What not to wear to work!
You’ve been the top performer in your office month on month and are working over your contracted hours yet your colleague bagged the promotion you were hoping for? Does this sound familiar? If so, it might be time to have a long, hard look in the mirror and analyse your work attire because it could be what you are wearing, rather than how you are working that is holding you back. According to a recent study conducted by corporate uniform provider Simon Jersey, almost four in ten employers have admitted to overlooking an employee for a pay rise for being inappropriately dressed during an interview or day-to-day in the office.
Obviously every work place is different and depending on the nature of the company that you work for you might be able to get away with more. When working in a corporate environment however the rules seem pretty standard across the board.
So what is deemed as ‘inappropriate clothing’? It emerged from the survey that Crop Tops are a complete no go for woman and baseball caps should be left at home for the men. Other items included flip-flops, mini-skirts, shorts, ripped jeans and heavily branded t-shirts or jumpers.
Body piercing and tattoos do seem to be more acceptable than ever before with 6 in 10 employers believing them to be ok, however it would still be advisable to cover them up where possible. Inked or pierced faces could still cause you issues.
So what could the repercussions of being poorly dressed or unkempt be for you as a current employee of a business or as a job seeker attending an interview? The survey revealed that while 42 per cent of bosses simply have a quiet word with someone they think needs to improve their appearance and 1 in 5 has had a formal conversation or warned them about it. 1 in 50 managers actually admitted to sacking an employee over the way they presented themselves whilst at work.
Although somewhat controversial, it appears that appearance really does play a huge part in the work place. Therefore, next time you’re running late and you drag your hair up into a messy bun or reach for your comfy trainers, think “do I look like a professional that a client would want to do business with?’ if the answer is no, it’s time for a wardrobe overhaul.
At Selective Recruitment we like to meet all candidates before putting them forward for job interviews and this is one of the reason why. As well as offering advice on what to say at an interview we can also steer you in the right direction on what is appropriate to wear.
This is a great info graphic created by Simon Jersey after conducting the poll of 2,000 workers.
What do employers need to know taking on agency staff?
From 1st October 2011 the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came in to effect and is now a key piece of legislation for UK employers.
The AWR extends certain (although not total) equal treatment rights to temporary workers regarding pay, holiday entitlement and working conditions once they have completed a 12 week client qualifying period.
An agency worker is defined as an individual who is contracted to perform work and services on a temporary basis. However they must be in the same work placement with the same employer for at least 12 weeks. This is termed the ‘qualifying period’. The amount of hours worked within each of these 12 weeks isn’t relevant so long as the gap between each day of work isn’t more than 6 weeks unless due to sickness of pregnancy. In this case they will still accrue time towards their 12 week qualifying period.
The AWR legislation helps to ensure that an agency worker is entitled to the same “relevant terms and conditions” as a comparable employee of the hirer in terms of pay, rest breaks and annual leave.
For a more in-depth description of the Agency Workers Regulations click here.
How to increase productivity at work…
Do you feel like you are drowning in a sea of ‘to do lists’ with your stress levels reaching boiling point?\r\n
If so, the effect is likely to result in dwindled motivation, which can have a knock on effect to your productivity.\r\n
Productivity in general is something that we all strive for. It gives us a sense of purpose and helps us achieve our goals. Productivity usually starts to slip away when you become demotivated, loose track of what it is you are actually there to do or when your stress levels begin to rise. To increase your productivity it is therefore important to revisit the original goals that you set yourself then prioritise your workload so you can start working to your full potential again which in turn will reignite your sense of purpose.\r\n
Here are some tips that should help you get back on track;\r\n
- Prioritising is key: It does take time but prioritising your workload will help you work more efficiently in the long run. Your mind is freshest in the morning so complete the larger more daunting tasks first thing to ensure they are done. Then look at the rest of your projects for the day and try to analyse which are most important and allocate a realistic time frame to complete each task.
- Avoid a multi-tasking meltdown: Many of us think that ‘multi-tasking’ saves us times and that we have perfected this ‘skill’ down to a T. Well the truth is, no-one can multi-task! Multi-taking simply means your focus is split between multiple jobs, which will only affect your productivity in the long run. You’re more likely to forget things or make errors when trying to tackle too many jobs at once. This is where point one comes back into play. By prioritising and concentrating on one job at a time the end result will be one that you are proud of as you will produce quality work.
