5 June 2019

Bruce Daisley and the Joy of Work

Bristol Media have brought yet another fantastic speaker to the city.

This time, Bruce Daisley, European Vice-President of Twitter and host of the UK’s number one business podcast Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat was in town to talk about his new bestselling book, ‘The Joy of Work’. Chloe and Lucy went along to hear all about it and pick up a signed copy of the book.

The talk came in partnership with BIMA, who kicked things off with their ‘The voices of our industry’ tech inclusion and diversity report which explores how organisations and individuals can help make tech a better place to work through increased diversity.

It was then time to hear from Bruce, who talked around a few themes with burnout at the forefront of what he was saying.


According to Buzzfeed, millennials are the burnout generation, working increasingly long hours and sleepwalking into ways of working that are actually unsustainable. This leads to a decrease in productivity with Bruce claiming that stress kills creativity and can cause anxiety and other mental health issues. Bruce likened being stressed to being drunk – it’s not something people like to admit to!


A sense of purpose can help people to find passion in their work. Chefs make better food when they can actually see the customer and fundraising goes up threefold when fundraisers meet the beneficiaries.

Bruce went on to say that while purpose can be a good motivator, we can’t rely on it alone to encourage workers and make them productive. Take doctors and nurses; they have one of the most purposeful jobs but are still some of the most stressed people in society due to burnout.

Less is more:

According to research by John Pencavel, a professor at Stanford University, productivity sharply decreases after working 40 hours a week and our physical limit is 56 hours. Bruce had something to say about Elon Musk’s ways of working: Musk claims to work 80 hour weeks which allows for very little down-time and equates to days of more than 11 hours when spread over a week. Pencavel’s research suggests that our productivity is likely to increase if we have at least one day off per week.


Bruce referenced Matthew Walker’s Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller, Why We Sleep, claiming that anyone who says they don’t need 7/8 hours of sleep a night is ‘delusional’. Junior doctors do some of the longest working weeks and are apparently ageing 6 times faster compared to others with less stressful jobs.

The talk was insightful and raised some really relevant points surrounding the issues with burnout in organisations. When asked what can be done about burnout, Bruce’s answer was take breaks, highlighting the importance of taking time out for yourself during the working day. But he said that lunch breaks should be encouraged rather than instructed to avoid undermining the idea of them.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week this year, Chloe decided to take time on her lunch break to do small things that would contribute to good mental health. See if you can spot each behavioural ‘nudge’ in our recent article about it.

In the future, admin-based tasks may well become automated whilst creative skills are set to remain in demand. We must remember not to neglect developing creativity, in favour of focusing on our overflowing inboxes and numerous meetings. A focus on efficiency and sustainable working hours can make us more creative and productive. 

Much of what Bruce said resonated with the Synergy team; we can all be guilty of trying to cram as much into the working day as possible, and sometimes even perhaps partaking in the odd ‘busy battle’.

[Video courtesy of Rubber Republic]

While we can’t always have control of our workload, there are small things each day that can help to avoid burnout. Taking a break, getting more sleep and leaving work on time could all lead to being more productive overall.

If you’d like to hear more of our thoughts on Bruce’s talk, or learn how to give your employees more joy in their work, get in touch

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