Wellbeing is higher among older employees

There’s some good news ahead, as older employees experience greater workplace wellbeing…

One large-scale study – conducted on more than 10,000 people across 131 countries and over the course of three years! – shows that workplace wellbeing increases ‘progressively’ with age.

It’s the employees in the oldest category (workers aged over 65 years) who represent the greatest levels.

What’s contributing towards this?

Factors such as office culture and the participants’ gender appear to hold minimal influence on these findings.

Conversely, strong workplace relationships highly correlate with wellbeing outcomes. Individual personalities also make a difference.

Employers can benefit from these findings by introducing cross-generational mentorship programmes, according to the study’s authors at Myers-Briggs. It’s additionally argued such an approach could increase engagement and retention levels.

There’s still room for improvement:

Let’s not forget the rest of our workforce. As much as it’s great to hear that we could all grow increasingly happy and well at work over time, who wouldn’t like to feel better now?

Alongside considering introducing and/or participating in mentorship programmes, and building our relationships with our colleagues, we need to look at how else we can improve our wellbeing levels.

These 4 simple workplace wellbeing techniques taken from news reports offer a good starting point.

Returning to the Baby Boomers…

Alternative research finds that 49% of Baby Boomers (those with 1946 to 1965 birth dates) report ‘average to very poor’ work-life balance.

In this case, Gen Z workers (born post-1995) reflect the best levels with 63% selecting ‘good to very good’.

Respondents think flexible working options are the primary route towards increased work-life balance.

So, perhaps even the older employees’ wellbeing levels can receive a further boost through the promotion of such opportunities.

If your lack of job enjoyment is starting to impinge on your sense of workplace wellness, it’s an excellent time to review your options



Job acceptance regret

Have you ever experienced job acceptance regret? This sentiment is growing among professionals…

Our first news finding relates to Gen Z job-seekers (those with birth dates ranging ‘from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s’). However, you’ll see that the problem is far from exclusive to this age group.

New findings reveal that…

  • 40% of Gen Z candidates have experienced job acceptance regret – and would not ‘repeat their decision’ if offered another opportunity.
  • Alongside this, 51% cannot foresee an extensive career with their employer.
  • 1/3 of candidates actually plan to resign from their role within a year.

So what’s causing this regret?

The article doesn’t cite why the respondents have experienced regret. Yet it does call on employers to improve their understanding of this age group. Within this, a number of core employee priorities are discussed:

  • Development opportunities: allowing employees to continually update their skills and feel ‘relevant’ to the changing business landscape.
  • Flexible working opportunities and a healthy work-life balance.
  • Meaningful connections with their managers and teams.

What about other groups & your expectations?

As mentioned, it’s not only Gen Z job-seekers that have felt some level of job acceptance regret. Another study suggests that the failure of a job to meet expectations could be contributing to this issue. 48% of employees of all ages have left a position as a result of this. The disparity between expectations and reality was largely attributed to:

  • Differing job responsibilities (59%)
  • The ‘working environment’ (42%)
  • Working hours/shift patterns (35%)
  • And salary or benefits packages (29%)

Advice for candidates & employers:

It’s great that we have access to this sort of data as it helps us make better decisions, whether we’re looking for jobs or to create our teams.

Candidates: 

  • There’s always going to be the chance that a job differs from your expectations. Yet it’s helpful if you identify some of your hopes and priorities early in your job search.
  • Let your Recruitment Consultant know what matters most to you. Not only the jobs you’re looking for, yet the environments you work well, in and the salary package that you hope to achieve. Be honest with yourself. For example, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’d be happy to work alone in an office if you truly thrive off of a team setting.
  • Use your interviews as the opportunity to find out more about a typical day in the role and to get a sense of the business culture.
  • Try not to feel pressured into accepting a position if it’s ringing alarm bells. Consider all options: remaining in your existing role until something more suitable arises (if applicable/possible), considering temporary or contract work, and continuing your job search.

