Work is changing, but not for the better. Bruce Daisley, VP EMEA of Twitter, outlines his vision for more enlightened workplaces.
At the recent 'Always on con' debate organised by the Workforce Institute, Bruce Daisley of Twitter described how individuals are becoming more stressed and burned out. He outlined ways we could all 'take back control' of our work lives and ultimately find more meaning and empowerment in our daily interactions. We caught up with him for an in-depth chat....
Why are so many people stressed and burned out at work?
We make a mistake when describing cortisol. Cortisol is an acceleration hormone. It just says 'go harder, go faster, go longer'.
In itself it doesn't relate to stress, but stress can be one of the consequences of us living on it. One of the things that scientists have learned is that half of all people who check email out of work hours show signs of high stress. That 'always on' approach leads to people feeling burned out and exhausted.
Do you think employers are realising this negative consequence of trying to do 'more with less’ that is characterising so many workplaces today?
Yes - lots of employers are realising it but simultaneously they don't want to take actions against - say - the number of emails or meetings they expect people to complete.
In fact, a lot of work places are providing additional services like mindfulness classes. But let's be clear, they are bringing those in so that it helps deal with the unreasonable burden of work across the rest of the week.
It's like saying 'we know it's a lot, but have this to help'. It's not a solution to the demands that work is creating.
Tell us about your ‘New Work Manifesto’ – what prompted your interest in this?
I started doing a podcast called 'Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat' in January principally as a process of learning. My own learning.
I wanted to better understand how to create and improve work cultures. Over 25 episodes, I've chatted to some exceptional experts who can paint a picture of the way that our working lives are changing - and how we can achieve a happier balance.
If I'm honest I think work used to be more fun than it is today - I'd love to help improve that, and that's why I've created the New Work Manifesto - an 8 point plan to improve work. Simple simple changes than all of us can do.
So what sort of things can we be doing?
I think enlightenment will come from people at work not the bosses. My view is that there are so actions that we can all take.
Take the number badge off your email app, take a lunch break, don't email at the weekend. If we all do these things we can improve our own lives.
What are your expectations for the future?
Things are going to get worse. Ultimately we'll probably end up with some enlightened workforces and then most places of work will be unhappy, exhausting and even more stressful.