Why making work better for everyone is a two-way street

Welcome to our new website.

It’s home to what we know about work and how to make it better for everyone. But it’s a two-way street. To achieve our mission – of making work better for everyone, now and in the future – we need your help.

That’s why, for this website, we asked some of you on the street what work means to you. It’s also why we’ll be inviting you to get involved in our own research, and asking the occupational psychologists among you to comment and collaborate with us.

In return for your help, we’ll share the results of our research openly, together with the tools you’ll need to take action. And we’ll do it through interactive, engaging events, as well as articles, blogs and films.

We’ll also help organisations to make better decisions about people and work, and develop the next generation of occupational psychologists in the UK.

So bookmark this website and keep checking back for updates – it’s going to be a busy few months!

What does work mean to you?

‘Work means getting the job done in a fun way.’ ‘It defines who I am.’ ‘It’s a way of making money but it’s also a passion.’

These are some of the answers we got when we took to the street to ask people two questions: what does work means to you, and why is it important?

The resulting vox pops show how varied people’s attitudes are to what they do for a living. For some, work is just a means to an end. But for others, it’s a passion they feel lucky to get paid for.

At the Future Work Centre, our mission is to make it mean something good for everyone.

We do this by carrying out research and sharing the results openly and for free, together with the tools you’ll need to take action. But when “work” is such a huge and complex topic, how do we know where to start?

We’ve developed a simple model to help us. It describes, in four parts, the things that make up the world of work. And it’s at the heart of everything we do. To read more about it – as well as watch the vox pops – click on World of Work at the top of this page.

What does work mean to you? Tell us in the comments!

The secret of making successful decisions

We live in the age of information. Technological and scientific advancements mean that we’re increasingly bombarded with suggestions about how to make improvements to our lives. Yet these suggestions often seem to differ or conflict. With an abundance of information, how do we know which suggestions to give credence to, and which to act upon?

Organisations face the same challenges. Their decision-makers understand the need to make sound and effective choices about how to allocate limited resources. And the decisions they make have profound implications for employees and society. But those decisions are undoubtedly complex, and often, the people making them don’t have a clear view of all the factors in play.

This is understandable. Decision-makers often have to navigate challenging and pressurised organisational contexts, and act quickly to deliver results. While no one sets out to make a bad decision, a large amount of research has shown that even the best decision-makers often make hasty and inaccurate ones – because they haven’t taken the time to consider and evaluate a wide-range of evidence. What’s more, the factors and outcomes of organisational decisions – such as leadership, engagement and culture – may be intangible and difficult to measure. As a result, decisions and actions are often guided by what’s been done in the past, or what others in the industry are doing, rather than by evidence that’s grounded in the immediate organisational context.

At the Future Work Centre, we want to help organisations to make better, more effective decisions about their people by taking an evidence-based approach. This means asking the right questions, and balancing different types of evidence (such as existing organisational data, people’s experiences, published research and insights into the psychology of people at work) before reaching conclusions.

To do this, we apply our skill and expertise as occupational psychologists and researchers in organisations to design robust programmes of research. We go beyond measurement, helping organisations to understand the meaning of the evidence and how it speaks to them as an organisation and as individuals.

In other words, we find out what works, in what way, and for whom. And that results in decisions that work, too.

To find out more, visit ‘What is an evidence-based approach?