Clocks Going Forward Contributes To A $434million Loss In Productivity

procrastination

For every hour of interrupted sleep, workers ‘cyberloafed’ for 20% of their assigned task, leading to an estimated $434million in productivity losses annually. That’s according to new analysis from leading talent acquisition specialist, Guidant Global.

‘Cyberloaf’ is the act of using company facilities to browse non-work-related websites, and according to temporary staffing agency, Flexy, this increases on the Monday following the switch to daylight saving time.

There has been extensive research into the impact of aligning time for summer and winter months and the impact this has on the workforce.

A study conducted on mining workers found that on the Mondays following the switch to DST in the US, workers sustained 6% more workplace injuries and accidents of greater severity. This resulted in 67% more days required off work because of workplace injuries sustained on that specific day.

Commenting on how the switch to British Summer Time (BST) can impact employees, Oliver Crofton, Managing Director at Flexy said:

“It’s fascinating to see how the switch to British Summer Time can impact the workforce. As this is something that has been happening for decades, few people question it, however, it’s crucial that we question the value of it.”

“Solving the UK’s productivity puzzle has been high on the business agenda for some time now, and even given today’s challenges, by looking into aspects such as the switch to BST, along with various other facets that impact the workforce, we can ensure that we are creating a better, more productive world of work.”

Global Cities With The Lowest And Highest Levels Of Workplace Burnout Revealed

burnout

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized ‘burnout’ as a syndrome “that results from chronic stress that has not been successfully managed”.

According to the WHO, burnout is described as feelings of ‘energy depletion’, ‘exhaustion’, and ‘negativity related to one’s job’. A Gallup survey reveals it affects nearly a quarter of today’s employees.

In light of these statistics, sleep research site Savvy Sleeper has completed a study which reveals the cities with the highest and lowest levels of global workplace burnout*.

Savvy Sleeper has standardised the latest city- and country-level data available for key health- and work-related categories** including the percentage of the population sleeping less than 7 hours, percentage of stressed Glassdoor reviews, time spent in traffic from work, mental health issue prevalence, and presenteeism to rank 69 global cities from best to worst for burnout.

 

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Top 10 cities with lowest burnout

Score

Top 10 cities with highest burnout

Score

1

Tallinn, Estonia

2.42

Tokyo, Japan

6.47

2

Ljubljana, Slovenia

2.70

Mumbai, India

5.95

3

Oslo, Norway

2.96

Seoul, South Korea

5.92

4

Sofia, Bulgaria

2.99

Istanbul, Turkey

5.87

5

Copenhagen, Denmark

3.07

Manila, Philippines

5.51

6

Barcelona, Spain

3.12

Jakarta, Indonesia

5.29

7

Amsterdam, Netherlands

3.13

Hanoi, Vietnam

5.28

8

Bucharest, Romania

3.13

Taipei, Taiwan

5.23

9

Frankfurt, Germany

3.24

Los Angeles, USA

5.17

10

Prague, Czech Republic

3.25

Buenos Aires, Argentina

5.12

Tallinn, Estonia reports the lowest ‘burnout’ across the global cities studied. It scores positively for work motivation, which supports previous research stating that 85 percent of local employees are very or rather satisfied with their jobs.

Estonia also receives positive marks for its work-life balance since only 2 percent of employees work very long hours. Estonia also scores well for its low levels of sleep deprivation (2.02), with most people getting more than the recommended 7 hours of quality sleep a night.

This is important as research shows sleep deprivation decreases concentration, decision-making and memory. A decline in these factors can mean spending longer on work tasks, contributing to employee burnout.

A recent study by the University of the West of England found every extra minute spent commuting can increase employees’ stress levels. In Tallinn, time spent travelling to and from work is low (0.55), with the average commute being under half an hour (28 minutes).

Ljubljana, Slovenia comes in second place, missing out on the top spot due to lower vacation time and motivation levels than Tallinn, Estonia. Slovenia officially follows the European 40-hour work week, but in 2018 employees averaged 29.6 hours of work each week.

Sofia, Bulgaria ranked fourth in our list. Unsurprisingly, Nordic cities Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark also score low for workplace burnout, coming in third and fifth respectively.

Oslo’s work motivation levels in Savvy Sleeper’s study is high, and it also has some of the best scores for annual work hours. Research shows only 2.9 percent of employees work more than they should.

The city that tops the global burnout list is Tokyo, Japan due to some of the highest global scores for presenteeism, lack of motivation and the number of people sleeping less than 7 hours a night.

 Cases of people being overworked are well-known in the city and Japan has recently introduced a new law capping legal overtime to 45 hours a month, to try and tackle the nation’s notorious culture of long working hours.

Mumbai, India has the second highest burnout levels with the longest work hours in the world. Employees work around 3,315 hours a year or 65 hours a week, double the average annual work hours of cities like Tallinn and Ljubljana. 

The rankings also show lack of vacation time is high and a 2018 Vacation Deprivation Study revealed Indian workers rank fifth in the world for leaving their vacation days unused.

Seoul, South Korea, Istanbul, Turkey and Manila, Philippines complete the top five cities for highest burnout levels.

 

Ashley Doyle, Staff Writer at Savvy Sleeper commented on the findings:

“It’s interesting to see Estonia receives the most positive score in our study, over the typically expected Nordic countries like Norway, Finland and Denmark.

“Our study shows cities with reasonable working hours, good vacation policies and quality sleep not only have more motivated employees but also higher workplace productivity, despite staff working shorter hours.

