Finding the Formula to Combat Back-to-Work Anxiety in STEM

stem

Article By Experts at My GP

Mental health is a popular topic at the moment, while the majority of us were trying to maintain a healthy routine and lifestyle while stuck indoors, it begged the question, what about after lockdown? Back to work anxiety was bad enough for some of us after months of leisure time and lie ins. But entering the next stage of eased lockdown regulation is a cause of mental health disruption for some of us, bringing a sense of unease, worry, and anxiety.

At first, the thought of losing our freedom and summer plans caused anxiety in itself, but once we got used to our new life it subsided. While some are eagerly anticipating a return to work and normality, others are genuinely distressed by it — whether this is facilitated by concerns of the virus or facing our colleagues, there’s a real issue that needs addressing.

In this article, we’ll take a look at back-to-work anxiety in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries, providing helpful tips to deal with feeling anxious.

 

What is back-to-work anxiety?

Being away from your job for a period of time can affect your feelings regarding work, whether it’s the workload or challenging colleagues. Some of us have time to mull over our skills and put ourselves down over our abilities, knocking down our confidence. According to research by YouGov, two in five are anxious about returning to work and the threat the virus has to our health and wellbeing.

Back-to-work anxiety can have physical effects such as headaches, stomach issues, trouble sleeping, and behavioural changes like feeling irritable and isolated. If your job was stressful to begin with, it’s likely that returning can be even more difficult. Although anxiety is a normal emotion, there are many self-help methods you can use to manage these feelings. You should always consider seeking medical and therapeutic care if this severely interrupts your days.

 

STEMming from anxiety

STEM industries have recently been under scrutiny regarding the working environments in these sectors fostering anxiety and depression. For example, a report called “Masculinity in Engineering” noted that more than a fifth of engineers take time off due to their mental health as well as over one in three UK tech professionals claiming they’re worried about their mental health as it has deteriorated during Covid-19 which was previously one in five before the pandemic. The fast-paced and competitive nature of the work can stop workers from switching off.

These industries are traditionally male and white-dominated sectors notorious for a toxic masculine culture which can make people feel isolated. So it isn’t surprising that this, combined with the notion of returning to work after a period of absence from the office or lab, is having a significant impact on STEM workers mental health.

Although it’s difficult to judge how exactly social distancing measures can be implemented across a broad range of sectors from science to mathematics and the different ways that these job roles are carried out, many workers are also nervous about the spread of Covid-19.

engineeringpc

How to handle back to work anxiety

Try to make the transition back to work easier and consider these steps. It’s also helpful to identify the source of your worries to come up with solutions. myGP, a smartphone app for online NHS services including specialist areas like mental health, suggested the following:

 
Prepare yourself

Getting into the routine of work life can be a daunting feeling, however preparing yourself can make it easier. Whether this is preparing your lunches for your break, or dinners in advance for when you get home late and are too tired to cook, what may seem like minor preparations can actually relieve your mind of things you need to do for yourself. Remember, you and your needs should come first.

If you’ve been spending lockdown not getting out much and waking up late, try to get into a good routine to prepare yourself for when you’ll be on your feet again. Spending time outdoors whether it’s walking through nature or laid out in your garden can help to calm you down and keep you grounded in the present moment.

 
Speak with your manager and colleagues

Solidarity can be helpful in alleviating feelings of anxiety — try speaking to your colleagues to comfort each other and provide support. Recognising that others feel the same can help you feel like you’re not alone.

If you feel comfortable, it could be worthwhile speaking to your manager about your concerns and throwing yourself back into work life. Employers can be helpful in introducing informal support mechanisms like online resources and volunteers to provide support. They may be able to reduce some of your concerns or make plans to help your return to work.

Find out what will have changed in the workplace. For example, you may find that there will be fewer people in the workplace in order to maintain physical distancing. You could arrange a visit prior to your first day back which might reassure you about the measures that have been put in place to keep you and your colleagues safe. This brings us to our next point.

 
Seek resources

Lear, an automotive technology leader, created a comprehensive guide of returning to work to ease anxieties workers may have, including protocols, procedures, and rules in place to keep everyone safe, as well as mandatory onsite health screenings in ‘drive-thrus’ of temperature and overt symptoms.

Many organisations have mental health or counselling resources that you are eligible to use if you are an employee — if not there are lots of useful resources online that provide techniques for reducing anxiety.

 
Plan fun things to keep your mind busy

Summer might’ve been cancelled by Covid-19 this year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan fun things in the meantime. Meet up with your friends outside abiding government guidelines, go for mind clearing walks and hikes in nature, or, if you have the funds, plan a holiday next year to look forward to! Making fun plans can help tackle the looming feeling of dread when thinking of going back to work.

Avoid unhealthy habits such as reaching for alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine when you are feeling stressed or anxious.

 

Words of wisdom…

Research mindfulness and breathing exercises you can practise to improve your mental state. Meditation can be helpful as often when we feel anxious about things, we try to distract ourselves or might spend hours scrolling through our phones to avoid the pressing issue. Writing down your problems to face them can also be extremely helpful, as well as noting down the positives and the parts and people of your job that you enjoy. And remember — try to get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy meals to keep your energy up.

If the feeling of back-to-work anxiety feels serious or you find that you’re not getting any relief, consider getting medical advice from your GP or book an online doctor appointment if you’re concerned. Anxiety is a real condition that can be helped with the right treatment. Don’t ignore how you feel, or this can be even more difficult to cope.

Dynamic Leader Drives Forward DNA Excellence

dynamic dna

Back in 2018, Corporate Vision Magazine awarded the title of CEO of the Year to Austin O’Reilly, for his outstanding service to Dynamic DNA Laboratories. Now, almost two years on from winning that prestigious title, we return to Dynamic DNA Laboratories in order to examine the continued excellence of both Mr O’Reilly and his firm.

