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How To Beat The January Blues

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Here are small, yet effective, measures you can take to improve your wellbeing in the workplace that can spread into your personal life in a positive, affirming way.

 

Work/Life Balance

Sir Ken Robinson noted in his keynote speech at Talent Summit 2018 that, although the invention of emails was promised to save us time, we have since found that, if anything, we are less and less able to leave work behind in the workplace. It is now part of most people’s routines to check their phones first thing in the morning and reply to work-related emails at all hours of the day, always thinking about what needs to be done.

It’s important that you ‘work smart, not long.’ This means actively leaving work behind in the office, working efficiently during the day so you don’t feel compelled to continue with it after hours. If the quantity of work you are being expected to complete within working hours is too much to do so successfully, be sure to speak up and discuss the manageability of your workload with your supervisor. Communication is key – they’re going to keep piling on the work as long you stay quiet about how overwhelmed you are, so make sure you speak up and be heard before it becomes too much to handle. Employers won’t know where the pressure lies unless you tell them.

If you’re unsure of how much your work life spills over into your personal life, why don’t you try keeping a log for a month? Jot down in a diary how many hours you work every day – not just when you’re sitting at your desk, but when you’re thinking about work at home, composing emails and returning calls out of hours. It may build a more objectively troubling picture than you can see currently from the inside.

 

Make The Most Of Your Breaks

Don’t be afraid to make the most of the breaks you are allotted at work. Once you’re on a roll, it’s tempting to power through lunchtime and eat at your desk, one eye always on your computer screen. Try and avoid doing this when you can. Take a walk, practise mindfulness or meditation, experience new places to eat, socialise with co-workers or friends who work nearby.

“But I don’t have time to meditate!” I hear you exclaim.

Yes, you do! ‘Meditation’ is not always synonymous with pulling on yoga pants, lighting up a stick of incense and adopting the lotus position. You can meditate absolutely anywhere – in a local park, at a café… even sitting at your desk! If you’re not confident leading your own meditation, you can find five-minute guided sessions free online, like this one here. There are also some great customisable apps you can get on your phone, such as Timer and Headspace.

It is impossible to overvalue the importance of taking time to relax, clear your head and focus on your own wellbeing. You’ll find this re-energises you for the rest of the day, as well as provide an invaluable opportunity to assess your current state of mind and mentally address any emotional concerns or anxieties. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how easily solutions pop into your head when you take just a few minutes to collect your thoughts.

 

Communication

This one works both ways for employers as well as employees. Communication is the key to destigmatising conversations about mental health. In his TEDx talk on workplace mental health, Tom Oxley says ‘you don’t make people unwell by talking about mental health – you give them the opportunity to speak out sooner’. There’s a flawed unspoken terror that speaking out about mental illness will somehow worsen the problem, as if it’s contagious or seem as if you conjured it up into existence within your own mind. The reality is that many sufferers don’t feel able to speak up due to the prejudice surrounding mental health, and the fear that their workplace would not be supportive of them if they did so.

The best way an employer can foster an atmosphere of positivity, health and wellbeing is to ensure that their workers know that they are free to talk openly about any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and won’t face indirect penalisation for doing so. The first reaction of many employers is to offer a struggling staff member limited time off to recover, then expect them to return to work and continue as usual. While time off may be a solution for some employees, bosses should also consider the advantages of offering flexible working hours to affected workers. Tom Oxley strongly advocates for good communication practices between employers and employees to ensure that no one ever feels alienated from their place of work, and that anxieties don’t build up over time into uncontrollable crises.

In turn, employees should communicate to their employers about their feelings on mental health in the workplace, as far as they feel comfortable to do so. Being transparent about how you’re feeling and what you need from your job to help you recover will give your boss the tools to help you in the way that’s most beneficial for you. If you are worried that taking time off would only serve to isolate you from the company, voice that concern. Your employer should want to get the very best out of you – they hired you for a reason. It’s in their interest to give you the support you need.

 

Create a Healthy Routine

Studies have consistently proven a strong link between mental health and physical health, and specialists are adamant that one of the best ways to maintain good mental wellbeing is to look after your physical welfare.

