How Graduate Recruitment has evolve since Coronavirus.

Graduate Recruitment During Coronavirus
Graduate Recruitment During Coronavirus

Despite the biggest pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918 and the prospect of a global recession, rest assured, companies are still hiring graduates. They still value talent and want to grow and develop the graduates they bring into their organisations.

Life before the pandemic.

Graduate recruitment before the pandemic was in-person, face-to-face and centred around assessment centres, interviews and internships.

Recruitment fairs and the traditional milk round held in universities aren’t currently practical and company events held in a company’s offices or at the offices of a recruitment partner have also been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Also suspended temporarily are the spring weeks enjoyed by first-year students to give them a taste of what working in a particular employer or industry was like.

If lockdown and social distancing have turned graduate recruitment on its head, what alternative strategies are companies adopting so they can still recruit the graduates they need?

How have companies adapted their recruitment approach?

Traditional graduate recruitment practices have obviously had to change. Companies have moved most, if not all of their recruitment, assessments and interviewing online. This is a positive and proactive step but can leave a graduate in the unusual position of landing their dream job without meeting their line manager in person.

Each stage of the process, from initial contact through first round interviews, assessment centres, department head interviews, second stage interviews and final senior management interviews are now happening online. Some employers have committed to hosting internships online, while others, wary that a virtual internship might reduce the benefit, are offering professional mentors from the organisation in lieu of internships.

Charlie Ball, head of higher education intelligence at the Higher Education Careers Service Unit, said ‘This is way outside normal experience’ and that employers have been blindsided by the pandemic.

Companies have responded in a variety of ways ranging from rescinding graduate job offers, pushing back start dates or providing virtual workplace introductions. However, the biggest graduate employers are working hard to keep their graduate recruitment on track.

Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research says ‘Most of the biggest names are continuing with their planned intake, albeit under difficult circumstances.’

What can graduates (and everyone else who’s job hunting) do to improve their chances of success?

If you are a third year who is looking for a graduate placement or a second year planning their application for next year, then there is plenty you can do to boost your prospects.

Be proactive and use your time wisely during lockdown.

  • Apply for graduate jobs now even if it is outside of the traditional hiring window as that almost certainly won’t apply this year.
  • Take a course in your chosen industry or discipline through an online portal like Udemy or volunteer – when you get to interview, and you’re asked what you’ve been doing during lockdown you’ll have an impressive proactive response

Join LinkedIn

  • Add your education, past work experience and volunteering you have been doing
  • Good CV with detailed information and personal interests and achievements – climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, volunteered for a charity helping disabled children, etc.
  • Connect with people in the industry you aspire to work in and don’t forget that a lot of recruitment happens on LinkedIn and there are plenty of recruiters who would love to hear from you.

Perfect your interview technique

  • Ask friends and family to ask you questions that you expect may come up on interview and practice your answers
  • Learn to use Zoom and Skype as most remote interviews will use this technology
  • If you suffer from anxiety or nerves, virtual interviewing is ideal as it reduces the pressure of being at a company’s offices in person and allows you to perform well during the interview.

Ignore sensationalist headlines

Anything you can do that will show initiative, increase your confidence and improve your soft skills during the pandemic will help you when you’re applying for graduate positions.

What are the prospects for graduates?

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic which has had an effect on graduates this year, plans for next year are well underway with many blue-chip companies booking space at graduate fairs later this year.

There is obviously uncertainty about whether these events will go ahead or if they will be transferred online but major employers including city law firms have said that they don’t expect the coronavirus pandemic to affect their graduate program for the foreseeable future.

Larger law firms are launching online summer vacation schemes in July. Clifford Chance is offering 3 days of classroom learning using a digital platform called InsideSherpa where students will be working on real life deals and solving problems in a similar way to qualified lawyers. They hope to follow this with the option to shadow for two days in December.

Tech firms have taken a similar approach with Google moving its summer internship programme to an online model, including networking with peers and mentoring. Goldman Sachs is another company who has shifted its internship online but has cut it from nine weeks to five weeks.