Dynamic DNA Laboratories is a state-of-the-art genetics-focused laboratory that specializes in advanced DNA testing for a range of different services. Everybody wants to understanding themselves better, and a keen understanding of your own personal DNA can ultimately lead to lifestyles that are both happier and healthier. Whether individuals are looking to take a more personalized approach to their own fitness regimen, or trace their family history through their own DNA samples, Dynamic DNA Laboratories is the perfect partner for such an endeavour. Since being founded in 2015 by CEO Austin O’Reilly, Dynamic DNA Laboratories has evolved to offer a major range of services including family and ancestry testing, proactive health panels, and personalized medicine reporting. Having access to the genetic building blocks of life can pave the way for so many things to be enhanced, and this firm is right at the forefront of developing that potential.

Austin O’Reilly is an experienced DNA scientist and entrepreneur, with a demonstrable history of success working within the biotechnology industry. Throughout his academic and work-based careers, Mr O’Reilly has built up a considerable repertoire of skills, including DNA testing and molecular-level techniques in clinical, health, and forensic applications. His academic career began in 2003, where Mr O’Reilly undertook a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Criminal Science at Texas Christian University. Having successfully graduated from the University in 2007, Mr O’Reilly went on to study further at the University of California, Riverside, where he completed a certification in Crime Scene Investigation. However, it wasn’t until 2008 where Mr O’Reilly’s proficiency in genetics and DNA really came to the fore.

Returning to Texas Christian University, Mr O’Reilly started his master’s degree in Molecular Biology with a focus and emphasis on the study of genetics. During this time, Mr O’Reilly was able to refine his already strong biomedical research and testing techniques before taking them into the world of biotechnology following his equally successful graduation in 2010. In September of the same year, Mr O’Reilly took a job at DNA Labs International, working as a Forensic DNA Analyst. In this role, he was able to process crime scene evidence in order to identify the presence of biological material for DNA analysis, as well as quantify, amplify, and sequence the DNA, write reports and generate statistics, as well as testify in state and federal courts as an expert witness.

After spending two years working as a Forensic DNA Analyst at DNA Labs International, Mr O’Reilly hen moved on to become a Research Scientist at the Centre for Biomedical and Life Sciences for just shy of two years once again. Drawing on every ounce of his considerable knowledge, Mr O’Reilly then founded Dynamic DNA Laboratories in January of 2015. Taking on the role of CEO and Scientist, Mr O’Reilly has since lead the firm in its mission to promote positive change in people’s lives through advanced and affordable genetic testing services. Since founding the company, every service and test has been underpinned by the strong belief that knowledge is power, and that by exploring a person’s genetic code, that person can live a healthier, happier, more educated, and more productive lifestyle.
Crucially, Mr O’Reilly also understands the fundamentals of leadership as well as the fundamentals of biomedical sciences. As part of his role
as CEO, Mr O’Reilly has surrounded himself with like-minded staff, some of whom have been working with DNA for more than thirty five years in research, testing, pathology, and crime laboratories, as well as having been published in multiple scientific journals.

Based in Springfield, Missouri, Dynamic DNA Laboratories has been built by Mr O’Reilly to become a clinical and direct-to-consumer genetic testing lab that specializes in molecular, cell, and microbiology testing and research services, as well as create high-definition microscopic artwork and one-of-a-kind DNA portraits. The facility itself is CAPaccredited and CLIA-certified, ensuring that it follows the latest regulations and meets the highest quality of testing standards. Unlike its competitors, Dynamic DNA Laboratories does not outsource its services, and instead guarantees high quality services, accurate test results, faster turnaround times, and the lowest prices by performing all of its genetic testing in-house. When it comes to handling DNA and personal data, nothing less than the highest standards of care, safety, and security will do, and that is exactly what Mr O’Reilly has sought to implement throughout the firm.

dynamic dna

Testing DNA and genetics can often be used for far more than is initially thought. Exploring every opportunity that it possibly can, Dynamic DNA Laboratories offers clients and consumers a wide range of DNA testing products in a bid to enhance many different areas of a person’s life. From improving nutrition, fitness, and skin health, to uncovering ancient family secrets and hidden family relationships, to gaining personalized medicinal reports and even discovering early signs of cancer and rare diseases, DNA is deeply personal and can be used for a myriad of purposes. As part of Mr O’Reilly’s outstanding vision for what his firm could one day become, Dynamic DNA Laboratories has also begun offering partnerships with full co-branding or white-labelling options with global distributors across more than thirty five countries. Partners can include nutritionists, trainers, gyms, spas, physicians, clinics, and other DNA companies.

Drawing on the wealth of knowledge of its CEO and extensively-trained staff, Dynamic DNA Laboratories offers three distinct categories of products primarily: Genetic Testing, Artwork, and Biomedical Research. The first, Genetic Testing, is perhaps most focused on the consumer themselves, and what DNA knowledge can do for them. Ancestry testing to discover a background or heritage, pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine reporting, fitness, nutrition, cancer and disease predisposition screenings, paternity and relationship testing, unknown sample identification, and so much more is available through genetic testing.

Biomedical research services and abilities include pharmaceutical testing, disease research, product testing, gene expression analysis, DNA sequencing, Electron Microscopy, Fluorescence Microscopy, and much more. Dynamic DNA Laboratories work with non-profits, companies, and individuals to develop experimental designs that accommodate their research needs. Mr O’Reilly also strives to always have the firm engaged in its own independent research, with the ultimate goal of advancing knowledge in the biomedical field and writing about its discoveries in scientific publications.

Finally, artwork may seem an unusual choice for a DNA company, but it is something deeply personal that Mr O’Reilly has made happen for so
many individual consumers and clients. Using ultra-modern research tools, the team at Dynamic DNA Laboratories create personalized DNA art portraits of an individual or family’s unique DNA profile. Using an electron microscope that is capable of imaging at up to 1,000,000x magnification, the firm can image anything at ultra-high magnification and ultra-high resolution. If there are empty walls in a home or place of work, Dynamic DNA Laboratories can custom design artwork that is tailored to specific tastes, business interests, or products.

