3 Critical Considerations for Enabling Large-Scale Remote Work
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

We are now well into the COVID-19 pandemic. Borders are closed, public venues are shuttered, and people all over the world are being instructed to stay at home and isolate.  Businesses, meanwhile, are being forced to make the shift to a remote workforce, whether they want to or not.

To be fair, we knew that a telecommuting revolution was coming for quite some time.  Thanks to the advances in networking technology, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected to both colleagues and clients. Moreover, the portability of modern computing hardware and the availability of distributed cloud applications have together created greater worker empowerment than at any other point in modern history.

Unfortunately, the reality is that for many companies, remote work, particularly at the scale demanded by Coronavirus, is extremely challenging. For some, it may even verge on impossible. Even WordPress creator Automattic has found distributed work at such a scale to be difficult, as founder Matt Mullenweg acknowledged in a blog post earlier this month.

“[The situation is] not ideal on any level,” he explained. “Even at a remote-friendly company like Automattic, we rely on in-person team meetups and conferences to strengthen our connections and get work done. For now, we’ve cancelled all work-related travel.”

Given that this pandemic isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, your business will need to deploy the necessary frameworks and policies to support remote staff. Because the alternative is to simply let everything grind to a halt. That’s not really an option.

 

The Cultural Shift Won’t Happen Overnight

In our experience, one of the most significant challenges with telework involves a cultural shift. When you support a remote workforce, you by definition allow everyone a certain level of flexibility. You also provide staff with much greater accountability and freedom than they would have in an office.

What we’re saying here is that micromanagers have no place in a distributed workforce, nor do traditional office hours. Outside of scheduling occasional meetings and touch-bases, you should allow your employees to work when, where, and how they choose. Offer them your trust, and hold them accountable for meeting their deadlines and fulfilling their responsibilities.

You might be surprised at how well they excel.

That said, distributed work is not for everyone. You’re bound to have a few staff who find the isolation stifling, even harmful to their mental health. Make sure to foster enough of a sense of community that people can easily connect with and reach out to one another, whether via a videoconferencing platform like Zoom or a chat app like Slack.

 

Mental Health

 

Decentralized Cybersecurity is a Must

As you might expect, remote work takes the idea of the traditional security perimeter and blows it out of the water. While there’s still a place for firewalls, access controls, and network security, these measures on their own are no longer enough. If you’re to enable remote employees in a way that keeps your data safe, you’ll also need the following.

  • File-centric security. Your IT department should have the ability to control, extend, and rescind file access and permissions with relative ease, and this functionality should be layered over sensitive assets in such a way that it does not interfere with workflows.
  • Secure tunnels. In the event that your staff must access on-site resources, you’ll want a means of protecting that remote access, such as a VPN, a virtual server, or an encrypted remote desktop.
  • Additional security software for staff. This may include a password manager, access to a premium antivirus, etc.
  • Mindfulness and accountability. Provide your staff with free access to documentation and training materials to help them recognize common phishing scams, especially those that try to leverage the fears of COVID-19.

 

Understand That This Could Be the New Normal

The world has already been forever changed by Coronavirus. Even once the pandemic dies down and the dust settles, telework will remain a fixture in many businesses, not just a competitive advantage but a baseline offering. While some staff will most definitely leap at the chance to return to the office and get back to business as usual, many others will continue working from home offices and other locales.

Don’t fight it. Embrace it. You have everything to gain from a distributed workforce, including and especially access to talent which might otherwise be inaccessible in a more traditional workplace.

 

About The Author

Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Max Emelianov


Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.


Under Pressure: Do We Thrive Or Choke When Stressed?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

All of us are under pressure at some point in our lives. Chronic, or long-term stress is often the result of high-expectations; usually in a job role. Other ‘acute’ moments of stress may be single-events. This could be having to give a speech, make a presentation, or meet a tight deadline. It is how we deal with the pressure that is important, and that which has captivated psychologists in recent years.

 

A tale of two mindsets

Most people can be divided up into two camps. There are those with a ‘positive’ stress mindset and those with a ‘negative’ stress mindset. If you ever attended university, you might recognise the positive stress-heads. The ones who crammed an entire paper or exam’s worth of notes into one long-night before the deadline. These are the people who tend to think of stress as a challenge. They use it as an opportunity to strengthen motivation, sharpen the mind, and really achieve something.