Irrespective of the problems caused by the pandemic, large graduate recruiters still want to bring in new talent each year to train, nurture and develop and this hasn’t changed even in the most trying circumstances.

How do we strategically prepare for Covid-19 re-entry?

Covid-19 Re-entry
Covid-19 Re-entry

Coronavirus has had a significant impact on every area of life over the last few months, principally the devastating effect of the disease on our health and wellbeing.

As the curve is flattened and Covid-19 is brought under some semblance of control, we must start considering the steps we’ll need to take when lockdown is eased.

Governments around the world are looking at the safest way to transition back to normal life and restart their stalled economies, but what will individual businesses need to do to keep their employees and visitors safe and still run an effective, productive business?

Looking after the health and wellbeing of staff and visitors

One of the first decisions we face is how to safely bring staff back to work. We expect social distancing to be a part of life for the foreseeable future, so how can we incorporate that into our plans for repopulating the workplace?

The number of staff in the office at any point in the day will have to be carefully managed to allow them to keep a safe distance from other employees. This will involve looking at how desks are allocated, the use of common areas such as meeting rooms and lunchrooms as additional working areas and instigating a one-way system to allow staff to safely move around the office and maintain a safe distance from other people.

There are various ways to manage this.

  • Where it is possible, some staff can continue to work from home
  • Staggering start and finish times so fewer people are in the office at any time and this allows them to travel when public transport will be quieter.
  • Operating a shift system to allow for the reduction in desk space
  • Introduce a phased return to work beginning with essential staff who can’t work from home and gradually expanding this out to non-essential personnel.

If you opt for a hot-desking, staggered start or shift system approach, you must provide appropriate cleaning and sanitising wipes for staff to use prior to starting work at a desk so they can clean keyboards, telephones, mouse and desk surface and any other area of their workspace that has been used by another employee. This is in addition to a thorough cleaning each day by the cleaning/janitorial staff.

Common areas such as lunchrooms and canteens may need to be temporarily closed or limit the number of people able to use the facilities at any time.

To ensure staff are safe at work, it may be advisable to provide several hand sanitising stations throughout the offices to allow staff to sanitise their hands when they have to touch a hard surface such as a door handle that will have been used by other members of staff or, additional hand washing areas so that staff can comply with the government’s recommendation to regularly wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Ensure buildings are safe and ready

We’ve addressed how to bring staff back to work safely, next we must consider the building that we’re bringing them into and how to ensure that it is a safe environment for all members of staff and visitors.

Prior to staff returning, the office space will almost certainly need to undergo a deep clean to ensure it is free from any contamination. Additionally, a program of regular ongoing cleaning throughout the day in high-traffic areas – toilets, lobby areas and other communal areas may need to be implemented as well as the normal daily cleaning schedule that was in place prior to the pandemic.

If an employee shows Covid-19 symptoms while at work, a deep clean will be required to ensure that other staff members remain safe and infection free.

To mitigate the risk of Covid-19 being inadvertently brought into our offices by staff or visitors, mandatory screening could be implemented as people enter the building. This could be as simple as checking each person’s temperature with an infrared thermometer and if it is above a certain reading, they would need to be advised to return home and consult a doctor or self-isolate.

Effective guidelines for managing your space

One of our most important problems to address is maintaining social distancing throughout the workspace and communal areas.

By maintaining some staff working from home and either staggering start times or implementing a shift system, we reduce the number of people circulating in the office, but we must still ensure the remaining people will be able to maintain social distancing.

When staff enter and exit the offices, how are they going to get to their desk after they have been screened and cleared to enter?

If there are more than one set of stairs, then a one-way system can be adopted leaving the lift available for staff who have mobility issues or are wheelchair users.

In the office, desks must be two metres apart and not face-to-face. This will impact the maximum number of staff that can be in the office at any one time. Using the shift system or even a part office, part home-working approach will avoid overcrowding and allow for the reduction of usable desks.

