Quiet quitting – the silent enemy

, , , ,

A variety of different factors – from cost-of-living uncertainty to the pandemic – have made a lot of people examine their work-life balance with forensic detail. What suits one person will not suit another, as everyone’s personal and working lives are different. One of the trends that has emerged is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’. It is associated with both work and home life, and can impact both. It is also causing problems for employers, managers and HR professionals, as this ‘silent’ change revolutionises the way people look at their careers. 

Balance or imbalance?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to employees who elect only to work the specific hours of their contract and fulfil the remit of their roles to the letter – no more, no less. Any extra input, or rather output, from them will need to be paid for. It’s been attributed to a number of factors, such as overwork, employee burnout and mental health issues around stress and anxiety. But it is part of wider trend of people wanting to extend the flexibility and convenience of working from home, or the hybrid part-office/part-home working that many companies have adopted. Apparently, 60% of UK employees value their improved work-life balance and job flexibility over a 10% pay rise.

The lack of structure when working flexibly is being found to be detrimental to some employees though. There are factors such as not knowing when you are going to see colleagues, or when others will be in the office, which can itself cause uncertainty for staff. Some people need structure, uniformity and surety. The nine-to-five routine and ‘who is in the office when’ on any given day matters to them. Many workers now feel disengaged from the workplace, which may mean they also feel disengaged from their roles too. As a result, motivation and productivity have dropped and there has been a wholesale disengagement from working life. Some employees are not even sure of what is expected of them in work and what exactly their roles are for the company. 

The need to reengage

The drop in engagement began in the latter half of 2021 and has particularly affected younger workers. The social aspects of work – communication, chat, popping out to the shops or for lunch – have also been disrupted or supplanted altogether by working from home and the ever-changing routine of any given working week. This has led to over half the UK workforce now reportedly contributing to the quiet quitting trend.

If you don’t feel valued at work, are unsure of your role, or will only do the ‘bare minimum’ of what’s required of you, then this is partly due to poor management. Managers need to make sure their staff are aware that they are part of a wider company. They must feel supported and genuinely valued, and must be provided with a place to work where people can learn and grow, engage with other staff and collaborate to create great teams. Isolation and disengagement should never be felt by any employee and only if managers address this will ‘quiet quitters’ be encouraged to reengage once more.

 

Bouncing back – wellbeing in the workplace and the importance of resilience

, ,

We are all faced with challenges and difficult situations at work every day, many of which are out of our control. The important thing to address is how you bounce back from them. We are taking a look at the importance of resilience and creating wellbeing in the workplace.

Promoting wellbeing

We all want to work in the right environment, where individuals and organisations can thrive. Wellbeing starts with the office and facilities available to the workforce. The office space needs to be designed with the employees in mind and should incorporate wellbeing measures.  Nobody wants to work in a cold, clinical or shabby office, it should feel inviting and fresh to help boost morale and productivity. You don’t need to spend lots of money to do this; you could try introducing plants, artwork or just add a splash of colour to the walls.  It’s easy to create a ‘home from home’ environment.

Be flexible

Where possible, help to promote a positive work life balance with flexible working. Many companies are now resorting to ‘hybrid’ working; not just because they had to during the covid pandemic but because hybrid working often more easily allows flexibility. Keeping healthy contributes to overall wellbeing, having a selection of fresh fruit available and different benefits like gym memberships, health insurance and cycle to work schemes can help motivate healthier lifestyles.

What is resilience at work?

Resilience can show how effectively you handle challenging situations in your personal life and at home. It is often described as the ability to ‘bounce back’ and comfortably carry-on during adversity. Resilience means facing challenges, solving problems, and recovering from mistakes.  It can help employees manage their stress levels and encourage motivation when facing challenges. Here are several ways that highlight the importance of resilience in the workplace.

  1. Helps with self-esteem

Resilient employees may have better self-esteem because they can face challenges that may be presented at work with confidence and positivity.

