DiscoverWow @ Work
Wow @ Work

Wow @ Work

Author: Stephen Dargan

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The world of work is transforming, through remote working, the 4-day week, and employee autonomy Great organizations put their people first.
Stephen brings you conversations with remarkable leaders and successful entrepreneurs living this reality and transforming organizations into workspaces where employees feel good about themselves. Creating workplaces where employees thrive rather than languish, should be the goal of every future-thinking company.
The future of work is happy and happy starts here.
23 Episodes
Ethical marketing is a vital ingredient to a workplace where everyone feels good about themselves. The alignment of values, purpose, and how the organisation treats its suppliers and customers can be a big contributor to workplace happiness. Simon Batchelar is the author of Reframing Marketing, and has been a marketing mentor for the past 20 years. Simon has a unique perspective on ethical marketing, and believes that marketing should align with the values of the company. This means it’s not good enough simply to talk the talk – organisations must put into practice the values they espouse. Links Reframing Marketing ( – Simon’s book Scientific Advertising (, by Claude C Hopkins The Century of the Self ( – Adam Curtis documentary Sustainable Marketing: How to Drive Profits with Purpose (, by Michelle Carvill, Gemma Butler, and Geraint Evans Can Marketing Save the Planet? ( The Ethical Move (
When SEO agency Reddico made employee wellbeing a key requirement, it accelerated their approval as a B Corp. Reddico's approach to unlimited holidays and self-managed teams shows that implementing these policies as part of a larger strategy can lead to positive results, like decreased sickness rates and increased trust within the team. In his conversation with Stephen, Reddico’s Head of Culture Luke Kyte advises us not to copy what other companies are doing wholesale, but to adapt and build upon ideas to create something unique that works for each organisation. Links Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness (, by Frederic Laloux The Happy Manifesto: Make Your Organisation a Great Workplace - Now! ( by Henry Stewart Maverick!: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace (, by Ricardo Semler From software to sustainable fashion – a story of purpose and impact ( – Wow@Work with Apurva Kothari
Since 1995, over 300,000 Indian farmers have taken their own lives. When software engineer Apurva Kothari read about this, he was compelled to leave his dream job and return to India to do something about it. Apurva is a software engineer who fulfilled the dream of many young boys by working as a software consultant in San Francisco, New York, and eventually Sydney. However, while in New York, Apu read an article about the cotton crisis in Indian farming, and learned that 300,000 farmers from India had taken their own lives, with these deaths linked to GM farming in the country. This tragedy prompted Apu to leave software engineering behind and create a sustainable clothing company called No Nasties in 2011. No Nasties uses only organic cotton and other sustainable materials, closely monitors and informs the consumer about the carbon footprint of their products, and even has a returns policy for used clothing. Through his chat with Stephen, you'll gain a greater understanding of the unsustainable nature of our current consumerism model and learn how to purchase clothing in a more ethical way. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi ( Links Connect with Apurva on LinkedIn ( No Nasties ( – Sustainable clothing made in India The story behind Monsanto’s malicious monopolies in India (
What if work didn’t have to be miserable? What if the memes people shared to help them get through the week weren’t needed? Beth Stallwood began asking these questions through her work as a coach, and during lockdown started putting her ideas down on paper. Beth is a coach, facilitator, speaker, consultant, and author who has spent 20 years developing her approach to helping individuals and organisations with their people challenges. Her book on finding joy in work is a practical guide to creating a balance between work and life. She believes that work is a part of life and not the other way around, and that boundaries between work and leisure have been disappearing for the past 20 years. The book provides a step-by-step process to help readers identify areas of their work life that can be improved and create a plan for achieving balance and joy. She emphasises that work should not be a source of stress, but rather a source of satisfaction and fulfilment. Beth’s five tips for creating work joy Take control and take action. You're accountable for your job satisfaction. It's your responsibility, not your boss's, organisation's, or colleagues'. Choose your workmates wisely. When job hunting, interview bosses too. Get an idea of the boss-employee relationship. Understand what brings you joy. Your brain will unconsciously seek out joy, so take the time to figure out what sparks it and what brings gloom. Engage your squad. Turn to your network and rely on them for help, challenge, and motivation. Understand who they are and use them to your advantage. Define boundaries and communicate to others. Hold some firm, flexibly adjust others. Eg: if you don't want to work after 6 PM, let people know. Open conversation can follow. Links Connect with Beth on LinkedIn ( WorkJoy: A Toolkit for a Better Working Life ( – Beth’s book The Bournville Story ( (Cadbury factory and housing for workers) “Computer says no” ( – Little Britain Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do (, by Daniel M Cable Bullshit Jobs: The Rise of Pointless Work, and What We Can Do About it (, by David Graeber (ABeth’s website ( Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workshop (, by Ricardo Semler The Long Win: The Search for a Better Way to Succeed (, by Cath Bishop Download Beth’s WorkJoy worksheet ( WorkJoy Jam ( – Beth’s podcast