Mr O’Reilly was awarded the title of CEO of the Year back in 2018, but his ongoing pursuit of perfection within the biomedical field and particularly that of DNA has seen the firm achieve even greater heights since then. Taking something so intimate and personal before transforming it into actionable knowledge or magnificent artwork is truly spectacular, and both Dynamic DNA Laboratories and Mr O’Reilly are fully deserving of every success now, and in the future.

How To Improve Company Culture with Payroll

payroll

By Steven Cox, Chief Evangelist at IRIS FMP.

It is widely accepted that a good company culture is essential for a business to succeed, but various aspects that can help create this often go overlooked. The implications of payroll on company culture is one such aspect. The fact is, payroll has an effect on many areas of a company including cash flow, productivity, and overall business success. Because of this, it’s vital that business owners and senior staff do what they can to make sure payroll runs smoothly and correctly.

 

Why is payroll important to company culture?

Research carried out by The Workforce Institute at Kronos revealed that 49% of Americans would start looking for alternative employment after just two payroll errors in their current workplace. This statistic illustrates just how important it is to make sure payroll is consistently correct.

Not only this, but it’s known that when they’re looking for a job potential employees value perks, programs, and benefits that come with a position. In most workplaces, these would also come under the responsibility of the payroll team.

Without an effective and efficient payroll department that can accurately maintain wages/salaries and other compensation, it’s likely that costly errors will start to occur. If this happens, doubt and distrust among employees could easily start to spread. This, in turn, would damage company culture. To understand more about the relationship between company culture and payroll, read on for advice on how to cement this relationship.

 

How payroll builds company reputation

Ensuring that your payroll department manages all its processes well, and adheres to strict security measures, means there’s a lower chance of mistakes and questionable activity. This helps engender a good reputation for your payroll department, and by extension your company.

On the other hand, if your payroll team become known for regularly making mistakes and for potential suspicious activity, this will lead to bad press. Whether this is through the media or simply word of mouth, it can severely damage your company’s reputation. Such negativity will likely impact your relationships with stakeholders, including staff who will feel let down and maybe even tempted to part ways.

 

Payroll can increase employee engagement

Being paid correctly is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – priorities for employees when it comes to work. If staff are subjected to incorrect payments more than once, they are likely to start feeling undervalued. This will then lead to a feeling of disengagement. Why would an employee want to put in 100% of their effort if they are going to be paid insufficiently or incorrectly?

Incorrect payments can also plant a seed of doubt regarding the financial stability of a company. If staff are not receiving an adequate amount in their pay check, they may well start worrying that the company can no longer afford to pay them. This too will likely lead to feeling demotivated.

Employees are hired to do a job in exchange for an agreed payment. Therefore an effective payroll team that gets this payment right every time is needed in order to maintain the relationship. It’s also reassuring for staff if they know they can communicate with the payroll team as needed, and get any queries answered in a timely manner.

 

The payroll department provides compensation

No matter how much an employee enjoys their job, the fact is that they are only doing it on the understanding that they will be compensated in the form of a pay check and any agreed benefits. This age-old system is vital in order to keep employees feeling motivated and happy at work. Without correct and adequate compensation from the payroll department, it will only be a matter of time before employees feel angry and a poor company culture is born.

If a member of staff goes the extra mile, while they might not expect it, financial compensation can go along way toward ensuring they feel valued and happy. Performance-based pay models can be useful in some businesses because they mean that staff are properly compensated in accordance with their performance, which could include commission or a target-based bonus. Such flexible compensation needs to go through a reliable and accurate payroll department.

 

Payroll motivates employees to progress

A big factor in achieving a good company culture comes from whether or not staff feel they can progress – or even whether they want to. Stagnated employees invariably end up feeling bored and discontent, which can be toxic in a work environment.

These kinds of feelings can be avoided, however, if it’s clear that there is room for progression, and that any promotions will come with an increase in salary from the payroll department. It’s vital that the payroll team is always fully in the loop when it comes to staff job roles, so that they can administer the right payments to the right people, whenever they are due. This may not always be salary, but also bonuses and other benefits too.

 

Offer more payroll visibility

Another helpful way to improve company culture via the payroll department is to offer staff more visibility of their pay packet and any other relevant benefits. This can be done using effective and reliable payroll software that includes the option of online payslips or a payroll app service for employees.

This kind of additional service means that employees don’t always need to approach their payroll team to get their questions answered, because their pay information is readily available on their mobile or tablet. Having this access to their information will offer reassurance to employees, who will gain more confidence in the payroll team due to the level of transparency.

Considering all the ways in which the payroll department effects employees, it’s clear that payroll has a significant impact on the overall culture of a company. With ineffective or poorly run payroll, businesses will soon end up with a bad reputation, unhappy staff who are disengaged, and probably a high employee turnover. To avoid these issues, business owners need to make sure they invest time, money, and attention in their company’s payroll.

Unused UK Office Space Almost 50 Times Larger Than London’s O2 Arena

office

With 2020 dubbed ‘the year of remote working’, demand for office space in the UK could drop by up to 50% as more businesses realise the value of flexibility post-COVID-19 according to a report by Commercial Property Specialists Instant Offices

With 60% of the UK workforce working from home during peak-lockdown and millions of businesses struggling to cover overheads, offices across the country have been left standing empty and rental negotiations have stalled.

At a vacancy rate of 4.5% (57.6 million sq ft of empty space) the amount of unused commercial office space in the UK right now is almost 50 times larger than London’s O2 Arena, which is 1.2 million sq ft.

