How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter

Winter wellness – it’s all about rugging up warm, getting that flu jab and staying home from work if you’re unwell, right? Well, that’s part of it.

But have you thought about how you’ll care for the mental wellness of your team this winter – particularly at work?

Deadlines, demanding customers, COVID-19 worries, long hours, remote working – the list of things that can knock our wellbeing at work is endless. And the long, grey winter months can make it all feel so much worse. But improving our mental wellbeing is priceless.

So, how can you ensure you are being an ethical leader and creating an environment of winter workplace wellness? Read on to find out.

How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter

Why Workplace Wellness?

Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand. There’s evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. According to WorkSafe NZ, focusing on mental health in the workplace is essential because:

  1. It’s good for business. When people are happy in their environment, they are more productive, take less sick leave, and are more likely to remain in their jobs for longer.
  2. It’s a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act (which is as much about mental health as physical health!)
  3. It’s a moral and ethical obligation for all of us to do the right thing by one another.

Workplace wellness creates a better working environment for everyone, so it becomes a pleasure to be at work despite the dreary weather outside!

Navigating The Winter Blues

The winter blues are a well-known phenomenon. They are most heavily felt throughout the workplace. As the temperature drops and the weather worsens, it is harder to get those sunlight hours that our bodies desperately crave.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that your team may be feeling those winter blues and have a plan to combat their impact as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to regularly check in with your team – individually and in a group setting.

Encourage open lines of communication so that your team can discuss issues or problems they are facing, have constructive conversations so that they can build resilience, and develop perseverance.

A Guide To Improving Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

Here at Spice HR, we believe that good mental wellbeing at work is crucial, which is why we support the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by New Zealand’s Mental Health Foundation.

Whilst these are general principles, they can be practically applied in the workplace. Here are the five areas your team should focus on for great workplace wellness this winter:

  1. Connect

Listen and talk, be present, feel connected. Speak up when you need to, and listen to others. Keep the communication lines open by encouraging discussion

2. Give

Give your time, knowledge, and presence – an essential part of connecting!

3. Take notice

Recognise the good things that your team are doing and the things that spark their creativity and joy. Even the little things count. Appreciate them!

4. Keep Learning

Embrace new experiences, see development opportunities, and provide ongoing learning experiences for your team members.

5. Be Active

Encourage your team to keep active throughout the day even if their role requires them to be at a desk. Do what you can, help them enjoy what they do, and don’t forget to move your mood and your body! Just move – no matter how you do it!

Here at Spice HR, we think that number 1 is particularly crucial: Connect. Many struggling with mental wellbeing try to hide their feelings, afraid of other people’s responses. If you create workplace cultures where people can be themselves, they will speak more freely about mental health concerns and reach out for help when needed. It all comes down to open lines of communication.

Are You An Ethical Leader?

Part of supporting good mental health in the winter workplace is ensuring you behave like an ethical leader. That means taking the time to build a healthy workplace environment for all of your team members.

Ethical leaders tend to choose people over financial reward. While economic growth is essential for many businesses, you will struggle to achieve your goals if you don’t have the buy-in of your people. That means balancing your decision-making to ensure you are doing the right thing by your employees and doing what is best for the business.

There are plenty of ways you can do this. But ultimately, it comes down to creating an environment in which people want to work. An environment that embraces excellent communication. One where people’s opinions and ideas are respected, management show transparency and shares information, and staff feel heard.

Ensuring your team leaders and management have a sense of empathy is vital to supporting their staff appropriately.

Ready To Spice Up Your Workplace Wellness?

Achieving great workplace wellness can be challenging at any time of the year, yet that challenge increases significantly during the winter months.

Need more guidance to improve mental wellbeing in your workplace? Reach out to the Spice Gals!

Spice HR support small and medium businesses who need help getting HR frameworks in place – and we love helping businesses boost staff wellbeing.

So: stop right now, thank you very much – and drop us a line!

The Importance Of End Of Year Workplace Celebrations (Even This Year!)

Release the virtual balloons, pop the champagne (or cider), and get the chips and dip ready to roll. The year is rapidly coming to an end, and believe it or not, there are many reasons to celebrate!

Workplace celebrations are important at any time, but after surviving another year of uncertainty and stress, it’s even more important to recognise the wins for your business – big and small.

We know you probably just want to get this year over with and move on to brighter times, but before you write 2021 off completely, take a moment to recognise your fantastic team.

Let’s chat about why workplace celebrations are so valuable to you and your team at the end of the year.

The Importance Of End Of Year Workplace Celebrations (Even This Year!)

The Value Of Workplace Celebrations

Teams that celebrate together thrive together – truly! While it’s important to celebrate success throughout the year, the end of the year is the perfect time to bring everyone together and look at what you and your team have achieved over the last 12 months.

Here’s how workplace celebrations benefit your business:

  • They motivate – recognition is an organic motivator that inspires people to continue being successful.
  • They unify and reinforce company culture and values – celebrations have a way of bringing people together, particularly if they follow times of challenge.
  • They build momentum – recognising the small goals provides momentum to carry on and achieve the bigger goals.
  • They boost positivity – it’s easy to get caught up in everything that’s going wrong and forget about what’s going right. Workplace celebrations shift the focus back onto the good things.
  • They reward – recognition and reward are essential to keep your team engaged and motivated. The end of year celebrations are a lovely reward for hard work after a year of trials and tribulations.
  • They encourage team bonding – it’s been a year of distancing, which can be hard when working in a team. Coming back together (even virtually) helps rebuild those bonds.
  • They provide a timeout – after a tough year, your team need space to breathe and step back from work mode so they can start the new year fresh. A workplace celebration is a great way to farewell the old and welcome the new.