In contrast, those with ‘negative’ stress mindsets view the entire phenomenon as unpleasant and negative. Not surprisingly, this view is harmful to the body. People with negative mindsets are more likely to engage in self-deprecating humour, which actually invokes more distress. Worse, they tend to go into a situation admitting defeat. When a person already has low expectations of themselves and the work they are doing, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The sufferer tends to sink down to those low expectations.

 

Making the negative positive 

It isn’t surprising that positive mindset-people are less likely to be stressed out in the wake of difficult life events. But there is hope for their negative peers — because there are ways to unlearn the negative mindset. For example, after listening to a presentation on how stress is actually a good thing, even the most negatively minded people performed better when placed under stressful situations.

Another — albeit strange — remedy for negative stress is to get scared instead. Studies have shown that watching horror movies can temporarily calm the brain, and “recalibrate” emotions. In fact, the more stressed a person was before watching a film, the calmer they felt afterwards.

Time pressure also has the curious quality of being able to make people act more like themselves and to improve decision-making. One study by Fandong Chang and Ian Krajbich forced their volunteers into making tough decisions with money. The more selfish individuals acted more selfishly under time pressure, and the more prosocial people acted more socially. Perhaps crucially, the same study found that, under great time pressure, the experts often make the correct decisions.

 

Under pressure, together

Impending moments of acute stress can be very unpleasant, even for more positively minded people. Impending moments can be as varied as a surgeon waiting to go into surgery theatre, to a singer anxiously stepping out in front of a large audience to perform.

What can make the difference between thriving and choking? Research suggests that a text message from a close friend, family member or partner really can help a lot. One study, carried out by psychologist Emily Hooker, found that a simple text message can help to reduce heart rates and blood pressure. The message doesn’t even have to be particularly supportive! Even generic messages work, as long as they remind the brain that there’s someone out there who cares, regardless of what it is they are saying. In the event that no message is received, just visualising someone who you can rely on also works to calm the brain.

Other, not-so-obvious ways to bring down stress in the workplace is to simply make support services available. In a similar way to the mundane text messages above, employees don’t even have to use any of the services for their stress levels to drop. Just knowing that there are counsellors or equipment, or systems in place is enough to reduce the negative mindset of stress.

 

Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK

 

The razor-thin difference between success and failure

A common occurrence in high-profile sporting events is for a sportsperson to suddenly choke under pressure. This phenomenon happens when the pressure becomes overwhelming and can lead to a rapid deterioration in technical ability. Male athletes are more than twice as likely to choke when the pressure gets too much. This is because men suffer bigger spikes in the stress-related hormone cortisol when they become stressed.

But there is another stress-related phenomenon in high-profile sports that you might not know about. It is the opposite of choking — psychologists call it ‘clutch performance’. Athletes who experience clutch performance excel under pressure, not the other way round. An analysis of athletes who all showed signs of clutch performance reported feeling completely involved in their task. They become unaware of everything except their objectives — even the audience. But the most important thing that each of the athletes described was this: in such circumstances, they visualise success and never thought about what the consequences would be if they failed.

This feeds back into recent research carried out by the psychologist Vikram Chib. Vikram concluded that altering how you look at the stakes can dramatically reduce the chances of choking. It really is mind over matter, in many cases.

 

Conclusion

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have either a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ stress mindset. This can greatly determine your behaviour in times of pressure. The former naturally have it easier, but not to worry. Negative stress can be unlearned and even turned into a positive thing.

There is still much research to be done but, in the meantime, if you happen to be facing a particularly difficult situation, why not try embracing it — as an opportunity to thrive, develop and grow — and imagine first and foremost, that you have already succeeded?

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of De-Risk, a strategic programme risk management company based in Surrey, UK.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


How Payroll Cards Are Changing The Company Culture
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Hiring experts constantly look for ways to build and preserve company culture and ensure that each and every employee feels cherished and respected in their work environment. Sometimes, the potential to enhance employee retention comes from your company benefits and team-building efforts. The perks you offer to each employee, and access to vacation days will contribute to making them feel more valued. At other times, however, that same potential hides in the least likely of places. This includes your payroll department and procedures – which includes so much more than simply their salary or their bonuses.