The Instant Group, says “COVID-19 has shown the world that we can cope with rapid changes to the way we all work, and as more businesses embrace flexibility, we’re going to see a permanent shift in the way an office can meet individual needs.”

With the future office becoming a mix of a central office, flexible locations and a remote working wing. The experts at Instant Offices discusses the three changes that the industry is likely to see in the second half of the year and into 2021.

 

1. Half the workforce could become remote

Whether they were ready for it or not, COVID-19 forced business leaders and employees to embrace remote working, with many discovering unforeseen benefits. To manage costs, a Gartner report shows over 70% of CFOs are planning to move part of their on-site workforce into remote roles post-COVID.

In a report for The Instant Group, CRE advisor Simon Johnson predicts that on the other side of lockdown, regular remote working could become the norm for up to 50% of the UK workforce in the long-term, reducing the need for one central office space. Instead, we will see more people working from home or multiple flexible spaces.

This will have a significant impact on corporate footprint requirements, but for companies to transition smoothly, considerable planning is needed to manage change from an organisational and policy perspective.

 

2. Demand for flexible office space to outstrip supply

Long-lease commercial property still dominates the UK market, with flex space like coworking offices or serviced offices accounting for just 6% of the total market share – but this is set to change as the flexible trend grows. Post-COVID, Instant predicts more companies will be unwilling to take on the expense of a long-term lease, or the level of risk that comes with it.

Flexible office providers have already reacted to emerging trends. According to Instant Offices data, over 60% of providers are offering reduced rates or rent holidays to current clients, while commercial spaces are attracting new business with virtual tours, rent-free periods and discounts of between 16% – 20%, enabling firms to sign on now at a reduced rate, for occupancy at a later date.

 

3. Tech integration will monitor employee wellbeing

In addition to spaced out desks, altered air conditioning systems and thorough cleaning protocols, tech and wellness will become more heavily integrated into offices around the world. Some buildings have already installed monitoring systems to encourage employees to start heading back to the office.

Office life could soon include daily online wellness checks, assigned arrival times at the office to avoid bottlenecks, and limited meetings and face-to-face interactions. AI and motion sensors could raise the alarm if social distancing guidelines are not being followed, while thermal cameras will be used to measure employee temperatures on arrival at work.

As businesses prepare to go back to work and commercial real estate leaders roll out plans for re-entry into different physical spaces, it is more important than ever for landlords and tenants to collaborate more closely.

Setting A New Standard In Global Finance

Setting A New Standard In Global Finance

Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group that is steeped in history, stretching back 150 years in some of the world’s most dynamic markets. Today, the institution boasts more than 80,000 employees, and drives investment, trade, and creation of wealth across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. As the firm continues to grow across the world, we also find out about its commitment to developing quality leadership as we take a look at why Standard Chartered is home to the Most Influential Leader in Finance 2020 – the UAE.

In the United Arab Emirates, Standard Chartered opened its first branch over sixty years ago, in 1958 in Sharjah. Slowly and steadily, the business and influence of Standard Chartered gradually increased in the region with the opening of several more branches until today, when Dubai is the bank’s regional hub for Africa and the Middle East region, and is the centre for its Islamic Banking arm, Standard Chartered Saadiq. Having grown and expanded over the course of the last six decades, the institution now offers an extensive range of both Islamic and conventional banking products and services for retail, private, commercial, and corporate clients. Throughout everything, the main objective of Standard Chartered remains the same: to offer outstanding value to clients by providing a knowledgeable, efficient, and reliable service in a personal, helpful, and responsive manner.

Standard Chartered services both individuals, as well as corporate clients and financial institutions, with the individuals being served in the Retail Banking and Wealth Management Division, whilst corporate clients are served from the Corporate, Commercial, & Institutional Banking Division. Depending on the individual needs of the client, the banking group approaches and services each client differently, though with no difference in professionalism, knowledge, or insight imparted to the client. Crucial to delivering this service is the staff. As an international banking group, Standard Chartered believes that every single one of its colleagues plays a tangible role in delivering on its mission: to drive commerce and prosperity through its unique diversity. The success of the bank and the achievement of its strategy hinges on the way that it invests in, manages, and organises its staff, the employee experience, and the culture of diversity and inclusivity it builds.

That company culture of diversity, inclusivity, and equality is one that Standard Chartered actively promotes at every turn. The banking group has long been committed to promoting equality in the workplace and to creating an inclusive and flexible culture where everyone can realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to the organisation, which will in turn help to provide better support to the broad client base. In every decision and key development, Standard Chartered views diversity, inclusion, and respect for all colleagues as critical to the bank’s future success.

Central to this philosophy is the professional consultative approach that Standard Chartered endeavours to take with each and every customer. By getting to know an individual and their business better, the bank can better identify their needs and match them with quality products that suit those needs best. To put it simply, Standard Chartered is committed to helping its clients all over the world manage their money in the best possible way. What distinguishes Standard Chartered from other banking groups throughout the world is its diversity, in terms of its people, cultures, and networks that it works within. Using this diversity to its advantage, Standard Chartered gives the best possible customer experience. It is also this diversity that was chief amongst the reasons that Souad Benkredda decided to join the banking group in 2017, before going to become one of the most influential figures in world finance.

'The banking group has long been committed to promoting equality in the workplace and to creating an inclusive and flexible culture where everyone can realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to the organisation, which will in turn help to provide better support to the broad client base.'

Souad Benkredda first joined Standard Chartered back in 2017, onboarding in Dubai as Head of Financial Markets UAE from her previous role with Deutsche Bank in London, where she had spent almost sixteen years. In 2019, Souad found herself promoted to the role of Head of Financial Markets for the Middle East and North Africa, with responsibility over the Sales and Trading Teams. This was in addition to her Financial Markets UAE role, for which she was part of the UAE Standard Chartered Country Management Team. Just one year later, in 2020, Souad then went on to assume her first global role with Standard Chartered, where she was responsible for the Strategic Investor Group Team within Financial Markets Sales. However, Souad’s journey to becoming one of the most powerful and influential individuals in UAE banking and finance began in much humbler ways.

