Do you need a digital detox?

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With so many people currently working from home (WFH) and carrying out meetings on virtual platforms, the concept of a digital detox has never been more pertinent. For many businesses, a ‘digital detox’, the idea of switching off all digital sources – from mobile phones to email and the internet – is scary to say the least. What if a client’s urgent request goes unanswered? What if a deadline is missed? However, the results might be surprising.

Sleep tight

Media and telecoms regulator OFCOM has found the amount of time people spend online is causing sleep deprivation. Meanwhile, another report from Deloitte shows that 1 in 3 adults check their smartphone in the middle of the night.

Take a break

The level of reliance on IT has never been higher. However, the impact on productivity and wellbeing needs to be considered too. Your team might need to be reminded to take a break from the screen. There is a growing concern over the amount of time that people are spending plugged in and online. For obvious reasons, this is currently higher than ever.

Value in traditional methods

While a ‘digital detox’ may feel counter-intuitive at the moment, it is worth considering other ways to connect with your employees and customers. Increased face-to-face contact is not possible right now, but it might be interesting to challenge your team to see what other ways you can effectively communicate. The old-fashioned method of picking up the phone, or even the more outmoded principle of writing – and posting – a physical letter, might have a greater impact than you realise. If nothing else, it will give people a short break from the screen.

Top 10 tips for a successful interview

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You’ve been offered a job interview. Congratulations! Take a look at our top tips to make sure you really stand out from the crowd.

1. Research the company and interviewer thoroughly

Check out the website in detail, track down press releases, internet forums and social media to gain an in-depth understanding of the company’s culture and values.

2. Practise a mock interview as often as you can

This will help you prepare for likely questions and make you more relaxed as a consequence.

3. Take care with your appearance to make a great first impression

Keep it appropriate for the company you are interviewing with, and the role you are interviewing for.

4. Be punctual

Whether the interview is taking place online or in person, make sure you allow yourself plenty of extra time to ensure you are prepared. If you are actually attending a face-to-face interview, be sure of arriving around 15 minutes early. This will allow you time to relax as far as possible and also get the measure of the workplace.

5. Remember to smile and make eye contact

This is especially important if the interview is being conducted remotely. It will help to make you look confident, friendly and relaxed – even if you are far from feeling any of these!

6. Think about your body language

Walk tall, sit up straight and don’t fidget.

7. Take extra copies of your CV

And any examples of your work that are relevant or have them ready to share on screen or send by email either during or after the interview.

8. Plan the questions you want to ask in advance

Feel free to write them down beforehand for quick reference.

9. Prepare for the awkward questions

If you are asked about your weaknesses, you’re really being tested on your self-awareness.

10. Always end on a positive note

Ask what the next stage in the decision-making process is and say you’re looking forward to hearing from them.

Good luck!

Reach for the stars with your CV

If you are currently actively job hunting in this difficult climate, it is so important to do everything you can to position yourself as an attractive prospect to a potential employer.

Your CV is an opportunity to present yourself, your qualifications, work experience, skills, achievements and progress to potential employers.  There are many different layouts and designs and it is important you choose one that works for you. It is essential to ensure that you can demonstrate how your skills would benefit the company you are hoping to work for. One popular model that makes it easy for your potential employer to see how you would fit with their business is to draw up a STAR competency based CV, which looks at Situation, Task, Action and Result. This is how it works:


Give a short description of a situation you experienced.


Explain what you had to do and what your specific role was.


Describe what action you took, how you did it, what skills you had to demonstrate.


Explain what happened, the impact it had, how successful it was and how you made a positive difference to ensure a successful outcome.

Points to remember

Don’t be too wordy. Use examples that are up to date and really relevant. Relate the task and action closely to the job description if you can. Make sure you cover the skills and qualities the company is looking for in the Action part. For maximum impact, it can work well to lead with your Results.

Standing out from the crowd – It’s not all about qualifications and work experience

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Even if you are confident that you have the qualifications and experience necessary to apply for a particular job, is there anything else you can do to set yourself apart from the other applicants?

Out of interest

While some may think that there is no point in spending any time polishing the ‘interests and hobbies’ section of your CV, employers are increasingly turning to it to find interesting points of difference between equally well-qualified candidates. This is an opportunity to showcase your real personality and talents, as well as skills required in the job description.

A sporting chance

Stating that you are a member of a sports club, may demonstrate you are, quite literally, a good team player. Someone who is sociable and committed. While detailing your experience as a captain or coach of an amateur team reveals that you are good at motivating, organising and supervising. Personal achievements such as marathon running are a good way of showing your self-discipline and ambition.

All in a good cause

Volunteering for a local charity is another area where you can explain how you have perhaps taken on extra responsibility or organised an event. Or, you might be able to give some examples of how you have driven change or turned a bad situation around.

When you are shortlisted for interview, if something you detail as an outside interest sparks the interviewer’s interest, be just as prepared to talk about it as you would be about your former job roles. It may open up a great discussion of a mutual interest and provide you with the competitive edge that you need.

Calling on your outside interests builds your credibility as a candidate. It demonstrates that you are employable as a well-rounded person, a team member and that you will genuinely contribute as a new recruit to the organisation.

Adapting to flexible working

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Prior to last March, flexible working – or working from home – was still developing as a concept to be widely embraced. Now it is the norm throughout many sectors, across the country. Where companies have been able to transition their business to home-based, employees have found themselves working from anything, from their home office to the kitchen table.

While this type of more flexible working arrangement has happened out of necessity rather than choice, there are advantage and challenges associated with it. It’s important to understand what they are:


  • Recruitment and retention are boosted by offering flexible working. Even after the pandemic, many employees will expect some level of flexible working to continue. They have proved they can do it and still be productive.
  • Loyalty and commitment are demonstrated by staff when they can achieve a good work life balance.
  • Less stress. In a pressurised world, working flexibly can help reduce stress levels.
  • Fewer employee absences. Staff who work flexibly are less likely to take time off for ill health or medical appointments.
  • It positions your company as progressive and forward thinking.
  • Employees can save money by reducing commuting costs. They also spend less time sitting in traffic or waiting for public transport.
  • Efficiency – often employees report that scheduling work during quiet times means they achieve more. Other employees benefit from spreading their working out across longer hours.


  • Overcoming the ‘always on’ culture. Staff may feel that they can never really switch off away from work. This can breed resentment as well as increase stress levels, which may ultimately  lead to burnout.
  • Making sure all employees are treated equally and fairly. Some roles lend themselves better than others to flexible working, especially working from home.
  • Making sure everyone feels like part of the team. This is so important, no matter what hours they work and where they spend them.
  • Keeping channels of communication open between all staff, wherever they are based, all the time.
  • More planning at management level may be required to make sure business needs – especially customer expectations – are met.

Embracing flexible working has involved plenty of give and take for employers and employees. However, by taking the learning of the last 12 months, keeping an open mind, exploring lots of options and doing some thoughtful planning, may well pay dividends for everyone long beyond the end of the pandemic.