“It’s a positive sign that cities like Tokyo and Seoul are recognising this correlation too, by introducing new laws to limit overworking and burnout among staff. However, our results show significant changes will need to be made for these cities to catch-up with European workplaces.”

The full rankings of the cities with the highest and lowest levels of burnout can be viewed here: https://savvysleeper.org/cities-with-highest-burnout/

Keeping Employees Safe with Flexible and Remote Working

remote working

By Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies 

Companies around the world are telling employees to work from home to protect themselves from catching the Coronavirus and stop it spreading. Business continuity is not the only reason for employees to work from home, remote working increases productivity, results in a happier and healthier workforce and encourages employees to remain in the business for longer. The outbreak of the Coronavirus may change or influence working patterns from now on with more companies willing to accept the request for remote working.

More than 1.54 million people now work from home for their main job, this is an increase from 884,000 ten years ago (ONS Labour Force Survey 2018). The Office of National Statistics believes that 50% of the UK’s employees will be working remotely by next year and a total of 90% of staff will request that they would like to work remotely at least part time.

The workplace has and will continue to change beyond recognition with new technology enabling employees to work remotely and collaborate more effectively. The younger demographic has turned the traditional office and working practices upside down with requests that are radically different to previous generations. Coupled with the existing and increasing digital skills gap, companies need to transform themselves and invest in attracting and retaining talent by vanquishing traditional mindsets and processes. 

 

The Now and Future Employees

The European workplace now has 160 million millennials in it and naturally this is set to increase to 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Companies need to shift from ‘this is how we have always worked’ to ‘how can we make changes to attract and retain the younger demographic?’

The desires of millennials and younger generations are very different to previous ones where the expectation was to be shackled to the same desk every day from 9.00-17.00 and there was very little flexibility on any level. They only want to work for businesses that believe in work-life balance bringing them flexibility and the ability to work remotely.

A positive work-life balance reduces workplace stress, resulting in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.

 

Widen your Recruitment Pool

By implementing remote working you can widen your recruitment pool and attract and retain top talent from further afield and even overseas. You can also work with freelancers opening up the ‘gig economy’ that now includes approximately 4.8 million people with freelancers comprising 42% of that population and 6% of the UK workforce as a whole (Association of Independent Professionals).

 

Technology the Enabler

Companies need to provide employees with the correct technology to enable remote and flexible working. Cloud based conferencing and collaboration solutions such as Mitel’s MiCollab and Avaya’s Spaces empowers employees to hold audio and video conference calls together over their desktop or via a mobile. Send instant messages and share and work on documents and presentations together. It is important to use intuitive technology that is easy to use, set up and to keep your documents secure to protect data and privacy.

 

Seeing Things Differently

 Employees need to be trusted from the outset and given autonomy to do their jobs wherever they are. Trust should be given and not earnt. Naturally, this maybe more difficult for the baby boomer managers because they are used to traditional methods of working such as being seen in the office working late at night. 

Providing them with remote and flexible working that fits into their personal life demonstrates that you trust them to do the job; no matter where they are. Employees require clear direction of what needs to be done and key performance indicators can be put in place to ensure that employees are achieving. Software such as workforce management tools and collaboration software ensures you can access project progress and knowledge bases.

 

Time to Step up the Productivity

Remote working increases productivity because you are enabling your employees to fit work in with their personal lives. Your employee will feel happier therefore will be willing to work harder and go the extra mile if required. Airtasker recently issued some research stating that remote workers work an extra 1.4 days a month which equates to 16.8 days a year more than people work in an office.

 

Healthier and Happier Workforce

 ConnectSolutions’ survey states that 52% were less likely to take time off ill when remote working, 45% of remote workers sleep better, 35% exercise more and 42% have healthier diets. Mental health is protected, with 53% claiming they suffer from less stress. Implementing remote and flexible working clearly results in healthier and happier employees who will take less time off ill and ultimately be more productive.

 

Connecting People Together

It is important to provide remote and home workers with the correct tools to communicate with, so they still feel connected to the team and maintain a social bond with their colleagues. Buffer stated that 19% of remote workers get lonely and 17% struggle with communication and collaboration. Conferencing and collaboration tools help combat this, enabling you to conduct phone and video conference calls, share documents and send instant messages. Some companies schedule virtual coffee breaks into their agendas so they can socialise over video chat or IM.

 

Downing Tools

Home workers will usually worker longer and harder and are less distracted in the day so it is vital that you set guidelines on switching off from work so they can separate their home and work life. Suggest no emails after working hours and no working on holidays, this will ensure that your productive remote workers remain happy and healthy and are more likely to stay with you if clear expectations are set.

 

Future-proof with Flexibility

Remote working is much bigger than business continuity issues such as protecting employees from illnesses. Future-proof your workforce by providing them with the flexibility, trust and autonomy to work at home or remotely within flexible hours if required. Set your employees free and you will have a healthier, happier and more dedicated, productive and efficient workforce. Along with the ability to attract and retain the top talent that you need.

 

The question is … why wouldn’t you do it?

International Expansion: A Guide to Taking Your Business to a Foreign Market

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Taking your business to a foreign market is a complex and expensive process. That being said, it also brings with it some substantial potential for reaching new clients, boosting your brand, and gaining a competitive edge in your industry.

If you are ready to take your business to an international market, then there are many steps that need to be taken.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before taking those steps in order to set your business up for the best chances of success in a foreign market.


Do You Have the Required Capital?

Expanding your business into international markets is no cheap venture. There is a requirement for quite a bit of upfront capital. If you don’t have the capital necessary of your own accord, perhaps you should seek out an investor to help you get things off the ground.