Employers:

  • There are two primary aspects to consider here: improved staff attraction and employee retention. They happen to be intrinsically linked.
  • You can have the ‘best’ staff attraction approach yet if the reality doesn’t meet expectation, you’ll experience high turnover rates. It’s about tapping into more of what employees value to both attract and keep your team.
  • Furthermore, the more honestly you can depict the role, the more likely you are to attract the right person to fill it. It’s better to have fewer highly suitable applicants than to feel forced into extending a job offer to someone who won’t be the best fit.
  • You can also use interviews to go beyond a candidate’s skills and into their values and attributes.
  • Work closely with your Recruitment Consultant to attract the right people for your roles. Call the office for further support on 01225 313130.


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.



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.



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?



What the Spring Statement means for your payslip

How will last month’s Spring Statement affect your personal income?

For anyone less familiar, the Spring Statement is one of two annual ‘mini-budgets’ which the HM Treasury presents to Parliament. The second of which is the Autumn Budget. The latter is due to have a greater focus on tax this year. However, there are a number of points for you to be aware of now.

Please note: while we usually try to avoid sources that ask you to sign in, today’s article contains several of these – specifically selected for their handy insights. If you’d rather not access the links, you may prefer to look at these ‘proposed changes at a glance‘.

Introducing the Spring Statement 2019:

The statement covers an array of topics, from the public purse to technological changes, economic growth plans, education and investment. It also comprises aspects of (potentially more) personal interest, including those pertaining to house prices, loan charges, tax and more.

Your payslip:

Of course, there’s little more personally relevant than your payslip. The below podcast reference features greater detail regarding this. Yet, if you want to cut straight to the chase, The Telegraph has an online calculator which will help you ascertain how much your payslip will differ as of this month (April 2019).

As noted on the site, it’s a prediction tool which “does not take your pension contributions, child tax credits or student loan payments into account”. You’ll need to sign in to use it. They offer a free registration which entitles you to a limited number of articles.

Please note: if you struggle to interpret your payslip and tax code, we have an article that should really help!

A handy podcast…

We were interested to catch the recent Money Box podcast, which invited experts to comment on the impact the statement will have on your household finances. The whole episode is only 28:44 minutes long. We’ve also tracked down some key timeslots that may be of particular interest to you…

  • 12:32: introducing the main income tax changes, the fact that we will all pay less tax in England, and how personal allowance and higher rate thresholds are increasing.
  • 13:38: an extra note for Basic Rate taxpayers, also regarding personal allowance.
  • 14:30: discussing how higher rate taxpayers will additionally pay less tax, yet more National Insurance.
  • 15:22: mentioning the loss of child benefits for higher rate taxpayers.
  • 16:00: the fact benefits are frozen for those that don’t pay tax, with no change in universal credit. Also discussing nil rate bands.
  • 16:29: a reminder for everyone to register for child benefits even if they earn over £50,000, as the credits contribute towards the state pension.
  • 18:36: stating ‘big changes’ for the 10 million people in auto enrolment pensions, with a ‘big rise in contributions’.
  • 20:05: questioning whether more people will opt out in light of the above. Also, whether people will actually notice the change, as there are so many changes happening at once (20:24).
  • 20:42: a point of interest for everyone on minimum wage.
  • 22:00: are people making sufficient pension contributions? How some may not be able to retire due to inadequate pensions arrangements. With a special message at 22:33.

You can scroll straight to the above timeslots, or listen to the episode in its entirety, via the BBC Sounds website. You’ll need to sign in (or register for free) to do so.

Don’t forget to read our article on understanding your payslip and tax code if you need any assistance with this.



The creative & innovative employee

How creative or innovative do you get to be on a daily basis? It’s important to remember that these words should apply to all industries and jobs, not just the artistic!

Creativity and innovation allow us all to work in new ways, formulate new ideas, and progress. However, employers and managers are overestimating just how much room they give their teams to use these skills.

Employees don’t feel able to be innovative at work…

  • 76% of business leaders believe they ’empower their employees to be innovative.’
  • However, only 34% of professionals feel encouraged in this way.
  • Yet 95% of businesses see innovation as imperative to their business growth and 91% of employees want the opportunity to be more innovative in their roles.
  • Employers are also misreading those tools that inspire creativity. They over-prioritise financial incentives and under-prioritise the role that ‘purpose’ plays in our work.
  • These findings (from Accenture, reported by HR Magazine) also reveal that staff specifically want appropriate skills development, flexible working opportunities, and a healthier work-life balance. Each aspect is believed to nurture greater innovation.

