Young workers lead the flexible working movement

How younger professionals are driving the flexible working movement. Also featuring some of the latest flexible work news…

Over the weekend, The Independent shared an interesting post titled ‘Young workers are leading the way out of the office.’

It describes some of the current business trends for young professionals both in America and Britain. This includes:

  • Changing jobs for improved work-life balance (as opposed to a title change or step up the career ladder).
  • Prioritising flexible work opportunities; allowing employees to focus on other needs, such as their children, hobbies, and pets.
  • In fact, increasing numbers of employees are actually ‘demanding flexibility’ in their roles.
  • Requesting benefits such as paid paternity leave, ‘generous’ holiday allowance, the chance to work remotely, etc.

A mixed response…

Some may perceive this as a push towards less work or softer working lifestyles. However, proponents argue that this approach says ‘I will work harder and/or more’ if you support a more balanced lifestyle.

The article cites a number of reasons why younger employees are driving this work-life balance focus:

  • They’ve been born into a highly technological world in which they can see other ways of working rather than staying at one desk for set working hours.
  • Other lifestyle choices, such as marrying and babies, are happening later meaning they are ‘more invested’ in their career path by the time they make these decisions and, therefore, know what they want to ask for.
  • Millennials represent the first generation to observe large numbers of women, including family members, live professional working lives. Many have also observed the challenges their parents have faced due to ‘inflexible employers or unstable jobs’.

The piece also raises the notion that more flexible work and other work-life balance improvements could benefit all working generations – saying ‘change the system so we can all succeed’.

Also in the flexible working news…



Senior professionals are slacking off at work!

Are you one of the senior employees who’s slacking off at work? 

A new study suggests that almost 1/2 (45.5%) of senior professionals fall into this category. Please note: the study’s use of ‘senior’ refers to seniority of position, as opposed to age group.

In addition, the Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘slack off’ as a phrasal verb, meaning to ‘stop working hard or putting effort into something’.

Senior professionals say that…

  • Despite, their reduced work efforts, they continue to provide ‘results’ (66.7%)
  • They’re primarily suffering from poor motivation (57.7%)
  • They’re not appropriately ‘challenged’ by their work (35.6%)
  • They’ve already reached their achievement potential (31.7%)
  • And they feel ‘bored’ (29.8%)

Furthermore, 95.6% of these senior professionals have never been spoken to about their behaviour at work and believe they can get away with more than their junior counterparts.

This is concerning news at every business level:

  • Business leaders are naturally looking for employees that they can trust to work effectively and who will push themselves to achieve business goals. Especially when these employees may be managing other team members and/or responsible for high-value tasks.
  • Colleagues can suffer the effects of slackened work efforts. For instance, suddenly having to take on extra workloads or reach unexpected last-minute deadlines, etc. Resentments may also build if colleagues observe their senior team members getting away with things that they wouldn’t.
  • Let’s not forget the senior professionals themselves. It is concerning for any employee to routinely feel unmotivated, a lack of challenge, loss of achievement opportunities and/or boredom.

What to do if you’re managing such a colleague…

Inc. has some realistic advice on managing those that are slacking off without become a micromanager. Or, as they say, ‘without running the office like a drill sargeant!’

It’s well worth getting to the root of why their efforts have lessened and how you can work together to reignite their motivation, create new challenges and/or increase their interest level. There may, of course, be other issues that the individual is experiencing outside of the above research findings.

There are so many possible solutions, from training opportunities to new projects and even a change of job role – which may help you to see more of your employee’s potential and achieve more as a result.

What to do if you’re the professional that’s slacking off at work!

As a senior employee, it’s also important that you can hold yourself accountable and review what’s going wrong.

Do you identify with any of the statements listed at the top of this post? Is there something else that’s bothering you, such as feeling too distracted, personal issues, burnout or similar?

Once you’ve identified what’s going wrong, set yourself some challenges to see how you can improve things. Take inspiration from all the many business experts out there. For instance:

Many of the above posts also discuss one essential topic: working out when it’s time to move on. If you’ve outgrown your role and you’re eager to apply yourself to a new challenge, please visit our jobs page



Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here



Create more joy at work – for you & others

What are the top ways to create joy at work? Essential reading to support you and your colleagues…

Work and joy aren’t necessarily synonymous in your thoughts. Yet understanding what creates most happiness could help you to step closer to this notion. What’s more, knowing what makes most people feel happier could help you to become a better colleague – whether you’re managing employees or simply working alongside them.

It’s time to turn to a recent survey of UK professionals, which reveals that…

The greatest work joys include:

  1. Completing tasks without mistakes (52.6%)
  2. ‘Helping others’ (41.9%)
  3. Challenging your abilities with a tricky task (30.5%)
  4. Praise from your manager (27.7%)
  5. Compliments from colleagues (24.8%)
  6. Being awarded the ‘leading role’ on a project (18.8%)
  7. Leaving work each day! (17.3%)
  8. Arriving at work on time (15.3%)
  9. Taking your allocated breaks and heading home on time (5.4%)
  10. And not having too much work to do (3.8%)

Is this a good sign?

It’s promising that the most popular responses are those that pertain to doing a good job and being a great colleague, rather than escaping from work! Not that there’s anything wrong with looking forward to your personal time when you consider that most people are experiencing some work-life balance challenges.

If you do find yourself solely identifying with items 7, 9 and 10, it’s likely you’re not doing a job that aligns with your skills and interests. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at the latest job opportunities.

Additionally, if you identify with a mix of these factors but really don’t get much opportunity to experience them, you may also want to do some research to see what else is out there.