Furthermore, depending on where you are looking to expand to, the currency of your native country might have a lesser value when compared to the currency of the country you are hoping to set up shop. Make sure to assess the value of your capital against the appropriate currency.

You will want to plan for all contingencies that could arise in the long term as well. There are some hidden costs to expanding internationally that could ruin things for you in the future even if you get off to a good start initially.

For example, there are different rules that apply to the treatment of employees in different countries. This can mean that if you wish to terminate an employee in your foreign location you might have to give them a much larger payout that you would back home.

Be sure that you have the capital necessary to carry you through while you wait for your international business to become profitable.


How Will You Hire Local Employees?

The recruiting and hiring of employees for your international office can be a tricky process. Various countries have different customs and regulations when it comes to the

standards for employment. More difficulty can arise from not being fluent in the local language as well. Much confusion can result when things get lost in translation and time could be lost, leading most likely to a waste of money.

One option available to you is to seek out and enlist the services of a local partner. Such organizations are designed to deal with the legwork of employee recruitment on behalf of foreign businesses wishing to expand to their country. These professionals know the ins and outs of hiring employees and, since they are locals as well, you don’t have to worry about things getting lost in translation.

Finding such organizations isn’t difficult, either. If you wish to expand to Japan, for example, a simple search for recruitment in Japan will allow you to find the right local partner to help with your expansion. Doing so will aid you to not only find the right employees for your new offices, but also ensure that the cultural needs and regulatory standards for those employees are sufficiently met.


Have You Done Enough Market Research?

Before you take any real steps towards expansion, it is critical that you do enough market research so that you can know exactly what you are getting into. Furthermore, you need to make sure that the type of business you run is a good fit for the country you wish to expand to.

One of the challenges that you will probably face has to do with the way your business is branded. You will need to adjust your branding to fit the local language and culture. If you don’t already have at least a loose grasp on the local language, you will want to make this a priority before you expand to a new country.

Some cultures might not have a need for the product or service that you offer. Others might have a number of businesses that already do what yours does. If you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to the market research that you need to do prior to expanding, then you could always look into hiring a local market research firm. Such firms can help gain information about potential target demographics, the compatibility of your business with the market you are looking into, as well as information about competitors.


Is Your Business Compatible With Local Regulations?

From a regulatory standpoint, the country you wish to move to could have certain regulations in place for your industry that your home nation doesn’t. Understanding and abiding by these regulations might not be a feasible ask for your business model. You also need to assess whether or not your company is prepared to pay taxes in both your home country and the foreign nation you are expanding to.

Other things like intellectual property filings and your company’s terms of service will need to either be adjusted or redone entirely. This can amount to quite a lot of work upfront for which you will very likely need the assistance of an experienced local attorney to complete properly.

Another area where you will need the guidance of local experts is real estate. Whether you wish to rent an office space, or purchase one for long-term use, understanding the real estate regulations of a foreign country can be quite difficult.

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5 Study Tips for Breezing Through Your Nursing Degree

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Studying for a nursing degree is never easy. Nursing is a challenging profession to enter into, albeit a hugely rewarding one. The following study tips can help any nurse to breeze through their degree, regardless of the level they are studying at.

Learn to Relax

If you are constantly in a state of stress or anxiety, you are going to find it difficult to do any real studying. It is important that you learn to relax, and that you keep things in perspective. Even if working as a nurse is a lifelong dream for you, putting yourself under immense pressure to achieve that dream will only sour the experience.

Before you start putting together aggressive study schedules or putting pressure on yourself to achieve lofty academic goals, make sure that you are at ease with the potential for things to not go your way. Once you learn to let go of the fear of failure, you can not only begin to enjoy your studies, but you can challenge yourself with confidence.

Completing a nursing degree is not easy, irrespective of the level that you are studying at. Even if you find that you are able to breeze through the lower level nursing qualifications with ease, as you progress to more senior positions, you will find that the difficulty ramps up rapidly. Of course, any academic qualification is going to present you with its own challenges, but nursing is unique in a couple of aspects.

Preparing Emotionally

Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers in the world. While nurses often face highly stressful and emotionally charged situations, they also consistently report some of the highest levels of job satisfaction of all professions. This might seem contradictory at first, but it is precisely this duality that draws so many people into the profession.

Generally, those who are not emotionally equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of being a nurse will drop out of their degree and the profession relatively early. Those who make it through the first few stages and progress to more advanced nursing qualifications will be those who have the emotional resilience to cope with the work they do.

If you are preparing to study your very first nursing degree, it is worth taking some time beforehand to prepare yourself emotionally. It’s important to remember that for every difficult case that nurses deal with, they also get to help numerous people. The academic pressures of rising through the ranks of nursing are already acute, and if you add emotional challenges on top of those, that is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t Neglect Your Health

Physical and emotional health is intimately linked. If you have serious issues with one, then usually the other is not far behind. Any student, regardless of the subject that they are studying, needs to pay attention to their health.

●        Eat healthily: We all understand the importance of eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, but many of us are still lagging behind in this regard. Eating healthily is not just important for maintaining your physical health; it also has a knock-on effect on your mental dexterity. People who are malnourished, for example, perform much worse on intelligence and memory tests.

Fortunately, eating healthily is not rocket science. You don’t need to plan out every single meal in detail, you just need to make sure that you are eating enough and varying what you eat.

●        Develop a sleep schedule: A lack of sleep has numerous impacts on both emotional and physical health, as well as your problem-solving abilities. In other words, if you are regularly sleep-deprived, then you are rarely if ever going to be performing at your best.

