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OCTOBER 2012 ALSO INSIDE: office communication | Halloween inspired fashion | celebrity PA diary

FIT AS A FIDDLE How to cram your fitness regime into the working day



OFFICE NEWS The world’s first sustainable suit SAY WHAT?! Bitten off more you can chew?

ON THE JOB It’s that time of year where the weather starts to turn and you start thinking about putting the heating on again. Halloween is just around the corner and before you know it, it will be bonfire night and then Christmas, eek! For those of you who have already started winter comfort-eating, check out Pardy Dhillon’s tips for staying healthy at work on page 12 – and for those of you who haven’t, try our warming pumpkin soup recipe on page 18. Feeling a bit demotivated at work? Check out celebrity PA Merryl Futerman’s ‘Day in the diary’ on page 14 for a bit of inspiration. And if you missed out on the office* show this year, don’t panic, we’ve put together a few highlights for you on pages 16-17. Enjoy!

DAY IN THE DIARY Celebrity PA Merryl Futerman shows us how it’s done OFFICE FITNESS How to squeeze your fitness regime into the working day DOES NOT COMPUTE How modern technology affects communication with colleagues KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON The impact of stress on UK offices

LUNCH BREAK HALLOWEEN HEAVEN Treat yourself to a bowl of warming pumpkin soup OFFICE CATWALK Spooky gothic fashion AND ONE MORE THING… Our latest columnist has a moan about work pains


account executive

managing editor




senior account manager





An apple a day keeps the boss away An estimated 12 million British workers suffer from poor nutrition from not eating enough fruit and veg, reducing their ability to work effectively, according to new health data. Records of over 40,000 working adults in the UK from vielife online health and wellbeing assessments show that 36% of working people have poor nutrition, creating personal health risks and losing 3.5 weeks of productive time each per year. Only one out of ten people said they eat the recommended six portions of fibre per day and less than one in five people manage to eat their five portions of fruit and vegetables. Researchers claim to have identified four ‘nutrition attrition’ factors impacting the workplace: poor job satisfaction, low resilience to stress, higher absenteeism and reduced productivity.

The world’s first ‘sustainable suit’ Feel like you’re doing your bit for the environment? M&S would have you think otherwise this week as they launch what they are calling the ‘world’s most sustainable suit’. Everything from the buttons down to the lining and labels is made from the most sustainable materials possible. The wool is organic and fully traceable back to the farms where it was produced. The lining is made from recycled plastic bottles, the buttons are reclaimed, as is the fabric in the pockets and waistband, and the canvas and labels are made from recycled materials. The suit is the first in a whole range of sustainable clothing M&S plans to launch this year and forms part of the High Street giant’s ‘Plan A’ commitment to be the world’s most sustainable retailer.


Over 200 naked swimmers braved a 12°C sea off the coast of Northumberland last week for the The North East Skinny Dip. The event was organised to raise money for mental health charity Mind. The air temperature was recorded at just 5.5°C at sunrise, according to BBC news. Nippy!


IN BRIEF INTERNATIONAL WATERCOOLER Anti-Islam film causes outrage Dozens of people have been killed during protests and attacks on US diplomatic missions across the islamic world. The violence, which has counted ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens among its dead, is thought to be caused by an anti-Islamic film by an American film maker. The alleged producer of the video, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is currently in hiding after Pakistan Railway minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour offered a $100, 000 for his death. However the exact origins of the film have not been confirmed. US citizens have been advised not to travel to Pakistan, and the US embassy has placed adverts on Pakistani TV showing Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the film.

Crime doesn’t pay Two masked armed robbers broke into a German burger bar last week – and left with a piggy bank containing just 15p and a couple of chocolate bars. Mehdi Eghbali, owner of the establishment in Dusseldorf, told German newspaper Bild: “There was 20 cents in the piggy bank and the chocolate bars cost €1.20 each”.

Blown out of proportion Turkish rescue workers plunged into the Black Sea to rescue what they thought was a drowning woman, but in fact turned out to be an inflatable sex doll. According to Yahoo! News, the beach was cordoned off and divers sent out to ‘rescue’ the ‘woman’. On discovering the mistake, the blow-up doll was subsequently deflated and thrown away.

