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Make mental health a part of your return-to-work plan

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While people typically tend to resent change, the past year and a half has been fraught with changes and challenges, which were unavoidable. We didn’t like the way the pandemic changed our lives, and now resent the changes yet again, as we start to return to work. But re-opening the physical workspace for the workforce is actually far more complicated than ensuring seamless remote work or work-from-home ever was. Companies are now endeavouring to incorporate new models into their work environments, with some continuing with the remote work model, others requiring employees to return to office and a significant number opting for a combination of both, that is a hybrid model. Whatever be the model, the safety of the employees has become top priority for leaders, who are considering scheduling changes and reconfiguring office spaces to allow for social distancing, addressing visitor and food policies and more. However, they should also be taking into account the mental health of their workers.

Re-entry anxiety

Most people experience anxiety and resistance when there is a need for change. While some people may think we’ll go back to the way things were before the pandemic, for most of us, it will not be the same ever again. There’s a complexity surrounding the emotional and psychological support of workers that needs to be addressed in re-entry plans. Since no one has done this before, no one really knows how to do it well.

Meanwhile, anxiety is at an all-time high. A national survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research shows that nearly half the employees are worried that employers will make them return to work before it is safe to do so. More than half are worried about the future of their company, and their job specifically.

I’ve had coaching clients recently express to me their concerns over:

How safe their workplace will be

How productive they will be in the office

Feelings of increased stress

Cost of going back to work, both financially and with time considerations

The Delta variant and possible future variants considering the low rate of vaccinations in the country

Co-workers who don’t share their views on the pandemic and health-safety measures

Possible protocols at work regarding mask and vaccination mandates, and who will police this

There’s also anxiety around whether to look for a new job if one doesn’t want to return to the office and remote work is not an option.

An April 2021 survey by FlexJobs found that 60 per cent of women and 52 per cent of men would quit their jobs if they were not allowed to continue working remotely at least some of the time. Many people have established routines and lifestyle changes that they now prize in their work-from- home life, whether that’s increased productivity, regular exercise or spending more time with family. They feel like they would be giving up a lot in order to return to work, so they may be forced to look for other remote alternatives. Considering a career change at any time can be stressful, but it’s especially hard right now, given the volatile economic climate.

How to help reduce anxiety

Even though not much focus is currently being given to the individual’s mental well-being amidst return to work, we can change that by incorporating it into the re-entry plans.

Here are some core areas that company leaders should target:

1. Make employee well-being number one priority

People need reassurance, especially right now during these difficult times. The survey shows that 72 per cent of workers feel that their employers are putting safety above profit. Continue to demonstrate that commitment to your workers through your actions.

2. Communicate regularly

Research shows that employees who receive regular updates from their employers tend to trust their employers more and have faith in the system. Communication is very reassuring and helps manage anxiety, which invariably reflects in better work.

3. Follow the science

Companies should follow public health guidelines issued by the Centre, and inform employees how and when measures will be implemented, monitored and enforced.

4. Provide training and guidance

This is an ideal time train the workforce, even if it means taking external help. Coaches can be engaged to guide employees on ways to work in and lead hybrid teams. Now is the time to learn to manage wellbeing, and identify the signs of emotional distress early on.

5. Be flexible

Now is the time to listen to individual employee needs, and refrain from designing far-reaching rigid policies. Be generous with the employees and encourage them to take time off. Many organisations have given their employees leave to relax and distress, and these special leaves are independent of any other ‘time-off’ request. The advantage of such special breaks is that everyone takes the break at the same time, and therefore, there are no official e-mails and meeting requests piled up or waiting when they return.

6. Choose the right health insurance plan

The pandemic made most companies relook at their health-insurance plans, and become more generous in terms of incorporating mental-health components.

7. Educate yourself on the ROI of mental fitness in the workplace

When someone is anxious, it affects their capacity to be effective and efficient at work. Anxiety contributes to lack of focus, disengagement, fatigue, poor executive functioning, procrastination, ineffective communication and increase in self-medication, be it drugs, alcohol, tobacco or even binge-watching Netflix. This lack of performance directly affects the company’s bottom line. Therefore, it is essential for employees to be mentally healthy for the business to be successful.

