Future Work Centre is now a Community Interest Company

We are really pleased to share the news that the Future Work Centre has been successful in its application to become a Community Interest Company (CIC). CICs are limited companies which operate to provide a benefit to the community they serve, rather than private shareholders (You can read more about CICs here).

Our decision to transition to a CIC was driven by the same organisational goals we had when we set up the Centre in 2014 – to communicate, promote and share the application of science and good practice for the benefit of people at work. It has always been our mission to engage with a diverse audience, which is why we openly share resources and tools to help organisations, practitioners and the wider public make better decisions at work. We believe that being a social enterprise more closely aligns with our mission, and allows us to have different types of relationships with individuals and organisations.

Why is this our mission?

 Work represents a fundamental aspect of most of our lives. Aside from the financial reward we get for working, we derive a lot of meaning from employment – which becomes obvious when we’re looking for a new job. Our roles, employer and profession all contribute to our identity.

Work can contribute to – or detract from – our psychological and physical wellbeing. The workplace can be somewhere we spend the majority of our waking hours, so it’s important the experience is a safe, pleasant and fulfilling one.

The centrality of work to our lives – whether it’s us at work, or the people we live with – means it represents a rich seam of information and opinion for so many people. But also, a context where it’s all too easy for myth and misinformation to take hold.

Put simply, work is important. And we think the community of people at work is the perfect community for our CIC to support.

What do we do and why?

The Future Work Centre critically examines the workplace through a psychological, evidence-based lens, providing practical, accessible resources and advice to help organisations, the profession and the public to help them get more from their experience of work. In practice this means:

  • We monitor the key trends that are shaping the workplace both now and in the future.
  • We translate and communicate good quality scientific research into accessible and meaningful learning for the user.
  • We champion a scientific approach to making people-related decisions and investments at work. And we highlight and challenge poor practice, myths and fads.
  • We use our expertise as experienced occupational psychologists to help organisations identify what works, in what way and for whom so that they can design and implement more effective policies and practices.

The nature of work has always evolved. And whilst that’s nothing new, we are perhaps living at a time when it’s arguable that there is more information available to us than ever before. It can be hard to cut through the noise, to distinguish fact from fiction and navigate the evolving workplace. Organisations are awash with myths and fads related to people whether that’s how to recruit, promote, develop or engage employees.

We think occupational psychology has a critical role to play in shaping work environments which are productive, diverse, promote health and wellbeing and are rewarding for all. As such we want to give you the information and tools you need to raise the level of discussion about workplace practices.

You won’t find us making predictions about the future of work, nor will we be advocating wholesale, one-size-fits-all solutions to complex problems. You will however, see us continuing to champion evidence-based practice – finding out what works, in what way and for whom. This means digging deeper, asking more questions, taking time to define a problem before taking action, knowing how to understand and apply scientific data and thinking critically about your organisational context, rather than ‘lift and drop’ interventions because they are seen as ‘best practice’.

This year

The transition to a CIC does not signal a move away from many of the things we’ve been doing over the last few years. In fact, we’re looking to build and expand our resources, develop partnerships and continue working with organisations, sharing science and good practice. We will continue to contribute to industry and trade events and conferences throughout the year.

One of our most popular resource is ‘EvidenceTALKS’, our podcast launched earlier this year, where we discuss the psychology of work, the evidence behind workplace practices and the myths, fads and fashions that make decision-making so hard. With over 4000 downloads, we’ve been delighted with the interest and feedback and a big thank you to all those who have freely given their time to contribute.

Be part of the community

The Future Work Centre is supported by a diverse and talented team of occupational psychologists and marketing and communications professionals. However, we also work and collaborate with other like-minded bodies and professionals to champion evidence-based approaches to work.

We are keen to expand our community and provide opportunities for others to contribute, so if you’re interested to know more please get in touch – claire.rahmatallah@futureworkcentre.com.


Don’t just jump on the bandwagon!

Those looking to adopt an evidence-based approach first need to question ‘best practice’. It’s about understanding what works, in what way and for whom. For organisations, operating in this way also means challenging workplace fads and fashions, evaluating the impact of new products, systems and reorganisations and using good quality scientific evidence to make better decisions that impact the people in our business.

