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. 



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!



The stress of taking time off

Why is it so stressful to take time off work – both before and after your holiday? Advice included for employers and employees alike…

We’re all encouraged to book breaks from work and with good reason. Holidays (whether spent at home or away) are necessary to help us unwind and restore our productivity and focus. However, what do you do when the act of taking a break proves stress-inducing?

  • An astonishing 91% of UK employees feel ‘more stressed’ in the days before their break, according to research by Wrike. 92% of German employees feel the same.
  • 43% of the UK group reports feeling ‘very stressed.’
  • This is compared to 42% of French workers who only attest to being ‘slightly stressed’.
  • As for returning from a break, 84% of UK professionals experience stress at this stage.
  • Only 30% of French employees and 29% of Germans report the same.

Why is it so stressful to take time off?

The article discusses the ‘disruptive’ nature of work holidays and how challenging it can be to step away from – or finish – projects to go on leave. This can also leave you worrying about those tasks you’ve got to return to.

These sentiments are supported by ‘‘No time for a holiday?‘, in which we hear that being ‘too busy’ to book time off is the leading reason for people not using their full holiday entitlement.

Advice for employees on minimising your pre- and post-holiday stress:

As we’ve said, breaks are an essential part of your work-life balance.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now officially recognised burnout as a real condition. It’s defined as: ‘energy depletion, exhaustion, and negativity resulting from chronic workplace stress.’ So you need to take time off, but you need to know how to do it well.

Harvard Business Review has some excellent tips, some of which are summarised below…

  • Build relaxation into daily life, rather than leaving it until your holiday.
  • If you can, prioritise all tasks a few weeks before you go and ask your manager’s opinion on your list. Focus on this list.
  • Let all necessary parties know that you’ll be away (and, where possible, that you won’t be contactable during this time).
  • Handover tasks to anyone who is covering your absence and let your manager/boss know who this will be.
  • Tidy your desk to reduce clutter-associated stress.
  • Prepare your out-of-office.

As for your return, TIME recommends

  • Allocating some space to catch up on emails as soon as possible.
  • Where suitable, asking to work from home on your first day back.
  • And phasing into a ‘manageable work pace and workload’ to reduce overwhelm.
  • Mind additionally suggests: preparing a healthy dinner and breakfast ready for your return.
  • Using your lunch breaks and leaving on time throughout your first week.
  • Prioritising and setting goals for your upcoming tasks.
  • Decluttering your desk (if you missed that from the above list!).
  • Organising a catch-up with whoever took care of your tasks.
  • Focusing your mind on the most enjoyable aspects of your job.

If these tips don’t help, it could be time to look for a new opportunity.

Advice for employers and managers…

The evidence is clear. All businesses need to support their employees to minimise the risk of burnout (and benefit from healthy and productive teams).

  • Keep an eye on the holiday diary. Make sure that people feel able to book breaks and help employees prep for their time off.
  • Reading the above tips will help.
  • As will booking one or more temps to provide cover support. This is especially essential for small and/or highly busy teams where nobody else is available to receive additional tasks.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to book a temp or email us for support. 



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.



The best work-life balance jobs (+ salary details!)

Exploring which jobs have the best work-life balance scores – and whether you’ll have to pick between your lifestyle or your salary…

As each Monday rolls around, you may find yourself wishing your weeks featured less work and more leisure. It’s a common wish and one that often appears to involve a level of financial sacrifice.

After all (and as Recruiting Times reports), this choice often entails a shorter working week and/or part-time hours, which often spells reduced pay.

Well, the latest research by Glassdoor has identified the 15 best roles for work-life balance, with 13 of these meeting or exceeding the national salary average.

The top 10 work-life balance jobs are…

Please note: the brackets indicate the standard national base salary for each role.