It encompasses everything from the way in which you handle taxes, ensure timely payments, utilise compensation for incentivising better performance and rewarding successful employees, all the way to how transparent you are with your payroll in general. Here are a few ways in which you can expect payroll to grow and empower company culture when used properly.

workplace culture

Inspiring confidence and trust

Nobody likes to wait. You don’t want your employees to feel the disquiet of anticipating their salary and then receive it a week later. If anything, you should aim to exceed your employees’ expectations. This is another segment of your business where you can show them how reputable and trustworthy your company is. 

Your employees’ salary is one of the main symbols of success, but also of financial security, and if your business fails to live up to those security standards, chances are you’ll drive your employees away, into the arms of an employer who pays them in time, and in full – every time, no excuses. 

Preserving your company’s reputation

A vital segment of building your company culture includes how your business is perceived based on your financial track record. Are you famous for always working with reputable vendors? Paying your taxes in full? Even using some of your profits to contribute to certain causes?

Managing your finances like a business is a multifaceted process. It allows your employees, but also the public, get a sense of what your brand stands for – and it should stand for integrity above all else. When you protect your reputation in such a way, you’re bound to inspire your employees to be your brand ambassadors. They are much more likely to stay loyal and recommend your business when you stick to your promises.

Ensuring simplicity and convenience

Your employees already experience plenty of stress in their daily lives, and you don’t want to add to it. If anything, you want to make sure that their compensation is a source of joy in every possible sense. This includes the way in which they are able to collect, use, and rely on their salary. In recent years, more companies are transitioning to modernised payroll systems that utilise automation as well as personalization.

For example, one of the benefits of the payroll card is that your employees can now avoid long waiting times and additional fees when they need access to their salary. It is a simple, yet effective way to make this process all the more convenient. This single decision shows that your business puts your employee first when choosing the most efficient, cost-effective solutions for their payroll processes. Taking out all the hassle from this process allows your employees to build stronger bonds with your brand.

Making employees feel appreciated

If working for your brand means being valued and appreciated, you can rest assured that more employees will be eager to stay with your business for longer, and oftentimes recommend your brand as an employer to people they know and trust. Your payroll is the key ingredient in providing this sense of value and appreciation to your employees. When they always receive their salaries on time, and they always get the bonuses they worked so hard for, they will indeed know that their work is noticed and rewarded.

Ensuring optimal, if not competitive compensation, delivering it efficiently, and respecting your employees’ needs in the process all contribute to your team’s desire to stay true to your business. Keep in mind that such high levels of fairness enable companies to build a culture where people thrive and gladly put their best foot forward for each task. 

Payroll may seem like yet another monotonous process that boils down to numbers and stamps. However, when found in the hands of the right HR expert, payroll becomes another empowering tool for your entire company structure, a way to build your reputation, and a key to employee satisfaction. Use it to help your company culture evolve and let it mimic all the values that your business stands for – it will inspire people to stay true to your business and bring other valuable assets to your doorstep. 

Written by Lauren N. Wiseman.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

Book a demo

Lauren N Wiseman


Lauren is a regular SRO Blog and Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto - Kindness, always.


Is the traditional CV now dead?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Is the traditional CV now dead? by Mark Stephens.

An article that I read this morning encouraged me to share a few thoughts and insights on this topic.

Increases in attrition levels and longer bedding in periods before new hires become productive are becoming more commonplace, and can often be traced back to poor or inadequate recruitment practices.

 

The limitations of a CV

Most of us understand that if you want to evaluate prospective candidates properly, then you will need to dig far deeper than the traditional CV.

You will also need to go beyond a telephone interview, and if you want your onsite face to face meeting to be effective, then you will need to do a lot more ahead of that interview, to evaluate the prospective employee that you are meeting with.

Few people will argue against the opinion that a CV is a one-dimensional document, that I like to think of as a business card, but rarely, if ever, will a CV tell you everything that you need to know about someone, before hiring them.

And yet more than 50% of hires in the UK ever go much beyond the CV, before moving onto a telephone interview and then to a face to face meeting.

 

Time for change

Deloitte, in its 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, showed over 70% of employers cited recruitment as a critical business issue, and if you go back a few years to the last CIPD survey of over 1000 business owners, over 90% stated that the recruitment of staff was the most critical issue influencing effective growth within the organisation.

So it is slightly disturbing that so many recruiting businesses, fail to apply the right level of due diligence.

Recent surveys indicate that current national attrition rates are massively up and are, of course being affected by the current record low unemployment rates we are experiencing, but there is also a lot of evidence to prove that there is a direct correlation between employment longevity & new hire productivity, and the quality of due diligence performed during the applicant screening process.