Toilets and office kitchens can be a sticking point. If the kitchen remains available, remove shared coffee cups and crockery to avoid cross-contamination and ask staff to bring in personal mugs and plates for their sole use. Staggering lunchtimes will ease the problem of too many people in the kitchen and will also help avoid queuing for toilets.

Meetings, both internal and external should ideally be held using video conference software rather than in person. This eliminates the awkwardness of keeping to the social distancing requirements and avoids outside visitors inadvertently tracking Coronavirus into the office space.

Economically it is imperative that we can get back to work from both a personal and national perspective. However, it is equally important that all social distancing guidance are followed so we can avoid a second peak of Coronavirus and another enforced lockdown. By carefully analysing our staffing requirements and resources we’ll be able to take a ‘business as usual’ approach while keeping employees and visitors safe.

10 ways to boost productivity.

10 ways to boost productivity
10 ways to boost productivity

Since the Coronavirus lock-down began back in March, working from home became mandatory for everyone who was able to. The appeal is obvious; no commuting, no suit and tie and the freedom to plan your day as you choose. However, if you’re not used to working from home, managing the unfamiliar distractions while retaining your productivity can often be a challenge for many.

Kick-start productivity by following these 10 simple hacks and start your journey to success.

Make your workspace work for you

Plopping down on the nearest comfy chair and balancing your laptop on your lap is not the most effective way to stay productive throughout the day.

Take some time to think about the way you will work from home and create a dedicated workspace away from distractions like the TV to help keep you focused.

Lay out your workspace to help with your productivity, keeping everything you’ll need close to hand.

Having a part of your home that you can designate as your ‘workspace’ helps to get you in the right frame of mind when you sit down to start your day.

Create a timetable and set goals

Planning is key to being productive. Each evening or first thing in the morning before you start work, make a list of your priorities for the day.

Work out which of your priorities is the most important and schedule that as your first job of the day. Brian Tracy calls this ‘eating the frog’ – dealing with your most important task first and then moving on to your next most important and so on.

Don’t put too much on your list of priorities. Take a ‘less is more’ approach to your list and only focus on accomplishing tasks that matter.

Follow the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule states that 20% of what you do will give you 80% of your results.

To increase your productivity, eliminate everything that doesn’t matter as it’ll have a minimal effect on your productivity and focus on the 20% that will give you the biggest wins.

When you create your to-do-list, resist the temptation to fill it with tasks that will not make a difference. Instead, have three to five important tasks that you want to complete during the day and order them by priority.

Be intentional in how you approach this and ‘eat your frog’ at the start of the day, moving to less important tasks as your energy and motivation decrease.

Use the urgent task matrix

(Source)

When you’ve deciding on how to schedule your day, the urgent task matrix or ‘Eisenhower matrix’ can help you decide how important a task really is.

Turn off notifications

When you work at home, one of the biggest distractions are notifications. The constant pinging of emails, texts, or funny videos over WhatsApp will have a significant impact on your productivity.

When you need to concentrate on your top priorities, turn everything off. You can dedicate a specific time into your timetable for checking and responding to these notifications.

You must remain hyper-vigilant and eradicate anything that stops you from focusing or reduces your productivity.

Use templates where you can

Automation is the key to productivity. When you have routine tasks to complete, using templates that speed up your work can help your productivity.

Often it is worth the time designing and producing a template for a specific task, especially if it is something that you will need to do regularly.

The time you save using templates can then be allocated to more important tasks that will have a bigger impact on your productivity.

Structure your working hours

It’s easy to use the excuse of no longer having a commute to enjoy a long breakfast, take the dog for a walk and check the news before thinking about work.

However, if you’re a morning person, getting started early before anyone else means you can get a ton of work done without any distractions.

Create a system

A great way of managing distractions, without your colleagues or family members feeling you’re ignoring them is to have a system in place.