What Should You Celebrate?

Feel like this year didn’t bring much worth celebrating? Think again! Even if your business has faced challenges in the last 12 months and couldn’t thrive as well as you’d like, there are plenty of things to celebrate.

Success doesn’t always have to be about reaching a goal. It can be about the process, too.

Love the way your team supported one another during turbulent times? Celebrate that!

Proud of how people pivoted to different work conditions? Celebrate their adaptability!

Did someone come up with a great way to bring in revenue even during lockdown or connect with customers even when your doors were closed? Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!

 

Safely Celebrating With Your Team

Just like many things this year, Christmas workplace celebrations may look a little different for your team. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still be happen!

Even as we enter the Traffic Light system, it’s crucial to plan your holiday festivities to be safe, and have a backup plan in place just in case things escalate before your team party rolls around!

Depending on where you are, you may be able to meet outdoors for a meal, or you might have to take the happy hour drinks online.

Whatever you do, make sure your entire team are considered, and make it casual and simple, because we’ve all had enough stress this year to last the next decade!

Think virtual happy hour, a socially distanced scavenger hunt, a game night, or virtual escape rooms. Most importantly, allow people time to connect, laugh, and reflect on the year’s successes because that’s what it’s all about.

 

Spare A Thought For The Coming Months

Nobody likes a Debbie downer, but as much as we need to let loose and celebrate, it’s also important to look ahead to what’s coming next.

As we prepare to wind down for the holidays, we also enter the next COVID framework Traffic Light phase , so it’s vital to be prepared to hit the ground running in January 2022.

The government recently announced new support for businesses transitioning into the new framework. This includes some fantastic packages around business advice and mental health support.

For many businesses, this is the light at the end of a very long tunnel. We now have a pathway out of lockdown; things are looking up, and that’s definitely worth celebrating.

Of course, new pathways bring changes. If you need help exploring what those changes look like for your people, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR. People are our speciality and we would love to help your business make easy transitions that don’t interrupt your team culture.

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

 Rollercoasters can be a lot of fun, but imagine if you were forced to ride one when you weren’t really in the mood for excitement.

You’d probably be more stressed than excited, but you’d tolerate it, dust yourself off and move on.

But what if someone forced you onto that rollercoaster again and again, never giving you time to prepare and never telling you how many times you’d have to go around the loop-de-loop before you were allowed to disembark.

Even a resilient lover of thrill rides would tire of that vicious cycle, becoming worn out, anxious, and just plain over it.

That’s where we’re at, folks. We’ve been riding the COVID rollercoaster for nearly two years. And even though New Zealand had a pretty decent break, we find ourselves thrust back onto the ride, whether we like it or not.

So, what can we do?

How To Find The Elusive Work Life Balance

Prioritising What’s Important

Uncertainty takes a toll on our ability to work, parent or even just do what needs to be done around the home. That’s why mental wellbeing is more essential now than ever – and finding work life balance plays a significant role in our mental health.

Let’s talk about why it’s so important to switch off from work and how to separate home and work life.

We’ll also share some valuable mental wellbeing resources to help you and your team survive the COVID rollercoaster together.

Climb aboard and buckle up!

Why Finding The Work Life Balance Is More Important Than Ever

If your resilience and tolerance are wearing thin (or long gone), it’s understandable. The uncertainty of being in and out of lockdown, working from home, parenting from home, and living under social restrictions is stressful for everyone.

Work life balance has been a hot topic for years, but in the current pandemic climate, it’s a lot more complicated than it once was.

The lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. While that’s particularly true for those working from home, it’s still relevant for essential workers who need to leave the house.

Partners or flatmates may be working from home, changing the home environment completely, and if you have kids, the juggle struggle is real, regardless of whether you work from home or not.

On top of all this, we’re trying to cope with worries and fears about illness, sick friends and family, and an uncertain future – both personally and professionally.

That’s an awful lot to deal with.

The Mental Wellness Discussion

With everything that is currently going on, mental wellness has become a crucial conversation.

If we don’t prioritise work life balance and take care of our mental health, we’ll find it hard to cope with any aspect of life.

The ongoing stress can result in unproductivity, loss of motivation, depression, and anxiety. And if we don’t find ways to mitigate the demands of work and home, we’re likely to experience that stress physically, too, with fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, and long-term health issues.

Not only do we need to take responsibility for our own mental health, but we need to support those around us too – our friends, family, colleagues and employees.

It may have been said so much that it’s become something of a cheesy cliché, but we are all in this together!

How To Separate Home And Work When Working From Home

How’s the productivity going now that you’ve been working from home for a while? Should be a piece of cake, right? Do you have your routine sorted? Do you knock off on time every day? Are you more productive than ever?

If the answer is yes, then virtual high five for you – you’ve nailed the demands of WFH.

But for so many workers, the struggle continues. Working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it can be hard to separate home and work.

