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Five ways to help your staff get the right work life balance

Maintaining a healthy work life balance in any organisation is essential, however, the pace of our lives can make this difficult to achieve. Five ways that will enable employees to have a sense of wellbeing and reduce stress, whilst still maintaining high productivity levels are:

1.No More Late Nights at the Office
Research has proven that removing the company culture that celebrates employees working long-hours can help to achieve better productivity whilst assisting with individual work life balance. For instance: –

• Placing a time ban on sending emails after a certain time in the day;
• Inviting the arrival of the weekend with an early Friday finish;
• Introducing a shorter working week – Interestingly research has shown that there has been no drop in productivity yet has improved morale and staff retention.

Setting clear lines between working and personal time inevitably enhances staff productivity. However, that said, if the company is facing a surge in workload and staff are therefore required to work longer hours, it is important that they feel comfortable to ask for help along with the assistance of training opportunities for other team members, can be a good way to combat learning and delegation of unmanageable workloads.

2.Manage time spent in meetings
Attending meetings that go on longer than anticipated can often distract us from our essential day to day workload. Here’s some handy tips you can use to reduce the impact: –

• Staff can be encouraged to assess whether their attendance is absolutely necessary, or whether a post-meeting update would suffice.
• Promoting shorter concise meetings within the company will ensure that the meeting has a more direct focus.
• Changing the format of the meeting, for example asking everyone to stand, this changes the tone of the meeting and they can be kept to the point; or introducing walking meetings, which mean that the pace of the meeting is rapid and there is less need to digress.

3.Reduce the need to review emails
Studies have proven that employees have noticeably higher stress levels when using email. Here are some tips to reduce these: –

• Emails which individuals are copied into can be routed into a separate mailbox, leaving only the emails which are sent directly ‘To’ the individual in their inbox; and
• By switching emails off and scheduling a specific time in the day for them to be read, can reduce stress levels and enable employees to feel in control of their working day.

4.Eliminate distractions
There are a number of distractions in the workplace that can increase stress levels, which in turn make employees less productive. Here are some tips to reduce stress levels and increase the productivity of staff: –

• Introducing quiet working areas in the office can help those working on more contemplative tasks the option to not be distracted;
• Staff should be encouraged to turn off emails and mobile phones and disconnect from messaging and social media tools at the end of the working day; and
• Offering flexibility, such as allowing staff the option to work from home.

5.Drawing a clear line
It is important that work and personal life remain separate and the lines between the two do not begin to blur. Here’s some tips to help staff make the distinction:

• Encourage staff to leave work at work;
• Ensure that staff turn their work mobile and laptop off when work has finished for the day; and
• When an employee is on holiday or work has finished for the day, ensure that their email and remote access are configured to stop staff logging on.

To make ourselves healthier, happier and live a longer and more fulfilled life, we need to reduce our stress levels and get our lives in balance. The key is finding an appropriate amount of time for each, so that one side does not have a detrimental affect on the other.

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5 tips to choosing a positive attitude

Choose a positive attitude to motivate your employees and colleagues…

The attitude you adopt at the workplace affects not only you, but those around you. Enthusiasm and optimism are contagious. Choose to be upbeat and positive, and others will soon be the same.

Five tips to help you stay upbeat:

Be cooperative and approachable.  Your cooperative attitude will be noted by others and reciprocated.

Have open communication.  Regular communication prevents many problems from occurring in the first place. Good communication also helps solve problems that pop up.

Stay calm.  When you’re faced with a difficult situation, don’t allow emotions and pressure to affect how you communicate.

Be part of the solution.  Don’t just identify a problem, propose solutions. Encourage your teams to do the same.

Share good news.  When something good happens, share the news with others and praise those who made it happen.

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Four reasons nutrition matters to your business…

A new report from ‘Pod’ the fast food chain, states that productivity in the workplace is affected through what we eat during the day.  Four things we learned were:

1. Poor nutrition cuts productivity by 20 per cent – A study by the International Labour Organisation reported that employees who eat unhealthily will see a drop in their productivity through the day compared to those colleagues who eat fruit, grains and vegetables.

2. Good nutrition aids the nervous system and helps reduce anxiety – There is a link between high consumption of sugar and stress.  We are more likely to crave foods higher in fat, sugar, carbs when we are stressed.  To reduce stress consumption of food high in Vitamin B5 and cortisol are suggested.

3. Attention span and the ability to plan is improved with a diet rich in iron – Lack of iron is very common in workers in Britain.  20 per cent of women from age 19 to 34 have an iron deficiency.  A report from ‘Penn State University’ suggests there is an impact on attention span and the ability to plan ahead when your diet is lacking iron.  Red meat, green veg, grains and nuts are suggested to improve this and support the brain function.

4. Happiness and engagement is linked to good nutrition and regularly eating fruit and veg – The British Journal of Health Psychology completed a study in 2015 with 405 people who kept a food diary.  It was proven that the people who had a higher intake of fruit and veg showed more creativity at work and was due to the production of dopamine which is the result of eating fruit.