When you plan your timetable, work in some time where people contact you throughout the day, and if they need you urgently, they’ll need to call.

This not only reduces distractions and keeps you productive, but it will also remove the feeling of stress and pressure that comes from obsessively dealing with emails as they arrive.

Try the two-minute rule

Procrastination is one of the biggest productivity killers. It is so easy to add everything to your to-do-list that comes along during the day, to avoid having to deal with it there and then.

Sometimes this is a good strategy, but if you’re adding small quick tasks, it often takes longer to add them to your list as it does to complete them.

Instead, why not adopt a two-minute rule? If you accomplish the task in two minutes or less, just do it straight away and crack on with the rest of your day. It’ll remove the stress of having to deal with lots of simple, small tasks at the end of the day, eating into your evening, and it won’t impact too much on your overall productivity.

Maintain a routine

To be efficient and effective when working from home, it’s important to have a routine. Start work at the same time each day and finish at around the same time.

Remember to take regular breaks during the day, it will increase your productivity as you’ll be fresher and energised for longer.

Try the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer and work for thirty minutes and then take a five-minutes break. Once you’ve gone through four cycles, reward yourself with a longer break to grab a snack or go for a walk, then you’ll feel fresher and ready to hit the next task with enthusiasm.

Being productive when you work from home is easy but needs a little thought and preparation to make it work. Use these simple tips to plan your day so you can start working smarter and not harder.

Is remote working the future of our workforce?

Remote Working Office Desk
Remote Working Office Desk

How we work has been changing dramatically. Going to the ‘office’ no longer means commuting to sit in a cubicle for eight hours and then commute home. Remote working, though not the norm up until now, has in recent years become increasingly popular with both employers and employees. As a result, technology has evolved to facilitate this transition, opening opportunities and allowing us to work remotely anywhere in the world.

However, due to the recent advice from the UK Government, businesses were advised to work remotely where possible with little time to adjust to this style of working. Now that may seem like a big worry for many, but remote working in this technology rich era is now easier than ever before to set-up in the comfort of our own homes.

So, what does this mean for the future of remote working? Previously, for many employers setting up employees to work remotely seemed like daunting challenge. However, businesses have been forced to face their fears and many now see the advantages and successes of a remote workforce. This could now lead to companies reviewing their digital tools, making the future of remote working possible.

Set yourself up for success with a few simple remote working steps

  1. Maintain a daily routine
  2. Increase virtual communications with colleagues
  3. Take regular breaks away from your computer
  4. Create a work plan and set yourself goals
  5. Create a dedicated workspace 
  6. Most importantly, remember when to ‘switch off’

So, you all know what remote working is, but how does it benefit us and how can we utilise the latest technology to soften this modern working approach?

Benefits for employees.

Allows for a flexible lifestyle

The biggest and most obvious benefit for employees is the flexible lifestyle that remote working offers. Unlike being stuck inside an office, remote employees can focus on the things that are important to them outside of work. For example, if you are a parent, you have the flexibility to start work earlier in the day so that you can take the time off when the children return from school.

Ignites passion and productivity

Now, you may think that remote workers get distracted by their surroundings. However, employees tend to do their best work outside the office and are more inspired by their surroundings. This increase in passion and inspiration in hand provides the boost to productivity that employers are concerned is lacking among remote workers.

 Aids in the promotion of well-being

One topic that is highly discussed within every organisation is employee well-being. You may be surprised, but remote working plays a vital role in contributing to this. With no daily commute or long hours in the office away from family, you decrease the levels of stress and in turn increase your mental well-being.

Benefits for employers.

Talent pool

When it comes to selecting the right talent to help your business thrive, employers can often be limited to a certain geographical area. But, hiring remotely allows employers to search further afield for the ‘best of the best’. Hiring remotely is particularly useful if you require someone to be in a specific location or time zone. This also opens a wider selection of candidates who have the necessary skill set, reducing the time and cost it takes to train someone. 

