfast.
Write down three to five activities that you know bring you meaning, satisfaction, or joy — maybe this is something you say you want to do but somehow never seem to have time for. Then ask yourself how your phone is preventing you from doing these things.
For example, I know that spending time with friends brings me joy. But I also know that I’ve gotten in the habit of texting instead of calling. This often results in a half-hour of me hunched over my phone, fighting with an autocorrect that thinks I’m talking about ducks. When I finally look up, I realize that I’m in my kitchen, alone and silent, having spent 30 minutes typing what would have taken five minutes to say.
Identify a goal.
Once you’ve figured out one way in which your phone is preventing you from doing something you enjoy, you are ready to identify a goal. (You can create as many as you’d like.) I like to use this template: “I would like to spend less time ___ and more time ____.”
For example: “I would like to spend less time texting and more time with friends in person.” Note how this is different from the vague (and meaningless) “I want to spend less time on my phone.”
What would make you feel successful? It’s important to be realistic — chances are you’re not going to finish a book in one sitting or have a weekend where every moment is packed with joy, productivity, and meaning. But if you know you feel happy when you see a particular friend, you could define success as having coffee with them sometime in the next week. If you want to read a novel, you could aim to read one chapter per night.
Make it easy.
You can try to change a habit through willpower alone, but that’s not much fun — and it doesn’t usually work. It’s much more effective to remove triggers for the habit you’re trying to change and add triggers for the one you’re trying to establish.
Let’s say that you want to read your book before bed, but you keep getting distracted by your phone. First, remove the trigger: Charge your phone someplace other than your bedroom. (If necessary, buy a standalone alarm clock.) Second, add a new trigger: Put a book on your bedside table in the spot usually occupied by your phone. This way, when you instinctively reach for your phone, you’ll encounter the book.
Do the same thing on your phone. Turn off notifications. If you want to spend less time on social media, delete the apps. (Then, if you truly want to check Twitter, you’ll have to do so from the much less satisfying mobile web version.)
Pay particular attention to your home screen: It should contain only tools, not temptations. Edit and arrange your apps to make it easier to do the things you want to do and harder to do the things that make you feel gross.
Take it slow.
You are not going to change your habits in a day. Nor is it realistic to try to change all your habits at once. Pick one thing to focus on at a time. Maybe you could spend five minutes today staring out a window instead of scrolling through your phone. Perhaps this Sunday morning you can wait until after breakfast to pick up your phone. Maybe you could check your email three times this hour instead of 20. There is always room for improvement, and if you’re moving in the right direction, no accomplishment is too small.
If a friend pulled out a cigarette and blew smoke into your face, you probably wouldn’t have a problem telling them to stop, because we have a societal understanding that doing so would be rude. But if that same friend pulled out their phone in the middle of a conversation with you, it’d be much harder to speak up, because we haven’t yet agreed on etiquette for our phones. This is never going to change unless we start talking about it, so start talking about it.
The next time a phone interrupts an otherwise pleasant interaction, use it as a conversation starter. Ask your friend, “When do you think it’s okay to use your phone? When is it inappropriate?”
If it feels too aggressive to directly address your companion’s use of their phone, just look around you for conversation starters. There are bound to be other people you can use as examples.
Remember that your goal is to feel good.
If deleting social media apps works for you, great. If you truly miss Facebook, reinstall it. In other words, experiment. You’re not trying to restrict yourself arbitrarily; you’re trying to figure out what you like and what you don’t. Ultimately, the point is to make sure that when you use your phone, it’s a conscious choice.
Be okay with imperfection.
You’re never going to have a perfect relationship with your phone. And that’s fine. The point is simply to have a clear sense of what a healthy relationship looks like and to catch yourself when you’re sliding off-track. If that happens — no, scratch that — when that happens, don’t beat yourself up. Just take a deep breath and keep going.
Everyone in all General Motors offices (including CEO Mary Barra) is banned from walking and talking or texting.
