How to handle office romances

With many of us spending more and more time at the office, it’s no surprise that many working relationships blossom into something a little more intimate. In fact, research carried out by CareerBuilder.com found that 38% of workers have dated a colleague at some point in their working lives.

Those individuals are in pretty good company as well, as just one power couple that met in the workplace is none other than Barack and Michelle Obama. Back in 1989, the pair met whilst they were spending time working at the same law firm in Chicago.

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As an employer though, you’d be right to be a little cautious about what the implications could be for your business. If you suspect that there’s an office romance in the pipeline, you could be concerned about the impact that this could have on your team, or what might happen if things turn sour.

February is the month of love, so it’s a great time to consider some best practice on this subject. Without any further ado, here’s what you need to know:

Accept that these things happen

It would be unreasonable to try to implement any kind of policy that banned romantic relationships between employees altogether and it is unlikely that it would act as a deterrent. If anything, you’d be simply creating a culture of secrecy and mistrust.

The bottom line here is that these things happen, and as a leader, you have to accept it.

Nip any problems in the bud ASAP

Public displays of affection aren’t appropriate in the workplace. No one wants to see canoodling by the canteen, or have to navigate their way through a kissing couple just to get to the kettle. Luckily, most couples will know this already, and will often do everything they can to make sure that there are no awkward moments for their colleagues.

If you do feel that boundaries are being crossed though, you need to take action as soon as possible. Have a discreet word with both individuals, explain your worries, and remind them of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

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Consider the team as a whole

You’re probably not in the office all day long, every day of the week. So in many ways, you only get a very limited snapshot of what’s going on, and how everyone’s interacting on a day-to-day basis. This means that you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to monitoring sentiment.

Of course, this is a larger issue surrounding workplace culture, and it covers more than just office romances. Keeping your finger on the pulse and collecting meaningful, insightful feedback from your staff on a regular basis will ensure that you’re creating a productive, motivated, and happy workforce – if, of course, you’re taking action on your findings.

Don’t take sides if things go wrong

Many employers worry about the potential fallout of office relationships turning sour. And it’s essential that you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario. Stay impartial, try to exercise a degree of understanding and sympathy, but make sure that you keep overall business objectives and priorities in sight.

Of course, it’s vital that you can recognise the difference between a break-up and something more sinister. Your policies and procedures on serious matters such as sexual harassment and bullying should be robust, and always implemented.

If you need any further advice or guidance to make sure that you are prepared for any eventuality 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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Valentine’s Day; Office do’s and don’ts

It’s Valentines Day… the day where most of us are filled with thoughts of love and romance!?  However it can be a somewhat tedious process for HR… can employers have rules on personal relationships at work? Is it harassment for a worker to ask a colleague out on a date? In today’s business world, dating someone at work is not at all uncommon so here is a list of office do’s and don’ts.

Studies show that after online dating, the workplace is the second biggest place where people meet their significant others. It makes a lot of sense, you are sharing the same space for eight or more hours a day with people who tend to be like-minded and share similar life goals.

Also, the everyday stresses of work life tend to be an easy thing to relate and bond with an individual over. While it can be a great thing, office romances can also cause a lot of undesirable stress and tension. Surely, ending an office relationship can be uncomfortable for both parties, since they  have no choice but to continue to see each other every day, despite the fact that the relationship has dissolved.

DO:

Know Your Company’s Policy

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Every company tends to have a bit of a different policy when it comes to dating among colleagues. There isn’t one golden rule, so if you’re thinking about asking someone from work out, it might be best to make sure right away that you know where your company stands on this issue.

There are some businesses that make it a requirement for you to come forth with the relationship and let your higher-ups know about it. Others don’t. Romance is an important part of life, but you shouldn’t allow it to negatively affect your career in any way. So do the research and check out your company’s policy before you set the ball rolling.

Try to Keep it a Secret

Even if the company requires that you tell the bosses about the relationship, you shouldn’t have to tell everyone. One of the best reasons for keeping it a secret is that it can be fun. Having a special relationship with someone while keeping it hidden from plain sight at work can be thrilling and fun for both of you… so long as it doesn’t affect your work!

You will need to avoid public displays of affection at work whatever you decide. Even if you do decide to tell coworkers about the relationship, you should still resist the PDA. The only thing it can lead to is making your other colleagues feel uncomfortable around you.