Hailing from a modest Algerian working class family, which deeply defined her personal values and roots, Souad was the first in her family to attend university and, together with her sister, was the first woman not to get married early, allowing her to pursue a professional career. Despite always being a minority at work, either ethnically or genderwise, Souad always attached an enormous amount of value to staying true to herself, to her family values, and to never forgetting where she came from. When she began to work within the investment banking industry almost twenty years ago, Souad made a promise to herself: that she would try to help create an inclusive, meritocracy-based environment upon achieving a more senior position. That desire to stay true to herself and not assimilate herself has not waned throughout the years, and her family remain vital in reminding her of her goals on a regular basis.

Since becoming an integral part of the global team at Standard Chartered, Souad has been able to realise her vision of a more inclusive, diverse, and meritocracy-based working environment, where everyone has an equal chance of success. Every bit of work is still underpinned by the belief that it is important to stay positive, have a positive impact in whatever is done, and to be a team player with those around you in a workplace. Souad has achieved a number of awards in her aspirations to engage for equal opportunities, and to promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Perhaps chief amongst her excellent achievements is that neither her drive for inclusivity nor her work as a senior financial figure in the UAE has suffered in a bid to make the other truly outstanding.

Ultimately, there are few words to describe the excellence and steadfastness of both Standard Chartered and Souad in her pursuit of financial brilliance and inclusive workplace environments. A one-of-a kind leader, Souad is a great role model for people inside and outside Standard Chartered. That’s not to say that the financial sector has not encountered challenges during her tenure. The financial services industry has gone through a lot of challenges and changes since Souad joined; the dot-com bubble, the great financial crisis of 2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Each crisis may have brought about change, but it has also been another chance for Souad to shine and show her impeccable financial and leadership skills.

8 Innovative Social Distancing Tips for Small Businesses

social distancing work space

Lockdown measures have significantly eased, and the economy is getting back into the swing of things. However, if we want to keep thing good momentum going, then it’s important not to forget about maintaining social distancing. Otherwise, we could be facing a second wave of coronavirus. This is vital for small businesses because they’re the ones who might not be able to survive another lockdown. Therefore, we need some innovative social distancing tips which can help small businesses combat coronavirus and keep the cash flowing. We’ve got 8 great ones right here, so read on to find out what they are.

 

1. Leaving/Arriving Schedule

It’s difficult to maintain social distancing from your work colleagues when you’re all flooding into the premises at the same time. Therefore, small businesses might want to create a schedule for when everyone arrives and leaves work. Stagger out the times to reduce crowding and prevent there from being congestion in the corridor. This will keep everyone safe, making working in an office more sustainable during the pandemic.

 

2. Creating Extra Room

One of the biggest problems that small businesses face in light of social distancing is making enough room in the office for everyone to remain two metres apart. This is extremely problematic when your business premises are small. However, managers might be able to create more room by putting some of the unnecessary office furnishings into storage. Companies like Safestore have secure lockups which help you do this. Try to find somewhere you can put away all the extra items as soon as possible.

 

3. Looking After Workstations

Where you can, keep the same people working on the same workstations. This will prevent different germs to the other employees. You could also assign a time of day for employees to wash down their desks. It’s also worth supplying each member of staff with their own hand sanitiser for their workstation. Place some tape on the floor around the station, too, so employees definitively know where they can and can’t go.

 

4. Communal Areas

It’s going to be difficult to maintain hygiene and social distance in the communal areas of your business premises, such as the kitchens and bathrooms. Review each of these places and consider what strategies to implement. Perhaps you could only allow one or two people in a room at any given time and tell each employee to wash down whatever appliances they may have touched.

 

5. Traffic Systems

You could adopt ‘road markings’ for your workplace to control traffic and ensure social distancing. In narrow corridors, introduce a one-way system; in the office, place down markings and arrows which show people what direction they should take whenever they wish to move. Visual aids that demonstrate how much a two-metre distance is are also beneficial.

 

6. Screens

Inevitably, social distancing isn’t always going to be possible. In these circumstances, we recommend small businesses place screens wherever rules might inadvertently be breached. For example, erecting screens between workstations or bathroom sinks will keep a level of separation necessary for preventing the virus’ spread.

 

7. Air Circulation

Social distancing is important because coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets which people spray from their mouth and nose. These droplets can remain suspended in the air, long after they’ve been expelled from a person’s body. As such, small businesses should invest in methods to increase air circulation and purification – like dehumidifiers, air conditioning and open windows.

 

8. Sorting Out Rotas

Avoid having everyone in the office and categorise employees into households. Only have employees from the same household in on the same days. This will reduce how many people are being infected.

These are some innovative tips for social distancing that small businesses might not have thought of before. See if you can come up with a couple of others yourself.

Corporate Vision Unveils the Winners of the 2020 Education & Training Awards

Education and training awards
 

United Kingdom, 2020- Corporate Vision Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 Education & Training Awards 2020.

They say that learning lasts a lifetime – and that is certainly a motto that business leaders aim to cultivate in their enterprises should they wish to attain lasting success and constant professional development of their team. Of course the building blocks for later success are nurtured in childhood. Skills, personality, outlook, ethos, drive, hobbies and ambition are all rooted in early life. The role of an educator then, as has so often been reinforced, is utterly fundamental to the fabric of our society. When education faulters, it can have catastrophic ripple effects across generations. Yet, when education is exemplary, it can determine the progression of a nation.

The Education & Training Awards were launched to spotlight the paragons of education and training.  Whether you deliver early years support, or professional training opportunities, we have endeavoured to showcase those that have truly come to define the sector that they work in.