But that is often easier said than done. So what makes it so difficult? In this article published in Supply Management magazine , Dr. Richard MacKinnon, Insight Director at the Future Work Centre, highlights some of the barriers to being evidence-based in organisations and shares ideas for sparking more challenging conversations about finding out what works, in what way and for whom.

Read the full article



HR ‘must not be swayed by hype around technology’

HR professionals must take the opportunity to reflect and think critically about the introduction of technology in the workplace, rather than being swayed by hype, according to one of the UK’s leading experts on the topic.

Speaking at the CIPD London Future of Work Conference, Dr Richard MacKinnon, insight director at the Future Work Centre, said HR departments had an opportunity to be a “critical friend” to business leaders as they consider automating elements of their operations. But that required them to think about whether new technology was being introduced for the good of the business or because of a rush to follow others or be part of a new trend.

Read full article published in People Management

Join our team

Retro black hand pointing finger
We’re looking for a new member of the team, to help us achieve our mission to improve the quality and experience of work. This exciting new role is primarily focused on generating new business and growing our portfolio of clients. But as a key member of our team, you’ll also have an important voice in helping us shape the future of our business – contributing to and influencing how we can best help organisations, how we support and educate professionals, and what research we do and share.

To find out more about the role, please read the job description.

Thinking of introducing wearable technology?

We’re becoming increasingly addicted to measuring our own performance; how fast we run, how many steps we take, how much and what kind of sleep we get. Needless to say, wearable technology has enormous potential for businesses too; understanding employee data can help guide investment in many business areas including engagement, culture and training and development. But how can businesses manage the opportunity which their employee data can bring with the ethical responsibility of how, when and why it’s used?

We recently took part in a CIPD podcast about the use of wearable technology in organisations, exploring the potential pitfalls and the important ethical considerations of doing so. So if you’re thinking of introducing wearable technology in your organisation, you may want to listen to this first!

Listen to the podcast


‘You’ve got mail!’ research goes global

Ahead of the Division of Occupational Psychology Annual Conference this week, we’ve been promoting the results of our ‘You’ve got mail!’ research, exploring the impact of email on our health and well-being.

We’re delighted at the opportunities that we’ve had to talk about this important issue. Dr Richard MacKinnon, Insight Director at the Future Work Centre, has appeared on national television in the UK on BBC Breakfast and the Turkish television network TRT World:

Richard was also interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 2 in the UK and on the Pat Kenny Show on NewsTalk in Ireland. And coverage of the research has been picked up by media all over the world, including the Telegraph, Independent and Guardian in the UK, Sky News in Australia, The Times of India, Repubblica in Italy, and Metro News in the Netherlands.

The extent of interest in our study highlights the impact that email usage has on people across the world, and reinforces the role that high quality, evidence-based research can play in helping to improve people’s experience of work.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our research, including advice and guidance, visit our ‘You’ve got mail!’ page. We’ll also be sharing our findings at the DOP Annual Conference in Nottingham on Thursday 7 January at 3pm.

To further develop the evidence-base on this topic, we are looking for organisations who are interested in understanding how email is impacting their employees, and testing interventions to improve the experience of email at work. If you’d like to work with us, please get in touch at info@futureworkcentre.com or on 020 7947 4273.


How you manage your emails may be bad for your health

Joint press release from the British Psychological Society and the Future Work Centre, Sunday 3 January 2016

New research suggests that it’s not just the volume of emails that causes stress; it’s our well-intentioned habits and our need to feel in control that backfires on us.

These are some of the key findings presented next week, Thursday 7 January 2016, at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham by Dr Richard MacKinnon from the Future Work Centre.

The Future Work Centre asked nearly 2,000 working people across a variety of industries, sectors and job roles in the UK about their experience of using email. The research explored whether factors such as technology, behaviour, demographics and personality played a role in people’s perception of email pressure.