  1. Sales Development Representative (£27,000)
  2. Research fellow (£34,000)
  3. Customer Success Manager (£40,000)
  4. Marketing Assistant (£20,000)
  5. Engagement Manager (£48,000)
  6. Data Scientist (£46,000)
  7. Recruiter (£25,000)
  8. Copywriter (£29,000)
  9. Web Developer (£31,000)
  10. Audit Manager (£52,000)

The complete job list and associated ratings can be found in the original post.

Using these findings…

We agree with the positive sentiments expressed in the piece. These findings show that you don’t always have to sacrifice your salary level in order to achieve a more favourable working lifestyle.

What’s more, as Glassdoor suggests, the vast majority of the roles listed can be found in a variety of working sectors and industries.

As ever, we encourage you to do your research to gain more of an understanding of what’s realistic for you to achieve locally. Regularly visiting our jobs page will allow you to see the salaries offered in a variety of different roles.

Your career choices are also highly individual. One person’s ideal work-life balance may be quite different from another’s. Plus what suits you at one point in your career can change with time. Where possible, seek to understand what matters to you…and let your recruitment consultant know your job search priorities!



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.


What’s most important right now?

What’s most important to you – your job and salary or your social and love life? 

It appears that most British employees select the former, prioritising their work and income ahead of their relationships.

Looking at the stats…

  • 54.7% of British people say their work life is most important right now.
  • 13.8% of respondents prioritise their social group.
  • And only 12.3% place their love life above all else.

Sadly, despite this focus, only 17.2% of employees are in their ‘dream job’. In fact, very few people have achieved their broader goals. You’ll find more stats regarding this here.

Really considering what’s most important…

A few questions come to mind as a result of these findings:

  • If you’re among the 54.7% that prioritise their work life, what is it that you’re specifically aiming to achieve? Is there a set role, salary or path that you’re working towards? Of course, it could be the case that you simply derive more enjoyment from your work life than other aspects of your lifestyle at this time.
  • Whatever your goals and priorities, consider whether your current (or most recent) job sets you on the right track to achieve them. There might be another job role that gets you closer to your aims.
  • Do you know what’s needed to get the job you want? Keep looking at job specs to see what employers are looking for. Also, let your Recruitment Consultant know your priorities and what you’re working towards.

Never forget the value of being a ‘well-rounded’ candidate. Employers are impressed by those that can bring additional skills to their team. The ability to forge effective relationships is a powerful attribute.

Where possible, work towards a blend of both – a positive work focus alongside a healthy social life. Your priorities will naturally shift at different points in your career; you’ll also need to find the right blend for your needs and personality.

Visit our jobs page to get a better idea of what local employers are looking for.



New mother retention rates & more parental news

Should companies publish their new mother retention rates? Some MPs think so, in order to reduce discrimination levels. There’s also talk of fathers facing discrimination within the latest news for working parents…

The publishing of new mother retention rates

Source: Personnel Today

  • The Women and Equalities Committee is in favour of increased support for new parents – including extended legal protections regarding ‘redundancy for pregnant employees and new mothers’.
  • In addition, they’re calling on the government to take greater action to support parents. They suggest that larger employers should publish their new mother retention rates 12 months after they return to work, as well as 12 months following a flexible working application.
  • It’s not the first time the group has made such recommendations. They follow ‘shocking stories of workplace discrimination’ with concerns surrounding the ’emotional, physical and financial impact on women’.

Many UK working fathers face discrimination 

Source: HR Review

  • 44% of dads say they’ve experienced discrimination after taking up their right to paternity leave or shared parental leave.
  • 1/4 of fathers have received ‘verbal abuse or mockery’ as a result of their choice.
  • More than a third (35%) additionally perceive a negative career impact – such as job loss (17%) or demotions (20%).
  • This may be contributing to a culture of white lies, in which fathers feel unable to be upfront about their ‘family-related responsibilities.’

Could one prominent paternity leave programme make a difference to many more dads?