Awards Coordinator Chloe Smart commented: “From early learning, to adult education, all who make contributions to this vital sector are recognised in the Education and Training programme. I am proud to offer all of my winners my congratulations and best wishes for the future.”

To learn more about these illustrious winners, and to find out the secrets behind their success, please visit http://www.cv-magazine.com.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Corporate Vision Magazine

Corporate Vision is published monthly with the mission to deliver insightful features from across the global corporate world. Launched with an eye towards bettering business practices across the board, Corporate Vision focuses on spotlighting advances in the HR, marketing, coaching, and recruitment spheres, with the goal to shine a light on the gatekeepers of better business. Those that help build, through no small amount of creativity and expertise, to develop an altogether more productive and more efficient world of work.

Corporate Vision is bought to you by AI Global Media, a B2B digital publishing group founded in 2010. The group currently has 13 brands within its portfolio that include luxury lifestyle, construction, healthcare and small business focused publications. AI Global Media is dedicated to delivering content you can trust.

Issue 8 2020

CV Issue 8 2020 cover

Welcome to the August edition of Corporate Vision magazine. Your monthly source for all of the latest news and features from across the global corporate landscape.

With lockdown restrictions gradually being lifted, businesses are starting to take the steps to normality, or as many have labelled it “the new normal”. For many, these unprecedented times have been an opportunity to truly test new business practices such as working from home or real estate agencies offering virtual tours.

Within this issue, we have accumulated a few insightful pieces together which showcases how various businesses have adapted to and overcome some of the challenges posed by the pandemic. From a leading international transport and logistics company through to an innovative green technology firm, there is an interesting mix of pieces for you to read.

For now, I hope you are all well and staying safe. As always, the team here at Corporate Vision will be here to deliver the latest features from across the corporate landscape and look forward to hearing from you.

Office Life After Lockdown

post lockdown office

Remember traveling to the office? Remember gossiping in the work kitchen? Remember avoiding your boss all day because you missed a deadline? Well, as social activities slowly start to move back to normality, so does our work life.

Lockdown conditions came into effect in late March, and many office workers were encouraged to work from home. This came as a welcome change for some – zoom meetings in pyjamas, lunch breaks at 11am, and Netflix on constantly in the background.  But as restrictions start to ease, many companies are eager for their staff to return to the office, and in turn need to make several changes to avoid endangering the health and safety of their staff.

There is constant discussion from experts on what measures needs to be taken to provide a safe environment for everyone returning to work. Here, Shane watts from Improb predicts what approaches will work best for offices after lockdown.

‘We’ve seen a positive and sensible response for many countries around the world when people have returned to work – many of them being from countries who have dealt with pandemics in the past, so have developed responses accordingly. Many countries that are ‘new’ to this have already adopted these countries rules with regards to bars, gyms and schools, so it stands to reason that they’ll be following their workplace guidelines too’.

‘For the foreseeable future, the main rule that’s going to stay in place is ‘social distancing’. Governments have already stated that this will be in place until the end of the year, so expect to see office spaces restructured in a way that reduces congestion in certain areas (desks moved away from each other, possible one way systems in the bigger offices), especially those areas in which people spend long durations of time.

The two-metre rule will always remain best practice for fighting the virus but one- metre may be inevitable if 2m is impossible to maintain in certain workspaces. If that is the case, expect to see staggered shift times across offices, as well as possible ‘days in/days home’ shift patterns. I believe many companies are going to be encouraged to structure start times in shift patterns, as opposed to the classic 9 to 5 days of the past.  The benefits of this works on many levels; you would be keeping your staff from mixing with too many people in the office, and you would also be relieving the stress placed on public transport during rush hour periods.

I predict that there will also be a shift in lunch break patterns.  Many offices share communal kitchens.  These kitchens may be out of bounds for the foreseeable future.  However, for smaller offices a rota type system can be implemented once colleague uses the kitchen and fully sterilises it after use.  

Of course, working from home is no doubt appealing to a lot of people who are uncertain of the protection their workplace can provide. Fortunately, many companies’ bosses have been surprised by the levels of productivity from staff working from home, so expect that to remain in place if it has caused no issues for your company. In fact, with video conferences keeping everyone connected daily, the need for constantly traveling into work has been greatly reduced. I don’t expect this to last forever though, as the novelty of working from home will wear off, plus I think it’s good for your metal well-being to sperate work life from home life.’

‘Once offices do open again, there will be dramatic changes to hot-desking and sharing office equipment. From signing in with a shared pen, to stealing the best chairs for a meeting – things are going to be a lot more school-like. Smaller companies are going to have to invest in a wider range of shared equipment, so on the plus side all you interns who have had to share a laptop might be getting your own. Also, expect all your iPad and keyboards to smell of cleaning products, because everyone will be sterilizing those constantly.

Plastic screens will also be appearing everywhere. Coffee shops, retail, and bars have taken to them well, so offices should realistically install them in places where people sit and work throughout the day, especially if it next to a space where people constantly walk past. Though that does mean bad news for all you people who like to have a little chat while walking past your favourite colleague.’

‘As seen outside and inside many shops, offices will also have increased hygiene procedures in place. Japan and Korea have daily temperature checks for staff, which seems a lot scarier than it sounds. On walking in the building someone will take your temperature with a temperature gun – it is quick, painless, and although not 100% actuate, does provide peace of mind for many people entering work. Something else that has also been broached is ‘health passports.’ Basically, it’s a document that will provide details of if you have or haven’t had Covid-19. There are little details in place, but it should be similar to any other ID that grants you entry to places.’

Working from home without a fan? Here is how to keep your cool

keeping cool

As temperatures are set to soar around the UK, it is inevitable that many stores will soon display ‘out of stock signs’ above where their electric fans once were.  As a result, working from home throughout a heatwave can be challenging, especially if the property lacks outdoor space.  Here, health practitioner Stacey Dutton at the home brand Unclutterer presents 5 ways to keep your cool inside without a fan when working from home and the science behind each practice.