Employee Retention

This may surprise you, but when it comes to employing remote workers, it has a positive effect on employee retention. For example, flexible working is a big requirement among millennials. So, let’s put that into perspective. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce.

Cost saving

If as an employer you watch those pennies, switching to a remote workforce can decrease your workplace, and utility bills, saving you hundreds a year. But a remote workforce doesn’t just save money for the employer. Working remotely can also benefit us as employees with the elimination of the daily commute.  

We can see that there is an increasing number of benefits to remote working for both employers and employees. That aside, what technology is available to aid us and how can we utilise it in our daily remote working lives?

Technology has rapidly evolved over the decades opening opportunities that we now see today. There are many options available when it comes to software that can assist us, so let’s look at a few.

Technology that aids our remote lives.

Evernote

As an organisational tool and somewhere to store to-do lists, Evernote is key for staying organised. Everything can be arranged in folders and handwritten notes can be scanned in for safe keeping.

Trello

If you’re managing multiple projects, Trellos colour-coded interface and projects boards helps to keep all your projects organised and on track.

Slack

Like several messaging tools, Slack is a group messaging app that lets you stay in touch with co-workers wherever they are. Donut, a Slackbot, promises to build company culture and can introduce you to co-workers you might otherwise not meet.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams

When we work remotely, video conferencing is the closest we’ll get to interacting in real-time with our colleagues, managers and clients. This software is vital for communicating and maintain a team bond.

How we at eSift are utilising technology for remote working.

At eSift, we strongly believe in using technology to enable us to be effective, productive and serve our clients in all their recruitment needs.

We share files internally and communicate with colleagues using Microsoft Teams and have a cutting-edge telephone system that allows us to connect remotely to the office landlines, so we can be ‘in the office’ even when we’re working remotely.

Working with clients and candidates remotely is achieved through video conferencing and is now more important than ever as we navigate the current economic climate.

‘The health & wellbeing of our team is at the forefront of any decision we make as a business. That’s why we wanted to ensure we offered a range of platforms for us all to collaborate on and stay in touch including Teams, WhatsApp and Zoom. We have also implemented a wellbeing policy focused specifically on home working. We have found productivity and positivity have continued to increase, so feel confident in expanding our remote working options once we get through these uncertain times.

Lauren Morley, Operations Manager

So, we have covered the benefits and technology that allow us to work remotely and we can clearly see that it is now easier than ever before thanks to the advancement of software available to us in this digital landscape.

Best Supplier Partnership Finalists at the 2020 FIRM Awards.

We are delighted to be nominated for Best Supplier Partnership at the 2020 FIRM Awards. This nomination alone is a credit to our committed and dedicated team of professionals and represents the values we stand for at eSift.

The Award

As functions mature, suppliers often form a crucial and integral part of the organisation’s success in talent acquisition, either as an ongoing or outsourcing component to the department or engaging for a specific project or major initiative. This category seeks to recognise suppliers and employers who have achieved the benchmark in supplier engagement, management and utilisation.

About us

We are experts in delivering agile RPO services and bespoke resourcing solutions for talent acquisition professionals. Since 2008, we have worked as an extension of in-house recruitment teams to impact on time to hire, enhancing candidate experience, promoting the client’s brand and impact on diversity and inclusion.

About our client

A leading global business supplying a wide range of electronic components and consumables, with operations in 32 countries, they offer more than 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and trade counters to over one million customers.

The challenge

Our client had an ambitious desire to build an effective direct sourcing strategy, serving EMEA region, and looking to make 600 hires per year.

Previously their recruitment needs had been serviced for 5 years by a traditional global RPO, but the decision was made to appoint eSift to provide a more agile RPO for 11 months.

Why eSift?

In summary, we are a rare breed. We were happy to agree to an initial 11-month contract, with 30 days’ notice period to provide some “quick fixes and build the in-house capability”.

The longer-term objective was to start to transfer key Talent Acquisition Professionals onto their payroll once the concept was implemented and the model was running effectively.

