Why wellbeing should be part of your HR strategy

We are hearing more and more about the need for wellbeing in the workplace, but what does it really mean? Surely, wellbeing means healthy eating, keeping fit and that is something as individuals we are responsible for ourselves.  Why should employers pay out for wellbeing benefits or consider it as part of an HR strategy? Shouldn’t it be the individual’s responsibility?

Well the short answer is, YES we should all, as individuals, want to keep fit, have a good diet and ensure we get a balance between work and life so that we remain happy and healthy in our lives generally; but there is an element of responsibility that employers should be taking to ensure that they promote a healthy way of working and living, which in turn promotes a positive workplace, healthy bodies, healthy minds and ultimately more engaged employees.

We all want to work in a fun, vibrant and positive working environment and with the right supporting management styles this can easily be achieved and doesn’t have to cost your business a fortune.

Stress is one of the leading causes of long-term absence in the workplace and costs businesses thousands each year. So why not try to combat some of the stress of the day to day working life by adding some healthy and energy building ‘downtime’.

As an employer, providing support for your employees (which also includes your line managers) is really important and it helps keep everyone moving forward in a healthy and productive way and by improving you and your team’s wellbeing you will see some serious benefits to your business!

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To help combat workload pressure, we’ve put together a list of ideas, which include some very simple and FREE wellbeing benefits:

Mental Wellbeing

  1. Offer spaces in your office to take time out – a kitchen or sofa area – Office space comes at a premium, so if this isn’t possible then allow your employees time out and/or regular breaks to relax.
  2. Be available and have your line manager trained and available for employees to talk to.
  3. Provide an employee assistance programme – which can be set up and run internally or is often included with private medical or general health assurance packages. These programmes give employees a help line to call for employment, financial or medical queries and very often include counselling. This will help them, but also allow them to do this confidentially with a trained counsellor.
  4. Provide healthy eating options in the office; fruit and herbal teas such as mint, green or camomile alongside your normal caffeinated drinks (tea and coffee) will help encourage your employees to be healthy inside and calm the mind.
  5. Have water freely available.
  6. Build a no blame culture that gets to the bottom of problems and finds a positive way forward rather than pointing the finger and raising anxiety levels. This will help employees identify areas where they have made mistakes and allow their line manager to work with them to rectify it and put in place measures that mean it won’t happen again.
  7. Ensure all your employees have proper job descriptions and are aware of what their role is and the KPI’s or targets that they will be measured against. It’s never nice if you aren’t shown what to do and if they aren’t aware of what’s expected, how can you expect them to achieve anything. By being open and upfront you will lower anxiety/stress levels and ensure the team are all pulling in the same direction.

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Physical Wellbeing

  1. Allow your managers the ability to be open and acknowledge health problems. Employees must feel confident in approaching HR to discuss the issues affecting their performance at work.  If they are able to ask for help without being penalised you will have a much healthier environment and you will be able to deal with the problems head on.
  2. Offer Flexible working. Flexible or remote working is a straightforward way to improve wellbeing. Surveys have shown that employees would happily take a pay cut and work part-time to spend time with their families but some employees aren’t aware it’s an option, so if it is, let them know. You are more likely to lose talented employees due to lack of remote working or flexibility in hours.
  3. Have a sickness policy that allows employees to take sick days and doesn’t force them to come into the office when they are unwell. Remote working can help with this if they are able to work but would prefer to be recouping at home at the same time. It will save them spreading germs and cut down the time they feel unwell as they have time to rest away from the office.
  4. Create a wellness programme to support employees when they are unwell but also help boost them when they are well and working hard. Including a wellness programme when hiring is a very positive thing and is often the deciding factor when accepting a new job.
  5. It is predicted that one third of UK adults will be obese by 2025. By including a physical wellbeing programme you are helping to lessen that ratio. Joining programmes that help with physical wellbeing not only helps employees health, it supports positive mental wellness and builds team support as employees will feel more included in the community within the business. It also helps retention as they are working with like-minded people and enjoy the comradery.
  6. Your Physical wellbeing programme can include; discounted gym access, onsite fitness courses, personal training sessions, mindfulness and yoga classes, stress management and nutritional classes. Adoption of healthier working should allow for regular breaks from screens, 5 minute stress-busting walks, downtime and break out areas in the office.

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Let technology take the strain

Build in technology to help organise, simplify and support workloads.

