A work stress & health special

Reviewing the latest news on work stress and mental health – including some tips to improve yours.

Understanding the research findings can help you make changes to benefit your working life, alongside the lives of those you manage… 

Work stress: who’s feeling it most?

  • Professionals aged 35-44 represent the most stressed employee group, with more than a 1/4 experiencing daily stress. ‘Work, family and children’ are the primary triggers for this age group.
  • HR appears to be the most stressed profession, with 78% of people reporting daily stress.
  • The article also cites the core stressors for the 16 to 24-year-olds and over-55s, alongside other stressed out professions, the effects of this stress, and relaxation strategies.

British adults aren’t sleeping enough

  • One clear stress-relieving strategy is that of obtaining enough sleep on a regular basis. Something that the average British worker fails to do.
  • It doesn’t help that 28% of respondents are kept awake due to the stress caused by their working day.

Poor managers cause a surge in stress-related absence

  • Research suggests that managers require additional training in order to ‘better support staff wellbeing’.
  • 37% of employers have observed higher levels of stress-related absence within the past 12 months – this has been attributed to ‘heavy workloads and poor management’.

Why even gym-goers live sedentary working lifestyles

  • Our sedentary working lives increase the risk of major health issues, including ‘Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.’
  • Being ‘extremely active’ for a short spell in your day, such as a 60-minute gym workout, does not override this risk.
  • Professionals are encouraged to get up every 30 minutes in order to do a ‘short burst of exercise’ such as a 2-minute walk.

Hot desking increases work stress

Managers are missing mental health problems

  • Research from Mind (the leading mental health charity) shows a need for managers to learn ‘how to spot and support colleagues who might be struggling with issues like stress, anxiety or depression‘.
  • More than 7 in 10 employees have encountered a mental health problem at some stage of their life. What’s more, over 1/2 of staff members are experiencing mental health issues right now.

Young professionals believe their commute harms their health

  • More than 2/5 of workers think their commute worsens their stress. However, this figure increases to almost 3/4 (73%) of 25 to 34-year-olds.
  • Despite this, younger employees are additionally most willing to undertake a longer commute in order to obtain a ‘nicer property’.

Let’s look at some positives…

Again, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the volume of work stress headlines, we can all use these findings to our advantage.

We can each look at those factors we have some control over. Whether it’s finding ways to get more sleep, move more during the working day, or reassess our commute. Employers and managers can also look at additional training to improve their understanding of their colleagues’ needs – and how to support them.

In addition, we’ve found a couple of promising headlines…

An extra tip to reduce your work stress

  • Harvard researchers have found one way to turn that commute around and reduce your daily stress levels.
  • Instead of using this time to engage in relaxing pursuits, they suggest commuters should “go through your plan for the day (visualise it), set your goals and priorities, and review the three most important tasks to accomplish.” Participants that achieve this report greater job satisfaction.

Is this the future of workplace health?

  • Perhaps you feel you’re more prone to stress than your colleagues. Well, personalised healthcare could help you identify your genetic challenges.
  • Discovering whether you’re more prone to stress and/or high blood pressure, or whether you’re likely to be triggered by your caffeine intake, could be a major boost to your stress reduction tactics. Could this really contribute towards the future of ‘healthy businesses?’

Of course, we can all reach that point where our work stress largely comes from the need to find a new challenge or fresh environment! You’ll find all the latest jobs listed here.



New mother retention rates & more parental news

Should companies publish their new mother retention rates? Some MPs think so, in order to reduce discrimination levels. There’s also talk of fathers facing discrimination within the latest news for working parents…

The publishing of new mother retention rates

Source: Personnel Today

  • The Women and Equalities Committee is in favour of increased support for new parents – including extended legal protections regarding ‘redundancy for pregnant employees and new mothers’.
  • In addition, they’re calling on the government to take greater action to support parents. They suggest that larger employers should publish their new mother retention rates 12 months after they return to work, as well as 12 months following a flexible working application.
  • It’s not the first time the group has made such recommendations. They follow ‘shocking stories of workplace discrimination’ with concerns surrounding the ’emotional, physical and financial impact on women’.