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5 Top tips to avoid long term absence

According to the CIPD’s latest Absence Management Report absence is costing employers’ around £550 per employee per year so it’s vital to manage it effectively.  Communication is key to avoiding employees going off on long term absence as is dealing with every absence effectively as soon as possible.  Here are our top 5 tips to avoiding long term absence and how to deal with it if it does happen:

1. Have a clearly defined absence policy that sets out what the process is when taking time off for sickness and how it will be dealt with.  Make sure that good communication from both sides is at the core of the policy.

2. Ensure that there is a thorough and robust return to work interview conducted after every absence even if they were off for just one day.  A good return to work interview can help to identify any underlying issues or conditions allowing you to then work with the employee to improve the situation.

3. Consider making reasonable adjustments to the working environment in order to adapt to an employee’s health condition.  These don’t need to be major changes, the slightest change can make a big difference and enable a faster return to work and avoid future absences.

4. If an absence does become long term put a communication plan in place so that you are in regular contact with the employee and establish a good relationship with them so that you can have open and honest discussions with them.  As well as phone communication plan in face to face meetings sometimes known as welfare meetings, these meetings will help to build the relationship and generate even more open discussions.

5. It may be necessary to get a medical report from the employee’s GP or consultant so that you have a clear idea of what you are dealing with and what you can do as an employer to facilitate a return to work.  You may want to back this up with an independent occupational health report.  An OH referral will allow you to ask specific questions about the employee’s health condition and long term affects.

Solve can support you with your absence management issues as well has provide occupational health referrals through our OH provider.

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7 Ways a HR Management System Can Benefit Your Company

1. Bespoke to your business

These systems (in particular the one we use at Solve) can be tailored to your company, so it’s your logo, your branding, and your policies that are upheld by these systems.

2. HR Management that will save you time and costs

Because you’re not always needing to handle everything, or get someone in to do it for you, time is saved as well as money. Less double handling and more information going direct to where it needs to be.

3. Improve staff and HR Management performance

With such easy access to things that often cause hang-ups and slow downs, processes can move faster and with greater simplicity.

4. Evolves with your and your team as your business grows

As your policies change, or staff join/leave you, the system can be constantly updated to work with these changes easily. Once the basic framework is in place it can be adapted with relative ease and keep things running on the HR side.

5. Happier, more productive employees

With easier access to the information they need, employees can work around what they know without having to hunt for information that should be easily available to them. Remaining holidays, sickness records etc. are all made easily accessible to the correct people, meaning they can get more work done, with greater ease.

6. Consistent management and policy delivery

In honesty, one of the biggest flaws in business is us…people, we make mistakes. By leaving software to control the day-to-day processes that don’t require our involvement, we can regain some consistency in our policy and practice. Computers shouldn’t make spelling mistakes!

7. Simple delivery of Best Practice HR

Always knowing that best practice is in each situation can be difficult. The system we offer at Solve in particular, covers best practice by doing it for you, so you know when you run something through that system it is done properly.

 

 

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Employee Engagement

Employers have long been attempting to harness the knowledge, skills and abilities of their workforce to increase business performance and aid retention. The question often asked, is “What is Employee Engagement and how do we do this at a time of uncertainty for many organisations?”

According to the CIPD, Employee Engagement “is generally seen as an internal state of being – both physical, mental and emotional – that brings together earlier concepts of work effort, organisational commitment, job satisfaction and ‘flow’ (or optimal experience). Employee Engagement looks at discretionary effort, going the extra mile, feeling valued and passion for work.

A CIPD report outlined three dimensions to the definition of employee engagement:

–  Intellectual engagement – thinking hard about the job and how to do it better.

–  Affective engagement – Feeling positively about doing a good job.

–  Social engagement – Actively taking opportunities to discuss work-related improvements with others at work.

Employee Engagement is also an alternative way of looking at commitment, satisfaction and motivation, however as a hot topic of recent years it has been hugely beneficial to the implementation of good people management practices throughout organisations. It has given focus to what employers and employees want/need in order to foster long term working relationships.

Employee Engagement can be increased through simple inexpensive praise and recognition, which demonstrates an individual’s value to the organisation and can encourage discretionary effort.

Thomas International outline an Engagement Framework which highlights engagement across three critical work dimensions: Role, Reward and Relationship, which are made up of seven key drivers: Clarity, Challenge, Freedom, Recognition, Growth, Voice, Togetherness. The framework suggests providing clarity on what is expected of your employees and the purpose of their work by aligning objectives with organisational goals, will go a long way to increasing engagement. Many employees seek to be entrusted with the responsibility of contributing to the attainment of business goals and therefore by implementing the seven key drivers and managing the three critical work dimensions, employee engagement should flow easily throughout your organisation.

For more information on the Thomas International Employee Engagement Framework and implementing this to increase engagement across your business, please contact Solve.