If that’s you, here are some tips to help you regain that work life balance.

Stick to a morning routine

Resist the temptation to get straight on the laptop to start work the minute you wake up. Try to stick to the same kind of routine you had before COVID. Maybe you’re a morning person and used to exercise and shower before heading to work. Or perhaps you grabbed a coffee at the gas station and sat in traffic every day.

Either way, create some kind of routine to separate your home life from your work life. Get up, get ready, walk around the block, then arrive in the “office” and get to work.

Create a dedicated workspace

If possible, devote an area of your home to your workspace. Resist working from the bed or couch – it’s too distracting (and horrendous for your back!). If you have a separate room to work in, fantastic! Set that area aside and only use it for work.

If not, make do with what you have, but make it your designated work area. You may have to work at the dining room table, but choose a special chair or cushion, and only use that for work and nothing else.

Leave the Office at the End of the Day

Create an end of work routine to separate your workday from home. Don’t sit and browse your laptop once you are finished. Instead, get up and leave – even if it’s just to walk around the garden!

Establish boundaries – and stick to them

Make sure you, your manager, your colleagues (or clients) are clear on your work hours. Agree that work emails or phone calls only happen between those times, and resist the temptation to fire off a “quick” email outside of those hours.

Don’t forget to set boundaries with your family or housemates too. Let them know that when you’re working, that’s work time, and you’re not available for chores or chats. The best way to get the time you need is to communicate that you need it.

Take breaks

Schedule a lunch break and stick to it. Don’t spend that lunch break on your computer – step away! Go outside and take some deep breaths, grab a book to read while you eat, or chat with the family. Take regular breaks away from your workspace during the day, too.

Ask your employer for support

If you’re struggling to cope, be open with your employer. The best organisations will have strategies to address health and wellness. Ask for resources to help you manage overwhelm.

Go easy on yourself

You know those people you see on social media who are nailing their careers, baking delicious meals, home schooling their kids and doing yoga every day? Forget about them.

Even if their posts accurately reflect their lives (and chances are, they don’t), you are not them. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. It’s ok just to cope. It’s ok if you’re not coping. Give yourself a break and focus on what you are achieving instead of what you’re not.

Take care of your physical health

Your physical health directly impacts your mental health, and vice versa. It’s important to prioritise habits and activities that improve both. That means finding time to exercise (even if it’s dancing around the house) and eat well.

Oh, and don’t forget to laugh! Find things that make you smile and forget about the rollercoaster for a while.

Health And Wellbeing Resources

Rather than you having to trawl the internet for resources that might be helpful, we have compiled a handy list:

Mentemia

App and Website – Tried and tested tools to help promote and manage well being. Free for general use, but with tailored options available to businesses.

Mental Health Foundation

Practical wellbeing tips and advice based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Working Well Guide

Resources for workplace wellbeing.

Getting Through Together

A pool of resources, tips and inspirational stories focused on health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

Working Well

A guide to mental health in the workplace.

Staying on Track

A free e-therapy course teaching you practical coping strategies for the COVID rollercoaster.

Small Steps

Digitally-based tools to help you maintain mental wellness.

Whakatui Mai – The Wellbeing Sessions

Free virtual community events aimed at supporting well being in real-time.

A Mental Health Guide for New Zealand Leaders

Comprehensive document aimed at leaders and managers to help them support the mental wellbeing of their teams.

And, of course, if you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed or unsure of how you can support your team with creating a good work life balance, then get in touch with the Spice Gals today. We can help you create a plan that supports your team remotely or in-person.

How To Build Resilience In The Workplace

The last few years have been pretty brutal for everyone. Many people and businesses have experienced a lot of loss due to the pandemic, and the long-term stress continues to take a toll.

But have you noticed that some people seem to be able to bounce back more easily than others?

While some individuals may be struggling to cope, others are able to learn from what’s happened, grow from it, and persevere.

What does it take to do this? How do they manage so well? What do they have in their personal and professional lives that enables them to get right back up and carry on?

The answer is resilience. This quality helps people adapt when faced with adversity, conflict, and trauma.

Resilient employees are an enormous asset to any organisation, so building resilience in the workplace should be a top priority for leaders.

But what is resilience in the workplace and why is it really important? And how can leaders encourage resilience among their workers? Let’s answer those questions now.

How To Build Resilience In The Workplace

What Is Resilience

Resilience is an individual’s ability to respond to the stresses and demands of life. The dictionary definition talks about concepts such as flexibility, durability, strength, and speed of recovery.

Basically, resilience is the capacity to respond to adversity and challenge throughout all aspects of life.

So, where does resilience come from? Is it in our DNA, or can it be nurtured and grown?

Interestingly, it’s likely to be a little bit of both.

Although some people seem to inherently be more resilient, it is possible to cultivate and nurture this quality to help people not only cope, but even thrive through challenging times.

Resilience is cultivated through healthy habits and a positive mindset. There are many small yet effective ways to build your own – and help boost those around you.

The Benefits Of A Resilient Workforce

Resilience is the foundation for many desirable workplace qualities. It improves general wellbeing, helps people be more flexible and adaptable to fast-paced environments or changing circumstances, and aids in effective communication.

Research has shown that resilience can help businesses stay competitive and profitable even during times of uncertainty.