- Take a break: The human brain can only focus for a certain amount of time before it shuts down. Overloading it with too much information in a short space of time will cause your concentration levels to drop, which will affect your productivity. It is therefore important to schedule short, regular breaks into your day to recharge your mind. You only need to take two minutes out, but by doing so you will come back with a fresh perspective which will enable you to complete your jobs to the best of your ability. \r\n
Managing Stress At Work
Today is STRESS AWARENESS DAY, which is an annual campaign that aims to promote awareness of the particular challenges of modern day life, and to aid individuals and businesses in changing behaviours and lifestyles that may lead to excessive stress.
Stress affects everyone at some point in their lives and is one of the biggest causes of sickness absence from work in the UK. The effects of stress can cause severe psychological and physical damage as the adrenaline and hormones build up in our system with no way to dispel which can result in illness or at worst, a mental breakdown.
The workplace is right up there at the top of ‘stressful environments’ due to the pressures that are put on employee’s to perform and achieve targets. Redundancy is rife in many organisations and this inevitably leads to a lot of worry arising where people wonder how they'll get by or provide for their families if they were to get the chop. Couple this with the challenges that may arise in our personal lives and it’s no wonder we all find life quite hard at times.
Stress can lead to depression so it’s important to recognise the symptoms that indicate you could be suffering from stress. Here are a few psychological, emotional and physical signs to look out for;
- Inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
- Easily distracted
- Less intuitive & creative
- Worrying & negative thinking
- Depression & anxiety
- Mood swings
- Extra sensitive to criticism
- Feeling out of control
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of confidence
- Aches/pains & muscle tension/grinding teeth
- Frequent colds/infections
- Constipation/diarrhoea/ IBS
- Weight loss or gain
- Panic attacks/nausea
- Physical tiredness
COMBATING STRESS AT WORK
Some workplace stress is normal however excessive stress can impact on your ability to do your job effectively, which will affect your productivity and motivation. You can’t control everything in your work environment but by referring back to the symptoms list above you can manage your working day better to avoid stress overtaking you.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your stress levels at work;
- Time management – leave 10 minutes earlier in the morning to give yourself enough time to make it to the office without rushing around like a mad thing. Arriving at your desk feeling calm and chilled is a good way for you to start your day.
- Work/Play Balance – All work and no play is a recipe for disaster as we all need some downtime to enjoy living. Try to set yourself an achievable list of jobs that can realistically be completed in your working day. Then when you leave to go home you know that you’ve been productive and can relax and enjoy your evening knowing there’s not a mountain of paperwork waiting for you at the office the next day.
- Communicate – Find time to talk and laugh with your colleagues and peers at work. Talk through projects that your working on and bounce ideas around amongst each other as this can help hugely if you’re experiencing a momentary mind block.
- Take a break – The human brain can only focus for a certain amount of time before it shuts down. Overloading it with too much information in a short space of time will cause your concentration levels to drop, which will affect your productivity. It is therefore important to schedule short, regular breaks into your day to recharge your mind. You only need to take two minutes out, but by doing so you will come back with a fresh perspective which will enable you to complete your jobs to the best of your ability.
- Flip your negative thinking - If you see the downside of every situation and interaction, you’ll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative-thinking co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments.
- Eat right and sleep well - Tiredness affects our concentration levels as does hunger or eating the wrong foods. It is recommended that an adult should have 8 hours sleep of an evening although we all know that this isn’t realistic, therefore 6 hours should be your absolute minimum. Start the day with a protein rich breakfast with some form of carbohydrate, poached eggs on toast is a great choice. Not eating enough can lower your blood sugar, which affects your mood making you feel irritable and anxious and eating to much makes you feel lethargic and sluggish. You should therefore aim to eat little and often throughout the day to maintain an even level of blood sugar and keep your energy levels up so you remain motivated and focused.
For more information about Stress and how to manage it, visit the International Stress Management Association website.