  • HRIS: In the HR industry we recommend using a good HRIS portal (HR Revolution partner with breatheHR a fully web-based HR admin solution, read more about breatheHR here) to help track and log everything linked with your employees including holidays, absence and training along with employee documentation. All in one place with easy access for line managers and employees.
  • Hiring Software: If you are hiring on a regular basis sign up to some of the recruitment portals that offer free process platforms, websites such as Indeed or Reed offer free advertising, tracking and response platforms to help co-ordinate everything and take the pressure off.

We would encourage all employees to start utilising the health and wellbeing provided by their employers, this includes line managers and owners, who are notorious for not taking time out for themselves, if they burn out, who will steer the ship forward then?

If you need any further advice or guidance to come up with ideas that you feel will work within your environment give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

As you’ve seen from the lists above these ideas don’t have to cost anything, but they will add huge value to the general wellbeing of your team and ultimately the business.

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Can stress ever help an employee perform better?

As we all know stress, in all its forms, can be life changing. In the workplace, multiple measures are taken by HR professionals to attempt to eradicate, or least cut down, on factors which encourage employee stress. And for good reason.

A recent report from workforce consulting firm, Life Meets Work found that stress from leaders causes ripples throughout their company – negatively impacting on everything from employee engagement to the bottom line.

“Companies often focus on fixing individual employees to help them be less stressed and therefore more engaged. Yet, our study found that employee engagement was better predicted by the leader’s ability to manage stress than the employee’s current stress level,” explained Kenneth Matos, psychologist and Vice President of Research for Life Meets Work. “A leader’s inability to manage stress ripples through the entire company in a negative way.”

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Does this then suggest that all stress is negative stress?

A report from the University of California found that short periods of stress can actually help stimulate cell growth, which in turn results in new brain cells.  After monitoring rats, which were placed in stressful situations, researchers found that a few weeks later their alertness, learning and memory had improved.

However, this doesn’t mean HR will be promoting stress in the office – rather monitoring how stress affects different employees in different ways. A study from Leadership IQ, titled ‘Does Your Job Require High or Low Emotional Intelligence?’, found that just over half (51%) of employees admit that they always or frequently have to ‘act’ or ‘put on a show’ with their emotions at work. This in turn can lead to anxiety, or at the very least dismay.

As for dealing with workplace stress, Dr Christian Jessen, Doctor and TV Presenter of ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, revealed how the pressure of presenteeism is affecting our mental health as well as our work-life balance.

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“The fact that we don’t really know how to do nothing is something I find rather sad,” he says. “We always feel like we should be doing something – we feel guilty about sitting and watching television; we feel guilty about reading a book for an hour; we think that we need to be emptying the dishwasher or putting another wash on.

“But, we need to get over that guilt if we want to fully encompass all arms of our health. Eastern medicine has been doing this for a long time, whilst in the West, we’ve been ignoring it – and look who is suffering more.”

What do you think? is all stress is negative? or does it have a part to play in a productive work environment, let HR Revolution know your thoughts and comment below.

If you need any further advice on managing stress in the workplace please get in touch, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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A version of this article first appeared in HR Grapevine

Blue Monday may not be real, but Mental Health issues in your business will be

Ok so if you’re reading this, then you made it through the most depressing day of the year. ‘Blue Monday’ the time when the festivities are well and truly over, we’re back into our daily routine and there feels like there’s not a great deal to look forward to.

It’s also right in the middle of a period when employee absences are likely to be high and this is a challenge that a lot of businesses HR Revolution work with face every year. January is a long month and employees may not be able to face coming into work especially when you add financial woes into the mix. 

Mental health issues often create a pattern of short-term sickness absence, and sufferers often find it easier to face disciplinary action for faking a sickie than to admit they have a mental health issue because of the stigma attached.  Not only does being in trouble make them feel even worse, it also prevents them from getting the support they could get if their managers were aware of the problem.

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Whatever your views, mental health isn’t something that can be solely tackled from the top down. Business owners and line managers need to take responsibility and recognise that they play a role in the well-being of their employees.

So whilst you breathe a sigh of relief that the most depressing day of the year is now behind us, it might not be time to look forward to the summer months just yet. Take the time to think about how you can ensure that your employees are happy, productive, and enjoying good mental health.

