Mental Health – Lets Keep Talking
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Most people will not have to suffer from severe mental health issues, depression, anxiety or suffer a full meltdown during their lifetime. But one in 4 of us will.

Thankfully, the stigma surrounding mental health is now being addressed and our attitudes are changing. Individuals can get the support that they need and be treated properly if they reach out.  It took many courageous individuals to stand up and be personally exposed in order to change perception and attitude.

We must never let mental health issues suffer the same stigma that it did in the past.  Only by maintaining an open dialogue and enabling sufferers to speak and share their personal stories without fear of repercussions, can we continue to increase awareness. We all have a role to play, even those of us that are lucky enough to have avoided any personal suffering.

 

stress management

 

I read one such individual story this week and wanted to share. Jonathan Trott, England international cricketing legend opened up about his return from England’s 2013-14 Ashes tour.

Whilst discussing mental health in an interview on Sky Sports, he revealed, that he had wrestled with his own problems.

 

Jonathan Trott: “The job I loved, filled me with dread”

 

Jonathan Trott

 

Speaking during Mental Health Awareness Week, the batsman revealed he began to experience symptoms of anxiety during the home Ashes series in 2013.

But Trott’s issues came to a head in Australia. Where he had scored 445 runs and two centuries during England’s Ashes triumph in 2010-11. When he flew home after the first Test in Brisbane.

In the show, Trott told host Nick Knight: “It was building. I probably realised during the home Ashes of 2013-14.

Understanding the signs

 

“I remember being at Durham for the fourth Test and not able to concentrate, which was something I pride myself on.

“There was something missing and going to The Oval I knew I was in a little bit of trouble, not wanting to play. That’s when the whole anxiety of putting the tracksuit on and going to the ground was triggered.

“The skill of playing cricket was something I was starting to dread, which I had loved my whole life until then. It was terrifying as it felt so foreign and you are so exposed with cameras everywhere. It was tricky to get some alone time and make sense of it all.

“I remember saying I wanted to play [in the ODI series against Australia that followed the 2013 Ashes] to get back into form before Australia, whereas now if I hadn’t played in that series I wonder if my career may have been a bit longer.

“I tried to fight my way through on the field and live up to the standards I had set for myself, which were pretty high.” He continued ”I was fine at the hotel, away from the ground – it was only going to the Test matches where the scrutiny was.”

“I did pretty well in the warm-up games but going to Brisbane was different. Another level that I had never experienced. I remember going down to breakfast with my cap over my eyes. Trying to sit away from the other guys hoping they wouldn’t see I was pretty emotional eating my cornflakes.

Getting the right support

 

“Coming back from Australia we said I had a stress-related illness. To me, that didn’t seem good enough for the press. It was a bit grey. But the reason for that was that we weren’t sure exactly what was going on.”

“I wanted to be as honest and open as possible. But when people want you to say 24 hours later what’s going on, it’s impossible.” He goes on to say ”I only got properly diagnosed five months later, in early April.”

Trott says he attempted to return to cricket with county side Warwickshire too soon. He only began the road to recovery after linking up with renowned sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters. Dr Peters has worked with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.

The 39-year-old retired from cricket in 2018. He implores anyone suffering from mental health problems to seek face-to-face help where possible, insisting it makes a huge difference.

Good advice – let’s keep talking.

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.


Essential Online Mindfulness for Work
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Mindfulness for your team

When organizations invest in preventive and supportive mental health solutions, a little goes a long way. Employees should not need to travel to access the resources they need to cope with and reduce stress. Mindfulness training can be done online or through a mobile app, making it accessible to almost everyone. Research shows that Mindfulness accessed online is as beneficial to the majority of participants as doing Mindfulness in person.

Recent studies into the effects of Mindfulness show it can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and isolation brought on by being stressed and isolated working at home. Megan Bell Jones, Chief Science Officer at Headspace says “Our brains have developed to focus on the threat. Short-term stress and anxiety can be part of a healthy range of emotional experience. At times they can even help us stay safe”. What Mindfulness does is helps us to stop focusing on the symptoms of threat so our central nervous system can relax.