Your job can be intellectually demanding, with long hours and difficult tasks taking a toll on your mental health. Your job is also more than likely sedentary. Indeed, scientists have connected the rise in global obesity to the increasing number of jobs that don’t require any form of physical activity. It can be hard to find the time to exercise during a busy work week, but it’s important you look after your body – the injection of endorphins from exercising can only beneficially impact your mental wellbeing. Take a stroll during your lunchbreak, do 30 mins of yoga before work, or even try training for a half marathon over the course of a few months.

The same can be said for your diet, avoid that pastry to go with your coffee and instead be sure to stock up your desk drawer with nutritious snacks rather than sugary ones, such as nuts, fruit and protein bars. Snacknation has published an extensive list of delicious office snack ideas if you’re dry on inspiration.

 

These are just a few ways you can work to improve your mental wellbeing in the workplace, which will in turn hopefully boost your productivity, energy happiness and eliminate the possibility of coming down with the January blues. While mental health is something we can’t always necessarily control, we can impact the way in which we talk about it, breaking down the harmful social barriers that currently ruin constructive discussions on preventative measures.

 

Posted by Susannah Hunt on 20 January 2020

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Improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19

Improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19

Taken from : How to land a job during COVID-19 by Michael Malone (Galway Daily) ​With Level 5 set to last for around four more weeks and uncertainty about what restrictions will be in place in the coming months, those in search of a new job may feel they are facing an uphill battle. But for those on the job hunt during the pandemic, it is important not to give up. That’s according to Sarah Hayes of Sigmar Recruitment, who says that there are a number of things people can do to improve their likelihood of finding a job. ​ “Look at what is in your span of control and be proactive,” says Sarah. “The labour market has turned on its head since March and is constantly changing with government restrictions being implemented. “But it’s important not to give up as there are companies still hiring.” Top 6 tips to improve your chance of finding a job during COVID-19 1. Analyse the market Where are the jobs right now? Well, there are certain sectors that have been decimated by the pandemic, but others are still going strong. For example, DPD have just announced that they are expanding their operations and will create 700 jobs before the end of the year. Sigmar is hiring most across Manufacturing & Engineering, Technology & IT, Construction, E-Commerce, Customer Service, Health & Safety and Supply Chain & Logistics. The Lifesciences/ Pharmaceutical sector is busier than ever right now, with resumed elective surgeries, vaccine development, diagnostic testing and respiratory device production. Many companies are looking for multilingual speakers, for whom there is a great demand. So if you speak more than just English, there are opportunities out there. Familiarise yourself with who is hiring – keep an eye on the news, set up job alerts on the jobs boards, follow companies on LinkedIn, identify a recruitment consultant that recruits in your area and ask them to keep you updated on the market. 2. Market yourself Your cover letter, CV and your LinkedIn profile are your primary tools to market yourself. Prepare your CV, spend time on it and ask a recruitment consultant to help you to get it right (they will do this free of charge). Your CV and cover letter should always be tailored for the role you are applying for. Look at the job spec and mirror it back in your CV. It is also extremely important to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Make sure you have a profile picture, create a compelling summary, add your projects, populate the skills section, and remember when recruiters and even bots are searching for profiles they search for keywords and buzzwords. If you don’t have these, then your profile might be missed. Change your status to ‘Open to new opportunities’ and get active on LinkedIn – don’t just sit back and wait for someone to contact you! Connect with hiring managers and HR professionals in the companies you want to work for, send them your CV directly and ask them whether they are hiring. You should also follow the company pages so that new job announcements will show up in your news feed, in case you miss your dream job! 3. Network online Joining groups and forums relevant to the job you are looking for and skills that you have can be a great way to build connections and relationships with people who have similar profiles. Networking can be a great way of finding a job – some experts say that over 70% of jobs are found by networking. So as well as keeping an eye on the best recruitment websites, get networking and boost your chances of finding that dream job! 4. Upskill It’s a great time to identify gaps in your skillset and upskill – look at jobs being advertised online and see if you can identify any particular skills/qualifications that you are missing that might help with securing that job in the future. In lockdown, many people are finding themselves with much more free time than before – so what better time to look for online courses to close those gaps in your knowledge, learn a new skill set or even a new language. There are countless apps and online courses out there – so find out where you’re lacking and get learning! 5. Open up your search Perhaps one of the more positive things to come out of the pandemic is that people are becoming less tied to one location, as companies are learning that working from home is not only possible, but also beneficial for many people. There are a lot of remote working positions out there now, so don’t just limit yourself to searching for a position in your direct locality. Open up your search and keep an eye on jobs advertised in different locations but can be worked from home. 6. Step out of your comfort zone To stand out from the crowd, you may have to be creative. With Covid-19, there has been a shift towards video interviewing but Sigmar is also seeing an increase in video applications. Get yourself in front of a camera and talk through your CV and reasons for applying for a particular position (remember, like in your CV, to tailor your answers depending on the job!). You can send this video along with your CV, or directly to a hiring manager through LinkedIn. When it comes to interviews – most are taking place virtually. Therefore it is important to ensure you are prepared – make sure you have been sent the link in advance! It is also important to check that you have a good internet connection, that your camera is working and positioned appropriately, your background is professional, you are dressed appropriately. Look directly at the camera to make eye contact, and let them know that you’re the ideal candidate. If you do all of this, you give yourself every chance of landing a new job, even in the most unusual of times.

