Work hard, but not too hard… how trying too hard can actually damage your career

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Many people believe that the harder you work, the quicker you’ll climb the career ladder quicker, resulting in more money and a greater sense of achievement. WRONG!

Researchers from City University have collected information from over 500,000 people in 30 different European countries, and considered the effects of long working hours hours, verses the effort put into an individual’s job against measures of wellbeing, and have linked this to career outcomes.

The research is a painful read, especially for those who put in the hours in a bid to increase their prospects.  The study revealed a connection between an increased work volumes and reduced wellbeing. The results also highlight the negative effects of working too hard such as increased stress levels and increased risk of burnout, this is shown to outweigh the reward for demonstrating commitment and going the extra mile.

Continue reading “Work hard, but not too hard… how trying too hard can actually damage your career”

Managers wellbeing; the way we are working now is simply not working

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A recent report produced by the Chartered Institute of Managers (CIM) has revealed that managers are working an extra 44 days per year above their contracted hours. This is leading us towards a concerning management crisis.

In days where it is the normal expectation to never be “off duty” managers have a tendency to work unpaid overtime, and with continued advances in technological ways of communicating, there is an increasing culture of always being available. The report highlights that 59 per cent of managers admitted they check their emails outside working hours. The increased presenteeism combined with technology is having a detrimental impact upon managers’ health and wellbeing.

In short; the way we are working now, is simply not working at all.

Continue reading “Managers wellbeing; the way we are working now is simply not working”

Hip Hip Hurray – My Blog Turns Two Today!

Birthday Cake

Wow, where did those two years go?

This post is short and sweet but filled with nothing but gratitude.

I could never have imagined the opportunities I’ve been offered, connections I have made and support that I have received as a result of creating this little blog.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, there has been a fair share of clouds, but there has always been that silver lining and for that I am truly grateful.

On reflection, the highlights for me have been my appearance in People Management magazine, being part of the Blog Squad at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in 2016, a feature in the CIPD’s “The Power of One” campaign and my ultimate achievement to date; HR Acts of Kindness. It would not have been possible without this blog.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my followers, colleagues, friends and family who have supported me over the past couple of years; I wouldn’t be at this stage of my journey without you.

Here’s to the next two years, now let’s cut the cake!

 

Mentoring – it’s something HR are born to do

“Focus on what you have to offer rather than what you don’t have to offer”

When you went for your very first HR interview, how did you feel? Apprehensive? Nervous?

Looking back at that experience now, a few years later; a little bit older, much wiser; what do you think about it? Do you look back and laugh and think it’s crazy you were so nervous and unsure? I know I do!

Continue reading “Mentoring – it’s something HR are born to do”

World Mental Health Day 2017

“Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

At least one in six workers experiences common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Research conducted by leading charity Mind, shows that 55% of employees surveyed said that work is the biggest cause of stress in their lives, more so than debt or financial problems.

Mental ill-health costs the UK economy £26 billion each year, this is through 91 million lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. With such staggering figures, it is within every organisations interest to establish ways to tackle the problem. What is really concerning is not just the prevalence of stress and mental health problems at work, but that employees don’t feel supported to be able to deal with these pressures.

The main causes of mental ill health at work are excessive workload, frustration with poor management, lack of support and unrealistic targets. Stress at work is also effecting people’s personal lives. One in five employees said that it puts a strain on their relationships, while 11% have missed important events such as birthdays due to work related stress.

Prince Harry has spoken publicly about the importance of mental health awareness amongst the armed forces; not just post career but has actively campaigned for mental health to become an active part throughout their career. This has lead to a review and implementation of new training methods and support mechanisms will also be rolled out to reservists, veterans and civil servants.

The starting point can be seen as difficult, but it does not need to be. Simply taking the time to speak to a colleague or manager to tell them how you are feeling and what your concerns are can help take that first step to improving mental health. It’s the little things that make the big difference, so if you are an employee reading this, your manager needs to know that you are struggling, if it is pressures with workload, they may be able to offer a solution. Likewise, if you are a manager yourself reading this, then you need to do the same, just because you have a more senior title it does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to address your concerns.

