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.

How To Handle Working From Home

How To Handle Working From Home

How To Handle Working From Home

Even before 2020 brought us a global pandemic that changed everything, an increasing amount of people and businesses were embracing remote work.

After all, there are many positives to working remotely. Working from home provides flexibility, can help improve productivity and provide a healthy work-life balance.

But it’s not all sitting around in your pyjamas tapping away on your laptop! Remote work brings a host of challenges. This is particularly true if businesses have needed to pivot rapidly to adjust to new restrictions.

Whether you are a remote working pro or new to this whole work from home gig, we’re here to provide insight on the benefits and challenges of working from home remotely, plus give you some tips on how to stay productive and help your team adapt.

The Benefits Of Remote Working

For employees, the benefits are numerous. No more jumping out of bed and skipping breakfast to sit in traffic every day. Life is just better when you have a little extra time. Instead of arriving at work frazzled, you can sit down fully-fed and raring to go!

Stress levels tend to be lower as the work-life balance improves. You have more control over your work environment and can make it as pristine or messy as you like. There’s the option to work outside your “office” set up in cafes or co-working spaces (or during times of restrictions, your deck or backyard!). And best of all, your schedule can work around your lifestyle.

Employers get benefits too, such as improved employee retention, access to a wider pool of applicants when hiring, lower costs in office space, and increased employee productivity and performance, according to a range of studies.

Things To Be Aware Of

It’s not all roses and rainbows, particularly for those not used to the remote work lifestyle.

If you are a people person, working out of the office environment can be a little lonely. More effort is often needed to build a sense of community, camaraderie and engagement. The lack of interaction and human connection can be difficult for some people.

Not to mention, there are a ton of distractions at home to contend with. For those that are not used to it, there’s likely to be an adjustment period needed. You may find you aren’t that productive for the first week or two, until you find your groove.

How To Stay Productive When Working From Home

It can be very tempting to be distracted by the fridge, the couch or the call of Netflix when you are working from home. But they are all going to impact your productivity. Stay on task by following these guidelines …

  • Set up a space. Yes, it’s tempting to work from bed, but this is a no-no. Set up a dedicated workspace – whether it’s a dedicated desk space in your spare room, a stand-up kitchen bench or a corner of the dining table or bedroom.
  • Get dressed! At least, change out of your night PJs into your day PJs!
  • Set a schedule and stick to it
  • Eliminate distractions: use apps to block social media for set periods, and do not watch “just one episode” on Netflix!
  • Take regular breaks, get some fresh air, and clock off at the end of the day – don’t be tempted to work all day every day.
  • Have allocated work time. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to follow the 9 to 5 grind. If you are an early riser, then get in a couple of hours before your household wakes up. Likewise, if you are a night owl, maximise those hours too.
  • As well as that allocated work time, have allocated family or rest time too. That way, you will have a nice balance to fill your week.
  • Have a list of three tasks that you must complete each day. This will keep you progressing on the most important things on your To Do List.

How To Manage Remote Workers Effectively

Managing a team remotely is not the same as managing one in the office. You can’t pop your head into someone’s office or drop by their desk for a quick chat.

But, it is possible to still manage them remotely…

  • Provide clear expectations for communication. Do you prefer staff to email, text, or chat? Will you communicate with the wider team through video calling or mix it up and also use online tools like Slack or Trello? How should they connect with others when something is urgent? Clarify these guidelines for everyone from the outset.
  • Keep up the one-on-ones. Group video calls are great to maintain team cohesion, but ensure you schedule regular one-on-one chats with each employee.
  • Use multiple channels to communicate. Tools such as Zoom, Slack, Trello, Google Suite, Facebook Teams and more are great for planning, delegating, and keeping in touch.
  • Trust your team. Keep in touch and be available, but avoid micro-managing. Using some of the above collaboration tools will help you keep tabs on the work being done without becoming overbearing.
  • Proactively facilitate socialising. Arrange after work video drinks, breakfast catch ups, or allow extra time at the beginning or end of group video chats to catch up and bond.

While there are many benefits to working from home remotely, it can be challenging if it is thrust on you without warning. This is the case for many of us in the current situation.

An important thing to remember is to stay in touch with your experts throughout this period (and beyond!). Even though this new working situation is uncharted territory for many businesses, you still need to ensure you are adhering to process and legalities.

If you have any questions, queries or concerns about how to provide the best environment for your people during these times, then get in touch with the Spice Gals. We are operating from home during the Level 4 lockdown period and are more than happy to help you navigate these uncertain waters.

How Is HR Different Today Than It Was In 2010?

How Is HR Different Today Than It Was In 2010?

How Is HR Different Today Than It Was In 2010?

Let’s ponder this: How is HR different today than it was a mere ten years ago. Even though it feels like the blink of an eye for many of us!

We have seen the meteoric rise of social media and the rapid advancement of technology. The millennials are well and truly grown up, and Generation Z is entering the workforce hot on their heels.

The way in which businesses manage and interact with their employees has had to transform to keep pace with this new culture. HR still deals with people, but the fundamental values and trends have evolved.

Let’s look into the key differences in how the approach to HR has changed in the last ten years.

A More Individual Focus

A decade ago, employee benefits tended to be “one-size-fits-all,”.  But, this has given way to a more individualised and flexible style today.

Not every employee wants or needs the same perk: while one person might value daycare facilities and family health insurance, another might prefer a remote work schedule or training and development incentives.

