Most-wanted staff Christmas gifts

Only 39% of full-time employees receive Christmas gifts or rewards from their employers each year. This is according to a new survey conducted by Motivates; as reported by HR News.

Those that never receive rewards formed the largest respondent group (50%). While 11% of people ‘sometimes’ get them.

With less than a month to go until Christmas, managers and employers may start to ponder the available budgets for festive rewards and activities. For anyone wondering, these are currently the…

…5 most-wanted staff Christmas gifts!

  1. An individual cash bonus (64%)
  2. Personal gift vouchers (52%)
  3. Team cash bonuses (42%)
  4. A company-paid team meal or social night (34%)
  5. The manager’s verbal thanks (25%)

Items voted 6-10 can also be found here. As for the percentages stated, each respondent could select as many items as they wished from the rewards list.

73% of employees would prefer a choice of gift, if possible. This could be an interesting way to amplify the buzz of the rewards and invite your team to be a part of the celebratory process.

What to do when there’s not enough budget for staff Christmas gifts:

Several items on the list don’t cost a penny, as per item 5 above. It’s possible to make these rewards even more personal. For instance, speaking to team members individually and taking the time to thank them for specific aspects of their work.

There are also plenty of ideas to be gathered from the realistic staff rewards post – featuring the most sought-after non-monetary gestures. Companies could increase flexible working opportunities or provide additional half days/early finishes for staff to do their Christmas shopping. Even providing an office picnic lunch can make for a lovely affordable gesture.

Employees could also organise their own Secret Santa celebrations, festive bake-offs and post-work drinks to add a spot of festive cheer. Managers would be wise to encourage this; especially if their teams fall into the 50% of workers who won’t receive Christmas gifts.

Longing for some extra hands to make everything happen this Christmas?

Hiring one or more Christmas temps can prove to be a gift for busy bosses! Whether it’s helping with the season’s admin, covering the phone for your festive events, or offering some additional skills for a special project.

Call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your Christmas temp needs.

Too tired and stressed for work

Are we a nation of tired and stressed employees? Recent reports should come as a warning sign to professionals of every job level…

We learned that almost half of UK working adults fail to do anything to cope with their work-related stress. What’s more, professional services employees are the least likely to do anything to help themselves.

HR Review reports that a lack of time is the primary barrier for the majority of people (65%). Perhaps no surprises there!

Other barriers are said to include financial constraints and the fact few employers incorporate stress relief into their employee benefits.

How are other people reducing their stress?

  • Physical activity tops the list of popular activities for 44% of those surveyed.
  • In second place comes hobbies/personal interests (39%).
  • While others prefer to relax with family and friends (35%).

Another urgent health issue:

There’s another workplace wellness issue that’s affecting almost as many employees (46%)…and it’s fatigue. Fatigue enters the realms of ‘extreme tiredness’ which may have a physical and/or mental cause.

HR Magazine reveals that employees feeling too tired to work are:

  • Experiencing forgetfulness (37%).
  • Becoming ‘short-tempered with colleagues (30%).
  • And even falling asleep during the working day (22%). Most worryingly of all, 13% of workers have fallen asleep while driving.

Yet, despite the severity of the potential consequences, 86% of people do not feel their colleagues or management team will understand this issue. Furthermore, fewer than 10% would feel able to call in sick due to fatigue.

Drawing a connection…

While these could be two distinct issues, they may also be highly interlinked. After all, mental stress can lead to fatigue. Naturally, if workers are unable to do anything to relieve their stress, the problem can become more severe – and even create a culture of chronically tired and stressed employees.

How to help the tired and stressed!

We all need to do what we can to prioritise our stress management. We have a proactive guide, including support links, here (for employees of every working level).

Let’s not forget that employers and managers are also prone to becoming tired and stressed! While it can feel ‘professional’ to keep plugging away, there are two primary business costs. Productivity and financial. There’s a great piece about these over on Forbes.

Employers are additionally reminded of their duty to undertake work-related stress risk assessments (information can also be found here).

Whether it’s hiring some extra hands, opening up the conversation about fatigue, reducing the working day, increasing holiday allowance and/or banning work activity outside of office hours, there’s plenty that can be done to benefit all.

Annual leave & leavism: are you affected?

Why so few workers are taking all their annual leave, plus the core symptoms of ‘leavism’…

How much annual leave are you taking?

  • The average worker only uses 62% of their annual holiday allowance.
  • Up to 40% of people use no more than 50% of their total entitlement.
  • When on leave, only 50% of workers feel able to switch off completely; without fearing that they need to be contactable by their employer.
  • 20% of people are expected to maintain awareness of any work issues, with 15% having received work-related communications from their boss and 20% from another colleague.

These stats have been compiled by Glassdoor, as reported by HR Magazine (where you’ll also find evidence that people are not only checking work emails while away yet also responding to them while under the influence!).

What is leavism?

Each of the above stats represents an aspect of leavism. This newly coined phrase refers to the all-too-common practice of working out of hours (when not paid!) and while on annual leave.

CIPD findings suggest that 69% of workplaces have been affected by leavism over the past year. Core symptoms include:

  1. Regularly checking work comms, by phone and email.
  2. Being afraid to book annual leave – and not using all of your holiday entitlement.
  3. Not trusting your colleagues to cover your workload; taking on all the responsibility and failing to delegate.
  4. Cancelling annual leave at the last minute.
  5. Taking unfinished work away with you.

Further descriptions can be found on HR Review.

And what is this telling us?

Few people would see this as a good sign. Yes, employees will appear conscientious at first glance, yet what is this going to do to long-term employee productivity?

This topic ties in with many of our previously discussed features on employee happiness, a general lack of free time, and national burnout concerns.

Encouraging employees to take a break and switch off is only going to benefit company performance and staff retention over the longer term.

Where possible as employers/managers:

  • Make sure all management staff are aware of the business benefits of annual leave.
  • Positively encourage all staff to book their leave; remind them of how much allocation is outstanding.
  • Ensure you’re not rewarding people for not taking leave/working while away!
  • Avoid expressing frustrations regarding the person’s absence or workload.
  • Book temps to ease any workload pressures.
  • Encourage staff to set clear out of offices and only forward emails to in-house staff covering the person’s holiday. Expressly tell staff not to check their emails if they have off-site access!
  • Make sure someone is on hand to communicate with any clients while the person is away. If possible; provide clear contact details for this person. This could be your temp.
  • Save all email/phone updates for the employee’s return; notify your colleagues to do the same. It’s as simple as saving emails as drafts or using your email service’s scheduling options.

It doesn’t take long to implement these steps and they will fast become part of your company’s standard annual leave practice.

Where possible as an employee:

  • Book your leave under the terms of your allowance!
  • Avoid the hypothetical. Have you actually been asked to leave your phone/work email on or are you just feeling that you should? Is your colleague really incapable of covering the basics while you’re away? Do you absolutely need to take that work away with you?
  • Any workload or performance concerns should ideally be discussed with your manager or HR personnel – and preferably with adequate time to make any plans or cover preparations before your holiday.

Want to book a temp to cover annual leave? Call the office on 01225 313130 or email us today.