Your December survival guide…

Well I don’t know about you, but this year just seems to have flown by! There is no denying it – December is here… A slight panic rose in my stomach this morning thinking of all the things I have to do in just a few weeks!! I hope I’m not the only one that is experiencing feelings that seem to put in me in a very odd and slightly snappy mood when really I should be full of festive spirit, skipping around singing falalalala’s in my head!

So how about the rest of the world? Are you stressed, working every hour, trying to do a million and one things at work and at home? So what is the best way to deal with December’s impending chaos… I have a few tips to share with you all to ensure you get the balance and enjoy the best of the festive season!

First thing, stay calm…

Control – If a difficult situation arises don’t lash out, be calm and controlled and take lots of deep breaths take a moment and think about your response, think it through, you will be less likely to say or act in manor you will regret! Be it with a work colleague or a queue of stressful shoppers waiting to purchase the last of their Christmas gifts!

Communicate – We are all guilty of communicating via email, with colleagues or Managers even if they only sit across the desk! Remember emails can be misinterpreted; arrange a meeting, or pick up the phone, talk to each other and you will not be misunderstood! This carries through with home life too, remember it’s good to talk!

Calm – If someone upsets you at work, try and separate the person from their actions. You cannot stop stressful situations happening, but you can change your attitude towards them.  Think of your success and strengths and this will boost your self-esteem!

Stay healthy – Take time to look after you, you cannot function through illness or tiredness so make sure you eat well and get lots of sleep. We all over look our well being at this time of year, especially as we have such busy lives.  However to function at our best  we need to do all of the above.

Remember to take time and enjoy the festivities, find your Christmas ritual or maybe just believe a little bit!!!

Give HR Revolution 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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How to identify stress in the workplace…

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.

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.

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.

 

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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Have you taken your annual leave?

Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.

However, we seem to be forgetting to take annual leave!! Reports suggest that only 1 in 3 of us actually takes our full annual leave allocation each year. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of annual leave and why it’s important to take yours.

The benefits of annual leave

There are many benefits to taking annual leave. These include:

  • Health
  • Stress relief
  • Productivity
  • Trust

Health benefits

Taking time away from the business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.

Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of very few chances we get to truly forget about work.

This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritise. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.

Productivity

When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out. This is where we’ve worked hard for so long, we simply can’t do it anymore.

Time out of the office gives you chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a more positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.

Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Building trust

It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.

Top tips for annual leave

Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:

  1. Set an out of office response that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
  2. Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
  3. Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave

Time for a break?

Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.

It’s important that we lead the way in ensuring we take the holiday we deserve and that we make the most of that time. It is good to remember that the business won’t fall apart just because you’ve been away for a few days!  Happy holidays…

HR Revolution is a gold partner of breatheHR, a cloud-based HR employee software that is a straightforward and intuitive system that you and your team will love. You will be able to see your employees holiday allocations easily, so you can see who needs a little nudge to take a day off!

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

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

Embarrassing employee workplace gaffes…

I’m sure we all have experienced the uncomfortable feeling of embarrassment that presents itself when least expected, crumbling our confidence and reputation as others observe with pitiful looks and concealed laughter.  Sadly, the worst part is, that the cringe-worthy story has its way of emerging, days, weeks and even years later…

However, even if your trousers have split in front of colleagues or you accidentally overshared with your boss, you can’t be reeling from embarrassment as much as the best man at Pippa Middleton’s wedding is.  Awkward.

However, these come pretty close!!! The Guardian have collated a few of the worst employee workplace blunders… read on if you dare…

Not work safe!

“My best friend had just given birth the weekend before and sent loads of cute baby photos to our group messenger. I was showing my manager the pictures on Monday morning when I swiped one photo too far back and a horrific, pornographic photo involving an obese woman and a lot of bananas captioned “it’s Friday c****, let’s go bananas” popped up.

“Someone had sent it to the group ages ago as a joke and I’d completely forgotten. We both screamed and I started apologising profusely, saying I had no clue what it was doing there as this was my girly school group messenger! It was so cringe-worthy I was completely speechless and we were both completely shocked silent for a couple of hours. After I got a stern talking to about private affairs at work.”

Run for it!

“I was responsible for mixing the chemicals that processed colour slides in a professional photo lab. One afternoon I inadvertently picked up an old version of a chemical and mixed the reaction together. The result was a wall of foam that rose over 6ft high and moved like a tsunami out of the mixing room and into the main room forcing everyone to run for it. Luckily, my boss saw the funny side of it.”

Caution – hot liquids

“At an important meeting with some Board members, a colleague made me a cup of tea. Unbeknownst to me, there was no milk in it. At the start of the meeting I took a big gulp of tea, but clearly without any cold milk the liquid was boiling hot.

“My mouth on fire, I had no option but to spit the tea straight back out onto the carpeted floor. Not only was I embarrassed, but all of my mouth was burnt and swollen. I made a swift exit – fortunately my line manager followed me out and I was able to explain.”