The research suggests many people have developed some bad habits when it comes to managing email. Nearly half of those surveyed have emails automatically sent to their inbox (push notifications) and 62 per cent left their email on all day. Those who checked email early in the morning and late at night may think they are getting ahead, but they could be making things worse, as the study showed that these habits were linked to higher levels of stress and pressure.

Dr Richard MacKinnon said: “Our research shows that email is a double-edged sword. Whilst it can be a valuable communication tool, it’s clear that it’s a source of stress of frustration for many of us. The people who reported it being most useful to them also reported the highest levels of email pressure! But the habits we develop, the emotional reactions we have to messages and the unwritten organisational etiquette around email, combine into a toxic source of stress which could be negatively impacting our productivity and wellbeing.”

“Despite organisations attempting to shape policies and procedures to minimise the negative impact of email, it’s clear one-size-fits-all advice is ineffective. People are different both in terms of how they perceive stress and how and where they work. What works for some is unlikely to work for others. We came up with a few tips to help some of those bad habits.”

  • To the early morning/late night checkers – put your phone away, do you really need to check your email?
  • How about planning your day and prioritising your work, before the priorities of others flood your inbox?
  • Consider turning off ‘push notifications’ and/or turning off your email app for portions of the day, and take control of when you receive email.

You can read the full research report at http://www.futureworkcentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/FWC-Youve-got-mail-research-report.pdf

The Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference takes place from the 6 to 8 January 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ. See the conference website.

Developing the next generation of occupational psychologists

One of the aims of our organisation is to raise the bar of occupational psychology, which we do by carrying out scientific research that helps organisations make better decisions and openly sharing the results with as wide an audience as possible. But we believe that to really achieve this aim, we need to put our money where our mouth is and invest in the next generation of occupational psychologists.

Earlier this year we launched a search for six early career psychologists who were passionate about the science of occupational psychology and eager to achieve chartership. Last week we reached an important milestone as we welcomed the six successful applicants to our team!

In their roles as Insight Psychologists, they will work with clients, conduct research into the world of work and embark on a development programme called Pathway.

Pathway is a three-year development programme running in parallel with their BPS Chartership, which will provide them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to become well-rounded occupational psychologists. This means developing their skills beyond psychology; equipping them to become professionals who understand and can operate effectively in organisations.

One of the things the new team will be working on is identifying and evaluating the evidence-base for a range of HR challenges such as training and development, performance management, and the impact technology is having on how we work. We look forward to sharing the results with you and championing the importance of evidence-based practice.

Join our team – Principal Psychologist

Do you want to work for an organisation that’s shaping the future of occupational psychology? Do you want to shape evidence-based solutions for organisations without the constraint of a pre-defined set of products and services? Are you passionate about communicating the science of occupational psychology to the general public? If so, we have a unique opportunity to join us on our journey, helping us grow our business and achieve our mission.

As Principal Psychologist at the Future Work Centre, you will be primarily focused on generating new business and growing our portfolio of clients. But you’ll also have the opportunity to lead client projects, providing objective insights and actionable solutions to their people-related challenges.

We’re looking for a psychologist who shares our ethos and is passionate about occupational psychology. To be successful, you must be able to explore client issues from an independent perspective, not with a fixed product or service in mind. We examine issues using an evidence-based practice perspective, so an advisory approach is key.

Download the Principal Psychologist job description to find out more.

If you share our ethos and think you’re a good fit for the role, we’d really like to have a conversation with you. Express your interest by emailing us at mycareer@futureworkcentre.com and we’ll be in touch to arrange a call.

You’ve got mail!

As part of our 2015/16 research focus on the role and impact of technology at work, we’ve spent the past few months exploring the impact of email at work.

Email is part of most people’s lives. But despite its widespread use and popularity, for some individuals and employers, it can be a source of major frustration, anxiety and lost productivity.

To understand more about how email both facilitates and negatively impacts the employee experience, we conducted a survey of c2,000 people across a variety of industries, sectors and job roles in the UK. We found that people’s experience of email is influenced by a range of factors, such as technology, behaviour, demographics, work-life balance and personality.

Explore our findings and recommendations for how you can improve your experience of email.