Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

Santander opens its first ‘work cafe’ in the UK, academic publisher Pearson announces a new digital model and new government scheme helps workers who may lose their jobs to AI.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. Santander opens its first UK ‘work cafe’

Following success in Chile, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Argentina, Santander is opening its first free co-working space in the UK. The new ‘work cafe’ will be trailed in Leeds and aside from providing free access to use the building, Santander will also offer small businesses and entrepreneurs access to its banking facilities.

It’s a smart move from Santander as not only does it allow the company to reuse its property for good, but it also brings more people back to the high street. Due to the popularity of online banking and challenger banks such as Monzo, Santander announced earlier this year that it will close 140 branches. So, to create community hubs on the high street in those redundant shops is probably the right way to go.

2. Academic publisher Pearson moves digital

Pearson is set to join the subscription revolution as it announces a move away from physical textbooks towards a digital model. For years, the publisher has seen a decline in growth due to a shift in consumer behaviour but appeared reluctant to accept its fate. In response to continued falling revenues, the company has now decided to create a Netflix-style subscription-based service for students.

Being a bit behind the mark on this digital shift, it’s likely Pearson, if not already, will face strong competition from startups who have already clocked the value of an academic material subscription model. Pearson will need to transform quickly to keep up with this disruption and to stay in the game.

3. Toxic managers can affect your health

According to research published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, people who work with toxic or difficult bosses are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. By creating a negative environment, workers are at a raised risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, as well as increasing the chances of a stroke or head attack.

It’s disappointing to see the level of impact a negative working space can have on people. For businesses to achieve success, employees need to be lead in a positive and inclusive environment, so that they feel part of the story – this is what keeps the best talent and unlocks those crucial solutions. There are many more positives in staff working in an ‘adult’, happy and trusted workplace, then a negative, unhappy one.

4. New government scheme helps workers who lose their jobs to AI

The UK government has announced a new initiative which will help workers whose jobs could be replaced by automation and AI, be retrained. The new scheme, which sees the government invest £100m, will help people gain new skills or find a new career, if they end up losing their job or if it changes. The announcement follows research from analysis company Oxford Economics, which revealed that 20 million jobs in manufacturing across the world, could be replaced by robots.

The replacement of technology and AI is inevitable in this new world, so it is great to see the government stepping up in support of workers.

5. Alan Turin to appear on the new £50 note

Not the usual business story – however, it was announced that Alan Turin, the famous scientist who helped to crack the Nazi’s Enigma code in WWII and who was the founding father of computing and AI, will feature on the Bank of England’s new £50 note. Out of almost 1,000 scientists, Turin was chosen to recognise his significant contribution during the war, as well as the impact of his postwar persecution of homosexuality.

It was announced the new note will enter circulation by the end of 2021 and will include a photo of Turning, his birthdate in binary code, as well as technical drawings of the machine he invented to crack the Enigma messages.

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