Starting a new job working remotely

If you’ve managed to secure a new role mid pandemic, take a look at our top tips on starting a new job working remotely.

We’ve been pleased to see many employers continuing to actively recruit during this strange period. But many workers starting a new job during lockdown may find their first weeks or months are home based. Here’s how to approach that tricky first day and week when you’re joining a new team without meeting anyone in person.

1. Sort out your tech and workspace

Starting a new job while working remotely, with the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak hanging over you, may be one of the stranger experiences you go through. But it’s fast becoming a new normal in the world of work. If it’s your first time working remotely it might seem a little daunting. Ahead of your first day take some time to set up your work space and follow our tips and you’ll be up and running in no time.

  • Test your home internet speed. If you live with other people, find out what their internet usage is to make sure your connection isn’t affected.
  • Check your computer camera and microphone are working well to avoid awkward first calls with your new team.
  • Choose where you’re going to work then check you’re happy with whatever is going to feature in the background of any video calls.

2. Keep it professional

Trial periods will still apply, so stick to the same standards you’d use in a physical workplace. What you wear is still important, so start off smart – although you can then be guided by how casually your colleagues are dressing at home. Set yourself a strict daily routine, giving you plenty of time to prepare for each working day.

3. Make time to settle in

The induction process is going to feel quite different for virtual workers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be welcomed and trained up on company systems. Keep your HR and IT contacts handy for questions and support, and make sure your manager or another team member is putting in enough time with you to get you off to a smooth start. Be proactive and ask questions as they arise, instead of trying to work everything out on your own.

4. Start building relationships

In your first couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to book informal meetings with some of your new colleagues. You might be waiting a while for that water cooler moment or office lunch, so start paving the way for positive relationships from the beginning. You’ll get to know people and learn about the culture of your new organisation. Do people appear to be on good terms with management? Is this the sort of team that likes a work social? Are your coworkers family people with flexible or part-time hours? Find out who your key contacts are and when they’re available to collaborate.

5. Find the best ways to communicate

Video conferencing is common now, but you may find you get better interactions out of certain people using other methods. Find out how your colleagues like to stay in touch – maybe your direct manager prefers the phone, perhaps your wider team shares most of their updates via Slack. Whatever method of communication you use when starting a new remote job, maintain a friendly, professional tone at all times.

If you’re unfamiliar with video tools, have a go in advance if you can. Check you know how to end a call, turn your mic and camera on and off, and share your screen to show your work.

What if you’re starting at a shared office?

Things are likely to look a little different in every reopened workspace. Speak to your manager or to HR in detail about what the setup is. If you have concerns, share them. After all, your safety is more important than your physical presence on day one. Good employers should have sensible protocols in place to protect workers, maybe supported by video or text guides on how to access and use the site. Make sure you have all the info before heading off on that first commute.

Remember, handshakes are probably off the table for the foreseeable future and hand hygiene will be top priority. If a new colleague forgets, it’s ok to gently remind them that you’re not being rude by keeping your distance.

Still looking for new opportunities in Bath?

Take a look at our current vacancies in Bath and the surrounding areas. Even if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us on 01225 313130 to speak to an Appoint consultant who can assist.



How will the coronavirus affect your job search?

How will the coronavirus affect your job search?

We all know that this is an anxious and unsettling time. The UK is still in the early stages of the coronavirus and there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding its impact on the nation. This includes uncertainty regarding how businesses will operate over the coming months.

Of course, any business disruption may naturally have an impact on recruitment plans – which may also directly affect your job search. So what should you be doing and considering at this time?

First things first…

We hope this would go without saying, yet your health should remain of the utmost priority. As should the health of your wider community!

If you are exhibiting any symptoms of respiratory illness (even if you think it’s just a cold), you should avoid attending in-person meetings and interviews. It’s wise to contact your recruitment consultant (or the employer if you’re not working with a recruitment agency) at the earliest possible time. Even if this is on the day of the scheduled interview!

Please note: you must call 111 if you believe you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

Always politely apologise for the inconvenience caused by your rescheduling and enquire about the possibility of other interview arrangements.

Alternative interview arrangements:

Depending on the employer’s availability and resources, don’t be surprised if you’re offered a telephone or Skype-based interview.

You should treat such interviews just as you would an in-person meeting. In other words, you should be researching and preparing for your interview!

If you’ll be conducting the interview by Skype or another video resource, you still want to dress as if you’re attending an in-person interview. You’ll also want to consider your body language throughout.

When speaking by phone, ensure to make an effort to communicate in a positive tone. Smiling can help to convey a more friendly tone, even though this may feel odd!