 

Talent Attraction

Collecting the right information

Here is a selection of the most common forms of due diligence that can be delivered as part of your assessment process:

– Industry and Job Knowledge Tests

– Competency-Based Assessments

– Skills Assessments

– Gamification or Task Orientated Tests

– Cognitive Ability Tests

– Critical Thinking Test

– Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving

– Numerical Reasoning

– Aptitude Tests

– Cultural Alignment Profiling

– Behavioural Alignment Profiling

– Emotional Intelligence

– Team Fit

– Personality Profiling

– Presentation and Communication Profiling

– Background and Reference Checks

 

In reality, it is impossible to consider running too many of these tasks, which is why consideration needs to be given on a per role basis as to what due diligence is most appropriate to the position being recruited for, in order to provide an effective holistic assessment of the prospective employee.

The traditional CV should at best form part of a well thought out set of screening tasks and references that contribute towards the interview selection process.

Better screening can also remove the need for multiple on-site interviews, which, in my experience are often costly and unnecessary.

Decisions at face to face meetings are also often heavily driven by gut feelings, so it makes sense to do the formal groundwork before-hand.

By adopting a good talent attraction and recruitment management system as the centrepiece to your recruitment strategy, will also contribute towards applying better practices as it makes it easier and more effective to issue and draw conclusions that assist in making the best hiring decisions.

 

 

More about the author

Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

His company, Smart Recruit Online, have been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months and currently hold the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Health, Wellbeing & Mental Health Community goes live
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Health, Wellbeing & Mental Health Community goes live by Mark Stephens.

 

Its time to take action

As a nation, we are travelling head-first into a national crisis around mental health, with the NHS and GP’s already overloaded beyond their capacity.

Subsequently, without the resources to cope, individuals are being signed off work and prescribed antidepressants at an alarming rate. This is leading to an ever-increasing number of sick days, thus impacting individual businesses and costing billions of pounds in revenue losses to the economy each year already.

Businesses cannot rely on the government to address this issue. The solution sits within the realms of corporate responsibility and unless we each take action to address this very real issue, we will undoubtedly suffer the repercussions through disruptions to workflow and productivity ourselves.

However, there is a reward for adopting a more caring culture that supports a genuine and practical approach to the wellbeing of staff, as businesses will inadvertently be establishing a more attractive cultural brand that will appeal to the future talent that they would like to attract.

 

Health and Wellbeing Events

Together with our trusted partners, we have come together to create a Health and Wellbeing Community, which will help you to address this issue. Our core team already contains more than 50 CEO’s, experts and practitioners and we are aligned with more than 50 organisations providing practical solutions across diet, health, fitness, alternative medicines, DNA research, holistic solutions, financial debt resolution, company benefit schemes and more.

Our efforts will be directed towards running regular health and wellness-themed events across the UK for Senior HR, business owners and individuals who are responsible for corporate wellbeing initiatives within their business. Giving you the chance to attend and meet with peers, practitioners, suppliers and industry professionals to hear personal stories and establish meaningful relationships.

The purpose of this group and ultimately these events is to educate businesses on how to support staff from the perspective of both mental & physical health and to share and generate practical ideas to take into your business. Ultimately leading to increased staff retention, productivity, and overall business success.

 

Health & Wellbeing Group

 

A successful launch

The launch of our Health and Wellbeing event a few weeks ago was hugely successful, hosted by Bannatyne Health & Fitness and professionally run and organised by the team at Business Live UK, we are pleased to say that the feedback has been outstanding and we are looking forward to announcing the next set of dates and locations as we take this event on a UK wide tour.

If you work in or around HR and the company you work with are looking at health, wellbeing or mental-health initiatives, then these events offer a fantastic way to explore what and who is out there providing meaningful resources and solutions. Our events are hosted in a totally relaxed non-sales environment, with free food, drink, great speakers and of course collaborations alongside industry peers.

The following video was filmed at the launch event; over 75 individual businesses attended along with 20 carefully selected industry suppliers, and our team of organisers, promoters, sponsors and speakers.

 

You can watch the video here

 

If you would like to join our Health, Wellness and Mental Health community, share ideas, get useful insights, engage with experts and stay informed about future events, then please join our community and group on LinkedIn: Here

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

 

Book a demo

 

More about the author

Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

His company, Smart Recruit Online, have been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months and currently hold the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


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