The solution

Working in partnership was key in order to meet and exceed an ambitious short and long-term recruitment and talent strategy. We successfully delivered this service and the starting point was to “fix the basics” and recruit an experienced team of Talent Acquisition Professionals supported by a Resourcing Team.

Following extensive meetings with key stakeholders and support departments, we identified the following priorities

  • Improve candidate experience
  • Promote their brand
  • Reduce agency usage
  • Build talent pipeline
  • Provide management information
  • Upgrade internal systems
  • Build strategic partnerships with Oracle, Indeed, LinkedIn, Job Boards. AIA (media partner) Glassdoor

What did we learn?

Patience was the biggest learning curve. The TA team were so passionate and focused on delivering against their objectives but inevitably some of the internal projects needed to be put on hold until later in the year.

The outcome

  • Direct hires increased from 62% to 97% in 6 months. (this equated to an immediate saving of over £500,000 in the first 6 months of us taking over the contract
  • We assisted with the organisation of a job fayre in Peterborough within a 48-hour timeline for Thomas Cook employees. All members of the TA team and key stakeholders were present, including senior managers. 11 candidates have been placed within the business as a direct result of hosting that day
  • A 59% decrease in new starter errors delaying offers etc
  • The Resourcing Team remain with us, and our contract has been extended until October 2020. Based on the impact we have achieved on direct hires, Data Digital and Technology has been placed in the scope of the contract
  • Our client was awarded top ten employer for indeed – Top Rated UK Workplace: Best in Technology
  • Our client has been selected as finalists for two FIRM Awards Outstanding Impact & Transformation and Best Supplier Partnership

What the Talent Acquisition Programme Manager says about us

“Highly passionate supplier driving amazing results, a truly consultative partner with respected leaders – are the words to describe eSift. No challenge was too big for Geraldine and her team to relentlessly provide a solution, while taking our direct sourcing to 97% – a feat that was unachieved for 5 years! The eSift Team’s Recruitment Services were especially reliable in times of crisis and I would highly recommend them as a true recruitment partner. “

Talent Acquisition Programme Manager

7 trends that will take over business in 2020.

2020
2020

2020 is nearly upon us. As one year comes to an end, another one begins. That means it’s time to start thinking about a New Year’s Resolution.

When employees return rested and ready to work after the Christmas period, bosses have the chance to start the new year with a new set of business resolutions.

So, what trends look set to transform the corporate landscape in 2020?

Employee monitoring

In 2015, only 30% of companies were using monitoring techniques, which looks to grow to 80% in 2020. While 10% of employees were comfortable having their emails monitored back in 2015. Employees rightfully raise privacy concerns, so transparency is important.

The rise of employee activism

This trend has been gaining momentum through 2019; Google repeatedly made headlines for the prospects of its employees, whilst Amazon and even Sainsbury’s have experienced similar issues. 38% of employees report having spoken up to support or criticise their employers’.

How voice is activating the workplace

LinkedIn recently carried out a study with Oracle, that found that half of people have used AI voice in their house, 31% in their car, 25% at their desk and 18% in meetings. Companies are already testing AI voice in the workplace to help simplify routine tasks.

The hiring of retirees to fill the skills gap

Two-thirds of companies have hired a retiree while 20% have never hired a retiree. Companies are taking people out of retirement who have in-demand skills out of necessity in a way they haven’t in the past. The fastest growing demographic in the workplace are those aged 65 or older with 10,000 of them turning retirement age each day.

The new role of a manager

Currently, managers spend 54% of their time during the workday on administrative tasks, 10% of their time on strategy and innovation and only 7% on developing talent and engaging with stakeholders. With the introduction of AI voice into companies, those administrative tasks could be completely automated, giving managers more time to work on more important initiatives.