Lots of students are laboring under the misapprehension that there is something noble about staying up into the early hours cramming in as much studying as possible. However, if you find yourself doing this, then it is generally a sign that you have not managed your time very well. You should be able to maintain both a consistent sleep schedule and a consistent study schedule – you should not have to give up sleeping time in order to study more.

●        Give yourself breaks: Giving yourself regular breaks is important. If you try to push yourself to study for longer than you can concentrate for, you are only going to be wasting valuable studying time. Most people recommend taking a break at least once every hour. However, there is no hard and fast rule for when you should take a break.

Many people have found success with the Pomodoro technique, which involves regularly breaking up your study periods with breaks. This enables students using the method to maintain their focus and avoid fatiguing themselves.

Set a Study Schedule

Many students find that setting themselves an actual hard and fast schedule is much more effective than just telling themselves that they will study at some point without setting a specific time for it.

●        Be realistic: This is the most important thing to get right when you are setting yourself a study schedule. If your schedule is unrealistic and you aren’t going to be able to stick to it, then it won’t help you. In fact, it will end up demotivating you.

●        Avoid late-night cramming: As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t be studying into the early hours. Set yourself a schedule that provides you with ample study time without having to encroach on what should be your sleeping time.

●        Create a dedicated study space: Having a dedicated space in your home to study will make it easier to be productive and minimize distractions around you. If you don’t have a dedicated space already, create yourself one now.

Choose Your University Carefully

Students today who want to study a nursing degree are spoiled for choice. Not only do you have the usual traditional university route, but nurses can now study every level of their nursing qualifications through online universities. For example, Baylor University offers an online MSN program for nurses who have completed their BSN in nursing. Take your time when you are choosing where to study your degree – don’t rush into your decision.

As long as you avoid overloading yourself and you are realistic in your expectations, there is no reason why you cannot make it through your nursing degree with ease. However, if you overload yourself and don’t take a structured approach, you are setting yourself up for failure. Stick to the advice above and you’ll be fine.

What Can Employers Do To Break The Taboo Surrounding Periods?

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What Can Employers Do To Break The Taboo Surrounding Periods?

In 2018, there were 15.3 million women aged over 16 in employment, with the total female employment rate being 71.4% — the highest ever figure since 1971, when records began. Could employers be more accommodating to the monthly cycle, and if so, how?

The stigma attached to periods manifests in many ways and in the workplace, it can often prove quite a difficult obstacle to overcome. Many of these women will be dealing with PMS on the job, but this is often overlooked by bosses and menstrual taboos can leave women feeling isolated. Join us as we explore the unspoken office code for all things menstruation.


Periods within the workplace – what can we expect?

Women have been a longstanding focal group for pushing workplace equality into action. As the times have changed the breadth of issues has only grown. Periods have become one of the many key concerns for women within the workplace, and there’s a historic legacy of keeping period-talk hushed in corporate environments.

Women are often dismissed as being overcome by hormones when ‘the time of the month’ strikes, a jibe which has left women feeling that nothing period related should be voiced at work. This professional silencing of periods is a result of the outdated belief that periods make women ‘weak’ and ‘irrational’ as they bow to the mercy of their hormones. These attitudes may have made girls feel that from getting their first period onwards, they shouldn’t openly discuss menstruation in school, which then progresses on into the workplace.

In a recent survey carried out, it was found that one third of men think that talking about periods in the workplace is unprofessional. Moreover, periods are viewed as a source of embarrassment in the workplace, with findings showing women would rather admit to a mistake at work than talk about their sanitary products such as tampons and women’s maternity pads in front of male coworkers.

A YouGov survey investigated this further and only 27% of women whose performance was affected by period pains had ever admitted to their employer that this was the case and a further 33% said they’d made up an excuse in the past. Currently, it seems as though women are left to either grin and bear it in silence, sacrifice their statutory sick days, or endure the wrath of the menstrual stigma. In 2020, this simply shouldn’t be the case.


What does the reality actually show?

Back in 2018, after suffering from extreme menopause symptoms, namely heavy bleeding that had caused anemia, Mandy Davies took her medication to work. When the container of the diluted mixture was misplaced, she panicked upon noticing two men drinking water nearby. Suspecting that her medication could have been in the jug the men were drinking from, Ms Davies voiced her fear and faced an in-depth investigation from her company’s health and safety department.

This concluded in her being dismissed under gross misconduct. Her medication hadn’t been in the water in question, and after a court dispute she was awarded £19,000 in total for the pay lost and to compensate for injury to feelings. The case referred to The Equality Act 2010, which covers nine characteristics — and while period related problems are not named, the impact of them at their most severe can prevent women from carrying out their day-to-day tasks, and this is a recognised element of having a disability. While the symptoms Ms Davies was experiencing are related to the menopause, they can be common of periods too: heavy bleeding, brain fog and dizziness — and 57% of women affected by these symptoms of PMS said it had adversely affected their ability to work. Therefore, many women could be forced to deal with physical pain and lessened performance for consecutive days at a time, and this has become the norm.

In a climate where workplace culture is always evolving, HR departments are facing a diverse range of employee complaints, and period related issues are having an increased impact on employee welfare. More than one in ten women have reported being the recipient of negative comments directed at them in relation to menstruating. These micro-aggressions are leading to an increase in presenteeism — where employees who aren’t fit to work still attend in order to fulfil what is required of them. One study revealed that 80.7% of respondents said they lost an average of 23.2 days per year to presenteeism and reduced productivity, linked to being on their period.


Is it easy to put a stop to this?