Put it away!

“I was in the lift at work heading down to the canteen with a mug of hot soup. It was lunchtime so the lift was full of people. For some reason the mug slipped from my hand, smashing on the floor and soup was thrown everywhere.  “All over me, over the people next to me and across the floor. In my red-faced embarrassment, I bent down to pick up what was left of the mug. It was at that point my trousers split completely, from my backside to about half way down my leg. The whole lift burst out laughing. Needless to say, I made a quick exit at the next available floor.”

Do you have any embarrassing stories you’d like to share?, HR Revolution would love to hear them, comment below if you dare!!!

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Do your colleagues like you as much as you think?

In all probability the answer to this is no! Very blunt I know, but I am just being honest with you.

In truth we all have bits about us that are completely unlikeable, but we just don’t want to believe it!

Take a look at the top reasons for being disliked in the workplace and ask yourself…  Is that me?

You gossip: and I mean the negative kind. What you don’t realise is that you are venting about someone to the very person they are best friends with. In short, neither of them like you now and they have told everyone else not to trust you!!

You lengthen meetings: with the most ridiculous questions, which in all probability have been answered already if you hadn’t been too busy doodling to notice, or just wanted to make your presence known. Now it’s past going home time you are very unpopular indeed!

You depend on everyone: for every single answer. You have google on your computer, it pretty much knows everything so use it and stop asking me!

You moan: OMG is your cup ever half full? Apparently not, it’s too cold, there are no teabags, you broke a nail, you hate Mondays, the stationery cupboard is too far away, don’t depress the office…

You tell white lies: It wasn’t your idea stop saying it was aaarrggghhh!

You know it all: about everything and you can do my job better than me!!! (even though you don’t know what you are talking about). Get over yourself your insecurity is boring!

You are lazy: and you know it. It’s never your responsibility, so why should you step up to take on extra duties? Well people might like you a bit more if you pulled your weight for one!

You are Little Miss Sunshine: really?! No-one can be that happy all of the time. The lift breaking down when you work on the 15th floor is NOT a good excuse for light exercise! I don’t want a group hug, high fives or to turn my frown upside down… so please go away.

You talk too much: and when I say too much I mean all the time! Now I don’t mind a quick catch up on last night’s TV, but seriously I have work to do and I really am not that interested in Aunt Maud’s bad back. Rein it in a bit hey!

You are always sick: I mean taking every Monday off is a bit suspect, do you really always have something dodgy to eat on a Sunday!?? I’m suspicious and I don’t really like you for it.

You smell: ok sensitive subject but it’s true no-one like to sit with someone who’s got BO or bad breath.

You suck up to your colleagues: all the time. Did you do your hair differently? I like your dress, is it new? Did you lose weight? It’s all rubbish, the boss looks the same as always and you are not getting a promotion.

So if you want to win favour in the office, take an interest in other people, listen to a story they want to share, give the odd compliment and maybe offer to buy the coffee or make one at least!

Even as I wrote this blog I couldn’t help thinking ‘actually I do a bit of all of those’, so I will sign off and go and spray myself with some perfume, make my team a coffee or tea and not moan when there is no milk! and tell my colleague that I did notice her hair cut and I like it!

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Top 10 causes of stress at work

In this day and age we often hear a lot about workplace stress and sadly it’s symptomatic of society’s drive for constant growth and increased wealth, the outcome of which is ever increasing pressure on companies and employees alike.

Listed below are the 10 most common causes of stress in the workplace:

  1. Being given too much work
  2. Unrealistic deadlines
  3. Not being paid enough for the hours worked/duties performed
  4. Work-life balance
  5. Fear of missing targets
  6. Expected to work more hours than contracted too
  7. Poor working relationships
  8. Bullying or harassment
  9. Fear of redundancy
  10. Lack of control over work activities

So how can you deal with it? Well, start by showing signs that you really care.

Speak to your employees: try to get them talking in a relaxed setting outside the office and show real concern for their welfare.

Make small changes to help them out – it will foster a sense of trust that you may be willing to listen when there is a larger problem. While still challenging them, be careful to keep goals realistic.

Encourage an atmosphere where employees can tell their peers about things that aren’t working or make suggestions for improvements (keep it anonymous if necessary). Make sure the good ideas get acted upon or problems dealt with – very publicly – so that everyone knows you respect the process. This will build confidence that you take their views seriously, and if something can’t be solved, make sure you explain why.

Remember that employees can be stretched more when they feel listened to and respected as people.  They will work harder for you, and it will benefit you, your employees and the company.

 

If you have any issues with stress in the workplace, give HR Revolution a call +203 531 5388 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we are here to help.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Friday fun HR facts…

We hope that as well as providing our readers with useful HR advice and guidance we offer you some fun HR facts too…  Here at HR Revolution we have never been known as the ‘fun police’!