Tips for employers: each aspect features in our ‘7 Days of Employee Attraction Tips.’ See Days 3-5 for more advice. Make sure you’re also gathering genuine feedback from your employees. You don’t want to be among the managers who think they’re creating a culture that they’re not!

Good managers can spark creativity

It’s interesting to hear that managers can also increase creativity by using one essential skill – attentive listening.

  • In a separate international study, also shared by HR Magazine, employees expressed greater creativity when they felt listened to. Their workload was also of increased quality.
  • Conversely, distracted managers failed to promote such a response.
  • The article additionally highlights several flaws surrounding common brainstorming activities. Many people fear ridicule in response to sharing their ideas. Employees also worry about being the person that constantly offers up ideas in fear of annoying others.

There’s some sage advice for all managers; much of the focus needs to be paid to creating a more relaxed and informal culture that allows for ideas to be developed over time.

A brief note for stifled employees…

Where possible, share your ideas with your manager or a trusted colleague. You may be letting your fears get the better of you. Hopefully, your confidence will soon increase alongside your enjoyment of your role.

However, in instances where you’ve repeatedly tried and still feel stifled, or you simply fancy a change of scene, your skills may be better used elsewhere. You can read and apply for the latest jobs here.



Are you married to your job?

Does it feel like you’re married to your work? If so, you’re among more than a ¼ of British employees who feel this way…

Research led by Perkbox (and shared by Recruiting Times) shows that:

  • 45% of people routinely work more than an hour beyond their standard day – with weekends included.
  • Almost ¼ have cancelled a personal commitment, such as a date or a party, due to their work.
  • 1 in 10 say that being married to their job has caused a relationship breakdown.
  • 30% of respondents feel “like they’re always at work, even when they’re at home”.

Technology once again bears some of the brunt of the blame. 70% of employees have received out-of-hours communications via email, text or phone call. 25% even think they send more messages to their colleagues or boss than they do their friends.

A number of health implications are additionally discussed. These findings support People Management’s report, which states that: ‘always on employees are more engaged but also more stressed.’

An overworking culture…

The Perkbox study only has 2,000 respondents. However, it closely reflects wider research. For instance, the TUC’s exploration of 5 million UK workers. This reveals that a total of £2 billion worth of unpaid overtime was undertaken in 2018.

While acknowledging that many people are prepared to work some overtime when needed, the TUC suggests that there are employers who are taking advantage of their teams. As a result, they’re calling for new rights that will make such employers more accountable.

Once again, the health impact of these working practices is discussed, alongside the reduced productivity that results from a culture of overwork.

Appearances may be deceptive!

Over on HR Magazine, a separate report explores the productivity issue in more detail. This post cites research from Maxis Global Benefits Network, which found that 79% of UK office professionals work an extra three days of overtime each month.

  • 79% of people also report to a ‘desk time’ focus, meaning that they’re ‘expected to be seen at their desks’ most of the time.
  • It may be thought this would boost productivity. Yet, conversely, many employees (almost 1/3) are spreading out their workloads to appear more productive than they truly are.

You won’t be surprised to hear that this article also finds a connection between long working hours and anxiety, stress and poor work-life balance.

So, is it time to divorce your job?!

If you’re no longer enjoying your work, or you feel it’s having a negative effect on your personal life, you may want to reconsider your options. Review the latest jobs and be sure to discuss your priorities with your recruitment consultant.



Working parents news roundup

There are have been a number of new articles regarding the challenges faced by working parents…

The part-time penalty

Source: Working Families & Bright Horizons

Our first news source cites stats from the ‘Modern Families Index 2019’. Both the summary and full edition reports are available for free download.

Working Families and Bright Horizons Family Solutions founded this annual report in 2012. The index explores how UK parents ‘manage the balance between work and family life.’ So what did this year’s index show?

