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.



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).



The recruitment stats that matter

What’s happening in recruitment? How the latest recruitment stats can help you as a job-seeker – and why this is also relevant to anyone looking to recruit for their team…

You may have seen us mention the importance of knowing what’s going in the wider employment market. This sort of information can help you make the right choices for your career, along with gathering more specific data regarding the local market and your chosen industry.

Employers can also benefit from these stats, which can help inform recruitment decisions from salary offerings to interview process considerations.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share a selection of facts from a recent Onrec piece.

UK Recruitment stats – what’s happening in 2019…

  1. Job application figures have risen by 15.9% since 2018. Southern regions have seen the biggest increase. This means you may observe greater job-seeker competition in your industry; all the more reason to prioritise your job search approach (and CV)!
  2. Salaries for new job roles have increased by 17.7% in the most recent quarter, which may explain some of the more recent surges in applications.
  3. UK pay growth as a whole has risen by 3.1%, which is the highest rate in ‘almost a decade’.
  4. National employment is at a record high – 32.69 million people are now employed. This is 282,000 more than in 2018. This poses a challenge for employers who eagerly trying to source candidates with the relevant skills-base. This may offer an opportunity for job-seekers, however, there’s still a responsibility to highlight your skills effectively.
  5. The sectors which have received the biggest increase in applications include the charity sector (72.3%), hospitality (45.7%), IT (36.3%) legal (33.6%) and electronics (26.7%).

Plus…

  1. It’s the arts & entertainment industry that’s observed the biggest increase in job vacancies (up by 12.4% since 2018).
  2. 40% of employees are neglecting other non-work ‘aspects of their life’ due to a ‘demanding work culture,’ risking potential mental health troubles. This has become an increasingly common topic over recent months, with many employees nearing ‘breaking point.’ It’s important for everyone to think about how they’re spending their time in and out of work.
  3. Flexible working may be the future. 70% of small companies say they have ‘some form’ of flexi-working available. Plus 73% of employees believe this has increased their job satisfaction levels. In reality, however, it appears that many flexible working requests are still being denied.
  4. The average ‘job interview process’ stands at 27.5 days – almost a full month.
  5. 75% of candidates take the time to research a prospective employer via websites, social media and company reviews, which has caused many employers to increase their efforts in these areas. This knowledge should also serve as a nudge to the 25% of job-seekers who are not making such an effort!

Please call the office on 01225 313130 for further recruitment advice. You’ll also find the latest job opportunities listed 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…



The parent trap!

How much time does the average working parent get to spend with their children? Plus does having a baby truly affect your career?

This post explores two separate news items from the HR News website. The first investigates how the ‘always on’ business culture impacts parents’ free time…

1) How much time do parents get to spend with their children?

  • British professionals are currently getting less than 30 minutes a day of quality time to spend with their kids, according to Trades Union Congress.
  • It appears that the nation’s working hours, commuting patterns and low energy levels are all contributing to this trend.
  • Parents and non-parents are also struggling to ‘disconnect from work’ at the end of each day, due to the ‘always on’ nature of the modern workplace.
  • Myers-Briggs deems quality time spent with family and friends to be a core contributor to employee wellbeing, highlighting how important this issue is to employers as well as team members.

2) Most Mums believe that having a baby has ‘hindered their career’

  • Sadly, 89% of Mums say that they’ve faced ‘career regression’ on return from maternity leave. They also believe that they are ‘overlooked for career progression’ opportunities.
  • 51% plan to leave their roles if they are unsupported by their bosses.
  • This problem is increasing levels of depression and anxiety among working mothers. 91% of the group used phrases such as ‘anxious, isolated, worried, overwhelmed, lost, stressed and guilt’, etc.
  • Mothers have shared many of the concerning conversations they’ve had with their employers, ranging from those being told ‘the team shouldn’t be punished for their lifestyle choice’ to the business leaders who ‘think maternity leave is a break’.

Are you worried about being (or becoming) a working parent?

  • It appears that many employed parents are facing somewhat of a trap – feeling they’re neither at the career stage they should be or getting to spend enough time with their children when out of work.
  • Employers should look to use effective and supportive strategies to attract and retain this key workforce during such competitive business times. After all, the nation’s skills shortage remains in full swing.
  • Flexible working is one such attractive employee offering, as discussed in the first of the featured posts. However, even taking the time to understand working parents’ ongoing concerns would be a great starting point.
  • Working parents should not need to fear their career opportunities. Where possible, discuss your concerns and/or needs with a trusted party. This could be a manager, business owner or HR professional. If you really feel unsupported, there may be better employers out there for you.
  • Always discuss your career priorities with your Recruitment Consultant. The best agencies don’t just want to submit your CV to a position that suits your experience, yet one that also provides a culture match.

You can apply for the latest vacancies via the jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re emailing a Recruitment Consultant.



Job Search September! Is everyone looking for a new job?