  1. Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism

Absenteeism can present itself when the individual is stressed, overworked, or dissatisfied with their job. They may be struggling with their physical or mental health. Promoting wellbeing and resilience can help alleviate stress and work-related anxiety. In turn Presenteeism, where an employee works longer than required or through sickness, can indicate a stressed environment where they are unable not to work. By supporting physical wellbeing, offering flexible working hours, and making sure workloads are manageable you can help to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism.

  1. Boosted productivity and supports innovation

A resilient workforce will perform. This will mean an employee will have the capacity to thrive. It helps them to adapt, cope, and respond positively. A resilient employee feels more comfortable and confident and copes better with the idea of failure. As a result of this, they will take well-informed and measured risks within the workplace by trying new things, sharing new ideas and helping to lead the team.

A workplace needs strong leadership which can demonstrate resilience to others. Learn about employers’ needs and consider resilience training. By taking on board all the different factors mentioned, you can help improve wellbeing in your workplace.

 

Managing a hybrid workforce

, ,

Of the multitude of challenges thrown up by Covid, the changes it made to the world of work are still being felt by all of us. Many of these changes look like they are here to stay. Thousands of people found themselves having to adapt to working from home almost overnight. Now, well over two years after that first national lockdown, with some people still working exclusively from home, many more have combined working some days in the workplace with some time working from home.

 Adapting to a new way of working

Some organisations were already very familiar with this ‘hybrid working’, long before the pandemic, and had it down to a fine art. Many more have had to adapt quickly to find ways to ensure their employees can carry out their role from their own home as easily as they might at the office. Technology, with the extraordinarily speedy adoption of platforms such as Teams and Zoom, can make the adjustment easier. However, it can also bring its own challenges, with broadband accessibility, for one thing, frequently being patchy, particularly in more rural areas.

 No ‘one size fits all’ for hybrid working

Some employees love working from home, with the time and money saved without commuting. It can help create a work-life balance that has benefitted mental health, and in some cases, even enhanced performance. Other people can struggle with working from home. They may miss the team spirit and camaraderie that sharing a workplace can bring. Equally, not everyone’s home lends itself well to becoming a workspace. Lack of space or caring responsibilities can make working from home overly challenging to be sensible for everyone. It’s really important that managers bear this in mind when it comes to setting new rules for their working model.

Every organisation needs to ask if hybrid working suits it. How is the mental health of the workforce being benefited, for good or ill? Is a good work life balance being achieved or are some employees feeling left out and isolated? Is there a danger that those who work from home more may feel they are missing out. Not just on the day to day, but feeling marginalised on longer term opportunities, for promotions and training for example?

Its all about trust

Managing a hybrid workforce effectively really just comes down to trust. Before 2020, many employers would have been concerned that working from home allows employees too much freedom. How would you know that someone is really working if you can’t see them? It is actually surprisingly difficult to quantify and monitor how much someone is working, wherever they are located – in front of you or many miles away. After all, presence in the office is no guarantee of productivity.

Managers need to change their mindset and trust their employees to manage their time effectively. Good managers focus on the outcomes. Does your workforce’s new way of working negatively impact your customers? Are their needs still being met? If the work is being done and your employees are available for customers when they are needed to be, surely that should be all that matters.

Staying relevant in a changing world

, , , ,

It’s very easy in the day to day, to lose sight of what actually allows you to carry out your job. We all take our attributes for granted to a certain extent. If you have experience in a discipline or sector, it does become something of second nature as to how you work and how your role is carried out. If you’re someone who works in an office, you don’t sit down at your desk in the morning and think: ‘What should I do today?’ We naturally check our emails, attend meetings, carry out tasks, do our jobs, but the process is entirely instinctive.

Working and learning

However, instinctiveness and routine perhaps encourage us to rest on our laurels too. This can lead to complacency when it comes to keeping up to date on new legislation and the latest industry thinking in our sectors. Some companies implement training and updates as a matter of course. If this is offered, it makes sense to take whatever opportunities are available. Employers may fund courses, including master’s degrees and other further qualifications, as well as conventional diplomas, degrees and relevant vocational qualifications.