We must always keep in mind that mental ill health does not discriminate and affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, this is why it is so important that we start these conversations to try and remove the stigma that is associated with mental ill health.

Mental health may be a hot topic but it is a very fluid subject, one critical point is to ensure that individual cases are treated as exactly that, as an individual. Just because one person has a condition, it does not mean that the remedies and supporting tools are the same. There is no one size fits all approach and therefore businesses cannot just roll out a wellbeing initiative hoping that it will work, the subject of mental health is ongoing and will be evolving at a fast pace for many years to come.

Mind has a fantastic guide to help support employers who want to promote positive mental health within their organisations; to access the guide, please click here.

 

Get ready for the working week

Organised Life

Ok, it’s Sunday and it feels like you’ve barely had a weekend (again!), and whilst we may complain that it’s nearly Monday; whether you like it or not, it is a certainty!  If this sounds familiar then by being organised and preparing for the week ahead could be the key to eliminating those Sunday blues.

A “case of the Mondays” usually comes from the feeling of having a carefree weekend, to the rigid structure and chaos of the working week. On the weekend we can eat whenever, wear whatever you please, and easily lose track of time.

The weekend is usually a time of relaxation, and it’s only when that lack of structure that we have from our working week, no wonder it fees that we are swinging from one extreme to another.

The working week brings forward structure that we generally dislike; knowing that we have to dress in a particular way, having breaks at certain times and sticking to set times especially those weeks where it seems like there’s 101 things to do and yet your diary is crammed full of meetings relating to those 101 things! This leaves us feeling ill-equipped and unprepared which are bigger dislikes than Monday’s. To avoid those situations and feel more in control, there are a few things that you can do which could help you welcome the working week and allow you to enjoy those precious few hours left of our beloved weekend.

If you’d like to give it a go, then here are some quick and easy tips to help you welcome Monday with less grumbles.

Get your to do list in order

We all have those giving us unnecessary head noise which only heightens the dread of Monday; write everything down so you can physically see what you need to do. You never know the list may be smaller and easier to achieve than you think!

There’s an app for that! Try Google Keep or Wunderlist, both are free and available across all devices.

Prepare your outfits

Believe it or not, we waste a ridiculous amount of time each morning figuring out what to wear which is stressful and makes your morning seem even more rushed when you actually don’t need it to be. Plan the outfits you’re going to wear, launder your clothes, iron them and have them together in your wardrobe ready to wear.

Create a food plan

Like outfits, we are even worse when it comes to deciding what to eat. Ditch the usual and expensive bland sandwich plan and plan your meals. Do a good food shop and get creating some yummy meals, cut up fruit, vegetables and have those as snacks. Eating healthily has a huge impact upon our motivation, so if you eat healthy in theory you should feel happier.

Try creating a simple spread sheet and populating it with meals, once you’re in the flow, it’ll take only 10 minutes to complete each week. Plus you’ll save money as you know exactly what to shop for!

Give yourself something fun to look forward to

If it’s meeting a friend after work for dinner, taking time to catch up on that TV series or having a cosy night reading a book. The week is about so much more than work so go on treat yourself!

Spruce up your social media

If you like being on social media but don’t have time to commit during the working day, there are ways you can not miss out. Prepare and schedule your Tweets, Linked In campaigns and blog posts in advance. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite will be your new best friends!

Get your gym bag ready

Get your bag and outfits lined up and ready to go, that way you’re less likely to say “I’ll go tomorrow” which will leave you feeling disappointed and negative when you put it off.

Relax

Yes the above task sounds like a mountain to climb but do what you can to make you feel more prepared to face the week. The last thing you want to do is feel stressed after running around like a headless chicken so make sure you take time to relax and enjoy Sunday.

Even if you just do a couple of these things, you’ll be setting yourself up for a much easier, and more organised week.

Happy Sunday to you and all the best wishes for the week ahead.