Many UK working fathers face discrimination 

Source: HR Review

  • 44% of dads say they’ve experienced discrimination after taking up their right to paternity leave or shared parental leave.
  • 1/4 of fathers have received ‘verbal abuse or mockery’ as a result of their choice.
  • More than a third (35%) additionally perceive a negative career impact – such as job loss (17%) or demotions (20%).
  • This may be contributing to a culture of white lies, in which fathers feel unable to be upfront about their ‘family-related responsibilities.’

Could one prominent paternity leave programme make a difference to many more dads?

Source: People Management

  • O2 is increasing its paid paternity leave programme to 14 weeks for permanent team members – while also ensuring that same-sex couples and adoptive and surrogate parents are all included.
  • This policy will be extended to retail workers as well as head office employees, which puts O2 ahead of many of its retail counterparts.
  • While it’s acknowledged that these policies are largely offered by big corporate business, the competitive advantage will likely cause other companies to follow suit. Consequently, we may see reductions in stigma and discrimination.

Leaders need to support flexible working for parents

Source: Personnel Today

Offering flexible working alone is not enough to support working parents, according to ‘The 2019 Modern Families Index: Employer Report’.

Instead, business leaders should look to more actively celebrate the benefits of flexible working. While also helping to reduce the pressure parents feel when considering their working options.

The report suggests employers can make flexibility ‘visible’ from the top tiers of their companies – and educate their employees on how colleagues achieved senior positions through flexible working.

Perhaps this will help to improve the current stats, which show that:

  • 2 in 3 people are finding it ‘increasingly difficult to raise a family.’
  • Only 1/4 of working parents feel they’ve struck the ‘right balance between work, family life and income’.

Looking for a job that better suits your needs? Visit our jobs page



Many more temps to be recruited

UK businesses plan to recruit many more temps, reveals the latest REC JobsOutlook…

On comparing their intentions against last month, employers are:

  • 10 percentage points more likely to recruit temporary workers within the short-term. In terms of REC data, this means within the next 3 months.
  • 9 percentage points more likely to recruit temps across the medium-term (4 to 12 month period).

Why this may surprise some:

You could think this is a mark of increased business confidence. However, companies report a further reduced confidence in the nation’s ‘economic prospects’.

In fact, this particular reading has now reached a record low – and currently sits 57 percentage points below its June 2016 findings.

Plans to recruit permanent staff have fallen by 1 percentage point for the short-term period and by 3 percentage points for the medium-term period. Although, both ratings remain positive overall: with a net balance of +16 and +19 respectively.

That said, businesses worry they won’t find the right temps:

  • 34% (1/3) of employers express concern about finding enough skilled candidates to fill their temporary roles.
  • 46% of businesses additionally worry about obtaining permanent employees.

These figures are less surprising when you consider that the UK has achieved record unemployment rates, with less than 4% of the population unemployed.

So, there’s great news for temps. But is temping for you?

Temporary work offers multiple benefits to employees. These include:

  • A flexible solution for those looking for work for a specific period – whether ad hoc assignments or longer-term bookings.
  • The chance to develop new skills and experiences and enhance your CV in the process.
  • A deeper insight into working cultures and local businesses. Helping you work out your priorities for permanent roles if this is a future goal.
  • Regular pay: you’ll be paid weekly (following those weeks worked), rather than monthly.
  • You’ll still accrue holiday pay, further enhancing the flexibility of your role.

Remember, there is no guarantee of finding regular temporary work, even though this is the case for many. To this end, it’s not recommended to leave a permanent role to temp unless you’ve got the financial backing to do so!