Therapy in the office

Mental Health continues to become a growing concern, with 50% of Millennials and 75% of Gen Zs having left a job due to mental health concerns. Goldman Sachs are training dozens of UK staff to be mental health first aiders who can spot colleagues suffering. The UK is leading the way when it comes to supporting mental health with protections under the Management Health and Safety at Work Regulations Act of 1999.

Purpose and meaning at work

A study carried out by PwC found that 79% of leaders think that purpose is central to business success and Gallup found that 41% of employees want to know what a company stands for. As a response, PwC hired a “Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer” to support the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. 

Source: https://bit.ly/2PZFFeh

Morale – The energy of success.

Morale in the Workplace
Morale in the Workplace

Morale – the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person.

Having positive morale in the workplace has a significant effect on the overall performance well-being and success of any employee, department or organisation.

You can’t give an employee positive morale, but as an employer you do play a major role in the environment that contributes to positive morale.

Factors such as the effectiveness and quality of managers, the interaction managers have with the team and the way employees interact all contribute to a positive environment.

It’s not just managers that have a role in maintaining a steady healthy connection. In order to maintain a positive environment, everyone must be transparent with one another.

Morale is a state of mind. It is steadfastness and courage and hope.

George C. Marshall

Ways in which we can change the environment we work in to encourage positive morale.

Give recognition. Everyone likes to receive positive recognition when they’ve put effort into a task or project. Something so simple can go a long way in boosting positive morale.

Collect feedback. Collecting feedback from employees can be invaluable information into the current workplace environment. By collecting feedback, you learn how employees feel and the ways in which the environment can be improved.

Help them grow. show a genuine interest in employees. Understand what their personal goals are and assist them in achieving their desired goals. Employees will feel an incredible morale boost once they reach their goals and feel confident they’re receiving the support they need from managers. this will create loyal employees and investment well sent on personal development.

Everyone has a part to play in maintaining a healthy workplace environment. But remember, people are the most important resource in an organisation. If you take care of your team, your team will take care of business.

Four-day Week. Are we ready for change?

Four-day Week
Four-day Week

A four-day working week sounds great – right? But does it boost morale and increase productivity?

Going back to the early 1900’s, we were first introduced to the 5-day working week when in 1908, a cotton mill in New England United States shut its factory on a Saturday. Shortly after in 1926, Henry Ford followed suit, being one of the first major companies to shut its factory doors over the weekend and implementing the 40-hour week.

And so, the 40-hour, 5-day working week was born.

Fast forward over 9 decades, and we are now considering change again in the form of a 4-day working week and the benefits this change can have on engagement, productivity, success and well-being.

We all get excited about the idea of having a three-day weekend.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages for employers and employees working a four-day week?

Advantages of a shorter week:

  • Reduce Stress. Reducing the number of days in the office allows an extra day for rest and helps prevent burnout. It also allows employees to take part in hobbies or family commitments which has also been proven to reduce stress.
  • Increase productivity. Employees feel more in control with a better work life balance. The idea of a three-day weekend gives them the drive and engagement needed to increase productivity. This increase in productivity contributes to the overall success of the company.
  • Cost saving. Studies have shown that closing the office for an extra day has reduced energy and maintenance bills. This also has a direct benefit to our environment.

Disadvantages of a shorter week:

  • Not all industries are able to commit. Companies that offer or require a 24/7 service may not be able to participate in the shorter working week.
  • Longer hours. Some employers may want to adopt the 4-day working week but not want to reduce the number of working hours. For some people, compressing the normal 40-hour week into 4 days will work perfectly. But for others, it may not work as well. This in turn could have the opposite affect and increase stress levels and failure to meet deadlines.
  • Loss of opportunity. There would also be the factor that your business could lose out on potential opportunities. By reducing the number of working days, this could impact you if your competition is open and are able to swoop up that new client.

So, is this way of working something we can expect to see in the future? Countries such as Japan, Sweden and New Zealand have already put the four-day working week to the test and have seen success from it.

Like anything, working a four-day week has its pros and cons and can work well if it is implemented into the correct working environment.