When his wife left him and the business they’d built, Ray Martin found himself feeling like a character in a play, with no script and no idea what to say next. Returning from a trip to Australia presented the possibility that he could rewrite that character, and change the story entirely. Ray is an entrepreneur and award-winning business leader. Inspired by Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, he left England to answer the question “How do I live true to myself from this moment onwards?”His nomadic adventure went global, from London to Chiang Mai, New York, the Himalayas and beyond, and unexpectedly lasted fourteen years. Ray joins Stephen to discuss his new book, ***************Life Without a Tie***************, and share some of the incredible stories and insight he picked up along the way. Links Connect with Ray on LinkedIn ( Life Without a Tie ( – Ray’s book Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing (, by Bronnie Ware Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life (, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus Stuffocation: Living More with Less (, by James Wallman \Undefended Love: The Way That You Felt About Yourself When You First Fell in Love is the Way You Can Feel All the Time (, by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons You Can Change Your Life: With the Hoffman Process (, by Tim Laurence
People transitioning from working five days to working four are getting the same amount of work done. Joe O'Connor from the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence discovered this when speaking with women who’d come back from maternity leave, who were being given the same amount of responsibility but for four fifths the pay. In his discussion with Stephen, Joe posits that organisations will need to compete for new talent on quality-of-life. And at the forefront of that is reducing – not simply compressing – the amount of time we spend working. In his work with 4 Day Global, Joe discovered that 80% output was already in place, but that it was “buried under the rubble of wasteful practices”. Digging through that rubble means putting in place ways to signpost when team members are in deep work, and focusing on the drivers of results rather than the mere amount of effort. Links Follow Joe on LinkedIn ( Follow the Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence on LinkedIn ( Follow them on Twitter ( Press release on the Center opening ( Work Time Reduction Assessment ( Joe’s announcement post on LinkedIn (
The world seems custom-made for extroverts, and has been for a long time. But for author Pete Mosely, being quiet doesn’t have to mean being ignored. Pete is the author of The Art of Shouting Quietly, and A Quiet Person’s Guide to Life and Work. In his conversation with Stephen, he breaks down the myth that introversion and extroversion are linear, the benefits of slowing down, and the importance of promoting diversity in thinking and communication styles. Links Connect with Pete via LinkedIn ( The Art of Shouting Quietly ( a guide to self-promotion for introverts and other quiet souls A Quiet Person's Guide (to Life + Work) ( Acetylcholine pathway ( The Fearless Organization (, by Amy Edmondson Default mode network ( Cold (, by Ranulph Fiennes
What do we do when life or work throws us a curveball? In her new book, productivity expert Grace Marshall explores ways we can reframe struggle as the place where the magic happens. Grace is an author, keynote speaker, and a Productivity Ninja with the Think Productive team. In her conversation with Stephen, she uncovers ways we can hold plans and expectations less tightly, and how we can find joy in our work when we push ourselves a little out of our comfort zone. Links Connect with Grace on LinkedIn ( Grace’s website ( Struggle: The surprising truth, beauty and opportunity hidden in life's shittier moments ( – Grace’s latest book How to be Really Productive: Achieving clarity and getting results in a world where work never ends ( – Grace’s 2015 book 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff that Sucks Up Your Time ( – Grace’s book from 2012 How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry less, achieve more and love what you do (, by Graham Allcott Big Magic: How to live a creative life and let go of your fear (, by Elizabeth Gilbert How to make stress your friend ( – Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk Stefan Sagmeister ( Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert (öln_Concert)
We are all prototypes, with a lifetime of learning ahead of us. That’s the insight that led Wouter Smeets to cofound Prototype You, an organisation that runs workshops to help people work towards their ideal work experience. For Wouter, the office is just another tool, and moving a mouse or typing at a keyboard are not signs of productivity. And conversely, sometimes working less is the better way to achieve good, sustainable work. Wouter is a Dutch entrepreneur, innovator and ideas guy that loves to hang out on the beach. By reinventing why and how we work, he helps move the needle towards a society that optimises wellbeing over wealth. As co-founder of Prototype You, he helps organisations create a positive impact on employee wellbeing, happiness and productivity through programs where employees experiment towards work-life harmony. Links Connect with Wouter on LinkedIn ( Prototype You ( Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman (, by Yvon Chouinard Happy Startup Summercamp ( The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups (, by Daniel Coyle The Fearless Organization - Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth (, by Amy Edmondson David Bowie on why you should never play to the gallery ( Four Thousand Weeks (, by Oliver Burkeman