You can search for temporary and contract jobs using our job search dropdown tool. Due to the nature of temporary work, roles can be filled swiftly. So, it’s also worth emailing your CV along with a cover email detailing your availability. Here’s what else you should include

To book a temp, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us to discuss your requirements. 



The cost of a poor recruitment decision

How each poor recruitment decision mounts up to a vast national cost…

We recently discussed the issues of recruitment and CV fraud  – and detailed some of their financial and non-financial implications.

Well, new data has emerged to illustrate the price paid by the companies mistakenly recruiting fraudulent applicants. Crowe UK reveals that businesses are spending a total of £23.9 billion a year due to recruitment fraud.

As a reminder, this may be due to the use of fake qualifications or falsified documents, such as embellished CVs and applications. Candidates have also secured worryingly high-level roles (including those within medicine and aviation) as a result.

Where is the money going?

These costs comprise a variety of factors, including:

  • Initial recruitment procedures
  • Low productivity
  • ‘Internal investigations’ and disciplinary action
  • External penalties
  • And matters relating to the employer’s reputation
  • Internal costs such as fraud, theft or data breaches, may also apply.

Of course, perfectly reputable candidates may also prove costly if they’re not the right person for the job.

Looking at poor recruitment decisions in general:

The cost of the average unsuitable recruit is as follows (via the REC)

  • Wasted salary: £28,000
  • Wasted training: £1,500
  • Recruiting & training the new employee: £9,730
  • Reduced productivity from the wider team: £29,160
  • And total staff turnover: £54,000

TOTAL: £132,015 per each unsuitable recruit

How can you make better recruitment decisions?

Consider the many ways that you can improve your recruitment processes, including yet not limited to…

  • Clearly identifying your recruitment needs ahead of your candidate search. Consulting your colleagues and/or employees where needed.
  • Dedicating sufficient time to employee attraction and screening.
  • Making certain that your job descriptions truly depict the roles you’re recruiting for – while clearly communicating your expectations and the realities of working for your organisation.
  • Considering any necessary skills assessments.
  • Making use of trial periods and or temp-to-perm contracts where appropriate.
  • Ensuring the utmost efficiency so that you don’t lose any top candidates along the way.

Your recruitment consultant can support you with each of these decisions. Therefore, working closely alongside an expert recruitment agency may help ease much of your time and cost burden.

For further advice about recruitment in Bath and the surrounding area, please call the office on 01225 313130. You can also find out more about our service here.



Is a 4-day week the future norm?

Could a 4-day week become the new ‘norm’ for employees and help solve the nation’s working challenges? This is the core theme of multiple HR and recruitment news features published within the past fortnight.

Living in the overtime capital

The UK has sadly earned itself the moniker of ‘unpaid overtime capital of Europe.’ The average full-time employee now works around 6.3 hours of unpaid overtime weekly. This amounts to £5,000 per person each year, according to ADP research data.

You could assume this means we’re flying ahead in the productivity stakes, however, the opposite is true. What’s more, our culture of overwork could actually be at the root of this problem.

  • It’s said that the Danes are ‘23.5% more productive per hour,’ despite the fact they work 4 hours less each week.
  • The Republic of Ireland is also 62.7% more productive, yet works less than 40 hours per week. The UK averages 42 hours.
  • Apparently, if changes aren’t made, ‘it would take 63 yearsfor UK employees to receive the same amount of leisure time as the rest of Europe.