  • Part-time working parents have a 21% chance of a workplace promotion over the next three years. This is compared to the 45% chance for full-time employees.
  • Mothers tend to have to wait two years more than fathers for promotions, which is largely due to the fact that more mothers work part-time hours.
  • Working parents are facing vast workloads. 78% work more than their contractual hours. 60% say this is due to their high workload, while 52% attribute it to the company’s working culture.
  • Flexible working opportunities are far from meeting demand. 86% of parents wish to work flexibly, yet only 49% currently do so.
  • Out of work, parents are finding their relationships and home life are being negatively affected. They’re struggling to find sufficient leisure time for their children (47%), their relationship with their partner is being impaired (48%), and these pressures are even sparking arguments with their children (28%).
  • Additionally, 47% of parents feel that work-life boundaries are being ‘blurred by technology.’

Further stats detail concerns regarding the physical wellbeing impact in terms of sleep, exercise and diet.

Both the government and employers are being called upon to help ease some of the pressures described.

Childcare as a barrier

Source: Personnel Today & Travelodge

Of course, there are also many parents who long to be working parents yet are struggling to find suitable employment. Research finds…

  • 86% of unemployed parents ‘want to return to work’.
  • 67% would like the chance to move up their career ladder.
  • However, 61% have lost confidence as a result of their career break.
  • And 59% say it is a challenge to find work that suits their school run schedule.

Personnel Today also share a number of insights regarding the personal motivations to return to work.

Facilities lacking

Source: Personnel Today & Slater and Gordon

Breastfeeding mothers are also facing additional workplace challenges.

  • 56% of women have been forced to express milk in unsuitable places, from the staff room (18%) to their car (14%), and even their desk (11%).
  • 70% of businesses have not discussed this matter with their employees prior to their return from maternity leave.
  • And 29% of employees feel too embarrassed to raise the topic.

A number of consequences are discussed in the piece, which also highlights the stress and anxiety experienced by breastfeeding mothers.

Safety concerns are also raised owing to the fact that the milk is not always expressed in a hygienic setting.

Any parents affected by issues relating to childcare or employment rights, or those who simply wish to understand more about the benefits and tax credits available to them, can visit the Working Families website. The organisation also offers a helpline service. 

To see our latest vacancies, please visit our jobs page.  



Are you being upskilled at work?

Employers may be failing to ensure their team is regularly upskilled. And their employees may pay the price with their future career…

What is upskilling (and is upskilled even a word)?!

It might sound like just another marketing buzzword. However, ‘upskilling‘ has entered the Cambridge Dictionary and is defined as “the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills”.

The latest findings from the City & Guilds Group (as reported by HR Review) reveal that:

  • 76% of professionals feel it is important to continually refresh their skill-set. Vitally, this is stated as ‘regardless of age or career position’.
  • 81% predict some degree of change in their job skills requirements within the next five years.
  • Yet only 46% of people are receiving adequate training support from their employer to ensure they’re prepared for these changing needs.
  • What’s more, 1/4 of respondents say they are not receiving enough feedback regarding their skills development priorities.
  • Certain employee groups are less likely to be upskilled. 48% of employees aged 55 and above did not receive any skills training in 2018.
  • 42% of all part-time workers additionally report the same.

Why aren’t workers being upskilled?

  • It appears employers are most concerned by their staff taking time out of their usual working day (42%).
  • The cost of training is also proving to be a barrier for employers (29%).
  • While few individuals feel they can fund training themselves outside of work (28%).

How can you ensure you’re being upskilled?

These are concerning stats and there are some great comments regarding the importance of prioritising learning and development at work. Yet what do you do if you’re the employee and your skills haven’t been refreshed for some time?

  1. Where possible, use appraisals as an opportunity to ask your employer how you can keep your skills relevant to the changing needs of the organisation. This will help plant a seed and could point you in the right direction, even if the company is unable to finance training at present.
  2. Do your own research. Explore articles and podcasts regarding the future of your industry. See if there are any common themes or predictions.
  3. Use your findings to research ways to upskill at home. These don’t always have to be costly. Again, podcasts, websites and books can teach you a lot.
  4.  Explore how a new job role could help you upskill. It may be that you’re ready for your next career step. Keep an extra close eye on any job descriptions that closely match your experience yet also offer the chance to learn something new.

You can always email your CV to one of our Recruitment Consultants (here’s what to include in your cover email). Alternatively, you’re welcome to upload your details via the site today.