Resilient workers contribute enormously to a positive workplace culture. They are more likely to be engaged, productive and innovative, even in high-pressure situations, and less likely to succumb to burnout.

Building Resilience In The Workplace – Where To Start

Leaders have a unique struggle on their hands. They need to somehow find a balance between striving for financial performance while addressing the mental wellbeing of their team.

One of the best ways to do this is by encouraging resilience in your workers. Here are some of the most effective methods for building resilience in the workplace.

Become a resilient leader

Your own resiliency impacts the way you lead, which trickles down to affect those who work with you. Use these tips to develop personal resilience:

  • Take steps to manage your own mental and physical wellbeing
  • Work on reframing threats as challenges
  • Pay attention to your thoughts and behaviours and work on cultivating a growth mindset
  • Create (and lean on) a social support network
  • Build mindfulness and self-awareness

Support the wellbeing of your workers

Emotional wellbeing is the foundation of resilience. We all cope better when we are well-rested, healthy, and have a manageable work-life balance. Consider implementing measures that support workplace wellbeing, such as flexible work arrangements.

Foster positive work relationships

Social interaction and support are essential in building resilience. Ensure you provide your employees with the chance to bond and socialise, even if you have remote workers. This can be through organised activities within the workplace, events held outside of working hours, or simply encouraging your team to connect with each other on a social level.

Don’t neglect performance and development

Self-reflection helps cultivate resilience. Don’t let challenging times derail your performance reviews. Your people still need feedback on how they are doing and the opportunity to reflect on their challenges and successes. Make sure you provide this in a formal review setting, but also on a regular, more casual basis.

Focus on the future

As part of your performance reviews, you should be helping your employees effectively set realistic, achievable, relevant goals. The right goals can motivate people and help them focus their energy on what’s ahead of them, instead of dwelling on what’s behind them. It also helps them to look beyond the current adversity to a time that may be calmer.

Provide resources

Even the most resilient people can struggle with tough times. Our resilience changes from day to day, and sometimes we may need support to manage. Ensure your workers have access to resources to help them cope, such as employee assistance programs, stress management coaching programs, or similar initiatives.

When you are the one who is expected to lead, sometimes it can be difficult to always demonstrate resilience. So, it can be helpful to call in the experts to assist.

If you want to build resilience in your workplace (and yourself), then reach out to us here at Spice HR. We help businesses tackle the tough times so they can be ready to capitalise on the good.

Let’s Talk Mental Wellness at Work

Mental wellness at work

How are you doing out there, Spicey people?

It’s been quite the ride in the last 18 months. Although it may feel like we are over the worst of the loop-de-loops, there’s still a way to go yet. We need to stay buckled in for a bit longer.

But it’s important to acknowledge that some of us are exhausted. The constant uncertainty, disruption and worry of the last year has taken its toll.

On top of that, the gloomy winter months are upon us, which can impact your mind set. You may feel like it is harder to be motivated and the dreary weather can even worsen feelings of depression or anxiety.

As employers and managers, it’s vital to have a handle on how your people are coping. Supporting your employees’ mental wellbeing is not just good for business; it’s part of your responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

This month, we are coming together to discuss mental wellbeing at work. We want to help empower you to take care of yourself and your people. So, let’s talk mental wellness at work.

Let’s Talk Mental Wellness at Work

Be Mindful of Change

Change is hard to navigate for most of us, and there has been a ton of it over the last year – most of it out of our control.

Bear this in mind when planning ahead in your business. Remember that people are worn out from adapting and adjusting to change. If you want to make changes in your business, try to introduce them gradually, not all at the same time.

Involve your employees in decisions where possible, and ensure you have a solid plan of how to communicate the changes to your team. Which brings us to the next point…

Prioritise Effective Communication

Stress often occurs when people don’t know what’s going to happen, and there’s been a lot of that going on lately! To help your staff fret less about the future, keep them well-informed about the present.

Be as transparent as possible, do your best to let people know what’s coming up and what they will need to do.

Make mental health a common talking point within your organisation. Discuss emotional wellbeing often and ensure all your employees are aware of the support and resources available to them.

Encourage Empathy Among Your Leaders

Empathy is a vital component of effective communication, particularly with regards to mental health. Empower your managers to be genuinely empathetic when communicating with employees. That means being a caring and effective listener while providing any support that the team needs.

Create Opportunities to Connect

Having a supportive, positive workplace culture can make all the difference for your employees. Encourage initiatives that nurture connection – something that may require more effort if some or all of your team members work remotely.

Organise real or virtual social events, set up group message boards, or use apps to keep your people connected. Check in regularly with them one-on-one to find out how they’re doing, too.

Create A Safe, Supportive Work Environment

Make your workplace a safe place for people to be, and encourage open and honest discussions around mental health.

This means zero tolerance of bullying or discrimination, creating a sense of value and purpose for employees, and actively working to improve work relationships at all levels.

Ensure there are mental health resources available for those who need them, such as employee assistance programs.

Build Awareness and Understanding

The more you learn about mental wellbeing, the better equipped you are to develop practises and techniques to keep yourself healthy and support your team.

Thankfully, the topic of mental health is being discussed more openly, and there are plenty of ways to broaden your understanding.