Here are a few Friday fun facts… enjoy…

  • Nearly a third of the UK’s office workers find their co-workers’ moaning to be one of the biggest annoyances in the workplace.
  • 47% of females refuse to poo at work.
  • 2.16pm is the most common time for workers to feel tired and find it hard to concentrate. This is known as the ‘office slump’.
  • Jobseekers said access to good quality tea or coffee at work outweighed other employee benefits such as subsidised gym memberships and childcare vouchers.
  • Half of British workers would walk out of their dream job in exchange for a free round the world trip.
  • 2.3% of jobseekers have witnessed an interviewer pass wind during the interview.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Odd employee behaviour – what does it mean?

It’s very interesting how we interpret other people’s behaviour; often our perception can be skewed by how we are feeling ourselves or from a previous experience.

I was recently asked about an employee who had started to arrive late for work on a regular basis, and kept ‘popping out’ to take phone calls. At this point most of you are already thinking clearly looking for another job!. That was my colleague’s immediate thought, however, being quite an empathetic soul I also wondered if something had changed in their personal life; had a family member been taken ill? or other circumstances changed?

The point here really is how important it is to talk to your employees.  Say that odd behaviour is a result of covert calls to a Recruitment Consultant, how do you feel about the employee leaving? Are they a talent you want to keep in your business? This could be a wake-up call to address any issues that are making them feel dissatisfied or underappreciated.

Alternatively, they could be dealing with real difficulties within their personal life and it’s now impacting their ability to be fully focused on their role. I have seen many good, productive employees suddenly start to fall away from expected standards, and I’ve seen the massive impact a show of concern; a listening ear; a hand on the shoulder to say ‘we support you’ can have.

Most employers agree that these types of conversations are not always easy to have, but it doesn’t have to be a big production. Dependent on your relationship with the employee it can be a formal conversation in a meeting room or quick chat in the kitchen, or perhaps you have someone fairly senior within the business who is more at home talking to people on that level.

Always approach people with the benefit of the doubt, experience has shown you never know what kind of answer you’ll get in return. Start by telling them that you have noticed a change in their behaviour recently, what those changes are, and how it’s impacting their work or their colleagues.   Try to ascertain if there is anything troubling them at home or work and whether they would like to discuss the issue so that you can help them? It is imperative to be fully supportive.

If they are looking for another job, this could be the catalyst for an open conversation that needs to happen.  If they have already decided to leave, there may be little you can do to change their minds, so it’s important to remind them of what is expected whilst they are still an employee.

Whatever the outcome by talking to your employees you are creating a more positive, loyal productive workforce.

Sound daunting, then give HR Revolution a call we can give you the guidance you need to approach these situations.  +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Personality traits are NOT an excuse for poor behaviour!

Here in the HR Revolution office we have just undergone the DISC profile training, which is a modern interpretation of Dr. William Marston’s behavioral dimensions; a personal strengths profiling exercise that uncovers four quadrants of behaviour. Once you understand your natural behavioral patterns, it is said that you will find it easier to recognize the right opportunities to achieve the results you desire. These for quadrants are:

D – Dominance  I – Influence  S – Steadiness  C – Compliance

What I personally think the great thing about DISC is, it highlights other people’s personality traits, so you can understand better why they work the way they do, for example why one person might like to have all the facts and figures, while others are just, let’s just get on and worry about the details later…. It turns out we have both in our office which is actually a really good thing as we all fulfill different roles.

Anyway, DISC is a lot more in depth than I can offer in this blog and not the reason for me writing today, but it got me thinking… why is it that people tend to use their personality traits as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour?

How many times have you said “ignore him, you know what he’s like” or “don’t let her get to you, it’s just the way she is” or “why does everything have to revert back to them” and whilst this is true, does it make it ok?? I don’t think so.

I personally like to think that no one person is just one personality type and we are intelligent enough to know how to behave and adapt our styles towards other people.

Here is just one adjective describing a personality trait from each of the above groups: D: direct, I: emotionless, S: easily distracted and C: retreating, and I don’t think any of them are particularly positive (obviously there are lots of happy ones too!). But just because they are ‘part’ of our personality does that mean that’s how we should act? For example just because you are ‘direct’ naturally, does that mean you can use absolutely no tact whatsoever when communicating with colleagues? OR just because you tend to be ‘retreating’ does that mean you should get out of doing the things you are not comfortable with? Of course the answer is absolutely no.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, if we know what we are predominately like rather than using that behaviour as an excuse, why don’t we all try to bring through some of our other personality traits, or just take time to think about how we are being perceived by the recipient… be less blunt, show empathy or be bolder, whatever you feel would work best in that given situation.

Personality traits should be used to benefit you and others, not as an excuse to make people cry or be lazy!  Trust me, I know how difficult it is to adapt your natural behaviour to suit the needs of the situation, as my profile is DS the two most polar opposites!

If you are interested in learning more about DISC or any other personality testing within your business, please get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, it may be what you need to get your team working more cohesively together.

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