Will this new season also spell the start of a new job frenzy throughout the nation? Some of the latest findings suggest so…

Wix (the web development platform) has conducted its own research among professionals. They’ve found that:

  • 49% of British professionals intend to leave their job on return from their summer holiday.
  • September is one of the most popular times to change jobs, next to January.
  • A number of workers are deliberately missing return flights and hiding their holiday social media updates so their employers won’t see!
  • There is also data regarding the desire to set up new businesses, the industries people want to specialise in and the type of breaks that inspire a new job search!

Why are professionals feeling so fed up?

  • 69% of respondents experience a sense of ‘dread’ about returning to the office.
  • 42% of people crave more flexibility in their working lives.
  • 39% state that they feel ‘undervalued’.
  • In addition, 37% believe they’re underpaid for their role.
  • 34% say they either don’t like their boss or colleagues.
  • And 31% cite poor management at work.

Will we really experience a Job Search September?

It’s unlikely that the whole study pool will hand in their notice this month! While holidays often spark a period of reflection, many people won’t follow through on their ideas on return from their break.

That said, some of the group will, and the fact remains that this is a popular time to make a change. Other findings reflect some of the above sentiment, yet less dramatically(/imminently)!

For instance, a separate study suggests that just under 1/3 of office employees are ‘considering’ finding a new job within the next year.

Many of the triggers are the same…

  • 39% hope to achieve a better work-life balance, with 32% specifically wanting flexible working options.
  • 38% are looking for a pay rise.
  • This group also believe that their skills will be ‘more desirable in the coming months’ (32%) – and that they’ll still receive ‘multiple job offers with competitive salaries’ (33%).
  • The youngest age group (comprising 16 to 24-year-olds) appears most likely to search for a new role, with career progression and work-life balance the greatest incentives for this demographic. They also prioritise corporate culture over pay rates.
  • Employees aged 35 and over are 10% less likely to job search, yet place an increased value on salaries (42% versus 17% for 16 to 24-year-olds). This is unsurprising if you consider career stage and life factors, including average household and/or caring responsibilities.

Both articles mention the need for employers to prepare themselves for a period of change. Alongside exploring staff retention strategies, this may naturally include an increased recruitment focus.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment requirements or email the team directly. Job-seekers can apply for the latest openings via the jobs page, CV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re looking for a new job!



Doing more of what you enjoy

Why we could all do with discovering what we really enjoy in life. Including how to discover your next hobby and find more enjoyment in your work…

How much of your day do you spend doing something you find truly enjoyable? A worrying new stat suggests that the average person only experiences this 42 minutes per day, which equates to just 3% of your daily life.

What’s to blame for our low enjoyment levels?

According to the study’s authors at City Lit (a London-based adult education college), this could be due to several lifestyle factors:

  • UK employees work an extra 2.5 weeks a year compared to the average European worker.
  • Our daily commutes have also increased, meaning few people believe they have enough spare time to pursue a hobby.

However, psychologists remind us of the importance of using hobbies to relax and de-stress.

City Lit additionally notes how many people don’t know quite what they enjoy. To this end, they’ve launched a new ‘Random Course Generator’ to help you track down your next hobby.

It’s rather like a quick magazine quiz in that you’ll answer a series of personality questions which will help identify your most dominant trait (from the Big Five OCEAN list). You’ll then be offered a list of courses that could suit your character.

You may see this as just a bit of fun, yet perhaps it’s a timely reminder to work out what you enjoy and how you can do more of it. This brings us to another thought…

Why should you only enjoy your hobbies?

It’s a fantastic idea to find more enjoyment out of work, though what about that large chunk of your day spent at work?

If you’re relatively happy with your job and not looking for anything new just yet, you may still benefit from making some small changes to your days.

  • TheMuse has a list of 37 ideas to get you started. Number 19 is particularly useful and achievable.
  • Number 37 is also incredibly important. There are certainly times that a new job is necessary for your ‘mental and emotional wellbeing’.

Why not add more enjoyment to your days and start your job search here?!



More holidays and a pay rise

The New Economics Foundation is calling for more holidays and a pay rise for the good of the British economy!

This recommendation (and its accompanying report) focuses on ways in which to improve national productivity.

The idea being that if consumers are able to spend more money, and have more time in which to spend it, the demand for products and services will increase. This, in turn, will help bolster business productivity and the wider economy.

Do we need more holidays?

Few employees would decline the opportunity to have more time off. Especially on hearing that Britons receive fewer public holidays than many of their European counterparts.

While the UK minimum stands at 28 days, EU employees receive anywhere from 30 to 40 paid public holidays each year.

This report also reflects employees’ priorities, according to a separate study

When looking for a new job, British people prioritise:

  1. Their salary (98%)
  2. Holiday allowance (91%)
  3. A pension plan (89%)
  4. Promotion opportunities (78%)

Talking of holidays…

Therefore, while the ideas sound welcome, there may be additional issues to tackle in practise! In the meantime, don’t forget to use your jobs research as a chance to review your personal priorities.