Christmas celebrations in the Workplace.

Christmas red and grey bauble ornaments
Christmas red and grey bauble ornaments

The Christmas songs are singing, the decorations are up, and the talks turning to Christmas parties and the holiday break.

The festive season is in full swing.

But are we celebrating too early and slowing down on productivity?

In December, staff productivity levels drop to their lowest point. However, a staggering 78% claim to work just as hard in December, with 22% citing the reason as so they can enjoy time off over the festive break.

However, it’s not just time off that’s proven to drive productivity. 74% of employees claim office festivities, such as, decorations, Christmas trees and Secret Santa traditions, boost morale and productivity. 

So how can we keep our employees engaged right up until the festive holidays? 

Secret Santa


Secret Santa is a great way to introduce a bit of festive engagement among employees. For example, it brings us all together for a few hours, and even helps us to get to know our colleagues a bit better. 

Singalong


“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear,” 

Will Ferrell, ELF

Turn those tunes up and have a singalong. Not only does singing make us laugh, it also comes with several physical and emotional benefits too. 

Singing: 

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • improves posture
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Improves mental alertness

Flexible Working Hours


The lead up to the big day can be a frantic rush for people. However, by introducing flexible working hours throughout December will allow people to attend school plays, organised Christmas events and to complete the dreaded shopping. 

In return, this will decrease the levels of stress in employees, increasing engagement and productivity during their working hours. 

Festive Bake Off


Christmas is a time to indulge. Why not get everyone involved in a festive Bake Off. Baking can increase a feeling of well-being, contribute to stress relief and make you feel like you’ve achieved something. After all, food makes people happy.  

However you celebrate in the workplace this year, Have a very Merry Christmas.

Source – for further research that celebrating Christmas improves workplace productivity, visit: https://bit.ly/2DEQHQa

CYBER-ATTACK. THE ONLINE CRIME.

Cyber-Attack
Cyber-Attack

In a world where the digital landscape and online services are rapidly evolving, there has never been a greater time to educate ourselves on the awareness of a cyber-attack, and the damage they can have on our personal and business data.

In this digital age, we use the internet for even the smallest of tasks such as; communications, job searching, financial transactions, shopping and file storage.

As the list of online services and cloud storage options grow, the threat of a cyber-attack grows with it.

So, what is a cyber-attack and how can we protect ourselves to decrease the risk?

A cyber-attack is an assault performed by cyber-criminals. Their aim is to target devices, computer systems, infrastructure and networks, where they attempt to expose, destroy, disable or gain unauthorised access to an asset.

There are many methods a cyber-criminal can use to launch an assault. The most common include:

  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Denial of Service (DoS)
  • SQL Injection Attack
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM)
  • Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
  • Password Attack

What measures can we take to protect ourselves from cyber-criminals?

As the threat of a cyber-attack increases each year, preventing these attacks becomes a growing concern. Nevertheless, there are several measures we can take to reduce the impact from an attack.

Invest in genuine security software

Having genuine security software will aid the prevention of spyware, identity theft, and protect valuable information.

Strengthen passwords and regularly change them

Changing our passwords regularly is recommended to keep our accounts safe. By doing so, this prevents hackers from accessing our account if there has been a previous breach, and to limit access gained by keystroke loggers. When changing passwords, it is always recommended not to save them in a web browser.

Strengthen Wi-Fi security

as a result of strengthening the security of our Wi-Fi, this will help prevent cyber-criminals sneaking into our devices and accessing personal systems. By making some simple changes such as; the default home network name, strengthening our password and activating network encryption, this will increase security from a potential breach.

Protect our personal information

If we don’t protect our personal information, we could be victims of identity theft. However, by setting two-factor authentication, updating our software regularly and not shopping or banking on an un-secure network will reduce the risk of falling victim.

In conclusion, we will never be able to fully protect ourselves against a cyber-attack. However, by following some of the recommended measures, we can decrease the risks and damage caused by cyber-criminals.