We give you our pick of the top comedy viral videos this month. Click on the text below and enjoy. Tweet us your top videos @olemagazine


Nick Clegg says “sorry”

Sleepwalking mom

Hygieneconscious chameleon






I’ve been working as a PR assistant for three years since graduation and I don’t feel that my current title and salary reflect the duties I’ve acquired over the years. My boss told me she saw me progressing to account exec after 18 months but I’m still in the same role. What should I do? Helena, Cambridgeshire

I’ve just started an amazing new job. The role is perfect for me and I get paid well. The only problem I have is that my boss is a bit sleazy. He says really inappropriate things and makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to look like I can’t take a joke or make the atmosphere awkward. How do you think I should handle the situation? Lizzie, Rugby

Keep a diary of your duties and successfully completed tasks and ask your boss for a review. Explain how you don’t feel that your job title and salary are a true reflection of the work you do. Give it up to three months to improve, then you may want to start looking elsewhere. Sometimes it takes another job offer for people to appreciate what you do.

Your boss might not realise that they’re making you feel uneasy, so ask if you can have a word with them in private. Be polite but clearly state that what they see as ‘office banter’ makes you feel uncomfortable and reiterate how much you enjoy the role. This should resolve the situation, but if it persists, you may wish to speak with their superior or contact the conciliation service Acas on 08457 47 47 47.

caption competition

This month’s picture

Last month’s winner was Tara Hawker with

Why is she ignoring me?!”

Win a £10 M&S voucher! Email your captions to

on the job

ON THE JOB An underrated career choice

y survey of 1,430 da PA l na io at N e Th ts across the UK personal assistan b many feel their jo at th ed al ve re s ha . Citing escalating ed at rr de un is le ro ng job roles and workloads, evolvi are lity, PAs say they bi si on sp re r te ea gr rs of dynamic membe now increasingly s. management team their company’s ve ority do not belie However, the maj arly by others, with ne this is recognised 2%) all respondents (7 three-quarters of alued a PA was underv feeling that being career choice. as a professional well additional When asked how ations d general expect responsibilities an pay, reflected in their of their role were PAs said good or over half (51%) of nds tion on salary ba excellent. A ques dents majority of respon showed that the 5,000, n £21,000 and £3 were paid betwee 0,000. salary around £3 with the average

Is stress the new ‘bad back’? Employment law specialist Bibby Consulting & Support has claime d that an increasing number of employee s are quoting stress as a major rea son for taking time off work. The firm ’s MD Michael Slade said: “Too many employees are playing the stress card – it’s like the new bad back.” Slade admits that dealing with suc h matters is often a difficult balanc ing act between the needs of the bus iness and the needs of the employee, but well-run return to work meetings can satisfy both parties. He believes tha t they provide the employer with a ‘benchmark’ to keep on file, allowin g any future activity, including patter ns of absence, to be measured against it. Slade says: “Employers have a dut y of care to protect their employees – but they must also protect themselves. Stress management is a key means of making sure that workers understand that there are strict rules and processes in place. If employees are given clear guidelines and told that their claims of stress are going to be thoroughly investigated – including a health check – they will be far less likely to look to a tribunal for help.”

on the job

Work stress could kill you In other stress-related news, The Lancet has published a study this week, looking into the effect of work stress on heart health. Researchers analysed 13 previous studies covering nearly 200,000 people in Europe and found that job strain is linked to a 23% increased risk of heart attack and death from coronary heart disease. Surprisingly, the results found that lower-skilled workers were more likely to suffer from stress in the workplace than highly-skilled workers, with doctors being less likely to suffer from job strain than somebody working at a factory. Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, has said that how we choose to manage stress has a major impact on how it affects our health. He told the BBC: “Though stresses at work may be unavoidable, how you deal with these pressures is important, and lighting up a cigarette is bad news for your heart. Eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise and quitting smoking will more than offset any risk associated with your job.”

