Holidays over – our back to work survival guide!

Why is it that when children go back to school in September they get about a week’s worth of half days to ‘ease them back in’?  Ok I’m probably exaggerating and I might be a bit bitter (definitely!), but my point is; they get a nice steady transition period to help them adjust to the harsh reality of going back to school. However, workers are faced with the reality of returning to work with no settling in phase!!!.  So if your going back to work with an error 404: ‘brain not found’ message, fear not, I have put together this back to work survival guide to help you get through it.

Be an early bird

If your first day back after a holiday falls on a Monday, then I feel for you, I really do. As if Mondays aren’t bad enough, this is a workers’ worst nightmare. However, I always find that getting up early, eating a proper breakfast then heading off to work early is a good way to set you up for having a productive day.

Also, being in work early before your co-workers descend on you with queries that they’ve been building up whilst you’re away, gives you the chance to acclimatise into work mode. It also means you get the peace and quiet you need to remember your computer password that has completely slipped your mind!

Tackle your emails head on

Inevitably, when you return from annual leave, even if its just one day, you’ll return to email Armageddon (why is it that everyone has questions for you when you’re not there?). First you should scan through and delete anything that is not critical, is that latest 20% off Gap clothing offer really something you need to look at right now. Then, when you’re down to a manageable number read and respond in chronological order. You’ll need some method to the madness or it just will never end! Top tip: when someone responds to your reply, DON’T immediately respond to them. Get through the rest of your remaining unread emails before you start engaging in conversation and get pulled away from your email-ocalypse.

Catch up on the goss

Returning to a busy office with lots to do and lots to catch up on after spending your days relaxing on the beach without a care in the world, can leave you feeling discombobulated. You’ve been ‘out of the loop’ and when it comes to the world of office goings on you’ll have missed a ton of gossip and activity.

Schedule a tea break with your colleagues to catch up on all the news you’ve missed whilst you’ve been away.

Regroup

It’s only natural to return to work after a holiday and feel a bit like workplace deadwood. You’ll be reminiscing about what you were doing this time last week and you’ll be easily distracted and when you’ve got a mountain of things to tackle at work, it’s sometimes really hard to get back into the swing of things and you’ll be struggling to get motivated!

When this happens, regroup and remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve at work. Giving your work some meaning will give you the boost to get stuck back in. You might be working towards a bonus, promotion or working hard to save for something special. Reassess your goals and see where you’re at with them, plan your next steps in achieving them and crack on and succeed.

Don’t let your holiday spirit be put out

We all get a boost from taking time off of work to relax and recharge, so don’t let returning to the office instantly crush your joie de vivre. Everyone in the office will want to hear you gush over what you got up to, it’s their duty, so revel in it. Show off your holiday pictures, pass round the holiday sweets and keep your holiday spirit alive just a little bit longer.

If you would like to discuss any HR issues, please give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Friday fun… 10 ways to help you stress less at work…

A heavy workload, distracting colleagues, coffee has run out, looming deadlines then thinking about everything that you still need to do once you get home – does this this sound familiar?? Sadly these things tend to stress us out on a daily basis and unfortunately in this day and age, it seems like this always going to be the case!

Panic not though, here are 10 simple things you can do that take less than 60 seconds to get your thoughts back on track and take the weight off…. (No.10 is our personal favourite!)

1. Make a cuppa

Ok, we’re British and nothing solves a problem better than a good cup of tea. Take a minute away from it all to make yourself a really good brew and maybe grab a biscuit whilst you’re there! If you are not a fan of tea? Here’s some healthy drinks that can also make you feel better.

2. Turn up the tunes

Plugging yourself into your headphones and rocking out with some of your favourite music can really help you relax. I find that having music that I know really well playing whilst I work, not only blocks out any distractions, but soothes me and gives me the chance to focus.

3. Call your nearest and dearest to vent

Vent to your nearest or dearest and get everything that’s stressing you out off of your chest will feel like just what the doctor ordered as they say a problem shared is a problem halved!

4. Ask for help

There is absolutely no shame in it. If you’re swamped with your workload, delegate to a colleague who has capacity.

5. Take a deep breath

Honing in on your breathing and taking slow deep breaths allows your mind to not only slow down, but stops you from thinking about everything that’s getting on top of you. Concentrate on how deep your breaths are, breathe in for 5 seconds and note how the air fills up your lungs, then breathe out for 5 seconds. If you close your eyes you can really escape.

6. Ask yourself “is this going to matter in 2 years’ time?”

Chances are the answer is no. Placing a situation into a wider context allows you to put it into perspective and can make a life-destroying moment turn into just an annoying blip in your day.