In Japan, a recent move was made by a department store to assign ‘period badges’ to its female members of staff for them to wear while they are menstruating. The idea was introduced to help tackle the stigma of periods, using the pink cartoon of Seiri Chan — whose name translates to ‘Miss Period’. However, the move faced backlash with claims of harassment made. It’s highly unlikely that a step like this would be taken in UK workplaces, but what proactive steps should employers consider taking when it comes to resolving the stigma?

Emma Barnett, author of Period, It’s About Bloody Time described that while menstrual leave might not be feasible for larger companies, making period pain a valid reason for taking sick leave should become a reality. Or, the potential of introducing flexible working could be introduced to allow female employees to manage their symptoms. Barnett also discussed the need for more honesty surrounding periods, captured in her suggestion that every workplace should have a ‘menstrual policy’, to give women clearer workplace rights when it comes to periods.

There’s certainly room for adjustment when it comes to making workplaces more period-friendly, from having set policies in place to encouraging openness to tackle the menstrual stigma.

Women In The Workplace – The Work That Still Needs To Be Done

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Women In The Workplace – The Work That Still Needs To Be Done

While women continue to drive change in the working world, from championing flexible working to tackling the gender pay gap, much still remains to be done.

As we approach International Women’s Day, we speak to a group of female lawyers to hear their take on how far women have come, and what employers can do to continue to drive the change that is needed.

Ipswich-based law firm Prettys is unusual in the legal world as it has four female partners, equal to the men.

Here, the women of Prettys including partners Vanessa Bell, Georgie Hall and Georgina Rayment, as well as senior associate Louise Plant, offer their advice on how employers can put the right policies in place to continue breaking down the barriers that are still holding back many women in the workplace…


The gender pay gap

Progress in tackling the pay gap between men and women is slow, says Vanessa Bell, Prettys’ head of employment law.

But she has seen some positive steps taken to tackle the gender pay gap, particularly in the legal world, in ensuring women have greater development and sponsorship opportunities through measures such as talent and leadership training programmes.

Forward-thinking companies are also increasingly offering enhanced parental leave benefits and promoting agile working to support staff trying to juggle parenthood and a career.

“A number of initiatives and campaigns have developed over the past few years to help promote opportunities for women in the workplace,” says Vanessa.

“One of these is the Mansfield Rule, which measures whether law firms have considered women lawyers for promotions, senior-level hiring and significant leadership roles.”


Supporting working mums

With many women taking career breaks to have children, Louise Plant, head of personal injury, highlighted what practices good employers should have in place for working mums.

“While it’s still often the case that the job can require long hours, employers should be becoming more alive to parents being able to work more flexibly in terms of hours and location so that a work-life balance is maintained as far as possible,” she says.

“A good employer recognises that the more they can do in terms of flexible working to assist parents where possible to be with their children, can ultimately result in those employees feeling valued, which in turn can lead to them working hard – and being loyal to a supportive employer.”


Dress codes

When MP Tracy Brabin faced criticism for wearing an off-the-shoulder dress in the House of Commons, it sparked a debate on dress codes in the workplace. And particularly whether women are unfairly judged on what they wear.

Georgie Hall, head of private client, urged people to challenge gender bias.

“Most workplaces have a sense of ‘appropriate’ attire but there is often a lack of discussion between what employers think is necessary, what service users find appropriate and whether there are job specific image requirements. The issue of gender is also thrown into the mix,” she says.

“The more that we recognise the need for discussion, the greater our chance of acknowledging that the real value-added focus should be on a person’s performance.”


The next generation of women in law

With figures showing that the number of women choosing a career in law is growing, things are certainly heading in the right direction.

Law Society statistics reveal that while 50.8% of qualified solicitors are women, the rate at which they are being added to the roll is over 60%. The figure for women entering university to study law is higher still at almost 70%.

But Georgina Rayment, who heads Prettys’ family law team, says that comparatively, the number of female partners in law firms is much lower, at around 30%.

“That figure will inevitably grow because of the increasing number of women entering the law industry.  Improved knowledge and information through work experience, careers fairs, vloggers and social media is accelerating the change, as is a cultural shift in law no longer being seen as a male domain.  Along with more flexible working practices, this knowledge makes the prospect of a career in law more accessible and encourages female solicitors to actively seek promotion.

Consultancy Firm Clarasys Cement Success

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Consultancy Firm Clarasys Cement Success

For businesses that are stuck in their ways, a consultancy can provide dynamism and refreshingly pragmatic approaches to long-unsolved problems. Discover more about how Clarasys, a fresh and exciting London-based consultancy, has been named Best Independent Management Consultancy of 2019 in the UK, as we profile its fantastic work.

Delivering a customer-focused approach to solving needs at the pace of business demands, Clarasys has emerged as one of London’s best consultancy management services. With more than 100 consultants working across a range of industries including financial services, public sector, healthcare, IT services, telecommunications and professional services, this dynamic firm is the ideal partner for any business looking to reinvigorate themselves.

Founded in 2010, this firm believes there is a better way to do consultancy. For Clarasys, the right way means collaborating with businesses for rapid transformation, offering unparalleled skill in discovering the root causes of problems, and overcoming challenges. Committed to working with clients, rather than simply for them, the firm ensures it understands priorities and goals, making them its own for the duration of the work.

Established to be agile from the ground up, the firm applies its agility to any and all client work. Using its unique, enterprise, agile approach, Clarasys works to quickly identify and unlock value, providing teams with direction and clarity moving forward. This philosophy of speed without compromising on quality of service is one the firm shares with clients, helping to balance quick wins against lasting transformation whilst building capability and self-sufficiency.

Lasting transformation can take a myriad of forms. For Clarasys, it means helping clients build the necessary foundations for continual transformation well into the future with the capabilities to deliver future projects in the most efficient way.