How to support mental fitness in the workplace

So, how can you help your workplace become mentally fit? The first step is to help them recognise the emotional state they are in. Lessen it by simply identifying and naming it. Take a step back from the situation, remove some of the emotion and perhaps reframe the perspective with a different lens.

Building emotional intelligence also brings a sense of control to the situation. We tend to worry, or ruminate, but that habitual way of thinking is ineffective. It doesn’t push us toward a solution that makes us feel in control. Focus on the things that can control be controlled instead of those that cannot be controlled.

Empower yourself to take action on what you can do to manage your anxiety and stress.

If you cannot control something, breathe through it and let go. Diaphragmatic breathing calms down the racing mind and has an amazing impact on the body. When you start to feel stressed, take two minutes for this exercise:

1. Sit in a comfortable position. Lying down or sitting against a wall works as well.

2. Breathe in through your nose, concentrating on filling your belly completely with air.

3. Hold your breath for a count of six and exhale slowly through your mouth.

4. Repeat until you feel your body relax and your tension release.

Take this one step further with meditation. When you meditate, you are strengthening your prefrontal cortex, which is your rational brain – it allows you to think through situations and process things more effectively while reducing your heightened fight or flight responses.

Meditation and diaphragmatic breathing is a one-two punch for managing anxiety and building resilience.

Having a resilient workforce is more important now than ever before. There will be more disruption as we continue to see the pandemic situation change this year, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon. Now is the time to demonstrate agility and adaptability in your leadership.

While leaders craft re-entry plans, it’s important to keep the psychological health of employees on top of your mind. Not only will helping them deal with stress and anxiety affect your company’s bottom line, but it’s simply the right thing to do. Paying attention to all aspects of employee well-being will have positive consequences for years to come.

At a turning point in their personal or professional lives, the clients in season 2 of #ExperienceCoaching turned to ICF-credentialed coaches. Watch their stories to discover how turning to an ICF coach can help one find clarity and take the next step forward on one’s own journey

If you need support on your organisation’s and/or leader’s coaching journey, do contact us at ICF and our team of volunteers in India will be happy to help.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 40,000-plus members located in more than 145 countries and territories work toward common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and upholding the highest ethical standards.

Through the work of its six unique family organisations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organisations, communities and the world through coaching.

In India, ICF is represented by six vibrant chapters, all led by volunteers — ICF Bengaluru, ICF Chennai, ICF Delhi NCR, ICF Mumbai, ICF Pune and ICF Hyderabad.

The author, Jody Michael is an ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) from Chicago, USA, who brings insights from over 20 years of coaching and 15 years of corporate leadership in the finance industry. As an executive coach, career coach, master certified coach, board certified coach, trainer, author, international speaker and University of Chicago-trained psychotherapist, she is passionate about facilitating organisational, team and individual change.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.hrkatha.com/special/coaching-and-training/make-mental-health-a-part-of-your-return-to-work-plan/

HRTech

How an Unfair Dismissal Can Affect Your Remaining Employees

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If your business has lost an unfair dismissal claim, it will likely have a negative impact on your remaining employees. Here’s how…

So, you’ve lost an unfair dismissal claim, and are worried about the impact this may have on your company? Well, there’s no doubt that seeing a fellow employee experience an unfair dismissal can be off-putting for remaining employees, especially if they are aware of the situation behind the dismissal.

Specifically, it may affect morale and how employees feel regarding approaching management with concerns. It could also make them feel unable to speak up regarding any problems that they might be facing in the workplace in fear of being dismissed.

We’re here to inform you how an unfair dismissal can affect remaining employees and what you can do to reassure your employees. So, let’s take a look…

How Will Remaining Employees Be Affected?

They’ll Stress About Their Every Move at Work

We can expect this situation to subconsciously affect any person. Even if an employee has previously been recognised for their good work and value, they might be struggling with self-doubt following the unfair dismissal of a fellow employee. They might begin to overthink everything they do at work as they don’t know whether it will be considered as fireable.

