A blog providing trustworthy Human Resources advice to business owners, managers and employees plus the occasional LOL true story from the workplace.
How To Handle Office Romances
With many of us spending more and more time at the office, it’s no surprise that many working relationships blossom into something a little more intimate. In fact, research carried out by CareerBuilder.com found that 38% of workers have dated a colleague at some point in their working lives.
As an employer though, you’d be right to be a little cautious about what the implications could be for your business. If you suspect that there’s an office romance, you may be concerned about the impact that this could have on your team or what might happen if things turn sour.
Spring is in the air, so now is a great time to consider what some of the best practice is on this subject. Without any further ado, here’s what you need to know:
Accept that these things happen
It would be unreasonable to try to implement any kind of policy that banned romantic relationships between employees. Also, it probably wouldn’t act as a deterrent. If anything, you’d be simply creating a culture of secrecy and mistrust.
The bottom line here is that these things happen and, as a leader, you have to accept it.
Nip any problems in the bud ASAP
Public displays of affection aren’t appropriate in the workplace. No one wants to see PDA by the water cooler, or have to navigate their way through a kissing couple just to get to the break-room. Luckily, most couples will know this already, and will often do everything they can to make sure that there are no awkward moments for their colleagues.
If you do feel that boundaries are being crossed, you need to take action as soon as possible. Have a discreet word with both individuals, explain your worries, and remind them of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Consider the team as a whole
You’re probably not in the office all day long, every day of the week. So in many ways, you only get a very limited snapshot of what’s going on and how everyone’s interacting on a day-to-day basis. This means that you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to monitoring sentiment.
Of course, this is a larger issue surrounding workplace culture and it covers more than just office romances. Keeping your finger on the pulse and collecting meaningful, insightful feedback from your staff on a regular basis will ensure that you’re creating a productive, motivated, and happy workforce – if, of course, you’re taking action on your findings.
Don’t take sides if things go wrong
Many employers worry about the potential fallout of office relationships turning sour. It’s essential that you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario. Stay impartial, try to exercise a degree of understanding and sympathy, but make sure that you keep overall business objectives and priorities in sight.
Of course, it’s vital that you can recognize the difference between a break-up and something more sinister. Your policies and procedures on serious matters such as sexual harassment and bullying should be tough and always implemented.
If you’ve got these key areas covered, romance at work doesn’t have to leave you feeling stressed out and uncertain about what to do for the best. If you feel like you need to ensure that you’re prepared for anything that your business might throw at you this year, we can help to make sure that you’re ready. Give us a call to arrange a consultation.
Secrets To Overcoming The January Productivity Slump
Over the festive period, spirits are often high in the workplace. Everyone’s working towards shared goals, pulling together to make big things happen, and looking forward to the opportunity to take a little time out with friends and loved ones.
By the time that the New Year comes, the general mood and feel has often shifted slightly. With nothing but dark days and credit card bills to look forward to, productivity in the workplace can come to a grinding halt.
Thank your staff for their hard work
It’s likely that your staff will have worked longer shifts over the Christmas period. They’ll have dealt with stressful situations and difficult discussions, and it’s understandable if they’re feeling a bit burnt out. Some might even be asking themselves what the point in all of it even was.
Saying thank you is so simple and it’s something that you should be doing regularly, but it’s all too easy to overlook the basics in favor of developing complex strategies. Make sure your staff know that their contribution did not go unnoticed.
Get everyone together to set new goals
January can be a time when everyone settles back into their usual routines. The pressure might be lifted slightly, and while this can be a positive thing, it can also sometimes encourage complacency. Instead of letting this happen, make sure that you have a plan of action to guide you through the first quarter.
Call a team meeting, invite feedback and opinions, and ensure that everyone is fully up to speed and engaged with your new priorities. This will act as a timely reminder that it’s time to get back to business!
Lead by example and get your head in the game for the New Year
You might be the boss, but that that doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the January blues! You should ensure that you celebrate your successes and take time to reflect on your achievements over the past 12 months. It’s also important that you look at ways in which you can improve your skills and start the New Year with a bang.
Ask your staff to give you an open and honest assessment of how you’ve performed as a leader, and what you can do to support them better in the future. The best business owners are always considering how they can step up and lead by example.