When meeting in person…

Be prepared for certain customs to be a little different. For instance, many health experts say handshakes aren’t recommended at this time; however much this goes against our cultural instincts and traditional interview etiquette! A smile with a polite nod and/or wave has become an appropriate alternative.

Many offices will also have hand sanitisers in their reception areas. Politely ask to use these when entering and exiting the building (or use your own) to demonstrate your awareness and initiative at this time.

Respect any efforts your interviewer makes towards social distancing…without trailing miles behind them!

Keep applying:

Please never assume that all new recruitment plans are on hold! Many businesses are operating as normal through these times. Furthermore, some employers will actually have more time to review their recruitment needs as they adopt different working arrangements.

It’s still a great time for you to make job applications, conduct job market research, carry out interview prep, and contact recruitment agencies.

Prepare for the unexpected:

We’ve said it before, job searches can feature a number of setbacks. During such times of change, there’s an increased likelihood of employers altering their recruitment plans at short notice.

This also increases the likelihood of recruitment delays and/or rejections. We recommend taking some time to mentally prepare for such setbacks – discussing any concerns with your recruitment consultant.

And keep in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with your consultant, whether that’s to let them know about your changing plans, advise them of self-isolation, rearrange interviews, or seek some advice about your job search. You can reach your Appoint consultant via 01225 313130.

* Important Reminder * – the government is updating its coronavirus advice on a daily basis. Please stay abreast of the latest recommendations regarding your health and social interactions. 



Supporting your team’s emotional wellbeing

Do you feel committed to supporting your employees’ emotional wellbeing and, if so, how are you going about this?

Research has found that most employers (88%) believe they have a ‘duty of care’ to their employees’ mental wellness. The survey of HR leaders has also uncovered a number of popular ways in which employers can provide emotional support.

These include:

  • Flexible working opportunities (43%)
  • Supporting work-life balance (33%)
  • Allowing employees time off for their mental health (31%)
  • Creating more social events (31%)
  • Offering access to counsellors and other health professionals (27%)
  • Supporting a stress management focus (19%)
  • Mental health programmes (18%)
  • The support of ‘specialist providers’ (18%)
  • And offering mental health first aid training (15%)

HRreview also highlights the results of their own poll, which suggests flexible working is the most attractive of all employee benefits (71%).

For those companies who don’t prioritise emotional wellbeing…

Katherine Moxham, a spokesperson for GrID who commissioned this research, says there can be consequences to ignoring a team’s emotional wellbeing.

These consequences may include:

  • High absence rates
  • Reduced productivity
  • Alognside lower employee retention rates

Moxham, furthermore, states that: “no forward-thinking organisation can afford to ignore the emotional wellbeing of its most valued asset.”

To conclude, some of the nation’s most valuable companies attribute their success to their staff over anything else! Therefore, the failure to address this issue could prove costly.

Ready to build the best team for your business? Call Appoint on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs or email a consultant today



The worst day of the week?

What’s the worst day of the working week…and which professionals are most likely to suffer from Sunday night fear? 

Mondays have long earned a reputation for being the least popular day. After all, it’s the day that most people are grappling with all of the firsts of the working week. Commutes, refilled inboxes, and task lists included!

However, it appears Tuesday may actually be the least popular day, with only 5% of respondents picking it as their favourite.

Friday is unsurprisingly the most popular working day for 57% of people. 63% also report an overall improvement in their week once they’ve passed the Wednesday ‘hump’.

Mondays are still causing their issues, with more than 1 in 4 professionals (26%) saying they’ve called in sick due to Sunday night fear.

The Sunday night fear (often referred to as the Sunday Scaries or Sunday Night Blues), is a sense of dread, worry and/or anxiety about the working week ahead. It crops up anywhere from a Sunday afternoon to a Sunday evening.

Which professionals are most likely to suffer the Sunday Scaries?

Employees in certain industries report greater levels of this phenomenon, including:

  1. Media (68%)
  2. Electronics (50%)
  3. Legal (50%)
  4. Leisure & Tourism (50%)
  5. And social care (46%)

You can find the full top 9 in the HR Review feature.

The article contains advice for employers to ‘evaluate their company cultures;’ particularly addressing issues of stress, high workload, and poor work-life balance.

Employees may also want to review how often they feel this way. If you’re constantly struggling through your working weeks, are there any small changes you can make to improve things (including anyone you can speak to at work)? If not, a fresh challenge may be welcome.

Visit our jobs page for the latest local opportunities. You’ll also find lots of positive career advice in this post (scroll to the bottom for extra reading links).



Beating the New Year blues & SAD

Essential advice for anyone who suffers from the New Year Blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)…

The first weeks after the Christmas break can be a challenge for many employees. Yet certain groups are more likely to suffer at this time of year; especially those affected by SAD.