This is likely to increase stress and burnout, and may even reduce productivity. All-in-all, it could lead to the person seeking employment elsewhere.

They’ll Bring Their Concerns Home

For some employees, the impact of another employee’s unfair dismissal won’t only concern them in the workplace. On top of this, it could also become a daily worry in their general life, finding a way to creep into their home.

This could potentially cause further issues, such as mental wellbeing and relationship problems. This is likely to act in a cyclical fashion; these troubles may follow them back to work, affecting morale and productivity.

They’ll Take More Sick Days

If an employee is feeling unhappy and stressed, it could lead to them taking significantly more sick days. A study of 1000 employees found that 32 percent of them take sick days because of feeling stressed.

How Can You Reassure Your Employees?

If you have unfairly dismissed an employee, it’s important to support and reassure your remaining employees during and after the fact. After all, they might feel obligated to stay quiet throughout the employment dispute and not address concerns. There is also the potential that you might be faced with a higher level of resignations if employees feel insecure in their job.

If you are in the process of dismissing an employee, ensure that you are accurately following the employment laws surrounding dismissing staff to prevent unfair dismissal claims from occurring. However, if this is already a problem for your workplace, here are some ideas for combatting the negative impact of it:

 

Address The Elephant in The Room

If it is noticeable that morale in the workplace has dropped, or even if you are concerned about your remaining employees regardless of a morale drop, you could arrange individual or an overall company meeting. Here, you can advise them of the unfair dismissal and how in the future the same mistake won’t be made, including the measures you are going to take to support them.

This means that, if people are concerned about something regarding the business or another employee, they should feel as if they can come forward and approach someone about it without feeling threatened that they might be fired for speaking out.

If they see you being transparent about the unfair dismissal, they might feel more relaxed. It might also prompt more employees to come forward with their concerns, even if it is regarding something they were worried about discussing even before the employment dispute.

A group of people sitting around a table with laptops Description automatically generated

Praise Employees for Their Work

A way to help reassure your remaining employees to avoid adverse feelings following an unfair dismissal is by noticing and informing them of the excellent work that they are doing. Perhaps incorporate a monthly reward for employees you have recognised working hard and doing well at their job.

Not only will it aid them in feeling at ease regarding the situation, but it could boost morale. A study actually found that 79 percent of employees who are appreciated and recognised for their work, work even harder. What’s more, 78 percent are more productive when rewarded for their good work.

An Unfair Dismissal Can Harmfully Affect Your Business as Well as Your Remaining Employees

From this, we can conclude that an unfair dismissal in your business can be seriously harmful in various ways. For starters, it could severely impact the business’ reputation to potential candidates, suppliers, and customers.

Furthermore, remaining employees could become unhappy in the workplace, and this will likely affect the running of the business. Employees might decide to resign and find employment elsewhere, and there could be an increase in sick days and an overall drop in morale and productiveness. Disputes between employees or employees and the business could correspondingly arise.

Therefore, it is simple to see that an unfair dismissal could potentially be catastrophic for a business. It is essential to avoid or quickly resolve and reassure employees if one has occurred. Aim to be transparent with employees, as it will help them be more trusting.

Finally, if you are pursuing a dismissal of an employee, ensure that employment laws are being exactly followed to prevent such problems from happening[AP1] .

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking employment law advice. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/how-an-unfair-dismissal-can-affect-your-remaining-employees/

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7 Top Tips for EU Citizens Working in the UK Post-Brexit

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Working in a country that isn’t your homeland can be a particularly difficult task, especially if you are an EU citizen living and working in the UK post-Brexit. Read on for some tips on doing just that…

The impact of Brexit on EU citizens working in the UK has been considerably hard. Many already living and working in Britain have been faced with doubt over the future of their residence in the UK.

It’s important to know your rights to avoid any uncertainty or anxiety. In this article, we’ve have come up with seven top tips for EU citizens working in the UK post-Brexit. Take a look…

1.   Understand The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

It’s essential to understand the EU settlement scheme. If you have not already applied to the scheme, you could be illegally living and working in the UK.