At General Motors, employees are not allowed to walk around on their phones. That’s pretty standard behavior for warehouses and manufacturing facilities, but this rule extends to the office. That means no looking at a phone on the way to a meeting. No taking calls while en route to the bathroom. No checking email while you’re going to the kitchen to get a coffee.
“We have asked people not to text and walk or walk and talk on phones because it takes your attention away from potential hazards,” says Jim Glynn, GM’s vice president of Global Workplace Safety.
The new rule, which took effect in January, came out of a letter General Motors CEO Mary Barra published in June 2017. It outlined a series of key agendas necessary to the company’s longer term stability, including a commitment to “safety in everything we do.”
Car companies are often quick to tout their safety standards because of the risks associated with driving. In 2017, some 40,000 people died in a car accident, according to estimates from the National Safety Council. Another 4.57 million were seriously injured, the report says, and crashes resulted in $4.13.8 billion in spending. Car manufacturing processes are heavily regulated to ensure parts and whole vehicles are thoroughly vetted before hitting roadways. While General Motors may already have standards to protect factory workers in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration, those don’t often extend to corporate offices. What Barra was talking about in that letter was taking safety to a new level inside the company.
“Some people are going to look at this as another rule. We’re being draconian,” said Glynn. “More important than getting your job done, we don’t want you to get hurt.”
In the era of smartphone addiction, people are thinking more proactively about how to untether themselves from their screens. In 2016, CareerBuilder and Harris Poll released a survey saying workers may be attached to their smartphones, but they’re not always working. Three-quarters of employers felt at least two hours a day were lost to distractions like texting and the internet, according to the report. It dubbed smartphones a “productivity killer.”
There’s also a field of thought that smartphones and the increasingly blurred line between working and not working is zapping workers’ energy. Business magazines frequently recommend planned time away from your phone, and even prominent CEOs are limiting their smartphone use. Deloitte’s Cathy Engelbert told Fast Company in 2016 that she doesn’t reach for her phone when she first wakes up in the morning. Warren Buffet famously uses a flip phone. Some execs are even bringing their smartphone restrictions into the office. Sheldon Yellen, CEO of restoration company Belfor, told CNBC that he doesn’t allow cell phones in meetings.
For GM, the smartphone concern is less about productivity in the traditional sense and more about distraction. When phones are away, “People just become much more aware of their surroundings,” says Glynn. That makes the overall workplace safer.
In addition to the cell phone policy, GM has also instituted safety review boards for all its buildings to identify safety hazards and implement and enforce workplace safety standards. The board hosts walking tours that employees are “strongly encouraged” to participate in once a month, wherein they walk around the office or manufacturing facilities and look for ways to improve the physical safety of a given facility. “This is a global policy. We do this literally around the world,” says Glynn.
In August, the company hosts a safety week. Every office around the world videos into a town hall where the whole company reviews various safety achievements. GM also anoints “safety heroes” who have gone above and beyond their general roles within the company to ensure that workplaces are protected.
“As we all kind of alter our behavior, we get more aware of other risks,” says Glynn. He says people are now more likely to use a railing walking down stairs, or will offer to help their colleagues if they see them carrying a precarious load. Glynn says the company isn’t strict about the policy—there are no hall monitors in the office—but that the presence of these rules has been really crucial in shifting behavior.
“It can’t be, We want to be safe most of the time,” he says. “You have to be consistent.”
By Rose Leadem
A man of many talents, Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most celebrated painters, scientists, inventors, writers, architects and historians of all time. In fact, it's safe to describe da Vinci as one of the world's greatest geniuses -- if not the greatest. The late Renaissance man had a diversity of talents, and his contributions to humanity went beyond the "Mona Lisa."
From his studies of anatomy to his engineering developments creating bridges for towns, even today, nearly 500 years after his death, da Vinci is still making history. In 2017, an early da Vinci painting was unearthed and auctioned at Christie's for $450.3 million -- the highest amount ever paid for an auctioned painting.
With his appreciation for learning and growing, there's much to learn from the Italian superhuman. For more, here are nine quotes from da Vinci to open your eyes up to the world around you.