Credit card


Scottish Go vernment a gency Scott Enterprise h ish as confirme d that seve its staff me n of mbers have been misus their compa ing ny credit ca rd s . Funds equa ting to over £10,000 were withd rawn for pe rs onal use from busine ss accounts , including a transaction for £7,000 w o rth of foreig currency. n A spokespe rson for the agency said that the me mbers of sta ff responsible for the brea ch of policy w ere relative junior and “ ly appropriate a c tion” has been taken .

W O R K S TAT Despite equal pay legislation being in place for over 40 years, in the UK, women still get paid an average of 14.9% less than men (Source: The Fawcett Society)

on the job

on the job


Have you ever had an email that you thought was rude? Maybe you didn’t understand a task sent through your company intranet, or have completely misread a text? It seems that the more tools we have to communicate with, the harder it can be to get our message across. JODIE SERVICE explains


sing digital communication methods has many benefits, particularly when dealing with colleagues or customers in other parts of the world. It’s fast, low cost and is less intrusive than a phone call, meaning you can catch up with tasks out of office hours. This is great for people who are on the road a lot and have to do their admin in the evenings. The problem is, you just don’t get tone of voice with an email, text or Facebook message and this can cause all sorts of problems. For example, a friend of mine thought that a guy at work was flirting with her and used to show me the emails that he’d sent. I’d agreed that she should go for it and ask him out – until he started talking about a new guy he was seeing…oops! On a more professional note, people can also feel a bit put-out by a colleague who won’t talk to them face to face, sending what feels like an abundance of email requests. I’ve known people to find emails rude and dig their heels in about undertaking tasks when they feel a colleague hasn’t had the decency to ask them face to face. And let’s not get started on the ‘reply-all’ complaint email. Most of us use emails and social media to replace talking in certain situations. But are we paying the price of failing to communicate verbally? You may think that you get a lot of things done by email, making your day extraproductive and reducing the company’s phone bill. But have you ever thought that some issues would be better dealt with over the phone or via video conferencing? In certain situations, email can actually be the slowest way to communicate, as some things are difficult to explain in writing. More often than not, you end up having to pick up the phone anyway after three unproductive emails. They are, however, an undeniably important method of communication – particularly as they provide written proof that you didn’t order that office furniture you’ve been billed for, or that you did book that restaurant table. And email can become a comfort blanket for many people giving them the chance to construct their communications clearly, without repetition and stuttering. But, when used incorrectly, it can be far more damaging than a face-to-face conversation that allows you to look someone in the eye and gauge their responses. The same can be said for talking, though and it’s not just what you say, but how you say it, as Liz Banks, MD of Skillstudio explains: “By being more aware of our non-verbal communication – such as tone of voice, facial expression, posture and eye contact – we can learn to build better relationships and become more influential in our work environment.” So the moral of the story is to communicate wisely, however it may be. Understand when it’s most appropriate to email or text someone, but also, know when you need to sit down and have that all-important meeting. I find that emails are a good post-conversation confirmation to make sure everyone’s singing off the same hymn sheet, but should never replace that initial chat. As Bob Hoskins used to say: “It’s good to talk”.

on the job

on the job

W O R K H A R D, S TAY F I T It’s a well known fact that office workers simply don’t get enough exercise and many blame time – or rather the lack of it – as the main reason behind their inactivity. PARDY DHILLON takes us through some easy changes we can make to stay healthy, no matter how busy our working day is


he way we eat has changed dramatically in recent years. With so much food on offer during lunch hour, it is no wonder that every now and then we indulge ourselves in cake, biscuits and even the odd glass of wine on a Friday afternoon. Stressful days, inundated phone calls and endless meetings all contribute towards our tendency to fall into a ‘grab and go’ routine of eating. BE SNACK-SAVVY One of the key ingredients to a healthier office is to keep a stock of nutritious snacks. Nuts or dried fruit are a great energy boost, but be aware that, although healthier than crisps or chocolate, they still contain sugar and fats so should be eaten in moderation. Nuts are high in unsaturated fats which your body needs, so replacing unhealthy fats, with these is a step in the right direction. Keeping a drink of water handy is also a must and deters you from having too many cups of tea and coffee, which can equate to a considerable amount of calories if you take sugar in your hot drinks. Replacing the office biscuit tin with a fruit bowl is also a great way of cutting down on fat intake (although you might not be the most popular person in the office if you do). EAT LESS, SPEND LESS Figures show that a third of us now buy lunch out every day of the week and we spend more than £6bn on shop-bought sandwiches, which are high in calories, fat and preservatives, It is far better for your pocket and your general health to bring in pre-prepared lunches. Making a little extra stir fry of an evening so that you can take in the leftovers for your lunch is cheaper and takes no more time than running to a shop to grab something. Take control of what goes into your lunches and you’ll feel all the better for it.

