Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? The theme this year is 'Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control'. Something we could each do with. At the start of the month, I posted 30 Day Challenge Resources provided by Stress Management Society. This featured lots of stress-busting hints and tips to help you re-connect, plus a fact sheet on The Impact of Workplace Stress
The last twelve months has seen a massive shift towards remote working across many industries. While the UK may be gradually moving towards a more normal situation, it is likely that working from home, or at the very least a hybrid arrangement, is going to remain a common feature of working life. Indeed, several large companies, such as BP and the Nationwide Building Society, have already signalled their intent to offer employees more flexibility in their roles in the future.
In a recent interview with McKinsey, Björn Annwall, lead of Volvo's business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), outlines the importance [to Volvo] of building the capabilities of all their people. He expressed the value of competency development and for companies to think through individual career planning and career pathing.
In the last of this series of blogs, I turn to exploring your career change options by focusing on your values, passions and goals. You will recall that these are the final three of the six suggested areas of self-assessment and reflection on your own career change:
I'm currently working with clients who, due to the impact of Covid-19, have recently been made redundant. It goes without saying that it's a difficult and worrying time for each of them.
Outside of world wars, there hasn't been another period that has seen such change, on a worldwide scale, in such a short time. In the space of a few short months, our personal and professional lives have been turned upside down. We've looked at some of the immediate repercussions for families, but the consequences for our careers could be very long lasting.
As restrictions begin to ease across the UK, you might be mistaken for thinking that things are getting back to normal. However, for many of us, both men and women, our personal and professional lives are going to look different from now on.
I heard a lady on the radio the other day use the example of being on a plane and how the safety talk always urges you to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. This is exactly what you should be doing right now. However much is on your plate, you cannot help others if you don't take care of yourself first.
These are unprecedented times. Almost overnight, many people have found their working and home lives suddenly turned upside down due to the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of workers have suddenly had to start working from home, with the added stress of losing their childcare overnight. Add in the worry caused by the very real threat of a global pandemic to our health, our lives and our livelihoods, and you've got a mix that can very easily lead to stress and anxiety.
For some time now the over 50s have been the driving force behind the growth in employment figures in the UK. In fact there are now more than 10 million people over the age of 50 in work, a record high. Similarly, we looked at the growing trend of older workers aged 70 and over in a previous blog. With an aging population and declining birth rate, this is only going to continue increasing, so is it time to completely rethink our attitude to retirement?
Last November, in a meeting with a client, we were discussing potential ideas and directions in which she could develop her career following a period of unemployment. During our meeting I had invited her to volunteer career ideas regardless of how achievable she felt they were at that moment. Hesitantly at first, she began talking about a career interest linked to a past personal experience. It was clear that this mattered to her and also clear that this might have been the only, or one of very few occasions, she had said the words aloud. I listened to her and then offered: 'well let's explore that further'. Almost immediately her eyes lit up and a broad smile broke across her face.
In my last blog, I suggested that the 'new year, new you' ideology might benefit marketers more than it will you and your career. Talking of marketing hype, I'm writing this on 20 January, aka 'Blue Monday' 2020. Usually the third Monday in January, Blue Monday has no science behind it, just a day dreamt up by the marketing department of Sky Travel. Read my recent post on this here.
As we start the New Year, a few moments spent on any social media platform will see you faced with suggestions on self-improvement all with the intention of enabling you to become the person you aspire to be; the person we all aspire to be apparently.
Over the next few weeks I'm focusing on what exactly it is that makes a great employer. It's one of the questions I get asked most and it's a key factor when considering a new employment opportunity. You could ask a hundred people who has been the best employer that they've ever worked for, and I know that there would be a few key characteristics that come up time and time again. We're going to explore a few of these and discuss why they are so important.
Balancing a career with parental responsibilities is a difficult juggling act that many people struggle with. Campaigns such as Pregnant then Screwed and Flex Appeal are leading the way in calling for better rights and more flexible working opportunities for working parents and those with caring responsibilities, but there is a long way to go.
We've discussed flexibility a lot recently, and it's certainly a hot topic. For employees with families, caring responsibilities, health issues, or for those who simply want a better work life balance, a flexible working arrangement can make all the difference. In the most extreme cases it means that people may be able to stay in employment when they otherwise wouldn't, while also improving staff retention, engagement and wellbeing. A permanent and formal flexible working arrangement is one way to achieve this, but it doesn't always have to get this far.
There have been many conversations recently about the importance of taking care of our mental health, particularly at work where workplace stress has become a prominent problem across the UK. Many discussions have taken place around offering greater flexibility and improving our work life balance, but this often aimed at women, who undoubtedly face many issues balancing their careers and family responsibilities.
One to one coaching has been around for a long time, and has helped many people to achieve their career goals and develop professionally, however it is only one part of the puzzle. In recent years more and more organisations have learnt to value the contribution that team coaching can make to a workplace. Recent research backs this up, with the 6th Ridler Report stating that 76% of organisations expect to increase their use of team coaching.
There are still far too many employers who fear external team coaching; and there really is no need. The very term causes panic as they fear it will lead to them empowering, and then losing their best staff, or maybe they're just scared of hearing a few home truths about their leadership. Whatever the reason, it is wholly unjustified as there are many, many reasons why team coaching is vital to organisations, large or small. We will cover these in a future post, but before you can even begin to consider offering team coaching to your staff, you first need to have a culture of true transparency. Without this, any team coaching will prove ultimately fruitless.