Do you need some help with crafting your growth plans for the year to come? We can make sure that you get the year off to a flying start. Give us a call today to arrange an initial no-obligation consultation.…read more
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Top Tips To Share With Your Night-shift Workers
If you work the night or evening shifts, you are not alone. According to research carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, three million Americans work graveyard shifts and another four million work evening shifts.
Regardless of the industry that you operate in, it’s quite likely that there will come a time when you need your team to work night-shifts, even if it’s just temporarily. Perhaps your IT staff will have to install important updates outside of usual working hours. Maybe staff on your shop floor will be asked to change their shift patterns to stack the shelves in the run up to the holiday period.
The potential health and lifestyle implications are well documented and you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re giving your workforce the support they need. Let’s take a look at some valuable tips that could make all the difference to your staff when the times comes that they have to work unsociable hours.
Think carefully about the journey home
Most of us know what it’s like to feel exhausted after a long day and drive home almost on autopilot. After a night shift though, tiredness can become a serious problem that can quite quickly escalate into a potentially dangerous situation.
It makes sense to consider how you could help with provisions for getting home at the end of a night-shift. It might make good business sense to provide financial support for the cost of taxis or to share information about local public transport arrangements.
Create good sleep routines
Sleeping during the day can feel unnatural, so it’s important to get into a good routine if you want to enjoy quality rest. Blackout curtains can make a big difference, as well as avoiding using mobile phones before sleeping and ensuring that you aren’t exposed to too much daylight before trying to nod off. In other words, it can really help if night workers get straight to bed after their shift.
Of course, every individual is different. There will be a strong element of trial and error when it comes to finding the best pattern and routine. To support your staff though, be sure that you’re sharing guidance and positive suggestions.
Never underestimate the value of quality sleep
Many of us would agree that there’s no better feeling than crashing out in a comfortable bed, but it’s way too easy to underestimate just how important sleep really is. There’s a whole host of medical problems and conditions that have been linked to poor sleep patterns, including heart attacks and diabetes.
Be sure to promote the importance of sleep to your workers. If they’re struggling, do the right thing and suggest that they make an appointment with their GP to discuss their options.
There have been calls to give extra rights to staff working night-shifts, to help protect them from the physical, mental, and emotional strain of working such unsociable hours. Whether this is something that will happen remains to be seen. Right now, you need to focus on doing all you can to support your staff and ensure that you’re taking reasonable steps to protect their well being.
If you’re confused about your responsibilities, or you need to know more about the law when it comes to night shift, get in touch. We can help you to understand exactly what you need to know.
Dealing With A Debbie Downer In The Workplace
If you’re the skeptical type, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a whole host of reasons to feel negative right now. The future of the country is up in the air, the summer so far has been a bit of a washout and the papers are full of tales of unrest and uncertainty.
In the workplace, negativity can spread like wildfire. So how exactly should you approach the situation if you have one employee who’s bringing down the rest of your workforce? Here, we share practical hints and considerations.
Sometimes, people simply need a sounding board for their frustrations and concerns. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that things will fix themselves is very rarely a sensible strategy. Instead of just paying lip service to the concept of having an open door policy, make sure that you live by it.
Get to know your staff. Work out what makes them tick. Unearth the real issues that are at play. This is what makes the difference between a manager and a leader.
Challenge negative thinking
There are external things going on that you and your business can have no control over. No one’s expecting you to solve all the problems in the world. However, if comments are being made about internal issues, you need to tackle them.
If they’re true, take the time to explain the reasoning behind why things are the way they are, and how employees can play a part in improving the situation. If false statements are being shared, speak up immediately and set the record straight. Sometimes, a bit of strong leadership is what’s needed to get things back on the right track.
Recognize the difference between a bit of negativity and serious mental health problems
Most of us are guilty of letting negative feelings take over now and again. Some might say that it’s all part of living in the modern world. However, as a leader, you have a responsibility to know the difference between this and mental health issues among your employees.
If you suspect that there are more serious problems at play, you have a responsibility to ensure that your staff are supported and given the professional assistance that they might need. In this situation, your first port of call should be to speak with an expert. Remember that discretion is key, and you absolutely must honor the confidentiality of your employees.
The feeling and mood in many workplaces go through peaks and valleys. It’s your job to make sure that your staff are motivated and productive. If you’re experiencing problems, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with us about your challenges. Get in touch today and we can book a call at a time that suits you.
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