MAKE IT THE ‘POWER HOUR’ We all know that time at work is precious and so is our beloved lunch hour. But if you’re really struggling to fit any exercise in during the evenings, consider joining a gym close to your office rather than close to home. This way, you might be able to squeeze your workout into your lunch break. Alternatively, if your office has shower facilities, try going for a quick jog during lunch. If you get your colleagues involved too, you will be far more likely to actually do it. If time is really, really tight and you can’t even get away at lunch, take a look at your commute in – could you walk all or part of the way? Perhaps get off the bus one stop early and take a brisk walk to work.

Fill your desk drawer with healthy snacks to help you avoid reaching for the chocolate. OLÉ RECOMMENDS: n Almonds n Dried apricots n Yogurt and honey n Apples and pears n A homemade smoothie or similar (i.e. no added sugar, sweetener or additives) n Dark chocolate (in moderation!) n Seeds and nuts

on the job

D AY I N T H E D I A R Y We follow a day in the life of MERRYL FUTERMAN, a celebrity PA for the likes of Julian Clary, Jonathan Ross, Anne Robinson and Denise Van Outen. Earlier this year she and a colleague set up PA Access All Areas – a boutique training seminar for PAs from all industries where they share their tools and strategies 8.30am

Take the dog for a walk in the woods and use the time to multitask: checking emails and making a few calls.


Arrive at Julian Clary’s for work – the good thing about the entertainment industry is that noone starts work too early. Since his Celebrity Big Brother win there is even more mail to attend to, as well as all the usual admin. We always start off with a cup of tea and a catch up. He is off on a nationwide tour so I need to get everything in place for that and have all my bases covered for when I can’t get hold of him.


Wave Julian off to do a TV interview and tidy up the last bits – via the post office en route to his agent’s to make sure we have diaries co-ordinated, pick up any fan mail that has landed there and pass on any press requests for them to deal with.


Meet with my co-founder of PA Access All Areas for a late lunch and catch-up before we get down to work. We are also two of the founder members of the Celebrity Assistants Network (CAN), so there is always a networking event to set up or new member enquiries to chat through.


Finally settle down to work at PA AAA HQ, which happens to be my dining room table – very convenient for me! We fine-tune content for our next seminar on 14 November, there are always tweaks to make after each course and updates for our website with new press or engagements to add. We’ll pop out a tweet or two and stop for a cuppa when my daughter gets in from school.


Congratulate ourselves on a good day’s work and then think of more things we need to discuss…it’s never ending!

on the job

OFFICE* 2012 HIGHLIGHTS If you didn’t make it over to the office* show this year, don’t despair – Olé has put together a quick run-down of the highlights…


his year’s office* show promised to be the best yet, and it didn’t disappoint. A fantastic mix of speakers shared their knowledge and expertise and delivered interesting and informative seminars and speeches. There was also a great selection of exhibitors showcasing innovative new products and services over the two-day period at Olympia. Olé had a stand at the show too and it was really nice to meet our readers face to face, not to mention signing up a record number of new subscribers – welcome! We managed to catch a couple of seminars while we were there, and boy are we glad we did! Paul Pennant’s seminar on saving time with Microsoft Outlook was a real eye-opener for us. Having spent years using Outlook to merely to send out emails and schedule reminders we were amazed at the extent to which it can lessen your workload. Pennant’s well-researched seminar taught delegates how to manage, categorise and schedule tasks so that you never have to worry about losing hastily-scribbled ‘to do’ lists again. He also demonstrated more complicated tasks including emailmerge and automated replies depending on responses received, which have the potential to save a huge amount of time. Celebrity chef Ed Baines’s speech in the Keynote Theatre on the ‘three pillars of wisdom’ demonstrated his golden rules for better health and wellbeing through eating good food. We caught up with him afterwards and he was keen to talk about the impact of a healthy balanced diet on physical and mental health. He has recently launched a ‘brain food’ menu through his restaurant delivery service Randall & Aubin Delivered,