Jacqui Maguire is one of New Zealand’s most well-known mental health thought leaders. She’s a fantastic person to follow on social media for insight and practical tips. She also hosts a thought-provoking podcast called Mind Brew. Focused on mental health and wellbeing, this series is well worth tuning into.

Actively Support Positive Mental Wellness at Work

Make sure you walk the walk when it comes to mental wellbeing. There are loads of initiatives that you could implement to support mental health, such as:

  • Flexible work policies
  • Bring a pet to work days
  • Group exercise opportunities/classes
  • Mindfulness programs
  • Healthy food options at work or work functions
  • Standing desks
  • Workplace massage
  • Stress management education
  • Encourage staff to take mental health days when needed

Make Use of Your Resources

So many fantastic, experienced organisations have put a lot of work into mental wellness, producing tons of valuable resources to browse through online.

New Zealand’s own Mental Health Foundation has created one such resource. It outlines the Five Ways to Wellbeing – a collection of actions to support people in difficult times. Here’s a summary of their advice, which can be applied to individuals, families, communities, and organisations.

  1. Connect

Relationships and positive social interactions are vital for building a sense of connection and security.

  1. Give

Research has proven that kindness – to ourselves and others – can boost feelings of contentment and happiness. Sharing skills, resources, and our time with those around us can promote mental wellbeing.

  1. Take notice

Anxiety, stress and depression are often closely tied to our thoughts and worries about the future. Paying attention to the present moment and observing our thoughts and feelings can help.

  1. Keep learning

Having goals for the future, working towards something positive, and embracing new experiences are all essential for us to thrive.

  1. Be active

Physical activity is scientifically proven to reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Movement is a vital part of mental wellbeing.

We highly recommend downloading this comprehensive COVID-19 Workplaces Resources PDF from the Mental Health Foundation that discusses how to manage the challenges of COVID-19 in the workplace with a strong focus on mental wellbeing.

All Right is a website packed full of useful information, insights and tips that apply to the workplace.

Worksafe NZ is another excellent hub with a comprehensive list of resources related to stress, wellbeing, work, and the coronavirus.

And of course, we Spice Gals are ready to step in to provide any HR support that your organisation might require. So, reach out to us today if you have any queries regarding the all important topic of mental wellness at work.

What The “New Normal” Means For The Wellbeing Of Your Team

Wellbeing in New Normal

With everything that’s happened in the last year, it’s safe to say that wellbeing, life – and work – as we know it has changed. Every month that passes shows us how unlikely it is that things will return to exactly the way they were.

Business looks different, work-life looks different, and these changes aren’t so temporary anymore. That means it’s time to progress out of survival mode and into thrive mode.

Organisations need to look at workplace trends and think seriously about where they should be investing their time and energy. We need to think about staff wellbeing in the context of the “new normal”, how we can retain a cohesive team environment in these times of change and uncertainty, and how to prepare for the “next normal”, whatever that may be.

We know it can be overwhelming, but keep reading for some guidance on where and how you might want to start focusing your attention.

Workplace Trends Post-COVID-19

We know the pandemic is still here, but the immediate shock of it is passing. Businesses and individuals have begun to accept how things have changed, and we have all had some time to sit down, breathe, and take stock of how much has happened in the past year.

So, what’s next?

Time to review how well your team and organisation have adapted to physical distancing/remote working, and look at the trends for 2021 and beyond. Here’s an overview.

Remote working has increased

Well, duh! Yes, clearly, any organisation with the capability to implement remote work has done so.

But what’s interesting to note is that many will continue to explore and experiment with hybrid work/remote work even once the pandemic is under control. The “office” as we knew it will probably never be quite the same again.

Increased data collection

More employers are making use of technology to monitor their employees. Everything from productivity and engagement to wellbeing and employee experience is being tracked and analysed to create safe, productive, and innovative workplaces.

Increase of contingent workers

Many organisations are reducing the number of full-time employees and hiring contingent (freelance/gig) workers instead. This allows them flexibility and helps save costs but may lead to confusion around performance management as well as a loss of team cohesion.

Emphasis on the employer’s role in wellbeing

The pandemic has seen employers playing a vital role in the health and wellbeing of their employees. The emphasis has been on the ability of businesses to provide sick leave, financial assistance, flexible hours, and support for the wider community.

A move from efficiency to resilience

Pre-pandemic, the big focus was on efficiency. Now, the emphasis is more on building resilience in processes and organisations. Systems must be responsive and flexible to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Employees must be adaptable and have diverse, cross-functional roles that can navigate change.

What Thinking Do We Need To Alter?

The trends reflect the changes that most organisations have experienced. That is a move away from traditional workspaces and systems, and an increasing emphasis on strong, resilient, flexible teams and processes.

This is a defining time for all of us: how we respond to the trials of the last year will impact the future. And while things have been challenging, this moment in time presents a range of opportunities for businesses.

  • Choose to be innovative. Strive for more resilient teams instead of trying to recreate what no longer works.
  • Embrace the possibilities provided by hybrid and remote work.
  • Introduce initiatives that bolster the wellbeing of your people.
  • Find new ways to create and control your corporate identity and employer brand post COVID-19.

 What Does Team Building Look Like Now?

When it comes to HR, one of your biggest challenges will be rethinking team building. With social distancing and hybrid work now par for the course, team bonding and culture development won’t happen quite so organically.