Wondering how this fits into our positive January focus? There’s good news within!

How do you know if you have SAD?

According to the NHS website, SAD can encompass:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Loss of pleasure/interest in normal everyday activities
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • Lethargy (lacking in energy) and daytime sleepiness
  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

These symptoms can become severe and anyone struggling to cope is expressly advised to contact their GP.

Why this time of year can be especially hard:

As Personnel Today describes, there are many triggers that can make January a tricky month.

Gloomy days, financial worries, train delays and fare increases, alongside trying to get back into your work, and the pressure to get fit are all featured.

The good news:

Your solution to beating the January Blues and SAD doesn’t have to be complicated. This can include:

  • Making sure to get out in the daylight each day
  • Using SAD lamps in dark offices
  • Taking regular and ‘real’ downtime
  • Making efforts to reduce your stress levels
  • Consuming a balanced diet and having healthy snacks on hand at work
  • Reconnecting with friends and colleagues

Think it takes a more dramatic wellness plan to beat those New Year blues?

You might want to go easier on yourself. GP Margaret McCartney reminds that “achieving a healthy lifestyle should not be a complicated consumerist puzzle involving expensive memberships, diet books and deference to gurus”. Conversely, “some space, a pair of trainers and a bit of time may be all you need. If you are neglecting your family or work because of the need to do it, that doesn’t sound like wellbeing”.

All in all, the advice suggests that it’s the simple steps that can really help you feel better this January – and all the more ready to launch into your 2020 career plans! 

Let yours begin with a visit to our jobs page.



The unproductive month + top December stresses!

Do you suffer from unproductive Decembers when work and festive commitments collide? If so, which elements do you find most stressful?

It appears that 1/3 of British professionals struggle to maintain their productivity during the run-up to the Christmas break.

Almost as many (30%) also regret using their holiday entitlement early in the month, as they’ll then miss out on the festive atmosphere at work.

Other December regrets include…

  1. Drinking excessively at the office party
  2. Leaving ‘too much work’ until after Christmas – and then feeling depressed on their return!
  3. Missing the office party due to personal commitments

The challenge of juggling work and social needs brings additional stress. Professionals most struggle with:

  • Picking the perfect presents (35%)
  • Trying to finish their work before the end of the year (21%)
  • Budgeting for gifts, food, and travel (14%)
  • The number of social commitments (12%)
  • Deciding what to wear to the office Christmas party (5%)

It’s not all negative though…

13% of employees don’t find December stressful. Plus respondents clearly find joy in the season, with these items topping their list:

  1. ‘Drinking with friends’
  2. ‘Eating delicious food’
  3. ‘Celebrating the years’ success’
  4. And ‘seeing directors having fun’

Want to boost your productivity this month? Havard Business Review has a free guide to help you avoid distractions ‘at work and in life!’ You can read the transcript or listen to the conversation in full. It’s less than half an hour long, so also offers a great way to make your commute more productive!

Tip: if you want to boost productivity in your workplace this December, why not hire a temp or two? Whether to cover your phone lines for your Christmas party day or to help handle a surge in seasonal demand. Please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us to discuss your needs. You can also register your CV for temporary (and/or permanent!) work.



Letting go of workplace grudges

Harbouring any workplace grudges? Perhaps you’re struggling to let go of that one thing your colleague did last week…or year?!

This is an important topic for every stage of your career. Your grudges can get in the way of your job search (for instance, making you appear negative during interviews), as well as being a nuisance for your daily tasks, workplace relationships, and even your promotion opportunities.

So what exactly is a workplace grudge?

Well, we all loosely know what a grudge is. It’s defined as ‘a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.’

But really, what is at the root of a grudge? According to psychologist Steven Sylvester, it’s actually when someone is “manifesting their frustration by pointing it at someone else. It’s a defensive tactic to explain away something we fear. If you have serial grudges, that shows a strong desire not to take full responsibility for what is happening in your life.”

This may sound far-fetched to you. Yet it’s worth asking yourself the following question, as posed by Sylvester – what does your grudge say about you?

For example, say your colleague embarrassed you in a team meeting. The colleague is clearly at fault for their actions, yet there’s also fear at the root of your response. You could be concerned about appearing foolish or maybe already worry that your superiors doubt your abilities.

Sylvester goes on to suggest 3 questions for each of your workplace grudges:

  1. What emotions are sparked by the person you’re holding the grudge against?
  2. What does that say about you?
  3. Plus how can you ‘self-correct’ the situation? In other words, what could you do in the future to alleviate the problem or prevent your grudge from taking hold?