 

Turn your attention to your body not the property

On a hot day, an assumption is often made that focus should lay on cooling the property’s physical interior.  However, emphasis should be placed on the actual body.  ‘Applying a cold compress to points of the body where a strong pulse can be found works to cool the body from the inside out’, says Dutton.  ‘The body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain.  The hypothalamus turns the body’s temperature up and down by taking several factors into account.  One of the factors the hypothalamus considers is how hot (or cold) the actual skin is.  The pulse points of the skin are the parts that have the biggest influence on the workings of the hypothalamus as the vessels are close to the surface of the skin.  Applying a cold compress to the pulse point ignites a signal to the brain stating that the body is cold.  This tricks the hypothalamus into cooling down the rest of the body.  To fully benefit, hold a compress on the back of the neck, temples, and wrists.  Keeping your feet in a cool bowl of water will also cool the body’.

 

 

Peppermint on your desk

Peppermint not only holds several anti-bacterial properties; it provides a cooling effect to the skin.   ‘Peppermint is packed with menthol that delivers a tingling effect to the skin that replicates the feeling of being cold’, says Dutton.  ‘Inhaling peppermint can cool the body however, when diluted in water or oil, it can also be directly applied to the skin.  Apply to the pulse points to cool however, if you have sensitive skin, initially apply a small amount as redness can occur due to the ingredients tingling properties’.    

 

Shut out the light and close the windows

According to Dutton, you should steer away from opening all the windows in the house on a hot day.  ‘It always amazes me how many people open a window, feel the warm air hit them, and then leave the window open.  Opening the windows on a hot day will fill the rooms with hot air and in turn, raise its temperature.  Likewise, if you leave the curtains or blinds open, letting the sun shine through the windows, the room will rise in temperature.  On a hot day close the windows and close the drapes to darken the room.  The windows should be opened when the temperature outside cools and the sun begins to set.  This will let cool air in and encourage the indoor temperature to drop further.’

 

Hydrate the system

Drinking water on a hot day may not be ground-breaking advice however, consuming hot water is not widely recognised.  ‘Drinking hot water to cool you down when you are hot seems counterproductive however, it can be really effective.  When you drink a hot drink when your body temperature is high, it raises it even further.  This encourages the body to sweat.  Ultimately, sweating is a mechanism used by the body to cool it.  If your whole body is covered with clothes, the sweat is trapped.  If you are wearing clothes that partially cover the skin, the sweat will evaporate which allows the body to cool.  If you are not wearing clothes that will allow the sweat to evaporate, then it is wise to opt for a cool drink.’

 

Roll out the frozen towels

‘This is perhaps my favourite trick to cool down if you are working from home in a heatwave – whether you have a fan or not’, sates Dutton.  ‘Dampen a flannel or towel in cool water and wring out the access water.  Fold in half and roll tightly.  Place in the freezer for several hours, ideally overnight.  This will freeze the inner layers of the towel/flannel however, the outer later will stay soft.  When the weather is hot, roll out the towel and place around you.  Alternatively, you can place the towel over your office chair or on the actual seat as you work.  This cools the body almost immediately.  

Ultimately, you do not necessarily need to invest in expensive fans or cooling tools.  You can adopt several cost-effective methods to cool your home working space throughout the heatwave.

Thinking of handing in your notice post lockdown? Here is what people fail to consider…

handing in notice

2020 has seen much of the UK revaluate their lifestyle and make adjustments that ignite positivity.  As working from home becomes the new normal, for many it has unveiled their value and the real impact of what they contribute to the workplace. As the government gives the green light to head back to the office, many are considering whether it is time to move on, seek a pay rise/promotion or even take their side hustle full time.  

Here, HR Director Michael Daly at the health and lifestyle brand Improb reveals the 5 things everyone must consider before they hand in their notice, the factors that are oven overlooked and advises how to approach the subject with your boss if you are working from home.

 

Do not make permanent decisions on temporary emotions

It is safe to say that the events of 2020 has led emotions to emotions running high.  As a result, we may be more sensitive to any negativity that is thrown our way.  According to Daly, this must be considered before making any major decisions that lead to a permeant outcome.  ‘It is inevitable that we will experience stress in our workplace environment on a weekly, if not daily basis.  As many of us are working from home, this can have more of an impact on our stress levels as ultimately, there is little form of escapism from the office.  Some Are also finding that they are working longer hours as they no longer commute, sometimes fuelling anxiety’.  

‘Ongoing stress can lead to rash decisions.  If you are wanting to resign due to a particularly stressful situation at work, establish if the circumstance is temporary or permanent.  If it is permanent, determine if you can navigate through the it until the stress subsides.  You may even be able to use the event as leverage towards a promotion or pay rise.  Taking such a stance will give you the opportunity to evaluate the situation and determine if you would still like to resign from the workplace.’

‘Unfortunately, the pressure in the workplace may be unending and even the norm.  Keep a diary of stress.  Include the date, time, and description of the events that resulted in stress.  After 2 weeks, decide whether the pressure occurs to often to allow a happy workplace environment and ascertain if resignation is the solution.  If resignation is necessary however, and you begin to have doubts in the run up to your end date, refer back to the diary to reinforce the reasons that you are leaving’.  

 

Colleagues or culture?

Working with colleagues can be a blessing however, it can also be a curse.  For some, working from home has highlighted a toxic workplace that is a result of actions made by colleagues.  In this circumstance it can appear that resigning is the only way to remove the toxicity from your day to day living.  ‘Not everybody loves their colleagues’, says Daly.  ‘Sometimes, when personalities clash, it is so profound it impacts the atmosphere and actions of others.  As a result, it can feel like the culture of the company is uneasy.  If you deem your workplace toxic, assess whether it is personality clashes or something more sinister.  Personality clashes can be mediated through conversation and transparent communication.  If handing in your notice becomes inevitable, it is wise to remember that there will be different personalities in every workplace and that you may have the same situation resurface’.