So, how can you provide spaces and opportunities for your team to bond away from the lunchroom and water cooler?

By behaving with intention and thinking outside the traditional office box.

Here are a few examples:

Host team huddles

Connect your entire team by having a regular online “huddle”. This could be for 15 minutes every morning to check-in and connect, or twice a week – whatever works for your organisation. This is not a formal meeting, but a time to chat, catch-up and check-in with one another.

Schedule virtual meet-ups

People need one-on-one time as well as group-bonding. One to one personal meetings are perfect for that. Facilitate online meet-ups for two people to chat and get to know each other better, or build on an existing established relationship.

Keep the game time going!

When our levels dictate that laser-tag or mini golf are a no-go, there are still plenty of games that can be played virtually by your team. Schedule some fun virtual activities that everyone can attend during a lockdown. Things like quizzes or online escape rooms are perfect.

Learn together

Successful teams learn new things together. Set up virtual workshops and webinars to promote professional development and facilitate online group learning.

Using Extended DISC To Get A More Informed Plan

A remote or hybrid team isn’t doomed when it comes to bonding or performance. In fact, research shows that remote teams can perform better than in-house teams if they are managed in the right way.

Extended DISC profiles can help managers understand the work style and personal preferences of their team members. They provide you with valuable insights into the best ways to manage individuals and bring them together.

You will learn how much support and contact each team member requires from you and what kind of work they respond well to.

If we have learned one thing from COVID-19, it’s the importance of a bonded, resilient team in navigating change. Challenges can bring people together or push them apart. The stronger your team is, the stronger your business is.

Regardless of what comes next, Spice HR is here to help you and your team navigate the new normal and prepare for what’s next. If you’d like advice or support about how to move forward, contact us for a chat today.

Let’s Talk! Who Is Spice HR?

Who Is Spice HR?

Let’s Talk! Who Is Spice HR?

In the vast, wonderful, and limitless world of the internet, it’s easy to forget that there are living, breathing, real people behind the blogs you read, the photos you double-tap, and the posts you like – and yes, even the dreaded comment section! As much as technology seems to dominate the world, humans are still the ones behind it all, and connecting human to human is the core of what Spice HR is all about.

So, what better way to start connecting than by having a chat and giving you a behind the veil glimpse of who we are and what we do!

So come on in, put your feet up, and get to know us – the Spice Gals.

Meet The Spice Gals

No, not the Spice Girls – we are the kiwi-based, business-focused HR version of the famous girl band. And while we might not be able to sing or dance quite as well as the famous five, we do know our stuff when it comes to managing people.

Our duo (featuring Nicole Griffiths and Nichola Gold) started with a power walk, believe it or not! On that fateful day, we talked about our talents and values and realised we both had very complementary skills in the HR world. We ducked into a coffee shop, and by the end of our first latte, we had crafted a plan for Spice HR.

A Facebook page was born, bookings began to come in, and our business began!

The Spice Philosophy

HR has a reputation for being dull and dreary – a tick the boxes, soulless kind of activity.

However, we are pretty much the opposite of what you think you know about HR! Yes, we are HR professionals with vast skillsets, but we are also authentic, spicy, and full of energy and enthusiasm for what we do.

We work closely with businesses to help them do the right thing for staff and improve staff performance. Of course, every organisation – and every individual – is unique, so we tailor our approach to partner with you on your specifics.

We go into a business, get to know the culture and the people, and make decisions around the things that work for them. We are there to back you up, to partner with you, and add the right blend of spice to your business.

Every successful business should be clear on their values, and Spice HR is no different. Our philosophy is literally in our name:

Service – tailored to your business needs.

People – the essential business ingredient

Ideas – we don’t do bland

Culture – no two spices are the same

Engagement – spice it up!

 

Our Passions

Human resources is a fascinating area to work in. It’s not just about forms, handbooks, and employment agreements (although paperwork is certainly a large part of what we do).

It’s about people.

How they work, how they think, and what they value. Nobody starts a new job with a bad attitude and zero engagement. Most of us are excited, eager to learn, and fully engaged. It’s what happens later that changes things!

Our passions revolve around the following areas:

Engagement And Retention

Staff engagement is one of the most undervalued areas of managing people. Engaged staff allow you to work on your business, not in your business. If your staff are ambivalent – or worse, disengaged – you are too busy putting out fires and doing the work they are not. It’s a huge time waster and not good for anyone!

There are so many ways to increase engagement, and they don’t have to cost money. Nothing is ever broken, and often, only a simple fix is needed. Nine times out of ten, it’s about communication, and ten times out of ten, we can help!

Training And Development

People love to feel as if they are progressing, upskilling, and growing in their jobs. Training and development is an enormous part of that, and an area that we love to explore.

For training to be effective, it must involve a behavioural change. We use professional tools and platforms that can transform your team.

Wellbeing

Remember, people want to go to work and be happy! If they are not, their wellbeing suffers, right along with your workplace culture and business overall. The health and wellbeing of your team is vital, and we have loads of ways for you to improve workplace wellbeing effectively and simply.

Providing Feedback

Giving timely, relevant and useful feedback is the key to all the above areas, but it doesn’t come easily for many managers. We can help you figure out the right way to provide feedback for your business and integrate it into your workplace culture.