Take it Seriously

No matter how much you want it to be, an office romance is unlike any other romance. It comes with its own rules, and it’s something that you should take very seriously, not only to help make it a successful relationship, but to avoid issues if the relationship does end up going sour in the end.

The truth of the matter is that a workplace romance has the potential to impact many more people than a regular romance, whether it lasts or ends. And if the relationship does end, try to be as professional about it as possible. It might be incredibly hard to do, but making sure that no negativity enters the workplace as a result is something you need to do. It doesn’t only affect the two of you, it can affect coworkers and clients as well.

DON’T:

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Parade it

This has already been mentioned, but it should be reiterated, public displays of affection at work should be absolutely forbidden. No one in the office wants to see that, no matter how relaxed they seem about your relationship. It is something that has no place in the office; this includes not only kissing, but also hugging, hand-holding, and even winking and sending kisses to each other across the office.

These rules should not only apply to work hours, but to all work-related functions, including holiday parties and even trips to the bar with colleagues after work.

It’s also important not to let the relationship affect other relationships you have around the office. If you’ve been going to lunch with the same group of people all year, don’t suddenly abandon them because you all of a sudden only have eyes for your office flame.

Let it Affect Your Work

It’s important not to change the person and employee you are when your partner is present. This could make things really weird in meetings and when working with a group of people in which your partner is included. Be sure not to treat that person any differently than before… remain professional at all times.

If your partner has an idea which you don’t agree with, say something. Don’t let it slide just because of your relationship, things should be the same way they were before you became an item.

Discuss it with Coworkers

Your coworkers are probably going to want to hear the juicy details about your relationship, but you must not give them any. Feeding the office gossip machine is the worst thing that you can possibly do for your relationship and your job.

Discussions of your relationship have no place in the office, no matter how bad you’d like to talk about it. You must remember that you are not the only person affected by what is said.

Conclusion

An office romance can be very rewarding. The workplace is a great place to meet someone who you might be able to connect with romantically on a long-term basis. Just be smart about it and try to keep your romantic life and your business life as separate as possible in these circumstances.

If you need any further advice or guidance 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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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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National Sickie Day 2018

I hope you are not tempted to call in sick today… but if you do, you’re not alone! The first Monday in February is when more people call in sick than any other day in the year.

Today’s figure is predicted to be higher than in previous years thanks to a combination of factors including Super Bowl Sunday yesterday, the first weekend after Dry January and the first post-Christmas pay day.

According to some Employment Law experts, it was estimated that the amount of employees who called in sick on 2017 National Sickie Day was 350,000 and they predicted this cost the UK economy around £45million due to lost hours, wages and overtime, but overall 39 million working days a year are lost due too sickies, costing UK businesses a staggering £4billion.

So here are a list of some of the worst excuses for missing work in 2017:

  • My only pair of work trousers is in the wash
  • I contracted food poisoning from a chocolate bar I ate last night
  • It’s my dog’s birthday and I need to arrange a party for him
  • The dog ate my shoes
  • I got arrested
  • I woke up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it
  • I stayed out partying last night and haven’t had any sleep
  • My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift
  • I have no way to get to work
  • My wife earns more than me so I have to look after the kids

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As an employer there are a few things you can do to try and limit this trend by making sure you get employees to call you when they are sick – it’s harder to stick to a made up excuse talking to someone than texting in. Also you are perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence; if an excuse seems too far-fetched then ask for evidence if appropriate.

Don’t allow an ‘absence culture’ to flourish in your workplace, get in touch if you need any further advice on how to improve sickness and absence, 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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Time to talk day… #timetotalk

Today is Time to talk day, a charity run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health.

What many people don’t realise is that Mental Health falls under the category of disability and if people who have mental health problems are treated unfavourably because of their condition this is discrimination and, if you experience it, you may have a legal right to challenge it.

So mental health is an issue your business can no longer afford to ignore:

  • Almost one in three people have experienced mental health issues whilst in employment
  • Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year
  • 95% of employees calling in sick with stress gave a different reason

Tackling stigma (where an employee is perceived as being different because of their mental health problem) and discrimination and developing a culture where your employees feel able to talk openly about their mental health problems should be the number one priority within your business.

It is important as an employer you are aware of your obligations to your employees to protect them from discrimination.time to talk1 - hr revolution - outsourced hr

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 is the law that gives employees the right to challenge discrimination. It protects people from being discriminated against because of certain protected characteristics, such as gender, age or disability and mental health.