Employers know they need to understand individual employees’ needs if they want to earn their loyalty. So, they offer a more individualised approach to employee incentives.

More Informal Performance Reviews And Feedback

Performance reviews used to be a massive task that no one enjoyed. And they weren’t overly effective.

Thankfully, the annual, formal (and let’s face it, often tedious) performance review process is fading into obscurity. To replace it, companies are using a more flexible, frequent, and casual approach that values timely and useful performance-based conversations.

This allows both employer and employee to have open lines of communication, giving credit when it is due and addressing any issues as they arise – not 11 months down the track when they are no longer relevant!

The Rise Of The Gig Economy

In the days of the Boomer, the best way to get ahead in life was to stick with one company and work your way up the career ladder. You will see this less and less in the following generations. It is thanks, largely, to the rise of the gig economy.

Few people stay in one organisation for decades, and many even change fields several times throughout their working lives. Different experiences are more valuable to millennials than staying in one place for years.

HR has responded by providing remote positions or flexible work schedules – a trend that will only increase in the coming decade. To encourage employees to stick around longer rather than seeking new experiences elsewhere, businesses are providing purpose, variety, and growth opportunities within the existing job roles.

The Evolution Of “Culture Fit”

In the early 2010s, the buzz was all about culture fit: namely, how well an individual would slot into the company’s culture. There is less of an emphasis on this now. Businesses are more interested in a general alignment of values and intention.

It’s more about how a candidate can enhance a culture, rather than how they can fall in line with it.

A Focus On Employee Experience

Employee wellbeing is much more valued than it was ten years ago. Workplace wellbeing and employee wellness have a significant impact on productivity and profitability, which most organisations now recognise.

As technology makes it easier for us to communicate and work from anywhere, the lines between work and home have become increasingly blurred. This can lead to overwork, overwhelm and stress. Today’s HR departments acknowledge this transition and encourage work-life balance in a variety of ways.

Employee engagement is prioritised, and HR strives to ensure that employees have a positive experience within the company – from the onboarding process onwards.

In such a fast-paced world, it can be hard to keep up, particularly as technology advances in leaps and bounds. “Bots” can replace people, and AI can facilitate work processes, but there is still a need for compassion, adaptability, and understanding in the modern workforce. This is obviously an area where Human Resources can continue to shine.

If you want to shine a light on your practices and move with the current HR trends, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR.

Is There Such A Thing As Work Life Balance?

Work life balance is a concept that has been doing the rounds for decades. But as we all know, it’s easier said than done.

Advances in technology mean we are online and available 24/7. This often blurs the lines between work time and downtime. Plus, it’s really hard to shake off the “work harder and longer than everyone else” mentality of the baby boomer generation.

In spite of this, creating a work environment that supports and encourages work life balance is essential for keeping your employees – and your business – healthy.

Read on to find out why this balance is so important, and to get some ideas on how to achieve it for you and your team.

Is There Such A Thing As Work Life Balance?

Healthy Employees = Healthy Business

The people on your team need to be mentally and physically well to perform at their optimum level.

Overworked people are stressed, and stress can lead to a vast array of health issues. These can be both mental and physical. You are likely to see more absenteeism, lower morale – and overall, a drop in productivity and retention.

On the contrary, people who feel that health and wellness inside AND outside of work are not only supported but encouraged, come to work refreshed and engaged. They will be more loyal to your business because they feel understood and valued, becoming loyal brand ambassadors.

Enable Flexibility

Work life balance looks different for every individual. For some, it means being able to start or finish work at different times or work remotely. For others, it’s paid time off instead of traditional, segmented leave. For many, it’s merely being able to switch off once they have clocked out.

Creating a flexible work environment that caters to the widely varied needs of your team is critical. If your employees spend all their “life” time running around doing their off-work chores instead of truly relaxing, they are going to find it hard to focus on the job.

Enabling some flexibility during the workday to pop out for an appointment, make a phone call, or take care of their health can make a world of difference.

Foster Workplace Wellbeing

Balance isn’t just about giving people enough time away from work. It is equally important to make the workplace a positive place to be. Flexible hours and plenty of time off means nothing if your employees dread coming to work or head home feeling completely burned out every day.

Taking steps to build holistic wellbeing in the workplace will pay off in the long run. When looking at ways to improve your workplace wellbeing, remember to look to encompass the five essential elements of wellbeing – career, community, financial, physical and social. You will attract and retain top talent, and improve the bottom line of your business.

Here are some wellness in the workplace examples to consider:

  • Career pathways and opportunities – discussions and planning
  • Workplace massage
  • Healthy snacks
  • Team exercise initiatives or gym membership discounts
  • Free sessions on financial literacy
  • Quiet areas in the office for de-stressing
  • Workshops and training relevant to your team
  • Organised group activities to give back to your community
  • Social downtime as a team

Model Balance At All Levels

Make sure that managers walk the walk and lead by example!

It’s all very well for the message to filter down through the ranks that it’s okay for people to leave on time, not reply to emails after hours, and take their leave each year, but if CEO’s and managers are modelling the opposite (overworking) behaviour, THAT is the message that people will heed.

Instead of working yourself to the bone, implement good practices of delegation. Also, boost your productivity time by switching off your phone and having focused work time without interruption. If you can make the most of your hours at work, then tasks won’t have to creep over into your home life.

Looking to get better work life balance at your workplace? Then get in touch with the Spice Gals. We can help you implement great practices for the whole team so that everyone has the opportunity to strike the balance they need between work and downtime.