Posts tagged with "Oxford University"

From biting your nails to being late, how so-called bad habits actually might be good for you

July 26, 2022

Nobody’s perfect, but researcher’s at Britain’s Oxford University have some good news for us: Some bad habits and bad manners might actually be good for us, according to a report by The Sun.

Below, are six things that we might not want to be caught doing in polite company, but that really could help, not hurt, according to researchers:

  • Biting nails–boosts immune system: Gnawing at your fingernails might make some people shudder, but biters have the last laugh. Some scientists believe such nibbling can keep you healthy. The theory is that introducing new bacteria into your body could help your immune system learn to recognize it in the future—like a vaccination.
  • Chewing gum—sharpens memory: Chewing on a stick of gum might get you a lecture from the dentist, but it could be worth it. Chewing is more effective than caffeine at helping with focus and memory, according to research. It raises levels of stress hormone cortisol, which keeps you on your toes and concentrating for longer.
  • Not tidying up—a sign of intelligence: If you constantly find yourself tripping over your kids’ shoes or standing on their Legos, your child might be a genius. Being messy is a sign of intelligence, according to the University of Minnesota.  Smarter people don’t waste time tidying or organizing things, they say (which may not “spark joy” for Marie Kondo). The chaotic clutter also boosts creativity.
  • Bad posture—can benefit your spine: The next time someone ticks you off for bad posture after a long day, tell them this: After hard physical work, leaning forward for a bit can benefit your spine, says University Hospital of North Tees. The position helps alleviate back stiffness by allowing fluid to grease up spinal discs, its study discovered.
  • Being late—makes you happy: Arriving late to parties might infuriate hostsm, but it keeps guests easy-going. Those with a relaxed approach to timekeeping are likely to have lower stress levels, says a study by Harvard Medical School. They are also more likely to lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.
  • Playing with your hair—stops boredom: Next time you find yourself zoning out, twiddling with your hair could help. A 2014 study found that playing with your locks can alleviate boredom when your concentration is waning. Messing with your tresses can even reduce anxiety and help you to wind down before going to bed.

Research contact: @TheSun

The world’s biggest four-day work week pilot begins

June 8, 2022

Thousands of UK workers started a four-day work week on Monday, June 6, with no cut to their pay in the largest-ever trial of its kind, reports CNN.

The pilot—which has been designed to last for six months—involves 3,300 workers spanning 70 companies, ranging from providers of financial services to a fish-and-chip restaurant.

During the program, workers will receive 100% of their pay for working only 80% of their usual week, in exchange for promising to maintain 100% of their productivity.

The program is being run by not-for-profit 4 Day Week Global; Autonomy, a think tank; and the 4 Day Week UK Campaignl; in partnership with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College.

Sienna O’Rourke, brand manager at Pressure Drop Brewing, an independent brewery in London, told CNN Business that the company’s biggest goal was to improve the mental health and well-being of its employees.

“The pandemic [has] made us think a great deal about work and how people organize their lives,” she said. “We’re doing this to improve the lives of our staff and be part of a progressive change in the world.”

Given that the company manufactures and ships products, workers have less flexibility about when and where they work, O’Rourke said. But any difficulties in navigating holiday and sick leave would be tackled as a team.

Until now, Iceland had conducted the biggest pilot of a shorter working week (between 2015 and 2019), with 2,500 public sector workers involved in two large trials. Those trials found no corresponding drop in productivity among participants, and a dramatic increase in employee well-being.

Calls to shorten the working week have gathered steam in recent years in several countries. As millions of employees switched to remote work during the pandemic—cutting onerous commuting time and costs—calls for greater flexibility have only grown louder.

Government-backed trials are set to take place in Spain and Scotland later this year, the 4 Day Week Campaign said in a press release.

Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said that the workers have shown they can work “shorter and smarter.”

He notes, “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge.”

Researchers will measure the impact the new working pattern has on productivity levels, gender equality, and the environment; as well as worker well-being.

Research contact: @CNNBusiness