Since the Equality Act 2010 came into force, it is unlawful for employers to ask questions about health during recruitment.

It is up to the candidate whether they wish to disclose their mental health problem or not. An employer has a duty to ensure that if the candidate does disclose, they are not discriminated against and are treated fairly.

CIPD make some recommendations for employers:

  • Distinguish carefully between essential and desirable requirements for the job to allow for flexibility in making adjustments.
  • Communicate your commitment to equal opportunities and how your organisation values staff mental health.
  • State that reasonable adjustments are available
  • Any information on health or disabilities should be kept separate from the job application form

Reasonable Adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 also puts employers under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments (in other words changes).

A few examples of changes that might help

  • Extending flexible working policies to allow commuting outside of rush hours
  • Allowing staff to take time off work for appointments
  • Making changes to their working area
  • Allowing staff to work at home on occasion if this is helpful
  • Temporarily re-allocating tasks they find stressful and difficult

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As an employer you have a key role to play in supporting employees to maintain their mental wellbeing. Regular supervision or catch-up meetings can help managers recognise symptoms such as stress, anxiety, paranoia or depression. It is also worth incorporating time in your meetings to discuss your employees’ wellbeing. Managers play a crucial role in setting reasonable adjustments, flexible working allowances and return to work plans if employees need additional support.

Ideally, speaking about mental health problems should be an intrinsic part of the culture of your workplace.

It’s critical that all of your line managers feel confident having a conversation about mental health with their line reports. Increasing their capability to spot signs and symptoms in their team, and feel confident in discussing this with those who are struggling will help stop problems before they become more challenging.

If you need any further advice or guidance or would like to discuss how you can tackle any Mental Health issues within your business from an HR perspective 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.

It’s time to talk and HR Revolution are here to support you, your employees AND your business.

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Why bother with Employment contracts?

Despite it being a legal obligation, many business owners think that it’s in their interests to delay giving an employee a contract, or not bothering at all, but this blog will explain the importance of having employment contracts in place.

Firstly…It’s the Law!!

It is a legal requirement to have an employment contract in place within two months of hiring an employee but if you didn’t know act now – don’t ignore it!

Contracts actually benefit both employers and employees; it helps the employer by setting out clearly what is expected of the employee the hours they should work, how much and how often they are paid, holiday and sick pay arrangements and other day to day issues. It is important for the employee because they then know in addition to items above, how to lodge a grievance, what notice to give and their rights under family friendly policies such as maternity or paternity leave and the company expectations in larger company for more senior employees this is a vital tool for the employer often overlooked. Contracts should be regularly reviewed and updated and if an employee is promoted they should always be issued with an updated contract reflecting their new rights and responsibilities.

Also, given this is a contractual agreement you are putting in place between you and the employee, I would advise that you take professional advise so that you can clearly articulate what you want the contract to say and that you fully understand what you as the employer are committing to.

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It avoids disputes

Even without anything written down, when an employee turns up  for work and gets paid, there is a basic employment contract agreement between the two parties.

Without any written terms then it’s either statutory rights that are in place (which often benefit the employee), or oral agreements which can be open to interpretation and misinterpretation.  Dealing with disputed oral terms is at best time-consuming and at worst can also be financially costly.

Decide the terms that work for your business, by offering a job with terms and conditions that you have set, you are not only presenting a professional image and setting the tone for the employment relationship, but giving clear guidelines to what the employee can expect when working with you.

You can specify working hours, any overtime payments (or not), the notice period you require from them, how much sick pay they can expect, how much holiday they are due, and when they can or cannot take holiday, amongst many other things.

It protects your business

If an employee leaves your employment, you can put restrictions in place (within reason) so that your business is not adversely affected if their next role is in competition with your business. You also need to put in place protection for your business regarding critical, confidential information.

If it’s not specified in the contract, you may be taking a risk if you decide to put someone on gardening leave, or pay them in lieu of notice, if your rights to do this are not detailed in the employment contract.

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Finally, to reiterate we would always advise that you take professional guidance so that you can clearly articulate what you want the contract to say and that you fully understand what you as the employer are committing to.  HR Revolution have fully comprehensive contract templates available to download on our website www.hrrevolution.co.uk  and we can also tailor them for you, please do get in touch for further details.

