2016 was definitely an eventful year. The UK had its EU referendum, and the associated political fall-out afterwards, while the USA elected a new President with perhaps equally unexpected results. Leicester City produced a miracle, the Olympics brought even more medals back to the UK than expected, and every month seemed to bring us news of another much-loved celebrity's departure. 
Five months after the UK voted to leave the European Union, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was all a bit of a storm in a teacup. For many businesses, so far there has been very little change. We have been told that “Brexit means Brexit”, but we still don’t know what Brexit will actually look and feel like when – or if – it ever happens. 
What is the one thing you have in common with every single person you work with, every customer or potential client you come into contact with, every supplier you deal with, and every competitor in your market place? In fact, with every other person on this planet? 
Imagine spending hours completing a job application, researching the organisation, carrying out a lengthy pre-interview questionnaire, preparing for interview, travelling to and attending the interview. 
 
Consider, after all that effort, commitment, anxiety, and time, how agonising the wait must be to find out if you were successful or not. 
How many hours have you spent in unproductive meetings this week? 
 
A YouGov poll in 2015 suggested that 49% of UK employees waste time in meetings every week, with distracted employees, waffling, lack of agenda and failing to reach decisions being particular bugbears. Here are a few of our top tips for more effective meetings. 
Joe’s wife has cancer. She has frequent hospital appointments and days when she feels so ill she needs someone at home to care for her, change her clothes and bedding, and help her stay clean and hydrated. Joe has no idea whether the treatment will be successful, or how he will support his wife and children if he loses his job. 
 
A couple of job adverts caught my eye last week. 
 
The first one was looking for someone who could work 12+ hours, but had to be flexible across the organisation's entire opening hours. That was 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. Quite a proposition! 
What makes the difference between a workplace you want to stay in, and a workplace you can’t wait to leave? 
 
You might think that money and perks can make a bad job bearable, but most motivation theories tell us that financial benefits are only a short-term motivator. 
Does your organisation have a long hours culture? According to the TUC, the number of workers in the East Midlands who are regularly working more than 48 hours a week has risen by 18% since 2010. And this week the CIPD issued their 2015 Absence Management Survey which found that 31% of employers (and particularly those with long hours cultures) have seen an increase in ‘presenteeism’ - people coming to work when they are genuinely unwell due to fear their job may be at risk if they take time off. 
What did you do for your holiday this summer? 
 
Something active and personally enriching? Lazing in the sunshine? Catching up on some books or meeting family and friends? 
 
And what did you notice when you returned to work? (Apart from the e-mail mountain of course!) Has your perspective changed at all? Have some of the big problems you were grappling with before you went away miraculously become a bit smaller and more manageable? Have your team managed to keep the organisation afloat during your absence? Are you a little more relaxed since you returned? 
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