Any EU citizen must have applied to the EUSS deadline by the 30th of June 2021. If you have not already applied to the scheme, there are criteria for later deadlines and ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the deadline. Some of these include:

  • Medical reasons
  • Domestic abuse
  • If you are joining family who lived in the UK by 31st December 2020 – this only applies if you were their family member by 31st December (excluding born or adopted children) and you are still their family when applying.

Without a reasonable exception or an application submitted, you must apply for a VISA.

2.   Understand the Dos and Don’ts of the EUSS

It might be simple to think you’ll be fine once you have applied to the EUSS. That said, there are many rules that come with applying for different statuses within the EUSS that people often overlook before continuing with their normal lives living and working in the UK.

As a member of the scheme, you need to ensure that you understand the ins and outs of it, particularly if you plan on staying in the UK for longer than five or 10 years. In this case, there are certain guidelines that you must follow to progress your status further. Without this, you will be at risk of getting caught out and not being eligible.

3.   Apply For a New Status

For those who applied to the EUSS scheme before the June 2021 deadline, you would have been given a status depending on the period of time spent living in the UK. This will either be ‘pre-settled’ (less than five years) or ‘settled’ (five years or more).

If you plan to continue staying in the UK for work rather than moving back to your home country, you will need to keep an eye on your status and the expiry date to know when you need to apply for a new status.

Once you have lived in the UK for five years, you could be eligible to apply for the settled status, which allows you to stay in the UK for however long you please. After 12 months, the settled status means you have the possibility to apply for British citizenship depending on if you meet the requirements.

It is wise to keep in mind that if you have left the UK for more than six months in a 12 month period without a reasonable explanation, your settled status application could be denied. This means you will need to reapply for pre-settled status.

You must apply for your settled status before your pre-settled status ends; otherwise, you will have missed the deadline and instead need to apply for a visa to stay in the country.

4.   Apply For British Citizenship

If you have lived in the UK for 10 years, you could be eligible to apply for British citizenship. This will provide the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely without immigration restrictions. Having British citizenship means you will have the following benefits:

  • The right to hold a British passport.
  • Permanent right to live in the UK.
  • No restrictions on the right to work.

This will make life easier, especially concerning jobs, as you won’t need to go through immigration documents with your employer as you are a British citizen. The process will be quicker and less stressful.

5.   Apply For a Visa

If you are not planning on living in the UK but are working in the UK for a short or long period or occasionally throughout a year, you will need to apply for a visa. There are different variations depending on the type of work that you intend to do in the UK. The government website explains each of these in more detail.

6.   Advise Friends and Family

Whilst working in the UK, you might have met friends who are from an EU country or perhaps you moved to the UK with family. Whether it be a partner, children, parents, etc. ensure that they are aware of the updated rules following on from Brexit. Without this, there is the risk that they might be unable to continue staying in the country.

7.   How To Prove Your Immigration Status

Once your status has been granted under the EUSS, you can use the view and prove service on the GOV.UK website to prove your right to work in the UK. It means that instead of holding physical documents and providing copies, it can be accessed digitally. This way, employers or anyone else who needs to view your documents is able to with your ‘share code’ and date of birth.

They will only be able to view what you want them to as when you click ‘prove your status’ it will ask you the reason. 

If you need more information regarding your immigration status for employers, GOV.UK have an immigration status document with all the helpful information that you need[AP1] .

Don’t Be Caught Out Post-Brexit

If you want your future life in Britain, it is essential that you don’t get caught out by deadlines for status changes and applying to EUSS if you are eligible under a late application. Employers will not employ you without the correct documents.

If you haven’t applied, or missed the expiry date of your status, you will be living and working in the UK illegally. This could potentially stop you from receiving citizenship in the future.Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a legal professional if you’re seeking advice regarding your British residency or citizenship. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the informat

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Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/7-top-tips-for-eu-citizens-working-in-the-uk-post-brexit/

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Facebook to invest heavily in the EU, hire 10,000

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Facebook is gearing to invest heavily in the European Union and create 10,000 jobs. It is looking at leveraging its universities, consumer market as well as ace quality talent.

The tech major will rely on European talent, including ‘specialised engineers’, to build a metaverse — an online world where people can work, communicate and even game in the virtual space with the help of virtual reality (VR) headsets.