Source: People Management

  • O2 is increasing its paid paternity leave programme to 14 weeks for permanent team members – while also ensuring that same-sex couples and adoptive and surrogate parents are all included.
  • This policy will be extended to retail workers as well as head office employees, which puts O2 ahead of many of its retail counterparts.
  • While it’s acknowledged that these policies are largely offered by big corporate business, the competitive advantage will likely cause other companies to follow suit. Consequently, we may see reductions in stigma and discrimination.

Leaders need to support flexible working for parents

Source: Personnel Today

Offering flexible working alone is not enough to support working parents, according to ‘The 2019 Modern Families Index: Employer Report’.

Instead, business leaders should look to more actively celebrate the benefits of flexible working. While also helping to reduce the pressure parents feel when considering their working options.

The report suggests employers can make flexibility ‘visible’ from the top tiers of their companies – and educate their employees on how colleagues achieved senior positions through flexible working.

Perhaps this will help to improve the current stats, which show that:

  • 2 in 3 people are finding it ‘increasingly difficult to raise a family.’
  • Only 1/4 of working parents feel they’ve struck the ‘right balance between work, family life and income’.

Looking for a job that better suits your needs? Visit our jobs page



Is a 4-day week the future norm?

Could a 4-day week become the new ‘norm’ for employees and help solve the nation’s working challenges? This is the core theme of multiple HR and recruitment news features published within the past fortnight.

Living in the overtime capital

The UK has sadly earned itself the moniker of ‘unpaid overtime capital of Europe.’ The average full-time employee now works around 6.3 hours of unpaid overtime weekly. This amounts to £5,000 per person each year, according to ADP research data.

You could assume this means we’re flying ahead in the productivity stakes, however, the opposite is true. What’s more, our culture of overwork could actually be at the root of this problem.

  • It’s said that the Danes are ‘23.5% more productive per hour,’ despite the fact they work 4 hours less each week.
  • The Republic of Ireland is also 62.7% more productive, yet works less than 40 hours per week. The UK averages 42 hours.
  • Apparently, if changes aren’t made, ‘it would take 63 yearsfor UK employees to receive the same amount of leisure time as the rest of Europe.

Employees call for a 4-day week

Alongside the productivity issues, UK professionals are also feeling increasingly stressed. More than 1 in 3 people feel more stressed than they did just two years ago. The respondents suggest this is due to:

  • Increased workloads (66%)
  • ‘Changing relationships’ at work (30%)
  • Not having control over their work (27%)

On being asked what would help lower their stress levels, the participants said:

  1. A 4-day working week (Almost 1/3: 30%)
  2. Greater management support (25%)
  3. Reduced responsibilities, or other work changes (13%)
  4. Stress management training (6%)
  5. Regular exercise (5%)
  6. Not receiving work emails outside of their contracted hours (5%)

Various views on the 4-day week

It’s suggested that technological advances should make a 4-day working week feasible. Yet some employers and employees have their concerns…

  • Businesses worry about paying the same salaries for reduced workloads and professionals fear that they’ll end up working fewer days yet even longer hours. Others worry that they’ll have to squeeze their existing workloads into a briefer timeframe.
  • Several examples are provided in the above-linked piece. One of which is a Surrey-based trial in which employees will work an extra hour a day in order to shorten their working week to four days/32 hours for full-timers. The workers’ stress levels will be compared at the end of it. It will be interesting to see whether the longer days/shorter weeks outweigh the associated concerns.
  • One German-company has taken a different approach: reducing each working day from eight hours to five. They say this has resulted in reduced stress and improved work-life balance. They have, however, had to implement some practical changes to help employees manage their workloads. This included reevaluating ‘social media usage and finding weekly routines’.

In conclusion…

While it doesn’t appear that 4-day working weeks will become the imminent norm, don’t be surprised if you see more UK employers experimenting with this notion. In the meantime, are there any jobs that more closely match your working priorities? For example, those with reduced commutes or more favourable hours or shifts, flexible working opportunities and other lifestyle benefits.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for future updates regarding this topic/how the Surrey study turns out! As well as sharing such updates via our news feed, you can also follow us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.