How to bring more joy & be a better colleague

  • One of the benefits of this list is that it’s relatively simple to experiment with. While you may not be awarded any leading roles right now, you can more easily offer others your help; challenge yourself to really use your skills; offer genuine compliments to colleagues and make more of an effort to arrive and leave on time.
  • Of course, your colleagues are likely to appreciate those genuine compliments and your assistance. Yet they’ll also appreciate something you may not so readily do – accepting their offers of help.
  • And you never know, the more items you tick, the more likely you are to receive that praise from your manager and/or be assigned a more senior role or project.

Feeling happy at work yet ready for a new challenge? You’ll also want to head straight to our jobs page!



No time for a holiday?

Are you one of the many Brits that’s too overloaded at work to use your holiday entitlement this year? Or perhaps there’s another reason you won’t be booking much time off?

This is something of an annual issue. 44% of British professionals opted not to use their full holiday allowance in 2018 – and almost 1/4 (23%) had 6 or more unused days by the end of the year.

What’s more, a new national survey suggests 54% of people won’t benefit from their full entitlement this year either. So, why are so many employees reluctant to book a break from work?

Why many Brits aren’t using all their holiday allowance…

  • 1/4 of people report that they ‘feel guilty’ to use their contractual allowance, blaming their employer’s culture for this. In addition, respondents identified some more specific reasons that could be at the root of their reluctance…
  • Top of the list was being ‘too busy’ to book time off (38%), followed by:
  • Having ‘nowhere to go’ (23%)
  • Not needing as much allowance (19%)
  • Enjoying their job too much (8%)
  • A disapproving boss (7%)
  • And ‘peer pressure from colleagues’ (5%).

The article also explores some related issues. From the prevalence of unpaid overtime to being contacted by work while on leave.

But science says you need a holiday!

Research conducted on men found that those who took shorter holidays generally ‘worked more and slept less’. The post argues that this is perpetuating stress issues and the risk of burnout.

We’re assuming these findings would also apply to female employees, who last year missed out on even more paid leave than their male counterparts.

Perhaps it’s time to review your work-life balance and whether you’re happy with your current lifestyle. If you’re not, there may be better options for you.

Employers and managers should also look to create a culture that encourages everyone to use their holiday entitlement. Booking a temp to cover annual leave needs is a great place to start. Call us on 01225 313130 to discuss how this could work for your business.



Sustainability + staff retention

A focus on sustainability could increase employee retention rates for younger professionals…

Thankfully, topics such as recycling, sustainability, and climate are now well and truly in mainstream discussion. The public has voted the environment as the ‘third most pressing issue facing the nation‘ in a recent YouGov poll.

Brexit and health top the list. However, those in the 18 to 24-year-old age group actually place the environment as second behind Brexit (almost 1/2 of this group prioritise environmental concerns, versus 27% of the population as a whole).

So it’s not surprising to hear that younger professionals would like to see a greater environmental focus at work.

Exploring core priorities:

The article also explores a number of priorities regarding the work setting itself.

Ideas for individuals, employers and managers wanting to do more to support sustainability… 

  • Cultivating Capital has a list of 25 tips to help create a greener workplace. While an American post, it houses multiple ideas that could easily be adopted in the UK. Why not be the person that suggests some of these strategies in your business? Not only would this offer clear company benefits, yet it’s the sort of personal achievement that shines on your CV.
  • Business owners will also want to read all about the ‘environmental taxes, reliefs and schemes for businesses’ available via the gov.uk website.
  • For further inspiration, articles from the likes of the Telegraph and Forbes detail how some companies are achieving excellent environmental progress.
  • If your existing employer isn’t open to green initiatives, there may be another company that more closely fits your values. Don’t forget you can always ask more about an employer’s sustainability efforts and objectives during the recruitment process.

To explore openings in Bath and the surrounding area, please visit our jobs page. You will have the opportunity to ask more about recruiting companies if your CV is selected for possible submission. This is just one of the many benefits of working with an accredited recruitment agency



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.



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?



Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page



A happy workspace?

There’s a lot of talk about workplace happiness, yet how about a happy workspace? We’ll explore how your surroundings impact your mental health…

Why this research matters:

While you couldn’t be blamed for thinking there are more pressing issues to consider, how you feel about your working environment could actually be part of a large (and expensive!) problem.

Poor employee ‘enthusiasm’ in January could now contribute to an annual national cost of £93 billion.

So how are people feeling about their surroundings?

According to the ‘In Pursuit of Office Happiness’ report by Staples…

  • 1/5 of workers say their workspace is ‘depressing’, with 31% feeling ‘ashamed’ of it, and 24% having gone so far as to lie about their surroundings.
  • 81% believe ‘a well-functioning and attractive workspace’ positively affects a team’s mental health.
  • 68% say greater investment in their workspace would make them feel more valued.
  • 35% are struggling to concentrate due to noisy offices.

These findings cause 46% of employees to believe they would ‘be happier in a different job.’

Ideas to create a happy workspace:

The report also offers a number of tweaks that could contribute to a happy workspace. These include introducing:

  • An office dog (27%)
  • Free spa or yoga offerings (27%)
  • Nice stationery (23%)
  • Access to free healthy snacks (23%)
  • Hammocks or sleeping pods (20%)
  • And even punch bags (20%)

It’s not clear how many options were provided to respondents. While the responses may not suit you or your employer, it’s clear that businesses need to consider realistic changes that they can make.

This might start with some simple decorative changes – from pot plants to artwork, furnishings and lighting. There’s a whole separate report on the impact of the latter.

Naturally, if there’s more at the root of your low job enthusiasm than lighting, stationery, and snacks, it might be time to step up your job search