‘If the toxic environment is engrained in the company culture and events have been sinister, do not be afraid to seek aid from HR.  If you initially do not want to declare your feelings in house, there are several independent HR consultants and employment lawyers that offer free consultations for a set period (usually 30 mins).  Attend the meeting prepared (whether it is over Zoom or otherwise), as the 30 miniutes usually flies by.  From here you can assess your options and take.’

 

Behind closed doors

‘Of course, it is inevitable that a workplace will receive a turnover in staff’, says Daly.  ‘As a HR Director, I hear an array of reasons for people seeking pastures new.  A reason I frequently hear is that the employee is seeking a promotion or a pay rise.  Often, this is perfectly reasonable and a logical decision.  However, it always amazes me how many people hand in their resignation to accept another role without discussing the opportunities in their current workplace with the necessary people.  I have witnessed several times colleagues voice their plans to resign knowing that they were cleared for a promotion in the coming weeks.  Workplaces LOVE it when colleagues enquire about promotion.  Not only does it showcase ambition, but it also indicates that they are loyal.  If your reasoning for leaving a workplace is to receive a promotion, always discuss your current workplaces future first.  There is often a lot discussed behind closed doors and away from the office floor, especially promotion’.

 

New workplace = new salary?

77% of people leave their current job to obtain a higher salary.  Working from home has shined a spotlight on the work that people produce and many now feel that they are underpaid.  ‘It genuinely amazes me how many times I hear that people have left a place of work that they are genuinely happy in to attain a higher income without initially discussing the possibility of an increase in their current workplace says Daly’. ‘Of course, the current climate is a tricky time to ask for a pay rise however, this is not the case across the board.  If you genuinely feel that you are deserving of a pay rise, do not be afraid to put your case together. Whether it is client wins, additional responsibility, or a high quality of work, do not be afraid to shout about them.   A lot of the time, the decision makers simply are not aware of the achievements of others as they have not been told, have their own responsibilities or simply not in the office’.

 

Knee jerk reaction

As humans, we are reactive species.  We often react to situations without taking the time to gather all the relevant information.  ‘A resignation that is the result of a knee jerk reaction to a temporary situation is regretted by the employee 99.9% of the time.  Often, their pride gets in the way of retracting the notice once things have settled.  If you wish to hand in your resignation off the back of a singular event, I strongly recommend that you pause proceedings for 5 days.  This allows you to gather information and asses it over time.  It also allows you to gain the opinions of people that you trust and are subjective’.

 

The dos

  • Be 100% sure that you are making the right decision

  • Be ready for a counteroffer – Decide what type of counteroffer could potentially retract your resignation

  • Asses the positives and negatives

 

The don’ts 

  • Be aggressive in your manner whilst listing everything that you deem wrong with the company

  • Do not dictate the terms of you leaving date etc.

  • Do not hand in your notice unless you are fully prepared to leave!

 

The scenario if working from home

‘Handing in your notice via email with no warning is usually a huge taboo’, says Daly.  ‘However, as everyone is working from home, the boundaries have somewhat shifted.  I would not use the current climate as an excuse to perhaps avoid a potentially awkward conversation.  A telephone conversation or a virtual meeting is somewhat a must before handing in your formal resignation unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.’

Tips for Going Away to College

oxford arc

One of the biggest events in a young student’s life is leaving for college. You’ll be taking a massive step by finally living on your own. You’ll be meeting new people and experiencing new things in a different city or state. Living in a dorm can be a fantastic way to practice your independence while getting ready for the real world when you graduate. So, how do you prepare to be away from home for the first time? Let’s take a look.

 

Living Arrangements

Going away to college means you’ll need somewhere to live, whether it’s short term housing or in a dorm. You’ll need to figure this out before you get to college so that, when you go, you know where you’ll be sleeping. A lot of people choose dorm living for reasons that include being on campus, socializing, and finances. However, if you’re more of the quiet type, you might want to check into short term housing or an apartment off-campus. 

 

Wake Up In High School

One of the most common issues freshmen tend to have is waking up in time for class… not really an issue for many enrolled in an online college, but quite prevalent in a traditional college. When you’re in high school, your parents probably wake you up every morning. You can make things a lot easier for yourself if you begin getting into the habit of waking yourself up while you’re still in high school. Just set the alarm on your phone and get up when it goes off. It’s really not rocket science.

 

Cooking and Laundry

Most kids have chores to do when they live at home. While you might not enjoy these things, they’re actually things you need to know how to do once you get to college and beyond. If you opt to go away to college, you’re essentially making a commitment to start the transition to becoming a grown person. This means knowing how to do such basic things as cooking for yourself and doing your own laundry. Not having food to eat or clean clothes can add stress that you just don’t need. Make sure you know the basics of these things before school starts.

 

Where are You Going?

As you know, even the top colleges can mean a massive transition in your life. Even if you’re well-prepared, you can become overwhelmed when faced with all of the adjustments. Once you’ve signed up for classes, it’s critical to know where they are and how you’ll get to them. If you’re in a dorm, you might walk or ride your bike to them. If you live off-campus, you’ll need some form of transportation. The thing is, you never want to be late for a class. Some professors might even bar you from entering if you show up late. This also means that you’ll need to know exactly how long it will take to get to each class from wherever you may be. By making sure you plan your day and know when you need to be where you reduce the amount of stress you’re under and increase your chances of success.

Living away from home while you’re in college can be an amazing journey. It can provide you with new connections and you’ll have the experiences you need in order to grow as both a person and a student. Many college graduates remain in contact with their college friends for decades after they graduate. This experience isn’t one that should be faced with apprehension, but you do need to take it seriously and prepare for the changes that are in store.