To create this virtual universe, about 10,000 skilled professionals will be required, and Facebook is all set to fish from the European talent pool over the next five years.

The tech company has already pumped in $50m (£36.3m) to fund non-profit groups to construct the metaverse in a responsible manner.

Facebook has made it evident that it will work on creating the metaverse on priority. To create this VR version of the Internet, it intends to enter into collaborations over the next decade or so.

Once the metaverse becomes a reality, there will be no difference between the digital and physical worlds. All people have to do is probably wear the VR glasses and feel as if they are speaking to a friend in person despite them being geographically distanced from them.

Facebook was recently in the news for all the wrong reasons, when it was revealed that the Company tried to hide the fact that its sites were capable of doing harm to the mental health of youngsters. The Company faced a lot of criticism when a former employee disclosed that the Company had intentionally concealed the results of its internal study that showed the adverse effects of Instagram on the mental condition of teenage girls.

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Source: https://www.hrkatha.com/news/global-hr-news/facebook-to-invest-heavily-in-the-eu-hire-10000/

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How to Survive the Corporate World After Going Remote

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The corporate world was for many, perhaps most, something they enjoyed a now almost two-year break from. But as things have opened back up and companies have requested their workers return to a formal office setting, people find themselves wondering “how am I going to survive the corporate world again”? Returning to the office will be like riding a bike in some ways and will entail major culture and lifestyle shocks in others. Below is a guide on how to survive the corporate world after having gone remote for so long. 

Get into an Office Routine Before Going Back

Do you have a long commute ahead of you every morning and evening? Then it’s time to get back into the habit of getting up and going to bed earlier. A lot of people got used to the extra time they had in the evenings and mornings to take it easy, but a return to the office will change that. A good way to ease into the transition is to set your alarm a few minutes earlier each day until you’re getting up when you need to for your commute. 

It isn’t only a matter of getting up early; your food habits may also need to change. If you’ve been eating dinner earlier than usual since you’ve been at home, try rescheduling your meals to when you’d normally eat after your work commute. That way, when you return to work, you won’t be as hungry when you arrive home. 

Revisit Your Budget

You may have found other ways to spend your money in lockdown, or you may be enjoying the extra cash, thanks to the money saved on commuting, the lunches out and after-work drinks. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for changes to how you spend your disposable income by reviewing your budget and making sure you have enough money set aside for commuting costs, morning coffees, and lunches out.

Learn to Identify Signs of Slipping Mental Health

Mental health issues are more prevalent than most people think. Around one in four adults in the United States suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year. The past two years have been hard on mental health, and many people have either learned self-care or learned to bottle things up. They may even be ignorant of the signs of diminishing mental health and not realize there is a problem until it is too late. 

As you return to the office, spend some time learning about self-care and especially how to identify the signs that you may be suffering from anxiety, depression or PTSD. The best way to prevent any of these from getting in the way of a successful return to the office is to inform yourself on how they manifest so that you can take steps to address the causes and mitigate the symptoms. 

Take it as an Opportunity for Change

Returning to work also implies a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reevaluate your career choices and how you work. You can make the most of the transition back by prioritizing tasks and activities that were difficult or impossible to complete remotely. These things include face-to-face meetings or catching up with coworkers over lunch — interactions that will also help you get back into the social rhythm of the office.

If you are dreading your commute, try to find ways to use that time constructively. Learn something–whether professional or personal. Get a head start on emails so you can relax and enjoy your coffee when you sit down at your desk.

And what about when you get home in the evening? It is important to know when to put the laptop away and turn off notifications. Returning to the office is an excellent opportunity to recover some of the work-life balance that may have been lost during your time working remotely.

Conclusion

Despite remote work being relatively young when compared to the amount of time we have spent working in offices, two years away from that routine still necessitates some readjusting. You might not expect it, but there will likely be a learning curve as you transition back into the traditional corporate world. Keep the above considerations and recommendations in mind and make your return to office life as seamless and painless as possible. 

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/how-to-survive-the-corporate-world-after-going-remote/

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