Businesses often wonder if there are contracts in place, do they also need a Company handbook… the answer is yes! A contract is a legally binding document mutually agreed and any variation to it again needs to be mutually agreed and to undergo a period of consultation before any change is implemented. A handbook is a document setting out company policies from expenses to confidentiality, to dealing with harassment and bullying, email, social media and internet policies and many others. It is not legally binding and therefore does not have to be mutually agreed. It gives the employer the ability to change and amend policies to deal with the changes in legislation and social trends eg. Maternity/Paternity etc.

HR Revolution would advise that employers and employees need both.

If you need any further advice on employment contracts or handbooks 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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Need to grow your business? 5 ways to keep your employees happy!

One thing we hear time and again at HR Revolution from our clients is that they can’t seem to hire enough of the right people!

The crux of the problem is that you need enough of the right people to grow your business but those people are much harder to find these days!  With a clear shortage of good employees, the first step that business owners need to aware of is making sure they keep the talent they already have.

In the past when the economy was down, few companies were hiring and employees would put up with a lot to keep a job, however, that is not the case now!  Employees who’ve had bad experiences will be on the look out for something better!

Here we cover 5 ways in which to keep your employees happy:

1. Communicate Constantly

It is crucial to keep everyone in your company informed of what’s happening.

Delegating tasks to an employee without explaining the reason behind the workload or its purpose can become problematic. Issues with misunderstanding, demotivation or frequent errors can arise from this, which makes it important to explain why completing ‘A’ will benefit ‘B’.

Clarity for the employee is rewarding, it makes them feel trusted and dependable. The last thing you want to find on your desk is a letter from an employee venting their lack of job satisfaction alongside an urgency to leave.

The workplace has no room for tough love; communicate why certain behaviours and standards are expected, you are all in the business together and the best way to tackle an employees mistake is through calming explanations of what to do next.

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2. Encourage New Ideas

If an employee has suggestions to help the business grow, listen to them. Employee feedback is a way to know that your team actually cares for your business. You could email everyone on your team that your door is always open to new ideas, you may be surprised at how much co-operation and creativity that could ignite.

Even if you get unwanted suggestions remember to respond positively, you can thank them for taking the time to send through their ideas and that you’ll consider them. Remember it’s a way to make everyone feel appreciated and important.

3. Reward Appropriately

Compliment efforts with rewards and praise. You can equate how much effort is exerted to accomplish a goal, but sometimes a simple thank-you and recognition can be good enough. Making your employees feel valued can be done in two forms:

Verbal

When an employee performs a task well or reaches a goal, let them know how pleased you are with their work. There’s nothing wrong in expressing a complimentary word or two; in fact, your employee will be much more motivated to do their tasks over again no matter how challenging it can be.

You know John Smith from accounting? He’s the guy who sits at the back of the office and rarely gets a mention among his colleagues. Read his stats and then tell him he’s doing a great job and how his work has been an integral part of the success of the company.

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Tangible

Now this is what it’s all about, give employees a concrete reason to succeed. It can be in the form of a bonus, free tickets or gift certificates and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Your employees will be pleased at the thought of their efforts being reciprocated, which empowers them to do more. It’s a Win-win!

4. Promote Balance

Results or time? There’s no competition here. Results will always win, hands down, don’t demand unnecessary overtime from workers for the sake of it and then proceed to compliment them in the next team meeting for not having a life. Compliment when  things get done at the right pace and in the right amount of time. Praise work quality hours over who quickly works for quantity!

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That’s not to say there won’t be a time when extra hours will be required to appease the workload; but as a leader, it’s vital you get your troops to work smarter. Not harder.

And besides, an employee who works normal hours and enjoys a healthy work-life balance will ultimately be the happiest. He or she will most likely be up early in the morning and ready to produce more outstanding work with a smile. After all, you didn’t push them to work till silly o’clock.

5. Motivate

It’s vital that you constantly remind your employees to strive for the best.

Fostering motivation increases their productivity during working hours, which in turn increases everyone’s satisfaction, and all of this results in happiness. And happiness? Well that results in success…

If you need any further advice on how to keep your employees engaged, happy and successful 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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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.

mental health issues - hr revolution - outsourced hr

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.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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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.

blue-monday - hr revolution

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.

work life balance - blue monday - hr revolution

“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”.

blue monday - hr revolution

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.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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