Further education in the workplace is a positive outcome both for employer and employee. This mutually beneficial option is worth exploring if there are areas of research and education you’d like to take on. There will be a multitude of options, from in-person courses to online certificates. However, make sure that any academy purporting to provide certificated accreditation is authentic and the real deal, and not a bogus organisation.

Improved prospects

The importance of keeping relevant isn’t always naturally encouraged by employers. It may be down to the individual to make the effort themselves. There are many ways to keep abreast of industry developments. This can be through the membership of industry bodies, or it may be through websites and courses.

You can also tap into your colleagues’ knowledge. They may be able to advise you where to find relevant information, or even provide the tuition or training themselves. Sharing skill in the workplace is one area in business that is often overlooked. Networking might also be an option, with tips and news on current thinking and development often best heard by word of mouth. There’s no quicker way to impart information than an in-person conversation. It’s often the most straightforward and low-key situations. An informal chat over lunch or a coffee, for example, can prove the most unexpectedly rewarding.

Looking beyond the expected

You can also look beyond your sector too. There will be affiliate courses and accreditations that will be useful in your long-term career path. Certainly, any academy courses and memberships of official organisations – that will, in simple terms, ‘add letters after your name’ – will expand your skillset. This will make you a more attractive prospect for any employer in the future, and of course enhances your CV. Joining organisations will ensure you keep in the loop regarding industry developments and technological advances. You may also like to look at coaching and mentoring, whereby you will undergo a career appraisal that will identify areas where you can explore. A good Career Coach will both find out where you are in your current situation and identify areas you can address for career advancement that will keep you relevant – both for your current career path, and the road yet to be explored.

Shy and (un)retiring

, , , ,

The current economic climate is leading to all kinds of unusual phenomena. From the continuation of work from home to the adoption of hybrid working models, people are changing their lifestyles and working life routines in a multitude of ways. One aspect is that people are continuing to work beyond their retiring age – but also some are coming back into the workplace, having already retired. This can be for many reasons, from financial necessity to personal choice. However, ‘unretirement’ is an undeniable trend that is worth looking at.

Uncertainty and finances

Research from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that there are now more people aged 50 and over in work – or actively looking for work – than since just prior to the pandemic. This is driven by a  number of key factors that are affecting everyone, in one degree or another. These new findings identify upwardly spiralling inflation, volatile financial markets and the soaring cost of living as leading to the ‘great unretirement’.

Some of the statistics are telling. Of the increase of 116,000 over-50s working or looking for work in the past year, more than half of them were men aged over 65. This is an increase of 8.5%. This research also showed that 37,000 more women over 65 were also now in work or looking for work. Experts deem this increase is being driven by former retirees returning to work, rather than people working longer.

Volatile financial markets are said to be creating significant fear and uncertainty in people’s perceptions of their future retirement income. Any kind of pension pot can be affected by all kinds of factors and in some instances, if there have been financial difficulties with the business, or any kind of personal fallings-out (such as divorce), this can have a big impact on savings, assets and pension arrangements.

Wellbeing and benefits

In addition to the obvious financial benefits, there are of course a variety of positive impacts on a worker’s wellbeing by continuing to work. For many the void or retirement simply isn’t for them. Working can provide a sense of purpose and direction, of motivation and routine – not to mention exercise, both mental and physical, depending on the role. The social aspect is very important to many people too.

The ‘great unretirement’ also keys into some important aspects of Career Evolution’s vocation. We work a great deal with people who are getting work-ready and getting used to entering (or re-entering) the jobs market or workplace once more. We guide our clients on using networks and keeping up-to-date on developments in their sectors. It’s always worth subscribing to newsletters, or retaining links to your sectors via networking or even socialising, just to keep up to speed on any new legislation or technological developments. In this way, it won’t be such as shock when you re-enter the working environment.