At the core of the Clarasys service is its commitment to helping clients put customers and employees at the heart of their business. Coupling a deep expertise of customer experience with operational effectiveness, the firm enables clients to join together front and back offices to deliver change. As well as meeting the needs of business customers, the work also helps meet the demands of a diverse set of employee needs and expectations.

Where the firm truly excels is not just in quality delivery of services, but the result of those services. Driving up customer retention, enhancing customer and employee experiences, and maximising service satisfaction are just some of the reasons that clients choose to work alongside Clarasys to help them succeed.

Digitalisation is very much on the horizon for businesses in 2019 and beyond, if not already well-incorporated. As a key part of their excellent services, consultants at Clarasys help clients design, and ensure company-wide adoption of new digital services. Processdriven and tech-neutral, the firm doesn’t work with specific tech manufacturers, meaning that clients get access to the best tools, resources and technical approaches tailored to their own specific needs.

For companies working in consulting, each and every client is unique and therefore the solutions need to be as well. Another way Clarasys separates itself from the competition is its bespoke approach to every client’s problem. Helping a variety of organisations from FTSE 100 firms to government organisations and non-profit companies, the approach is always totally unique as no two situations are ever the same.

That level of bespoke care doesn’t just cultivate success, it also leaves clients feeling as though Clarasys is an extension of their own team, resulting in longstanding relationships. The firm’s aforementioned collaborative approach to work is essential for successful project outcomes, gaining necessary information from the right people at the right time without intruding on a client’s day-to-day work.

Clarasys, like many consulting firms, attributes its success to its employees. Where this company stands proudly above its competition, however, is in just how good its staff are at what they do. Cultivating fantastic relationships with clients, delivering only the highest quality work, and ensuring the company is a wonderful place to work are just some of the ways in which this consultancy firm’s staff have made it into an award-winning workplace.

Just this year, Clarasys placed third in The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Companies To Work For, a testament to the incredible work ethic there and cementing its status as a desirable place to work. The firm has also been awarded the maximum three stars for its extraordinary level of workplace engagement.

These wins are an important acknowledgement that Clarasys continues to thrive in an industry facing increased competition. By remaining focused on its core activities, building on its already-impressive reputation for delivering lasting change, and being confident that its unique services give it an edge, this firm will remain at the forefront of the industry as it expands.

Looking to the future, it is brighter than ever for this consultancy firm. Following its
international expansion to Boston, Massachusetts, there has been a consistent increase in demand from new and existing clients. As development continues, the firm is seeking more experienced consultants and promising
graduates to help deliver more of the top-quality work it is known for.

Ultimately, Clarasys’ work is vital for companies who find themselves stagnant or unable to overcome certain issues,
or looking for something transformative. A fresh pair of eyes give a new perspective, and a specialised mind can often unearth innovative solutions. Fortunately for its clientele, Clarasys has an abundance of keen eyes, specialist knowledge, and a thriving dynamism to ensure its success continues.

89% Of UK Employees Have Suffered From Workplace Stress That Is Deemed As Excessive, Affecting Their Mental Health

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89% Of UK Employees Have Suffered From Workplace Stress That Is Deemed As Excessive, Affecting Their Mental Health

One in every eight company employees in the UK has taken time off work for stress in the last year.

Conducted by the Dolan Contractor Group, experts in contractor payroll and accountancy, the Stress in the Workplace study gathered responses from employees of 140 companies across the UK. Respondents were asked about the causes of what was deemed ‘excessive workplace stress’, how they combat stress to maintain good mental health and what their employers do to support them through stress. 

The greatest cause of this stress in the UK workplace was found to be long working hours, with 41% of respondents to a study stating that they have been affected. Next most common is deadline or client pressure with 32%, followed by low pay and inability to build financial savings with 29%.

The study also identified differences in how stress is experienced between genders, and between employees of SMEs or large companies. Also revealed were crucial differences between the support available to permanent employees and that offered to employees hired on a contractor or freelance basis.

When asked how they would deal with stress, 6% of permanent employee respondents stated that they would not seek help if they were suffering from excessive stress, opting to ‘hope it gets better’. This figure rose to 17% of contractors and freelancers surveyed. 

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There were clear differences between SMEs and large companies when employees attributed sources of stress. Just under half of employees in SMEs (47%) stated that low pay, the inability to build savings and no chance of progression were stress points.

When respondents were asked how they’d tackle stress, 30% of those at large companies stated that they would speak to their manager. The amount who would seek help from their manager reduced to 12% of workers at SMEs. It’s possible that small businesses need to work harder to provide anonymity or an environment that workers feel comfortable to confide in senior staff members.

The majority of employees from large companies stated that long working hours (40%) caused them the most stress, followed by overwork and management pressure (36%).


Further findings from the study:

• Female contractor workers are less likely to suffer from excessive stress due to long working hours when compared to female permanent workers. It is still predominantly women who take time off work, as the main carers for children within a family. They have to set their working hours around childcare, made possible by freelancing and contracting.

• Contractors and freelancers were found to rely more heavily on their friends and families for support, with 26% stating this was their method to combat excessive stress. Furthermore, 30% of contractor and freelancer workers have taken leave from work to combat excessive stress. 

•Just 5% of the respondents stated that they would seek help from a medical specialist to combat excessive stress in the workplace.


Lauren Monks, Group Operations Director at Dolan Contractor Group, states:

“The Stress in the workplace study deepens our understanding of our contractors, freelancers and the self employed. It outlines the key areas that cause stress and so gives us and employers insight to help reduce stress in the workplace.  