It has business benefits sure… But it’s also simply the right thing to do.

If you need any further advice or want to chat confidentially about an employee that might need assistance get in touch, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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How to have a better “Blue Monday”…

How is your Monday going?  It is the start of a new week, probably lots to do, reading and actioning emails and maybe planning ahead for yourself and your team members.

But did you know that today is “Blue Monday”, why is it you may ask; Blue Monday is calculated using a series of factors in a (not particularly scientific) mathematical formula. The factors are: the weather, debt level (specifically, the difference between debt and our ability to pay), the amount of time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take charge of the situation.

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However, not all psychologists agree with this description:

“The reality is there’s no such thing as the most depressing day of the year and it trivialises serious mental health issues” says Dr. Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare.  “Mental Health and Mental illness is an ongoing matter and achieving a good work-life balance is important to being a healthier you”.

The emphasis shouldn’t focus on a “once a year” effort to cheer employees up, but should be something that is addressed all year round, encouraging better worklife balance as Dr Winwood explains.

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“When you are mentally well, you are better at making the most of your life and work.  That doesn’t mean you’ll never experience any type of emotional problem, but it can mean that you’re able to deal with difficult or stressful situations more easily.  Research also shows that positive people tend to live healthier lifestyles”.

However, Dr. Winwood agrees that the “Monday Blues” can lead to less motivation, so employers should be looking at ways to improve on employee morale.

“If you think you workforce are lacking Monday motivation, identifying the reasons behind the low morale is key.  For example, improving the working environment is just one step to changing this.  Some minor improvements, such as better lighting, more comfortable chairs, or a supply of hot drinks, water and caffeine free alternatives may improve things for everyone and thus alter the mood”.

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AXA PPP have designed the above infographic with tips on how to power on through and stay positive whenever those feelings hit.  However, it is important to stress that depression and mental illness shouldn’t be blamed on any single day – as there are 52 Mondays/weeks in a year and if you are struggling with feelings of depression over a long period you should speak to your doctor, a trusted family member or friend.

So lets not have a Blue Monday today, lets rename it happy Monday instead!

Call +44 203 538 5311, email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit http://www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Think you wouldn’t benefit from an outsourced HR service? 4 ways we can help you save money

Thinking your business could do with some help with issues that are bubbling away under the surface, but wondering whether you really can spare the budget to outsource?

Is it easier just hoping for the best and carrying on as you are?

We know that it can be scary to make that leap and bring in some HR help, but the reality is that we can often actually SAVE you money.

And that’s an astute investment to make in your business.

Outlined below are just a few of the ways in which we could help you reduce your costs…

1. We can keep you out of tribunals

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re a fair employer who tries to do your best by all your employees, that you’re not at risk of having to face a tribunal. This isn’t necessary true though.

Employment law is complicated, and if you miss something, you could find yourself with a potentially very costly situation on your hands. We can make sure that your people practices are on the right side of the law.

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2. We can increase the performance of your workforce

Imagine if you could double the output of your workforce overnight. Realistically, that’s probably not going to happen, however, HR Revolution can dive deep into your business, pinpoint the exact issues that are at play, and create a step-by-step plan to fix them.

This could increase your productivity and make sure that your employees are firing on all cylinders. You might think that a marketing budget, or some social media tactics are going to give you the edge. But the real breakthrough happens when you look INSIDE your business, rather than outside.

3. We can educate your managers

We don’t just come into your business, work some temporary magic, and then leave. We provide on-site services and can give your managers the skills to ensure that they’re playing an active role in driving your business forward. This means less of a learning curve, less mistakes, and more strides forward.

Your employees are the most important investment that you can make, so it makes sense to nurture that investment. If you know that your managers have room for improvement, take responsibility and talk to us to get things moving in the right direction.

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4. We can provide a flexible, pick-and-mix service

Maybe you’re not quite at the stage where you need full-time, permanent HR help. That’s exactly why we can assist you; we don’t tie you into ridiculously long contracts that you don’t need, we can create a bespoke package that’s perfect for your needs.

Just what you really need to move forward and solve your problems, right now. Our aim is to make you a better employer, not tie you up with unnecessary bureaucracy.

HR Revolution can save you money, and can seriously add to your bottom line. Get in touch, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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New Year – New You – improve your mental wellbeing at work in five easy steps

Happy New Year, another year is over and we start 2018 afresh.  However, according to a YouGov survey last year, three in five employees have experienced mental health issues in the past year because of work; below we outline five steps that can be taken to improve wellbeing in the workplace.