Employees call for a 4-day week

Alongside the productivity issues, UK professionals are also feeling increasingly stressed. More than 1 in 3 people feel more stressed than they did just two years ago. The respondents suggest this is due to:

  • Increased workloads (66%)
  • ‘Changing relationships’ at work (30%)
  • Not having control over their work (27%)

On being asked what would help lower their stress levels, the participants said:

  1. A 4-day working week (Almost 1/3: 30%)
  2. Greater management support (25%)
  3. Reduced responsibilities, or other work changes (13%)
  4. Stress management training (6%)
  5. Regular exercise (5%)
  6. Not receiving work emails outside of their contracted hours (5%)

Various views on the 4-day week

It’s suggested that technological advances should make a 4-day working week feasible. Yet some employers and employees have their concerns…

  • Businesses worry about paying the same salaries for reduced workloads and professionals fear that they’ll end up working fewer days yet even longer hours. Others worry that they’ll have to squeeze their existing workloads into a briefer timeframe.
  • Several examples are provided in the above-linked piece. One of which is a Surrey-based trial in which employees will work an extra hour a day in order to shorten their working week to four days/32 hours for full-timers. The workers’ stress levels will be compared at the end of it. It will be interesting to see whether the longer days/shorter weeks outweigh the associated concerns.
  • One German-company has taken a different approach: reducing each working day from eight hours to five. They say this has resulted in reduced stress and improved work-life balance. They have, however, had to implement some practical changes to help employees manage their workloads. This included reevaluating ‘social media usage and finding weekly routines’.

In conclusion…

While it doesn’t appear that 4-day working weeks will become the imminent norm, don’t be surprised if you see more UK employers experimenting with this notion. In the meantime, are there any jobs that more closely match your working priorities? For example, those with reduced commutes or more favourable hours or shifts, flexible working opportunities and other lifestyle benefits.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for future updates regarding this topic/how the Surrey study turns out! As well as sharing such updates via our news feed, you can also follow us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.



SMEs express recruitment confidence

How SMEs perceive their recruitment abilities – and how they’re looking to attract new employees. Plus what the rest of the employment market stats are saying…

SME stands for ‘small and medium-sized enterprises.’ This refers to any business with fewer than 250 employees. Together, these companies employ more than 16 million people, which accounts for half of the UK’s working population.

The findings show:

  • SMEs are confident in their abilities to recruit over the coming year; regardless of the wider business climate. 61% of these companies express this sentiment, versus 53% of global businesses.
  • Business owners are looking to increase their investments in training and development, alongside ‘demonstrating a commitment to ethical and social values’ in order to attract more employees.
  • Salary remains the most regarded employee attraction tool among business leaders, with the aforementioned training and development in second place.
  • Employers are no longer placing the same level of focus on ‘long-term service’, however, a ‘competitive salary’ is also deemed the most effective tool for promoting staff retention.

Each of these stats come from this Onrec report. The research itself was conducted by Oxford Economics in association with American Express.

What about the latest ONS labour stats?

Over on the REC website, it’s stated that the national unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been since November 1974 to January 1975, at just 3.9%.

  • 32.72 million people of working age are now in employment. 475,0000 more people than over the previous year.
  • The number of job vacancies has also increased by 32,000 to a total of 852,0000 for January to March 2019.
  • As positive as these figures appear, this poses a continued challenge for employers looking to recruit new team members. The REC describes this as a ‘big risk’ to future economic growth.

How do these findings compare to the current KPMG and REC Report on Jobs?

  • These figures also reveal a ‘steep decline in staff availability.’ This is partially attributed to a ‘Brexit-related uncertainty’.
  • The Report on Jobs also suggests the ‘fastest decline’ in permanent employee placements since the middle of 2016.
  • However, these figures additionally show employee demand has increased at its ‘softest pace’ since August 2916 – both across temporary and permanent recruitment.

What does this all mean for you as a job-seeker or employer?

For job-seekers:

There are some fantastic opportunities out there for you. When you consider that 85% of local businesses are SMEs, their confidence becomes all the more newsworthy.

What’s more, these businesses are competing for people with the relevant skills, attributes and experience for their companies.

Low unemployment means you may experience reduced job-seeker competition in your field. However, you cannot rely on this! Appealing roles have a habit of attracting greater numbers. You must still ensure your CV and applications are doing all that they can to demonstrate your suitability for a job.

Take a look at the latest local openings and/or email your CV to our Consultants. Here’s what to include in your cover email.