A third of all carbon emissions are created by the food system – in production, packing, distribution, and consumption. Ruth Anslow spent 15 years in the corporate sector and formed the HISBE supermarket brand to try and change that. Ruth is a social entrepreneur and a keen advocate of doing business for social benefit, beyond just making profit. In 2010 she decided to take on supermarkets and cofounded HISBE Food with her sister, Amy. HISBE is a supermarket chain with a difference, built on a social enterprise business model and designed to support a sustainable future for food and farming. Alongside running HISBE, Ruth cofounded The Good Business Club, to connect entrepreneurs who are starting, running and growing a “business for good” with the support and resources they need. Links Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn ( HISBE ( The Good Business Club ( Katie Paterson ( Living Wage Foundation ( Lizi’s granloa ( Ethical Consumer organisation ( If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito (
Aoife O’Brien is the founder of Happier at Work, a business with the mission to support organisations in retaining top talent. She is passionate about fit and specifically how creating the right environment can help individuals to reach their full potential and support organisations to thrive. She partners with HR and business leaders to focus on four pillars: engagement and belonging; leadership equity; performance and productivity; and the future of work. She is a self-professed data nerd, with a 20+ year career in market research in the fast-moving consumer goods industry working with clients like Coca Cola, Unilever and Heinz to solve marketing problems using data analytics. Aoife has been featured by several national media platforms and public speaking events talking about imposter syndrome, fit, employee engagement, productivity, and remote working. Her podcast, Happier at Work, features a combination of interview-based episodes as well as solo podcasting, and has 50,000 listens in more than 50 countries. She has lived and worked in Dublin, London, Perth, and Sydney and has a MSc in Work and Organisational Behaviour, a Diploma in Executive and Life Coaching and a Certificate in Career Coaching. Links Connect with Aoife on LinkedIn ( Happier at Work ( ( Follow on Instagram ( Follow @happieratworkHQ on Twitter (
Sarah Metcalfe is passionate about happiness in the workplace, and she knows the positive impact this has on the customer experience. Through continuing to innovate and improve the customer journey, Sarah joined Sure Petcare in 2010, taking responsibility for the company’s customer service and guiding it through an extraordinary period of expansion and growth. She now leads a talented multilingual team who deliver outstanding customer service and happiness to all Sure Petcare customers around the world. Sarah left Sure Petcare with a Net Promoter Score of 90+ in over 20 countries. Sarah now runs her own consulting company, Happy Coffee Consulting to help companies create great customer service and happy workplaces. She is now a partner with Woohoo Ltd and runs the Woohoo Academy, creating Chief Happiness Officers within organisations worldwide and spreading the word that the future workplaces are those that put their people at the heart of what they do. Sarah is also the founder of the International Week of Happiness at Work summit which takes place each September – an international online summit with Keynote speakers at the forefront of workplace happiness sharing their insights. Links Happy Coffee Consulting ( International Week of Happiness at Work ( Humankind (, by Rutger Bregman Maverick (, by Ricardo Semler The Culture Code (, by Daniel Coyle
Elena Kerrigan is the MD of Think Productive, a UK-based global company that enables organisations to reimagine how they work with productivity tools. They have helped companies as diverse as Aston Martin, American Express, Audi, Boots, GSK, Sainsbury’s and Volkswagen. Through their courses and workshops they help organisations reclaim time from distractions, unproductive meetings and getting emails under control. This has allowed Think Productive to not only talk the talk the talk but also walk the walk. Since 2011 they have worked a four-day week: paid for five days but only working four days. Elena shares how they have done just that and the benefits they have experienced. Think Productive are presently advising other UK companies who are trialling the four-day working week in 2022. Links Think Productive ( 4 Day Week (