1. How to identify your triggers

Mental health charity Mind says, working out what triggers stress or poor mental health can help you foresee problems and think of ways to solve them.

Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your poor mental health. You might be surprised to find out just how much you’re coping with at once.

Triggers may well be problems with certain tasks at work, one-off events like doing presentations, as well as regular issues such as attending interviews and appointments.

Also be aware that not having enough work, activities or change in your life can be just as stressful a situation as having too much to deal with.

2. Manage your time

Managing when and where you work can be helpful, since 2014, all employees (not just parents and carers) have had the right to request flexible working for any reason, and this can include switching shifts, working different hours and sometimes working from home.

Working from home, for example, can mean you skip the commute and instead spend that travelling time with your family, exercising or even getting up slightly later (while still getting to work on time).

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3. Switch off that mobile phone

Unlike in France where employees have the right to disconnect, in the UK many people feel they can’t switch off, which can be detrimental to mental health.

There’s no such thing as work/life balance, most people think about home life when at work and work life when at home so they become integrated.  But that doesn’t mean that you need to be “constantly on”; scrolling through work emails or your work social media accounts 24/7 doesn’t give your brain a break and can lead to problems.

When you leave work, actually leave work, this means turning off your work phone. Like a laptop, we need to switch ourselves off and recharge and it’s vital not to have your work phone near your bed at night, as it interrupts your sleep.

4. Eat, sleep, exercise – repeat

When you’re not at work, pack in plenty of healthy, nutritious food, sleep and exercise. We all know that these things can boost our mental and physical health.

Being outside can help, going for a 15-minute walk during the day helps clear the mind according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, even if it might be difficult to take breaks at work when you’re stressed, it can make you more productive.

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5. Don’t be hard on yourself

Of course many people have demanding jobs and when you’re caught up in a cycle of relentless hours, it’s easy to be hard on yourself.

Often we don’t need our boss or colleagues to give us a hard time as we’re good at doing that ourselves.  If you’re struggling at work, give yourself some space. This could mean taking a few days off, requesting flexible working or getting some support outside of work but once you’ve had some space, you can make good choices.

If you need any further help or guidance on wellbeing in the workplace, get in touch with HR Revolution, give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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A version of this article first appeared on theguardian.com

 

 

Plan ahead for the January productivity slump

So December is only a couple of weeks away and around this time of year spirits are generally high with everyone looking forward to the opportunity to take a little time out with friends and loved ones.

However, by the New Year the general mood and feel has often shifted slightly. With nothing but rainy dark days and credit card bills to look forward to, productivity in the workplace can come to a grinding halt. Here are our best tips for overcoming the January slump!

Give thanks…

It’s likely that your employees may have worked longer shifts over the Christmas period. They’ll have dealt with stressful situations and difficult discussions, and it’s understandable if they’re feeling a bit burnt out. Some might even be asking themselves what the point in all of it even was.

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Saying thank you is so simple and it’s something that you should be doing regularly, but it’s all too easy to overlook the basics in favour of developing complex strategies. Make sure your employees know that their contribution didn’t go unnoticed.

Set new goals…

January can be a time when everyone settles back into their usual routines. The pressure might be lifted slightly, and whilst this can be a positive thing, it can also sometimes encourage complacency. Instead of letting this happen, make sure that you have a plan of action to guide you through the first quarter.

Call a team meeting, invite feedback and opinions, and ensure that everyone is fully up to speed and engaged with new priorities. This will act as a timely reminder that it’s time to get back to business!

Get ahead in 2018…

You might be the boss, but that that doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the January blues! You should ensure that you celebrate your successes and take time to reflect on your achievements over the past 12 months, but it’s important that you also look at ways in which you can improve your skills and start the New Year with a bang.

Ask your employees to give you an open and honest assessment of how you’ve performed as a leader, and what you can do to support them better in the future. The best business owners are always considering how they can step up and lead by example.

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If you need any help, why not let HR Revolution give you the HR solutions you need to get 2018 off to a flying start…

Give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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HR Revolution’s guide to organising work Christmas parties…

The Christmas period is a challenging time for many companies and business owners alike.  Profits are at the forefront of their minds to ensure sales continue right up to the end of the year and their products and services are the ones consumers want to spend their hard earned cash on.