With the jobs market becoming particularly competitive, it’s more important than ever to gain an edge. By continuing to keep in touch with your network and being creative and flexible about what a career might look like, it will ensure that you are prepared – should you want to ‘unretire’ yourself and enter the world of work once more.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

WELCOME TO OUR FOURTH VLOG!

, , , ,

Welcome to our new vlog from Career Evolution!

We will be sharing weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our fourth vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from July, including developing your personal brand, portfolio careers, identifying transferable skills, and a case study with Peter McCarthy.

Watch the video below:

See our first vlog here, our second vlog here and our third vlog here.

Developing your personal brand

, , , ,

Self-awareness is a wonderful thing, and we all know how we think we see ourselves. Perhaps we think we are confident, competent, decision-making leaders, with bags of energy and the ability to deal with any crisis life throws at us. Or maybe we’re mere mortals, not infallible, with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. But how do others see us – and do the two ‘images’ match up?

Clarity and consistency

Your personal brand is about clearly and consistently presenting who you are – your real strengths, true personality, character, attitudes and motivations – and the ability to articulate them concisely and with confidence. To create your personal brand, you need everyone to understand who you are, what you do, where you add value and why they might want to employ you.

A key factor of your brand is consistency. Every facet of your brand must add up – from your personality ‘in person’ in an interview or the workplace, with the contents of your CV, to your online presence, via social media, or a blog or website. There’s no point in presenting one viewpoint in your social media persona that completely contradicts your real views. Make sure too that your CV reinforces your beliefs and achievements, rather than disputing them. Remember, abilities, traits and qualities that should be highlighted in your profile should cover four key areas – Personal and Interpersonal skills, Organisational and Decision-making.

Being true to yourself

Your CV is a good place to start with creating your brand. Despite some companies using online application forms for job vacancies, a strong CV is just as important now as it always was. It allows you the time to think about your achievements and strengths, and quantify and present them in a coherent, striking way. They can also be easily adapted to form the basis of any kind of online application form, by tailoring the responses from your CV to fit each question.

It’s also useful to have various different edits of your profile. A short passage is always useful to have – the kind of 150–200-word paragraph you might be able to use at a networking session as an instant concise introduction. This should state clearly and simply ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’. It should be something that is true to yourself and that you feel comfortable delivering in person – a reflection of you in a few words.

Two sides, one face

Play to your strengths and as much as possible, your work persona should complement your real personality. There’s no point in putting an act on at work that is difficult to maintain. You’ll constantly be thinking you mustn’t let your guard down, which most of us can never do. The two sides of your life – your work and your personal life – may be quite separate (that is, unless you run your own business!).  Ensuring that you include as much of your own personality into your ‘brand’ will make it easier for people to relate to you – and your sincerity will be rewarded with reciprocal honesty and trust.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

Strength in depth – portfolio careers

, , , ,

There’s a school of thought that a successful career involves securing a role in one sector at a time, with a steady career progression over a number of years. This linear approach is the most popular career path by far. Even if your role ends up being across different sectors, your job often remains the same. It offers a degree of security, but it also can narrow people’s vision in their career outlook. Nowadays, more and more people are embarking on careers that telescope various roles and clients together, so they are working in different roles across different sectors, from day to day.

Flexible and dexterous

So-called portfolio careers are something that are becoming more and more popular and are very appealing to some of our executive clients. You’ll carry out two, three or more roles, possibly across multiple sectors, but utilising your core skills as the vehicle to facilitate this. You have to be both flexible in how you allocate time and resources, and dexterous in your adaptability, thought process and approach. You never know what your working week will look like. You can have a roughed-out plan – of pre-arranged meetings for example – but around that framework you will need to be adaptable too.

What are the options?

The details of a portfolio career are something that you will need to spend time working out.  It may consist of different types of jobs including, for example, consultancy, non-executive directorships or project or interim management.  It may also involve unpaid, voluntary work.  Whatever the mix, it is important to take on work that is meaningful and rewarding to you as a career lifestyle choice.