7. Make a list

Any time I feel like things are getting too much, I write it all down. Seeing the magnitude of tasks that you need to get through can, at first, freak you out, but here’s a little tip. Number each of the activities in order of priority and work through them, that way you have a strategy of how you can tackle the mountain in front of you.

8. Think about what you’re doing right

We spend way too much time focusing on what’s going wrong, but how much credit do we give ourselves for all of the things we do that are absolutely spot on? You probably don’t know because you just glaze over your achievements and move on to stressing about what needs to be done next. Take a minute to think about that really successful project you nailed or that seriously creative idea that you came up with during that meeting. You rock, you really do!

9. Change your desktop screensaver to something green

If you think you’re going to be chained to your desk for the foreseeable future, changing your screensaver to a lush green meadow can make you feel better apparently! According to research you don’t have to be out in the great outdoors just to benefit from all of it’s mood-boosting powers.

10. Treat yourself

This is possibly one of my favourite sayings and it should be yours too. Do something, anything that’s going to make you feel better. Whether it’s binging on a chocolate bar, having a carb-filled lunch or guzzling one more coffee, if it is going to make you feel better then it is worth it and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it!

So next time things are getting too much, don’t turn into the Hulk, allow yourself one minute to do any of the above and turn your day from pandemonium, into one that you can handle.

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How to handle office romances…

February is considered the month of love and Sunday is Valentine’s Day, so 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 shows that more than a third 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.

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.

Although this year, Valentines Day is outside normal office hours, relationship issues can happen all year round so February is as good time as any to consider workplace best practice.  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 and most likely wouldn’t act as a deterrent anyway. 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 are inappropriate in the workplace.   Remember people are always watching and no one wants to see canoodling in the canteen, or have to navigate their way through a kissing couple just to get to the kettle.

If you do feel that boundaries are being crossed, 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.

Consider the team as a whole

You’re probably not in the office all day, every day 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’ve got these key areas covered, romance at work doesn’t have to leave you feeling stressed out and uncertain about what to do for the best.

But if you feel you need to ensure that you’re prepared for anything, outlining ground rules in your Company handbook is essential and HR Revolution can help, get in touch and talk to one of our HR Consultants today to see how we can help!

 

Childish Behaviour in the Office is Out of Control!

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like all the drama that goes on at work is more like being in a playground!?!

All too often going into the office is like being back at school, there is always that “he said she said” mentality floating about, raised voices in meetings, sulking at desks or even crying in the coffee room (and I have had my fair share of all of them) and this is happening in workplaces all over the place, and it can really impact on your business.

Working in HR you really get to see a lot of this from all different angles and there are some little rules we could all try to adopt to stop even a little of this happening, and turn our offices back in to “grownup land”!

So here is our friendly advice…

It’s not all about you! – ok a bit blunt I know, but it’s not. You are part of something bigger, a business… and one that needs to be profitable. It takes more than one person to do that, and everyone’s needs must be considered.

Don’t take part in Chinese whispers – Ok so you’ve heard something about someone it doesn’t mean you have to share it with them or anyone else for that matter. Remember it may not be true and you will always be the one that looks bad so just keep clear

It’s not personal if someone disagrees with you – I am hugely guilty of this and take everything personally, but what we have to remember is we don’t always see the bigger picture and what affects others, besides it is OK to have an opinion

You don’t have to be friends to have a good relationship – you can get on with your work colleague even take an active interest in their life, you don’t have socialise with them outside, so if your personalities are different that’s ok!

Learn to listen as well as talk – Other people have valuable things to say too and you never know their ideas might just be better than yours

Take it on the chin when things go wrong – DON’T bring the whole team down with you. How many times do you hear “well such and such did it too etc”. The boss probably already knows anyway so don’t make others look bad, just learn from the mistake

You don’t have to scream to be heard – Shouting in meetings to be heard just shuts everyone down and there is no positive progress to be made

And Lastly Celebrate others successes – don’t sulk because you’re not the one in the spotlight; remember you are all working towards the same goal business success.

I hope this helps us all take a step back before we react a certain way and the working day will go a lot smoother, after all we are all adults aren’t we?

Download your FREE guide to Anti-Harrassment and Bullying in the Workplace by Clicking HERE now or visit our online document shop for heaps more guides and policies to get your office working the way they should. Or drop us an email at info@hrrevolution.co.uk if you need help with any employee issues, we have a solution to help!

Thanks Ros Asquith for the pic, it’s fab!