If you’re caught up with the complexities of planning your approach to maximising sales and profits, you might not have yet thought about whether you’ll organise a Christmas party for your employees.

On paper, it’s a great idea. Everyone enjoys a chance to unwind, and you reward your employees for all their hard work that they’ve put in over the past year.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Generally speaking, Christmas parties get a lot of bad press. You’re probably familiar with horror stories involving workers who have taken full advantage of the free bar, and then went on to well and truly disgrace their employers. The truth of the matter here though is that these incidents are few and far between.

Yes, of course things can go wrong. But if you do some thorough planning in advance, you can avoid problems and give your employees the motivational celebration that they deserve.

Download our FREE guide, where we will go through the bases you need to cover so you can round off 2017 on a high note for you and your employees.

download here...

Why not give us a call, or visit our website: HR Revolution, we are ready to answer any Christmas related questions you may have +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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How to manage stress in the workplace

Outsourced HR

Stress is a very real problem in the workplace and so it is really important that businesses have a genuine and supportive culture, not just policies that are applied inconsistently by different managers.

Losing a valued member of staff as a result of Stress, is expensive not only in terms of absence but potentially in any discrimination claim they could bring if it is found an employer has contributed to their condition.

Below are five tips for employers and businesses on how to ensure a culture that guards against workplace stress:

Communicate – Employers should have open lines of communication with all employees, making them feel valued and involved in their company.

Consult on change – Employers should inform and consult employees on changes that are likely to affect them before they take place and encourage them to ask questions, before, during and after any changes so that they feel involved in the process, making sure that their opinions are valued ad respected.
Stress in the workplace

Manage Absence – Make sure you are dealing with employee absences appropriately, helping people return to work with the appropriate health services, such as, occupational health and return to work interviews.

Offer Help – Employee assistance programmes should be made available, for example confidential or in person counselling.

Lead by Example  Employers should lead by example and actively promote healthy lifestyle themselves by having a good work/life balance, managing working hours, using full holiday allowance and taking lunch breaks.

We have put together a guide to help you through, should you be faced with a situation of stress in the workplace and it’s free to download now:

Download our free guide to Stress Management here.

Stress is a tricky subject to handle, so if you are unsure we are here to help. For further advice or assistance relating to Stress Management or Stress in the workplace, please contact HR Revolution on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

We are friendly expert HR professionals who can help you resolve any issues whilst supporting your employees and minimising any risk to your business.

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How to identify stress in the workplace…

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What is stress?… the definition provided by the Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE) is “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them”.

As most people are aware stress is not a new problem, but it is something that employers now need to treat very seriously.

For employers the impact of stress is a very real problem.  Not only does it effect an employee’s health, morale, productivity, performance and attendance it can affect business productivity, employee turnover and reputation.

There is also a marked difference between stress and pressure.  In most jobs there is an element of pressure, but this can make employees feel challenged and motivated which can have a positive effect on performance.  Stress however, can cause a detrimental effect to employee’s mental and physical health and well-being.

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According the the HSE there are six main causes of stress in the workplace:

  1. Demands – Employees may be unable to cope with the demands of their job, feel overwhelmed with work pattern, workload or environment.
  2. Control – Employees may feel stressed if they feel they are not in control about how they carry out their work, this can lead to them under-performing and feelings of isolation.
  3. Support – Employees can feel stressed if they are not being supported in the workplace by managers or colleagues.
  4. Relationships – If relationships within the workplace are causing stress, this can lead to allegations of bullying, harassment and bad team dynamics, and can lead to employee grievances being raised.
  5. Role – Employees can experience stress if they don’t understand what is expected of them in their role and responsibilities.
  6. Change – Managing change can be very stressful for employees, causing them to worry about how change will effect them.

As an employer it is always good to be vigilant as it is not just the workplace that causes stress.  In many instances personal issues such as relationships, family bereavement, illness and money can have an impact on a employees health.

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Spotting signs of stress is key.  You may notice a change in an employee’s behaviour, habit or routine, for example smoking or drinking more, taking more time off or making uncharacteristic mistakes.

If you feel that you have an employee that is suffering with any of the indicators above and don’t know how to handle it, please get int touch with us at HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we can help you navigate any issues and make sure that your employee feels fully supported.

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