on the job

offering freshly made, wholesome food delivered to the work place. He explained: “There is a conflict within us all the time, between what your brain is telling you to eat and what you know you should be eating. Brain food is about eating with common-sense. It’s the same thing that your mother or grandmother always said – a healthy, balanced diet.” Baines admits that this is far easier said than done during a busy, working day, but stressed, “we should always take time to eat well – because it will make you feel better.” Randall & Aubin offers freshly prepared meals for breakfast lunch or dinner, which can be delivered on the same day as ordered, straight to your office, giving no excuse for you not getting the ‘brain food’ that you need. Deborah Meaden gave a motivating speech on her journey from fledgling entrepreneur to star of Dragons’ Den. Interestingly, when a member of the audience asked her how it felt to be a successful businesswoman in a male-dominated environment, she said: “I’m not a woman in business; I am in business. Business is not genderspecific.” She added that whenever she is questioned about her success she never refers to the fact she is woman – although she acknowledges that disparity between the sexes in senior roles is a huge issue. The highlight of the show for us was getting to meet so many enthusiastic office professionals and hear what you were getting up to at the show. There was a real mix of people in attendance, from PAs in large multinational corporations, to public sector administrators and office managers in private companies, both big and small. We hope you found the show as interesting and useful as we did and look forward to catching up with you all again next year.

lunch break

LUNCHBREAK desktop dining LUNCHTIME G I V E A W AY H A V E A G R E AT H A I R D AY BAYLIS AND HARDING’S GREAT HAIR We have five sets of Baylis and Harding’s Great Hair Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner sets to giveaway. To enter just email your name, address and company name to editor@ olemagazine. with “shampoo comp” in the subject line.


HHHHH What is it? Chipotle offers Mexican food with integrity, serving freshly cooked, sustainably raised, nutritious food at a reasonable price. Choose from a range of spicy snacks and meals including burritos, tacos, salads, chips’ n dips and even Belgian waffles. Our fave is the Burrito Bowl: all the delicious fillings of a burrito served in a bowl for easy-eating (and less carbs).

PUMPKIN SOUP INDULGE YOURSELF WITH THIS W A R M I N G A U T U M N A L T R E AT Prep: 15 minutes • Cooking: 30-40 minutes • Serves 2

INGREDIENTS 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 onions (finely chopped), 1kg pumpkin (peeled, deseeded and chopped into cubes), 700ml stock (vegetable or chicken), 142ml pot double cream

METHOD 1. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently cook onions until soft but not browned. 2. Add pumpkin to the pan and cook for a further 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it softens and turns brown. 3. Pour 700ml of stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft. 4. Add the cream to the pan, and bring back to the boil. Puree the mixture using a hand blender. For an extra smooth soup, sieve the mixture before serving. Source: BBC GoodFood

lunch break




Boogie Bounce

Treat yourself, at Harrods!

This entails a complete exercise programme on a mini trampoline choreographed to music. The medium-impact aerobic workout tones your bum, tum and thighs while aiding weight loss and improving balance. It claims to be 2-3 times more efficient than normal aerobics and we give it extra points for laughter-induced calorie burning. 9/10

Luxury cognac house Courvoisier is offering secretaries and PAs an exclusive incentive for the festive season: a £60 Harrods gift voucher for all those choosing Courvoisier XO for their bosses’ corporate gifts this Christmas. With every purchase of three or more bottles you will receive one £60 gift voucher for renowned luxury London shopping destination, Harrods. Visit:

To find your nearest Boogie Bounce class click here:

GADGETS Google Nexus 7

Jealous of your friend’s iPad but can’t afford one yourself? Then this compact light-weight tablet might be just the ticket. Smaller and lighter than the iPad, the Google Nexus 7 won’t weigh your handbag down and is available with 8GB or 16GB memory, with many of the features of other, more expensive tablets. Prices start at £159.