Stephen and Liliana are joined by author, conference organiser, and remote work expert Liam Martin. Liam is the CMO of time tracking and productivity platform and also co-organizer of the Running Remote conference, and author of Running Remote: Master the Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Remote-Work Pioneers. He has spent 20 years working remotely before we all entered a forced world of work we never thought possible. In his conversation with Stephen and Liliana, he examines the impact 20th century ideas of work have on 21st century work environments, using Tesla as an example. He also unpacks the concept of asynchronous management: where platforms do the role of reporting across an organisation, rather than relying on layers of management. Links Time Doctor ( Running Remote conference ( Running Remote ( the book ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever ( Better Help ( Juno (
Joining Stephen is Henry Stewart, Chief Happiness Officer at London-based training company Happy Ltd. Henry is the author of the Happy Manifesto, a book that helps organisations become great places to work. An international keynote speaker, Henry advises others like Stephen on how they can transform the world of work for the better. Links The Happy. Manifesto ( ( The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch 'em Kick Butt ( Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace ( No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention ( Bullshit Jobs: A Theory ( To learn more about breathwork, visit BreatheNow Hub (, and to learn how to create happier workplaces, visit (
Laurence and Carlos from the Happy Startup School do business differently, and want to help others think differently about the work they do. After running a design agency, their approach to business – integrating ease and play – became their focus, and the Happy Startup School was born. In this conversation with Liliana and Stephen, the founders of this purpose-led business school unpack what brought them from founding Spook Studio to running a thriving community of entrepreneurs, how they're transforming people's approaches to business, and providing more opportunities to escape Zoom fatigue. Links The Happy Startup School ( The Second Mountain, by David Brooks ( Vision Tribe ( Summercamp ( Stop closing the deal and get to the truth, with Tad Hargrave ( The 100-Year Life (, by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott To learn more about breathwork, visit BreatheNow Hub (, and to learn how to create happier workplaces, visit (
Advancements in technology, productivity, knowledge-work and leadership have yet to address the problems of work-life balance and burnout facing people in modern workplaces. This week, Liliana and Stephen dig into the ways in which shrinking the working week can expand our potential to be productive, healthier and happier. Links Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement ( Parkinson's law ( Happy Workplaces conference ( Maverick!: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace (, by Ricardo Semler The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing (, by Bronnie Ware To learn more about breathwork, visit BreatheNow Hub (, and to learn how to create happier workplaces, visit (
This week, Stephen and Liliana talk mojo, and finding intrinsic motivation where it feels like none is available. Stephen shares his passion for the Frisbee, and Liliana describes her yoga practise and her love of rollerblading. The main topic for discussion is intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation: doing things because we're satisfied by the task rather than because we expect a reward. Drawing on evidence from past experiments, Stephen lays out three steps organisations can take to instil a greater sense of autonomy. Links The formation of learning sets ( The intrinsic motivation of Richard Ryan and Edward Deci ( Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do (, by Daniel Cable Bullshit Jobs (, by David Graeber When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing (, by Daniel Pink Putting a Face to a Name: The Art of Motivating Employees (
Liliana and Stephen are joined by Patrick McKeown (, author of Atomic Focus (, The Oxygen Advantage ( among several other titles, to discuss the ways poor breathing affects day-to-day living, and hampers our success. Patrick is an international breathing expert and author based in Galway, Ireland, working with members of the military, special forces, Olympic athletes and more. Success has three key ingredients: focus, concentration, and attention span, and Patrick argues that you can't enter a state of flow if your breathing is dysfunctional. So Patrick shares some techniques you can implement today to keep track of your breathing and your attention span, and advocates techniques covered in early episodes of Wow@Work. And if you want to learn any more about breathwork, visit BreatheNow Hub (, and to learn how to create happier workplaces, visit (
Liliana and Stephen are joined by behaviour designer and serial entrepreneur John Ellison ( John he started his entrepreneurial journey when he dropped out of university at the age of 18 to start his first ecommerce business. Since then he's been working at Harvard's Intersection of Business, Design, and Technology, to help make a world a better place. He honed his craft as a UX designer at Brighton agency Clearleft (, and went on to lead a product team at civic tech startup Peak Democracy in Berkeley, California, where he experienced his first acquisition and ended up meeting Dr BJ Fogg ( and becoming certified to teach behaviour design, the methodology used to create habit-forming startups like Instagram. In this interview, John shares his new project: Happy Habits (, and his plans for turning his newsletter into a deck of cards with prompts to help build happier everyday habits. Along with Stephen and Liliana, he examines happiness in the workplace, and shares some of the methodologies successful companies are already employing to improve their employees' wellbeing.