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We have  just completed another successful open programme for a mixed group of HR Business partners and aspiring business partners. Having reviewed the groups evaluation forms it's really gratifying for to us see that everyone agrees they have;

a) improved their business partnering skills

b) learned things they can put into practice immediately

c) rated our programme one of the most useful professional development programmes they have been on

d) and would recommend the programme to other organisations

The Times' Tom Whipple reports on a new study which indicates that the number of face-to-face interactions between staff fell precipitously after companies switched to an open-plan design. Researchers for a study published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B found that such encounters in open-plan offices declined by 70%. Ethan Bernstein from Harvard Business School observes that when workers had too little privacy they were more likely to try to compensate in other ways. “People put on huge headphones to avoid distraction.

Hong Kong-headquartered real estate start-up Spacious is at the forefront of a trend whereby US restaurants make themselves available as co-working spaces before they open for dinner. Since it launched two years ago, Spacious has converted 25 upscale restaurants in New York and San Francisco into weekday work spaces.

Source: New York Times


As in previous years, we didn't send Christmas or New Year cards over the festive season, but instead made a contribution to our chosen charity, WaterAid. This international charity transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. You can read more about the work they undertake and how to donate by clicking here.

A new US website will enable employees to bypass their company's human resources departments and anonymously report harassment, discrimination, or bias to their CEO and board of directors. Claire Schmidt is leaving her role as technology executive at 20th Century Fox to launch AllVoices within the coming weeks. Schmidt says the website will keep users informed, let them know when the company has received the report and if they have acted upon the information.

Oxen Parks’ Geoff Booth warns the robots are coming...however rather than run away, run towards. Partnership between AI and humans has to be the way forward.

We were delighted to receive this feedback from a participant of our Future HR Leaders Programme:

"I joined the Oxen Park Future HR Leader Programme in 2014 with expectations of improving my leadership capability, networking with interesting colleagues from different sectors of HR and finding tangible ways forward with business challenges through action learning. It certainly did "what it said on the tin". I have benefited from all of the above. 

Sleep is a hot topic at the moment. The Daily Telegraph has an article today on "Is a lack of sleep killing your career?" The 'sleepless elite' myth is finally being discredited, writes the Daily Telegraph's Maria Lally. Big companies in the banking, legal and advertising world are realising their employees perform better when they sleep properly.

Congratulations to the Centre for Creative Leadership, friends of Oxen Park and regular contributors to our online conversations, on their top 5 ranking for executive education in the Financial Times.

Read more on their website here.

Children as young as three are being enrolled in “CEO courses” in China as parents strive to give their offspring an advantage over their infant peers. Toddlers will become qualified in determining “real and fake friendships” and “techniques in dealing with conflicts among friends”, according to the website of one such “future leaders” course at the Beijing-based Baoyatu Early Education Garden. 

Originally reported in the The Daily Telegraph

Geoff's input: Maybe we need to start marketing our Future HR Leaders Programme to a different audience?!

Geoff recently presented to a group on Alliance Manchester Business School’s "The Manchester Management Development Programme" on the topic of Leadership & Management – A People Perspective. Most participants rated the session Excellent, here are some verbatim feedback from delegates: 

We were delighted to receive the following feedback from Dawn Aunger, Assistant Director for HR and Organisational Development at Plymouth City Council:

"I have invested in development for many HR&OD teams and individuals over the years with a variety of external providers but my recent experience with Oxen Park has been exemplary.

We have been collaborating with the Centre for Creative Leadership through Nick Petrie, who has shared some of his thinking with us our Conversations from your Office events. Nick always has an interesting perspective on the topics he researches and this is no exception.

For some time now we have been trying to find a refreshing way to look at the subject of Change and we believe Nick has landed on the answer.

Oxen Park’s Geoff Booth is leading a half day session on People Management and HR for this programme July. The Manchester Management Development Programme is a five-day, high energy general management course that maximises accelerated learning for delegates. Over the week the emphasis is on building an individual’s confidence as a manager and gaining a wider appreciation of business. Read more here.

As in previous years, we didn't send Christmas or New Year cards over the festive season, but instead made a contribution to our chosen charity, WaterAid. This international charity transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. We were delighted to read that every donation received by WaterAid between 10 November and 10 February will be doubled by the UK Government.