For employers and managers:

The challenge of standing out from your competitors continues.

As per the SME discussions, employee attraction strategies are now of the utmost priority. The following posts share some useful considerations:

Work closely with your Recruitment Consultant to ensure they’re aware of your individual recruitment needs as well as your complete employee offering. Get the most out of the agency’s staff attraction tools, honed through years of recruitment expertise.

You can call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130 or reach a Consultant directly via email.



Is it your dream job?

Thinking back to your childhood, and more specifically age 5, what was your dream job? This formed the basis of a viral tweet at the start of this year. So viral, it even made its way into the Independent along with some of its more imaginative(/obscure!) responses.

How about in adulthood – have you made it into your dream job yet?

Even those who dreamed of more realistic roles are likely to respond with a ‘no’ to this question. After all, only 5% of UK adults say they’re in their ideal job. Career barriers appear to include:

  • Concerns regarding financial security
  • ‘Embarrassment’ about starting from scratch
  • Worries that family and friends won’t support your choices
  • Perceived ‘age barriers’
  • And low confidence

What are the UK’s ‘best jobs’?

Experience suggests the response to this question would be highly individual and we’ll each have our own measurement criteria. However, Glassdoor believes the ideal role comprises a combination of three elements

  1. Potential earnings
  2. Job satisfaction
  3. The number of job vacancies

Perhaps even more interestingly, they also say they’ve uncovered the UK’s 25 ‘best jobs’. 15 of which feature the same word…’Manager’.

You can find the full list here, alongside their median base salaries and job satisfaction rankings.

Fantastic news for managers. But what if your dream job doesn’t include management?

Again, let’s remember just how individual our career choices really are. Not everyone longs to manage departments and/or teams and some would rather do anything but this!

Even some existing managers don’t feel suited to their roles. Such as this contributor to The Muse’s career advice column.

The advice that follows is fantastic and largely centres around growing your expertise so that you can achieve career growth without having to follow a set management path.

Identifying your goals:

Perhaps this is the time to question what matters most to you. What are the top three things that you would prioritise in your next job role? Have you got a dream job? And what would career progression look like to you?

Remember to share your thoughts with your recruitment consultant – the more they know about your career goals the better. Be sure to also keep an eye on our jobs page so that you gain more of an insight into what’s out there and what really appeals to you.



Are you committing CV fraud?

No doubt you’ve heard at least a little something about the College admissions scandal. Well, recruitment is facing its own scandal…

The growing case of degree and CV fraud:

It turns out that almost half a million fake degree certificates have been purchased over the past 8 years alone.

Many of these come from entirely counterfeit institutes, with 243 such businesses now on the Prospects list (Prospects being the organisation that has teamed up with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate this problem).

Alongside this, some organisations pose as genuine universities in order to obtain personal details and, of course, payments.

The cost of these fake qualifications…

This global ‘industry’ makes in the region of  £37.5 million a year, according to the BBC. One British man actually spent £500,000 on fake qualifications.

Yet these aren’t the only costs to consider. As per the BBC report, “degree fraud cheats both genuine learners and employers.”

It also places the buyer at risk.

What are the legal implications of CV fraud?

It’s not the act of purchasing or possessing the fake documents that is unlawful, but rather the act of using these documents within your CV and/or job applications.

This is considered a criminal offence and falls under the Fraud Act 2006.

If convicted of this offence, you could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Even if your actions aren’t considered gross enough to warrant imprisonment, you may be at risk of dismissal from your job and even the chance of being sued for compensation.

What about ‘white lies’ on your CV?

Unsurprisingly, it’s far more common that people fudge their grades or work experiences than they pretend they’ve studied somewhere or something they haven’t. However, what you perceive as minor lies could still cost you your job and your reputation.

With this in mind, it’s worth having another look at your CV to ensure that everything you’re presenting is a true picture of your skills, education and experience.