If this sounds like too much hard work, it’s worth considering what could happen if you leave your grudges to fester…

The Plum has an article that highlights many of the ways workplace grudges can negatively affect the grudge holder:

  • By limiting workplace productivity
  • Making it harder to concentrate and problem-solve
  • Possibly also contributing to ‘chronic inflammation, high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate’.

They also offer another great piece of advice: “if the grudge relates to your current work situation, let it motivate you to work towards what you want.”

Know you want a new job? You’ll find the latest listings here. Plus don’t forget to keep up with our news page for more career insights and advice.



Are you experiencing burnout syndrome?

What is burnout syndrome and how do you know whether you’re affected by it?

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) expanded on its definition of Burnout – which they only officially recognised last year.

Please note: it is listed in the ‘International Classification of Diseases’ as an occupational phenomenon or syndrome rather than a medical condition or disease.

WHO defines burnout as:

“A syndrome…resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It comprises three aspects…

  1. ‘Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.’
  2. ‘Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.’
  3. And ‘reduced professional efficacy.’

In this case, burnout only applies in an occupational context. In other words, any non-work overwhelm or exhaustion isn’t taken into account.

WHO will soon develop guidelines to help boost mental wellness at work.

Career considerations:

Certain roles and working environments place you at greater risk. Harvard Business Review describes a number of possible factors. These include:

  • ‘Unrealistically high workloads’
  • A poor sense of job control
  • Bullying and ‘incivility’
  • ‘Administrative hassles’
  • Poor social support
  • Reduced business resources
  • Stressed business leaders
  • Alongside negative ‘leadership behaviours’

If this all sounds far too familiar, you may want to read their article in full. After all, it includes a number of questions to help you decide whether to stay in your role. As they suggest, sometimes a new job is the best solution.

Further burnout resources…

  1. More symptoms (alongside the many ways burnout can affect your health and relationships).
  2. Four prevention tips.
  3. How remote and flexible working can contribute to the syndrome…
  4. And burnout’s relationship with ‘guilty vacation syndrome.’

Feeling there may be a better role to suit your career goals and lifestyle needs? Start your job search here.



At breaking point + common job complaints

As two separate studies say employees are at breaking point, we take a look at what this means. Also sharing the most common job complaints…

An issued shared by 61% of male professionals:

The first survey (conducted by CV-Library and reported by Recruiting Times), reveals that…

  • 61% of men have reached their breaking point. In this case, saying they wish to leave their role due to its impact on their mental health.
  • Female respondents are more likely to admit to experiencing mental health issues in general. However, men are more likely to experience the ‘effects of poor mental health’ at work (81.8% of men versus 67.8% of women for the latter).
  • Sadly, 60.9% of men also feel unable to raise their concerns with their boss for fear of being negatively judged and/or misunderstood.
  • Men would actually be most likely to discuss their mental health experiences with their GP. Conversely, women tend to seek out their friends for support.

The findings also contain a number of proactive recommendations from male professionals. These include:

  • Efforts to ‘promote’ a better work-life balance
  • Counselling service referrals
  • ‘Reduced pressure’ regarding long working days
  • Enabling employees to ‘take time out’ when needed
  • More open discussions about mental health

2 in 5 UK employees are nearing their breaking point…

Separately, the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA) has carried out research on employee stress levels. This shows that:

  • 40% of all UK employees are nearing breaking point due to increasing stress.
  • Professionals are losing an average of 5 hours’ sleep each week due to work pressure.
  • Respondents also feel stressed for a third of each working day.
  • 70% have ‘vented’ to someone about their experiences, yet 46% have done nothing beyond this – hoping the issues would simply disappear in time.

CABA’s findings also include the most common job complaints:

  1. General workload levels
  2. Poor sense of recognition and reward
  3. Salary/pay rates
  4. Their colleagues
  5. The day-to-day job role
  6. ‘Company culture’
  7. Long working days
  8. How their workload compares to their colleagues’
  9. Their clients
  10. Progression or career path potential

What does this all mean for employers and employees?

  • Both sets of data reflect recent findings regarding job satisfaction in general. Only last month we reported on the swathes of professionals planning to switch roles.
  • Poor work-life balance, high stress and a sense of not being supported all keep cropping up.
  • Employers need to be reading such data and working out how they can do more to listen to their team, reduce pressure levels and make everyone feel more supported. This is all vital for longer-term employee attraction and retention.
  • Employees also need to look at what they can do to improve their own working lives. At the lighter end of the scale, there are ways to increase levels of joy at work and make sure you’re doing enough of what you enjoy outside of your job too.
  • In more serious cases, when you (or someone close to you) see that work stress is really starting to affect you, you may need to seek the support of your GP.

Everyone reaches those times when they simply need to find a fresh environment more suited to their life and career goals. Visit our jobs page to see the latest vacancies. 



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…