Beyond Balance, London, 27 June 2016 – Keynote Speakers

27 June 2016

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>> Hear Oliver’s recorded keynote from the day here! <<

>> Hear Claire’s recorded keynote from the day here! <<


10:15am Keynote: Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Claire is the author of Work-Life Symbiosis: The Model for Happiness and Balance (LID 2015), and was included on the Timewise Top 50 Power Part Time list in 2015. She works as a Global Human Resources and Child Safeguarding Director at Save the Children International; a 17,000 strong global charity operating in over 120 countries. Prior to this she spend 12 years at the global FTSE 100 FMCG Unilever, working in global, regional and local roles. Claire is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD) and has a Masters in Management. She previously qualified as a fitness instructor and competed for Team Great Britain as a junior Slalom Canoeist. Claire is a mother of two boys (3 and 5), is training for the 2016 London marathon, captains a tennis team and loves getting to the gym regularly. To fit in plenty of family time as well as sport and exercise, she has decided to work four days a week. She finds this gives her the opportunity to have the impact she wants professionally, whilst still managing to embrace everything else in life that shouldn’t be missed!

Work/Life Symbiosis

Technology has inordinately shifted the way we both work and play – for the better, and also for the worse. It has impacted almost all areas of people’s lives, not least of all the relationship between work and everything outside of work! This is not new news. Work-life balance has been on the agenda of organisations and their leaders for a long time. But sadly that often hasn’t led to positive improvement for people. It’s time to change that. But whether technology helps or hinders, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of personal leadership. I believe in ‘Work-Life Symbiosis’ – a positive connection between work and other areas of life, each making the other better. To have a fighting chance of achieving this you need to be crystal clear on what really matters to you in life. Then you need to align your choices behind it and with your eyes wide open about the potential implications –good and bad. Without doing this hope of achieving work-life symbiosis is slim, no matter how helpful the technology might be. But get the personal leadership AND enabling technologies right – now that would be ground breaking.

Download the slides here.


3:45pm Virtual Keynote: Oliver Burkeman 

Oliver BurkemanOliver is a journalist based in Brooklyn, New York who writes wittily about subjects including self-help, productivity and happiness. His most recent book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking explores the upsides of negativity, uncertainty, failure and imperfection. Each week in This Column Will Change Your Life he writes about social psychology, self-help culture, productivity and the science of happiness, and make unprovoked attacks on The Secret. He also blogs for Guardian US and writes a monthly column for Psychologies magazine. He previously published the book Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done.

Against Productivity

Few of us would disagree that we feel busier than ever before. But though we’re deluged with advice on improving personal efficiency and productivity, it’s becoming apparent that this often just seems to render the problem more acute. Emptied inboxes fill up even faster, and the sense of anxious hurry grows more intense. Drawing on insights insights from ancient philosophy and Eastern spiritual traditions to current research, this talk explored the idea that a core part of the problem isn’t the number of items on our to-do lists, nor the lack of the right techniques for completing them, but the concept of “efficiency” itself – and the unhelpful ways we’ve come to think about our relationship to time in the 21st century.