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“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

“K-shaped” Workforce Patterns Begin to Emerge with Major Spike in Flexi-labour

The latest data from Sigmar Recruitment’s Employer Sentiment Report suggests that most companies plan on hiring more contingent labour in order to deal with the extended market turbulence. Having surveyed 1000 Irish based companies, 91% of respondents said they are more likely to hire temps or contractors than before COVID-19. Commenting on the results, Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment says; “This may signify a fundamental shift in how workforces will be constituted moving forward as employers are wary of future market shocks. Whilst demand has rebounded since March, companies just don’t know how the market will react to a possible second wave of infections, topped with Brexit fears, so there are still challenges ahead for organisations and as a result they are hesitant to commit to permanent hires.” One third of all companies surveyed said it was likely or highly likely that they would increase the % of temp/contract staff they already engage. “This is the norm in early stages of an extended recovery. Seeing this trend emerge at polar ends of the labour market is indicative of a new K-Shaped labour market.” says Rudden. He adds; “When viewed, in parallel with the explosion of the gig economy in the last decade, we now see increasing demand for temporary or contract workers in most white-collar industries, not just the traditional area of office/administration roles.” Companies surveyed expected requirements for temp/contract talent to be highest across IT, engineering & life sciences, accountancy, and HR along with office/administration. Hiring on a temporary or contract basis gives organisations an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ i.e. hiring initially on a temporary basis before converting to permanent. “Given companies’ uncertainty at present, this model is potentially a perfect solution that enables businesses to ramp up and meet demand while the future looks uncertain. At the same time, it enables jobseekers to find work quickly. In our corresponding survey of 3500 candidates, the majority said they were more likely to consider temp or contract work than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck,” says Rudden. Flexible labour in demand at polar ends of the economy; powering growth in recovering sectors and offering interim cover for harder hit sectors 91% of employers plan to expand contingent worker numbers as increasing uncertainty looms 82% of candidates would consider temp or contract positions if given more flexibility, like remote working Further, 82% of candidates said they would be more likely to consider temp or contract work if they were offered flexibility, such as remote working. This is significant change in attitude considering 60% of respondents had not worked in a temporary or contract capacity in the past two years. Rudden adds, “It likely not only reflects the impact of the current crisis in terms of people having lost employment but perhaps a wider acceptance that flexibility may be required as we move forward.” Whilst market uncertainty prevails, what is certain is that we are in the midst of an extended period of transformation in the workplace with blended workforces i.e. a mix of permanent and temp/contract staff perhaps becoming the norm. “Prior to COVID-19 there were already several examples of major multinationals with a significant proportion of staff engaged as agency temps or contractors. We predict an increase in such models being used by other businesses going forward,” says Rudden. For a copy of the report, contact Barry Rudden on +35314744612 or email brudden@sigmar.ie