Once you’ve got that part down, the engagement, development and wellbeing of your people will flow.

How Are You Doing?

So, that’s us, but no conversation is complete unless both parties have had a chance to speak.

So how are you doing?

How have you and your business navigated the COVID climate? Have you evolved and adapted and learned new skills, or are you still struggling to find your way through? Are your people engaged – are you engaged? What’s missing in your business?

As always, we’d love to hear how you are doing out there, and always welcome the chance for a chat to see if we can help you fine-tune, problem solve, or brainstorm a solution for what ails you.

Thanks for the talk, let’s do it again soon,

Nicole and Nichola – the Spice Gals.

Spread The Christmas Cheer With An Office Christmas Party

Spread The Christmas Cheer With An Office Christmas Party

Spread The Christmas Cheer With An Office Christmas Party

The good old office Christmas party has somehow earned a bad reputation over the years. They are often portrayed as painfully awkward events that people only attend for the promise of free food and drinks.

In reality, the workplace Christmas shindig is a priceless opportunity for businesses.

When done right, an end of year party can play a vital role in building team spirit and developing your workplace culture. And let’s face it, we all could use a little more fun and frivolity after the year we have had!

Read on to find out why it’s more important than ever to spread the Christmas cheer with an office party this year.

Is An Office Christmas Party Really That Important?

The answer to that question is yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!

But only when it’s done well! Most of your employees devote a third of their lives each year to helping your business succeed. While you should be acknowledging, thanking, and celebrating them year-round, a Christmas party in their honour is the icing on the cake.

It’s a powerful way to publicly recognise their hard work over the past 12 months and show how much you value them.

Teams that play well together tend to work well together. What better time and place to relax and bond as a team than the office Christmas party? Events like these bring everyone from all management levels and departments together, encouraging positive communication and camaraderie that can flow through into the next year.

Your Christmas festivities also reflect your workplace culture. Which company do you think becomes a coveted employer of choice – one that offers a fun-filled Christmas bash showcasing teamwork, support, and positivity, or one that skips the party and sends a formal thank you email from management on the last day of the year?

Christmas Parties In The Time Of COVID

You certainly don’t need to be reminded of the craziness that was (and still is!) 2020. Businesses have been heavily impacted. Many workplaces were transformed as people worked remotely, and the budgets took quite the knock.

Understandably, you might be wondering if it’s appropriate to celebrate 2020 at all or just write it off and move on.

Truthfully, your office Christmas party is more important than ever this year. Sure, you may have to do things a little differently due to restrictions, social distancing, and budget issues, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can be really adaptable when we need to!

Reconnecting As A Team

More than likely, your team have become disconnected via remote work and social distancing this year. The Christmas party is a way to bring them back together, rebuild those bonds, and let off some steam after a gruelling 12 months.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be an extravagant, high-budget affair if times are tough. You can create a fantastic environment on a smaller budget by adding personal touches and working within your company culture. If you are struggling for ideas, ask your staff what they would like to do, and see if they have any cost-saving suggestions to help make it happen.

Many people are sliding into the end of the year feeling exhausted, anxious, and unsure about the future. Help your team relax, smile, and go out on a high note by creating Christmas cheer that will last well into the New Year.

Staff morale probably took a huge knock in 2020. You might be feeling like your team are a little more disconnected than they used to be.

This is something that you can work towards improving in 2021. A positive team environment can mean all sorts of good things for your business. So, if you want to make sure 2021 starts on the right foot, get in touch with us here at Spice HR.

We have some effective tactics that you can implement to pull your team together and get ready for a great 2021 ahead. Reach out to us today for a chat about what that could look like in your business.

The Importance of Communicating With Your Team

Communicating with your team is the grease that keeps the wheels of your organisation moving. It’s the fuel that powers forward momentum. Heck, it’s even the essential spice that transforms a boring curry into a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Long story short – communication can make or break your team.

Get it right and you will have a fantastic workplace culture, vibing together like the Spice Girls at their peak. But get it wrong, and you’ll have… well, Spice Girls: The Later Years.  No one wants that kind of drama in their life!

But when the world throws you a spanner in the form of a crisis, the potential for drama increases.

Fortunately, effective communication and empathy can help you navigate the choppy waters of a crisis. Here are some pointers to help you in these uncertain times.

The Importance of Communicating With Your Team

Why Good Communication Is Important

Communication is the glue that holds many aspects of your team together when it is business as usual. But it becomes ten times more important when your company is dealing with a crisis.

A crisis often means elevated levels of stress and anxiety that can be felt throughout the entire business. People will generally have an intense focus on the here and now, rather than looking towards the future.

Because no one knows what is around the corner, employees will be looking for clarity and transparency from their manager. Clear and effective communication can help them to feel more at ease and allow them to make sense of the situation and feel more comfortable with how they fit into the workplace.

Your words and actions have the power to put your team at ease, rather than throwing them into a panic. Good, clear communication is especially important in these unsettling times.

Delivery Makes the Difference

No one saw a global pandemic coming. And just a few short months ago, it seemed like a distant issue confined to foreign shores. But, we are now living the situation ourselves. Your communication skills are firmly in the spotlight!

Your team may be fearful for their health, but also for their jobs. The way you are communicating can help calm the situation, even if you don’t have all of the answers yourself.