Stress is prevalent in all areas of work and across all industries regardless of the way you work- as a traditional employee or via your own limited company or umbrella employment, though contractors and freelancers are rarely mentioned in the conversation for stress in the workplace and mental wellbeing.

With the potential IR35 reforms looming, this adds a degree of uncertainty which we understand is unsettling and stressful for our clients. With 27% of contractors and freelancers stating that tax, red tape, and government changes contribute to excessive stress at work, we make sure that we offer IR35 contract reviews so our clients have the advice they need, plus we can offer them both umbrella employment as well as limited company accountancy. This takes the added stress of finding a new umbrella employer should the IR35 reforms affect them.” 


Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, provides further comments on the study:

“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.

“Policies like flexible or remote working can help employees balance work and home life, and things like turning off email servers outside of working hours helps ring fence valuable recovery time. Mental health first aid training can also help managers spot the signs or triggers and put preventions in place.

“Contractors or freelancers who don’t have the support of HR might need to adopt their own strategies such as setting working hours, turning off email alerts out of these hours and separating work and living space if working from home.”

Why It’s Time To Rethink Retirement

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It’s Time To Rethink Retirement

Planning retirement from a purely financial perspective doesn’t work. Retirees regularly run out of money well before they die and increasingly face physical and mental health problems. Mike Middleton, founder of Pro-Vision Lifestyles, explains why a more holistic approach is necessary. One that places lifestyle choices at the centre of planning.

The concept of retirement dates back to 19th Century Germany, when it was conceived as a response to youth unemployment. Depressingly, thinking around the subject has barely progressed since. We still tend to think of retirement in largely financial terms, which for many, won’t lead to happiness. Just as retirement’s past is found in a different country, its future is equally foreign and unknown. Fresh thinking is required.


The crisis

For the first time since the 1930s, people in the UK are having to wait beyond their 65th birthday before they can claim their state pension. As the pension age rises many face growing uncertainty over how to manage increased longevity, so support in making conscious choices on how we want to live becomes ever more important.

This isn’t scaremongering. The retirement crisis is real in both financial and wellbeing terms. Many retiring now will face another 30 years of life, how we choose to spend it has a large impact on whether these years are a blessing or a curse.


The alternative

The key to happiness and wellbeing in retirement are the same as in earlier life; remain physically active, continue to learn, have a sense of purpose, and build and maintain strong social networks. 

Perhaps it’s this lack of comprehension that stops retirement from being the adventure it should be. Studies have shown that retirement without a plan increases your risk of depression by up to 40%. It needn’t be this way. People could be using this period of their life to make new friends, visit family, dedicate time to previously ignored hobbies, learn new skills, and lead a stimulating life after decades of hard work. It should be exciting and liberating.

These upsides of retirement are regularly forgotten. We tend to view retirement through a prism of negativity that focuses on money. Fulfilment in later life is about much more than just money. Days are still 24 hours long and with, potentially, many years ahead there is a lot of time to fill, and no time to waste. Some new activities are time bound, and many waste the first few years of retirement working out what they really want to do, and sometimes by then it’s too late.

Overall life expectancy is rising faster than healthy life expectancy, the disability-free life years at age 65 in England is 9.9 years (ONS, 2018). Something needs to change in how we recognise, plan for and manage this stage of our life.


The solution

A fundamental change of retirement preparation mindset is required.

Instead of thinking “I need to save towards some arbitrary, unrealistic lump sum, and then hoard it until I die”, people need to think about and plan how they want to spend their later years. What type of life do they need to be happy as a retiree? How are they going to fill their time? To do this we have to make conscious decisions on the important elements of how we wish to live. We can then work out how much that costs and save enough to budget for that – no matter how extravagant or modest that may be.


Increasing numbers of people have concluded that it makes sense to use retirement activities as the basis to understanding financial requirements, rather than the other way around. Individuals need  professional support to enable them to make their right choices, we only have one shot so it’s important to get it right. This allows financial and other advice to work to maximum effect.

By adopting a different approach and placing individual retirement aspirations at the heart of any decision-making process, excitement can be injected into retirement and long-term happiness can become more likely. The time for individuals to take their futures seriously is now.

Over Half Of Employers Don’t Provide An Actively Managed Health & Wellbeing Programme

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Over Half Of Employers Don’t Provide An Actively Managed Health & Wellbeing Programme

Vested, the Workplace Savings & Benefits consultancy of Embark Group, has today published findings from its Health & Wellbeing Survey, which reveals that 56% of respondents don’t have an actively managed health & wellbeing programme. Despite this, the survey, undertaken in collaboration with employee wellbeing specialists Healthy Performance, found that employers are increasingly recognising the importance of mental wellbeing, with over three quarters (77%) indicating they would consider, or have actively considered, increasing support for staff who show symptoms of stress.

Among the 56% of companies without an actively managed programme, over a third of respondents (36%) have nothing in place at all, while 20% have started to build their offering but are aware it requires further development. The most popular health & wellbeing benefits provided by the respondents were: cycle to work schemes (13%), employee assistance programmes (13%), private medical insurance (11%) and health screening (11%). Nearly half (43%) of the organisations offered three or more benefits to their employees.

Employers are more proactive in reviewing their health and wellbeing programmes, with 14% reviewing activities every 6 months and 47% looking at it once a year. Despite this, 1 in 5 (21%) respondents currently never look at the effectiveness of the products within their health & wellbeing programmes.

