UK grows 0.8% in Q1; Slow growth is a worry at Twitter; Workplaces with ‘toxic’ environments

1 UK grows 0.8% in Q1 of 2014 (Katie Allen in The Guardian) Britain’s economy picked up pace in the first quarter of this year but not quite as fast as economists had been expecting. The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that GDP expanded by 0.8% in the first quarter after 0.7% growth in the final three months of last year. That was below economists’ forecast of 0.9%.

The year-on-year growth rate was 3.1%, the fastest in six years, but again below forecasts for 3.2% growth. The economy is still smaller than it was before the recession hit in 2008 but analysts said it was now on track to make up all the lost ground by the middle of this year.

Although there were signs the recovery was broadening, with even the battered construction sector returning to growth in the first quarter, the ONS said the UK economy still remains 0.6% below its pre-crisis peak. Without the drag from a shrinking oil and gas sector the economy was 0.3% bigger than that pre-crisis peak, statisticians added. George Osborne seized on the figures as confirmation that the recovery was well under way.

2 Growth is a worry at Twitter (Nicole Perlroth in The New York Times) Twitter is struggling to convince Wall Street that it is still a company with plenty of potential to grow. In its second earnings announcement as a public company, Twitter said it had more than doubled revenues, beating its own forecasts and the expectations of investment analysts. But the social network’s stock fell more than 11 percent in after-hours trading because the number of people who joined it did not increase as fast as many had hoped.

Wall Street, it appears, is more worried about Twitter’s ability to add users and keep them engaged than about its ability to increase revenues. In the last two quarters, that has been a problem. Twitter said it had 255 million monthly users globally in March, up 5 percent from 241 million at the end of December, which ended a quarter in which monthly active users rose less than 4 percent.

But most disconcerting for shareholders is that Twitter made $1.44 in advertising revenue for every 1,000 timeline views, down from $1.49 in its previous quarter. That may be the best marker of Twitter’s ability to make money from its platform, and in the first quarter it was trending down. In a call with analysts, Twitter’s executives attributed some of that to seasonality because the fourth quarter tends to be the most profitable.

Twitter’s revenue in the first quarter, which ended March 31, was up 119 percent to $250 million from $114 million in the first quarter of 2013. Twitter posted a net loss of $132 million, compared with a loss of $27 million a year ago. Adjusted earnings, however — which exclude stock-based compensation and other expenses — were $183,000, or about break-even per share, compared with a $10.5 million loss a year ago.

3 Workplaces with ‘toxic’ environments (Kim Thompson in San Francisco Chronicle) Do you think your workplace might be toxic? Most people spend the majority of their lives at work, and studies repeatedly show happy employees are more productive. Companies that treat their employees well will earn huge dividends compared to those that dismiss and ignore their workforce. However, under siege to reduce expenses and stay afloat amid the rising cost of doing business, some working environments have turned into toxic cultures that make the workplace almost unbearable.

Do these comments sound familiar?: If I don’t leave my job, I will lose my mind. I feel like I am in prison. I don’t have a life anymore; it’s all work. My boss is making me crazy. Everyone around me is negative.

If so, there is a strong possibility you are hearing a description of a toxic work environment. To some, the word toxic may seem too extreme for their workplace, while others heave a sigh of relief to discover someone has put a label on the way they are feeling.

A toxic workplace is one that causes emotional and physical reactions over a period of time that diminishes productivity and happiness. Quite literally it resembles poison to your career and well-being. The good news is that a toxic work environment is not permanent one and recovery takes place once you identify the problem and develop a plan of action.

Here are five ways to tell if your workplace is becoming toxic to your well-being: Increased anxiety: 1You live in a constant state of worry that you are doing something wrong. 2 Anger: This can include an increased level of irritability, being short-tempered with those around you, being less patient or participating in blaming others. 3 Lack of control: This can happen over time when you are overwhelmed with work pressures or change. 4 Loss of confidence: When you start doubting your abilities to do your job, that’s a red flag you may be in a toxic work environment. 5 Diminished relationships: This evolves slowly, but you may find yourself gradually losing interest in going out, being too fatigued to socialize.

Overcoming a toxic workplace can be a challenge, but there is often a sense of freedom that comes from understanding the situation you are in. You have a choice how you react to an unhealthy situation. There is hope. You can take back your life and find happiness in your career.

About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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