The key is transparency and empathy. Be upfront with the information that you do have (within confidentiality parameters of course) and deliver it with empathy. Be mindful that every decision that your business makes will impact your people in some way.

In an already stressful time, you need to gauge how things are delivered. Sometimes it will need to be in a formal and professional sense, but at other times, your style can be more friendly and open.

Don’t fall into the trap of discussing rumours and hearsay. Stick to the facts.

The Impact on Staff Morale

In many cases, a crisis situation can build a stronger leader. It can help you to gain even more support and respect from your team. Unfortunately, there is not a definitive handbook on how to handle a period of uncertainty.

But, what you can do is pause, take a deep breath and remain calm. Your energy can impact your staff members, so always keep that in mind. If you generate negative energy, then that will ripple throughout the team. Instead of panicking, try these things:

  • Give people up to date info as often as you have it available
  • Use simple, clear communication
  • Be honest and don’t be afraid to show your own vulnerability – everyone is human!
  • Encourage good team bonds for a greater support network
  • Establish a clear collective vision for the future and share it – after all, every crisis will end

How To Be A Good Communicator

Good communication is not just about talking a lot. One of the biggest parts of communication is being able to listen. If you take the time to listen to what your team are saying, and more importantly what they are not saying, then you can learn a lot.

It is also important to read the non-verbal cues that people are giving. Body language, eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice can provide an insight into how people are really feeling.

When you are communicating with your team, you want to be clear, concise and have a list of points to cover off so that there is no misunderstanding. Remember, that doesn’t mean you have to be super formal all the time. Be kind, speak with confidence and don’t be afraid to be human too!

Empathy and open-mindedness go a long way when communicating information. If you can model them in the workplace, then your team will have a great example to follow.

Communication can be tricky when there is a lot of uncertainty throughout the country. That is where having an independent HR support partner comes in handy. We have plenty of techniques and skills that you can use to encourage good communication at your place.

Get in touch with us today to get the communication flowing in the right way between your team members.

Managing Mental Wellbeing During Times of Uncertainty

How many times have you heard the word “unprecedented” in the last few months?

We’re guessing an unprecedented amount of times!

While everyone has experienced stress in some form or another during their lifetimes, the levels of uncertainty on both a global and personal basis are indeed unparalleled.

Life as we know it has changed, and there’s an undercurrent of stress bubbling through almost every aspect of life. As we transition through these changes, it’s vital to take care of our mental wellbeing as much as our physical.

This is how you can check in with yourself and your team in these uncertain times.

Mental Wellbeing During Times of Uncertainty

Stress and Productivity

To some degree, stress can be a useful motivational and productivity tool. If you are cramming for an exam or prepping for an interview, the short-term freak-out can give you the push to get things done! However, stress has a different effect on everyone, and chronic stress is not conducive to good mental or physical health.

Right now, we have stress coming at us from all areas of life: work, family, money, health, and the change of all our usual routines. Over time, these worries can interfere with sleep, digestion, immunity, and make us irritable, sad, angry, or just super anxious.

If you are pressuring yourself because you should be making the most of your “extra time,” by using this pandemic to catch up on tasks, trying to maintain business as usual, or even as a time to start a side-business, write a book, or become a yogi – it’s time to give yourself a break.

While being hyperproductive may work for a percentage of the population, it isn’t the case for everyone. It’s more than okay to just survive in the best way you know how.

How to Cope With Stress

Rule number one: cut yourself some slack! You don’t have to be the best remote worker, the best home-school teacher, the best cook, or the best anything! The world is going through an enormous shared trauma experience; there’s no right (or wrong) way to survive.

Having said that, there are a few ways that you can protect your mental wellbeing.

Exercise is scientifically proven to boost your mood and can help stave off depression and anxiety – as is time spent in the great outdoors. Whether you are still working from home or you’re back in your workplace under Alert Level 2, make time to move and feel the sunlight on your face every day.

Prioritise! Don’t let overwhelm cripple you. Instead, make a list of everything you need to do, prioritise the essentials, and let everything else go.

Your body needs to be reminded that it doesn’t have to remain in a state of stress for the duration of the pandemic. Take time out to do whatever calms you – meditate, breathe, jog, read, watch Netflix, dance around the living room to Spice Girls hits…

How To Help Your Team Build Resilience

Besides the fact that your business may have been thrust into working from home or adapting your operations, every employee has added stress and anxiety that are difficult to separate from their work-life for now.

It’s essential that you understand these pressures and support your team in building resilience as they (and you) transition through the levels.

Some people might be struggling with isolation and loneliness. Whereas others may be struggling with sending kids back to school, or afraid about returning to work safely. So everyone will need extra connection, reassurance and flexibility over the coming months.

Now is the time to check in with everybody more frequently. Do it via phone or video call, individually and as a team, to ensure that everyone feels connected and heard.

It is important that senior staff and managers role model resilience and healthy work practices in uncertain times. Communication must also be transparent and respectful during these times.

Perhaps the best piece of advice we can give is something we have heard from New Zealand’s very own management team time and time again over the last few months – be kind.

Are you worried about the mental wellbeing at your workplace? Then get in touch with us here at Spice HR today. We are experts in handling team morale during uncertain times.