As employers look to establish health & wellbeing programmes, and those with existing schemes seek to develop them, Vested and Healthy Performance are collaborating to save organisations money, improve coverage and introduce better preventative support. Vested provide general health & wellbeing reviews for organisations and advisory services in relation to benefit offerings, and Healthy Performance offer online educational tools and preventative services.

Howard Finch, Vested Managing Director, commented: “Over the coming years, we would expect to see a continued growth in the number of actively managed programmes, as employers increasingly recognise the benefits for their staff and their business. It’s promising that the majority of employers that do offer these types of programmes are regularly reviewing their approach. We would encourage all companies to review their programmes once a year at the very least. And, most importantly, to engage with staff to ensure that programmes actually meet their needs. The result will be far higher usage, engagement and, ultimately, satisfaction levels.”

The survey revealed that occupational health services were offered by only 1% of respondents. However, the survey found that 9% were intending on introducing these services in the next 12 months. And, recognition of the importance of mental wellbeing is clearly growing, with over half (51%) of employers having already considered increasing the level of support for staff suffering from stress in 2019. A further 26% of respondents stated that although they hadn’t considered it previously, they would consider taking action in the future. 

Wayne Campbell, Healthy Performance Managing Director, commented: “Many employers struggle to identify the key signs of stress until it is too late, and they fail to identify how significant a risk it is to the business. We find that line managers and supervisors are not sufficiently trained to assist in this area so it typically falls to the HR team, which may be undertrained or resourced to deal with these issues effectively. Stress remains the number one reason for both short and longer-term employee absence and this is an area we recommend organisations focus on in 2020.”

Stressed And Underdressed: Gen Z Wear Their Work Attire Worries On Their Sleeves

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Stressed And Underdressed: Gen Z Wear Their Work Attire Worries On Their Sleeves

New research from Milkround, the UK’s leading graduate job board, reveals that almost two thirds (65%) of Generation Z (18-22 years old) feel judged based on their appearance at work, and more than a third (36%) actively worry about being ridiculed for their clothes. This concern has not gone unfounded given that 15% have received negative comments from supposed “work friends”.

Gen Z are the generation most anxious about their appearance in the workplace. Almost three quarters (74%) of Gen Z employees even feel stressed getting ready for work and choosing what to wear on a daily basis, compared to just 14% of Baby Boomers.


Judgement day

Not only do dress codes cause stress for Gen Z employees, but nearly half (40%) think that they actually increase the likelihood of being judged by appearance rather than performance – defying their original purpose.

This is seen in the day-to-day, but mostly when it comes to interviews. Nearly half of Gen Z employees (43%) felt they missed out on landing a job based on what they wore to an interview. HR teams and senior decision makers mirror this thought-process, as 75% admit they would write someone off for a role based on how they were dressed at interview stage.

Financial challenges

Office dress codes are intended to provide a useful guide to employees, but instead this has resulted in financial anxiety as well. The average Gen Z employee spends approx. £1,189.20 a year on work clothes to keep up with office standards. They’re spending significantly more than their older colleagues, a shocking 160% more than the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, who spend just £457.20 a year.

The pressure to look your best at work has created a wider issue, where 70% of Gen Z have bought clothes for work and returned them to the store after use; 21% admit to doing this regularly.

Social media stress

Social media life through a camera lens and ‘doing it for the Gram’ is having a negative effect on Gen Z interview stages too. An employer can find out a lot about a candidate before they even meet them, with 82% of employers saying they check profiles pre-interview and judge candidates before they have even walked through the door. Seemingly un-wise to the common practice, only 47% of interviewees filter their internet presence before they interview, with half (54%) believing their feeds should not be judged.

Georgie Brazier, Graduate Jobs Expert at Milkround said: “An alarming amount of Gen Z’ers are feeling increasingly stressed about their physical appearance in the workplace. These feelings are then heavily compounded by issues around budget and judgement from employers, alongside pressures from social media.

“While it’s great to see that retailers include affordable work wear sections in-store to help, the financial issue remains with many spending more than £1000 a year on clothes purely for work and there are many who just can’t afford the luxury of a new outfit for a job interview. We are seeing younger employees being judged by their appearance, which does affect their career prospects and puts Gen Z under mental and financial stress. We urge employees to not focus on the superficial qualities and look for the value a candidate can bring. You’ll end up hiring additional talent, and they’ll be more productive.”


Reality Star and Former Civil Service Worker, Zara McDermott, comments on the research; “As a member of Generation Z, I am lucky that I am now, more than ever able to express myself though the way I present myself. Fashion, hairstyle and even makeup can be adapted to mirror how I want to look to the outside world. However, in some environments – like the workplace – people judge others that choose to express themselves through these means and this has happened to me whilst in my work in the government and still now in a more creative medium.

“Throughout my time working in Government, I was cautious about ensuring everything I wore was appropriate for the workplace. This often caused me stress in the morning worry about what to wear and how I would be judged if I didn’t fit in. Milkround’s research shows that I am one of many who experience this. Over time, I realised that standing out for my performance was more important and to make sure you work hard and express your creativity through your work. By doing this, you will feel good about yourself, no matter what you are wearing.”

Councillor Tele Lawal Heaton Ward comments; “This research from Milkround is incredibly timely. I am really glad a spotlight is being shone on this issue, as this is something that I experienced when I was running to be elected an MP. One of the biggest issues when I was campaigning was how I dressed and not on the policies I was proposing. Which is not what it should be.

“We want to see more young people entering politics, but we need to change the stuffy attitude people and the media have to it and show you can still be yourself and have personality in how you present yourself where ever you work. This is a cultural and generational step that I am glad Milkround are highlighting and I am pleased to be a part of and see how we can change perceptions.”