D R I N K of M O N T H the

B E R RY W H I T E S O F T D R I N K S These organic soft drinks combine white tea with exotic superfruits and contain no artificial preservatives or added sugar. BerryWhite is donating 10% of the profits for every bottle sold to Global Angels who, provide food and housing for disadvantaged people. Available flavours are: • goji berries with peaches, white tea and echinacea Taste: • cranberry, guava and elderberry with white tea Refreshment: and guarana Convenience: • pomegranate and blueberry with white tea • and lemon, ginger and acai berry with white tea Health factor: and yerba mate.

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lunch break


AN IPHONE 4S Every time you purchase a Europa notebook or filing product, you can enter a draw to win one of 10 iPhone 4S. Simply send your name, address and the last six digits from the barcode of your purchased item to, or ‘Win an iPhone’, ExaClair Ltd, Oldmedow Road, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 4LW by 30 November 2012.


To win a selection of full-size Pond’s classic moisturising creams and cleansers including; a Hydro-Nourishing Cream; Triple Action Moisturiser; Eye Contour Cream and the old Cream Cleanser, simply email with “Pond’s comp” in the subject line – we’ve got three sets to give away.

One entry per purchase transaction. Open to UK and ROI residents.

N AT U R E ’ S R E M E D Y

Peony Skincare is a natural skincare range that utilises the entire peony plant from roots to petals in the manufacture of its products, leaving very little waste. The plant extract is cold-pressed from the most potent part of the flower to maximise its rejuvenating properties. The skincare brand has developed a range of natural products that are suitable for all skin types and ages, including cleanser, exfoliating crystals, toner, face masks, serums and day and night creams and lotions. Visit to see the full range of products.


Killer Colours is the brand new, must-have nail colour collection featuring only the very hottest nail colours, based on up-to-the-minute fashion trends. Created in collaboration with fashion insiders and trend forecasters, Killer Colours moves as fast as fashion and each limited-edition polish ties in with the latest micro-trends. Visit to order with free p&p. Be quick though – once they’re gone, they’re gone!

lunch break

O F F I C E C AT W A L K Inject some gothic elegance into your wardrobe with these Halloween inspired spooky pieces

2 1



1 Floaty black dress, £80, 2 Silver cat pendant, £89, www.plü 3 Black spiderweb top, £19.99, 4 Blood-red silk dress, £99,

6 4

5 Black shoe-boot, £30, 6 Black velvet dress, £69,

lunch break


THE PERILS OF B R I T I S H W E AT H E R Fashion PR at Yumi, Fleur Askey, tells us why the British weather has driven her round the bend this year

Fleur Askey, Fashion PR

Did you agree with the columnist? Think you can do better? Email us with your “And one more thing” of approx. 300 words to

So, we can’t pretend that (Olympics and Jubilee aside) we had a decent summer. I had to add on 20 minutes to my morning routine to allow time to ponder on what to wear – would it rain; would there be a gale? Actually it would usually rain with a gale whilst it was still 28 degrees outside. When you wake up in the morning and see sunshine coupled with the fact that’s it the middle of August, you’d think a playsuit and sandals would be an appropriate outfit for a day at the office – not if you work in the city – but if you work in fashion, darling, then of course! But, alas no. Come lunchtime you’d see hundreds of women with bare legs, sandals and shoulders on show, dashing in the rain or shivering and quivering in a corner. As a result of the unseasonable weather, fashion has been turned on its head, with customers confused as to whether to stock up on bikinis or wellington boots, wondering whether a sarong or woollen scarf will be their staples over the summer months. Retailers haven’t known if they were coming or going as some weekends saw customers flocking to buy their holiday wardrobes but others saw desolate and, quite frankly. damp customers not really sure what to buy! My worry? Well there are many, but essentially (or so we are told) this unpredictable weather is all down to us! I’m not going to get too Green Peace about it, but it’s quite worrying that spring/summer and autumn/ winter collections could no longer be relevant if we don’t do something about it. I, for one, do not want to drift slowly into a period of weather nothingness, neither here nor there, not hot or cold. So let’s do our best to keep British fashion alive and support our high streets, our retailers and, most importantly, our planet.

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