Greater security?

Detractors point out that portfolio careers can be unstable and prone to disruption by outside factors – illness for example, or if you are working from home, daily life. However, a broad range of sectors often offers greater security too. If one sector – say, tourism or hospitality – is struggling, other sectors, e.g. construction, might be flourishing. The offset of one sector slowing down, is compensated by another bursting to life, with your workload ratio tweaked accordingly.

A range of skills

A good network of contacts is essential too, especially if your portfolio career is mostly you working solo. Networking is a great way to meet like-minded people and can be used to broaden your contacts in adjacent sectors. In this way, you might strengthen your portfolio, whilst also reaching out to companies you may be able to collaborate with. In this way, you can create a strong business offering – with for example freelance designers, accountants, writers – that is as formidable as any company.

Everyone’s different

The school of thought about portfolios was being popularised even before the pandemic. But since then, the changes that took place have made everyone think about how they work and run their businesses. The portfolio career is one that lends itself to working from home, where you can work for multiple clients using the same basic home office work set-up. The style of work is excellent for people who like to work in multiple sectors, are adaptable and like every day to be different. One day you might be working for a haulier, the next a computer retailer. The scope is limitless, as long as it fits your core skillset.

Making it work for you

You can also  be carrying out different roles for different companies, thereby widening you skillset and offering – you could be a marketer for various companies for two days per week, a researcher for another company for the other two days, and run a fitness and wellbeing course on the other weekday, or at weekends. This may allow you build up one area of your business – perhaps a private passion or hobby that would need time to strengthen and grow – while having the security of a regular income from established clients and stabilised sectors.

It’s well worth looking at portfolio careers and the possibilities they offer. If you have some ideas and think it could be for you, talk to one of our Career Consultants. We can offer guidance and advice on how to make this style of career work for you.

Hitting the transfer market – top tips for identifying transferable skills

, , , ,

When we sit down and update our CVs, there’s always the opportunity to look at where our strengths and weaknesses lie. What are the areas we think are strong and promote our positive attributes, and where to we deem there could be room for improvement? While we’re looking at ways to strengthen our CV, it’s also worth exploring which areas could be highlighted and where our skills are not sector-specific. In this way, we can identify not only our strong points, but also our transferable skills and where they can take us. Here are some tips for identifying our skills that can be transferred across sectors.

Skills not sectors

One of the most important things to bear in mind with your CV or any job search is to focus on skills not sectors. Many of the skills learned from working in one industry can easily be transported over across multiple industries. Transferable skills allow you to widen your search for career advancement and diversification, in a myriad of different directions. Recognising these areas and identifying your skills allows you the flexibility to look outside the sector you are currently working in and apply for allied roles. It also allows you more choice, when searching job vacancies or discussing your options, so your perceived narrow choice is actually wider than you might initially think.

Transferable talent

If you have a proficiency for a specific area of business – to take some random examples, as a writer, an HR manager, or accountant – then these skills are readily transferable across a multitude of sectors. A skilled writer, for example, can work in a marketing role, or a journalistic one; they can create content for websites, or they can write books. They can in theory write about anything, so their core skill can be adapted into any industry. Accountants and statisticians too can also easily transfer across sectors – it’s the skill with figures that matters, not the issues being calculated. If you work in HR, then this is another role that can be transferred across sector boundaries. If you are able to manage human resources, you can use your skills to enhance efficiency, creativity and productivity, regardless of the business or industry involved.

Remember, most importantly, make your skills work for you to ensure the best outcome. A sideways switch to an allied sector may not always be obvious, so talking to someone like me or our Career Consultants at Career Evolution can help you identify areas for diversification and transfer. We can see where connecting lines can be established and where sectors and skills can be drawn together.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

WELCOME TO OUR THIRD VLOG!

, , , ,

Welcome to our new vlog from Career Evolution!

We will be sharing weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our third vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from June, including working with our new associate Jo Clare.

Watch the video below:

See our first vlog here and our second vlog here.