You can find straight-forward CV advice on our downloads page. We also share hints and tips regarding what to include in your cover email to recruitment agencies in this popular post.



The average weekday morning routine

What does your weekday morning routine look like? If it features alarm snoozing, multiple cups of tea, and a few cross words (unsurprisingly that’s angry words rather than puzzles!), you’re very much in line with the average Brit…

As a nation, each workday morning we:

  • Snooze our alarms five times
  • Consume two teas
  • Swear four times before 9 o’clock
  • Have at least two rounds of ‘cross words’ with our partners
  • And break up two or more fights between our children
  • We also hunt for both our mobile phones and keys twice over before leaving the house

This is all according to research conducted by Dunelm. You can compare your morning against the rest of the nation’s data in this recent HR News post.

How media features in our morning routine:

The article also cites some fascinating details when it comes to how else we’re using our time. Collectively we…

  • Spend 3 million hours ‘browsing social media’ from the bed, bathroom and breakfast table.
  • Respond to 97 million emails before we’ve even got up.
  • And watch 16 million hours of morning TV.
  • Breaking this down into minutes, the average working person spends 6 minutes on checking their work emails and another 6 minutes on posting to social media from their beds. Yet we only allow 7 minutes to eat breakfast (with more than 1/4 doing this while rushing around the house). That’s also less time than spent on styling one’s hair and reading the online news.

The morning mood…

A number of potential ‘morning downers’ are identified, including missing public transport, traffic jams, arguments, and not knowing what to wear, among others.

With all the stats combined, it’s no wonder that more than 1/4 of professionals feel stressed as soon as they wake up, with 76% of people finding weekday mornings worst of all.

Are there any solutions?

Weekday mornings are always going to present their challenges, especially for anyone with additional caring responsibilities or health needs. Anything you can do to manage your stress levels is going to help improve your morning routine. Or, at least, how that routine makes you feel!

Prepping whatever you can the night before, prioritising sleep, and avoiding the lure of social media first thing in the day could be a great place to start.

Alongside this, ask yourself whether there’s anything else contributing to your morning stress load. It’s said that 97% of people are frustrated in their work. Frustration can lead to nitpicking (and an all-around shorter fuse with those around you!) as well as more of a desire to procrastinate.

If job frustration is ruining your morning routine, and the rest of your working week, why not take a look at the latest job vacancies?



Are you suffering from vocation frustration?

UK office workers are suffering from a serious case of vocation frustration, says a recent Staples report…

The report, available in full on the Staples website, opens with a description of how most people want to feel. When office life runs smoothly and “it all just works”. However, it soon explains that the national workplace presents a far more frustrated picture.

An ideal situation:

  • 89% of people look to feel fulfiled in their jobs. Professor Sir Cary Cooper of the Alliance Manchester Business School states that both “the physical and psychological environments are critical to achieving this.”
  • 2/5 of professionals additionally want to ‘feel like a boss’ regardless of their job role.
  • What’s more, 83% wish they could head home after work feeling they’ve ‘made a difference.’

The realities of vocation frustration:

  • Sadly, the above aims don’t ring true for many office workers. 97% of people report to feeling frustrated in their jobs!
  • It doesn’t take long to feel this way; 37% grow frustrated in a new work setting within just six months.

This frustration causes…

  • 89% of people to consider changing jobs. 10% report to ‘constantly’ thinking about this.
  • 35% of people moan to someone else.
  • 24% dream up a beach escape!
  • And 22% head straight to job advertisements. You may well have already visited our jobs page before reading this post?!

The Staples report goes on to highlight more on the link between the physical environment and a sense of fulfilment, alongside productivity, positive mental health and staff retention.

This topic may feel familiar to anyone who read our previous article on creating a happy workspace, which features a separate Staples report.

If you’re constantly feeling frustrated at work, it might be time to have a chat with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. The REC website has a Member Directory to help you find reputable recruitment agencies in your area.