 

stress management

 

Physical health

However, when we experience chronic stress from working at home it can tax our immune system. Working at home with not being able to leave work at work at the end of the day. Experts feel this scenario is being made worse by working from home as there is no element of leaving the office. We are permanently at work. This can cause more severe problems like anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. This threat reflex that releases powerful hormones like cortisol acts like a drug and keeps us hooked to news cycles and fuels chronic stress.

 

Support & prevention

There are different forms of help for stress, anxiety and depression. Meditation helps deactivate the emotional center of the brain which is responsible for emotional reactivity. So in effect, you can detach from that part of you through medication but this does not help to address the root cause of the condition. When we help our brains stay grounded we are better able to engage the rational part of our brains. This can help us understand information and make decisions from a place of fact versus panic. Mindfulness works by helping people regulate emotions, changing the brain to be more resilient to stress, and improving stress biomarkers. This process effectively changes the structure of the brain meaning that our brains develop during Mindfulness; changing to be more resilient to the effects of stress, anxiety and depression.

A good Mindfulness programme is easy to set up, cost-effective and accessible online. During COVID19 it is essential employees and employers look after their mental health to ensure they are ready to bounce back quickly from COVID19. For more information on Mindfulness visit www.satis.org.uk or email john@satis.org.uk.

About the Author:

For the last five years I have studied an undergraduate degree and masters in Psychology and Mindfulness (MSc). This has led me to continue this research through a PhD at Warwick University. During these 5 years I have taught Yoga and Mindfulness as a full-time job to businesses. My hard work was rewarded with a contract to work as a lecturer teaching wellbeing, Mindfulness and Yoga courses throughout Coventry for Coventry Council.

John Earls


Director of Therapy at Satis - The Mindfulness Movement


SRO team up with peoplevalue to give small businesses FREE ACCESS to EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

We are delighted to announce that we are working with peoplevalue, one of the UK’s leading employee benefits companies, to give small businesses free access to their benefits solution myworkperks.

The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised just how important it is for businesses to look after their employees. Small businesses, who usually have less money and resources to support their employees in normal circumstances, are now also having to fight to survive in this new world that we’re living in. This means it’s even more difficult for them to provide the benefits and support their employees deserve.

To offer a helping hand in this challenging time, we’ve teamed up with peoplevalue to give small businesses free-for-life access to myworkperks, peoplevalue’s employee benefits solution.

 

Wellness and Mental Health

 

What is myworkperks?

myworkperks was designed by peoplevalue to make employee benefits accessible and affordable for small businesses. Businesses sign up via the myworkperks website. From there they can set up their very own benefits platform. This usually starts at a cost of £5 per employee, per month.

Benefits include shopping discounts, discounted cinema tickets and competitions. You will also have access to an internal recognition tool as well as a suite of wellbeing features. These range from a debt management service to online fitness classes.

 

Supporting small businesses

In this challenging time, it’s even more valuable for small businesses to be able to provide benefits and support that make their employees’ lives that bit easier. We’re delighted to be able to offer our small business contacts free access to myworkperks. You will need to enter the following promotional code SR2020 to register for free. Through the platform, their employees will be able to save money on their essential shopping at the supermarket, as well as a fantastic range of other benefits and wellbeing features.

To find out more about myworkperks, visit www.myworkperks.co.uk

Smart Recruit Online



How AI Can Improve Employee Health, Wellness, and Safety
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

AI is one of the most exciting tech developments to emerge in recent years, and it will no doubt continue to reshape how businesses are run. That being said, AI is often talked about in the realm of data analytics and innovation strategies. These are important uses of AI, but by no means are they the only ones. In fact, AI can play a big role in shaping safer workplaces for companies all over the globe. So how can AI be used to improve employee health?

 

AI in Recruitment

 

Provide smarter assistance to stressed-out employees

 

Stress is a part of everyday life, and even rank-and-file employees have days when they feel like headless chickens trying to complete their tasks. CMS Wire cites virtual assistants as a tech innovation that can help provide personalised experiences to each and every employee, allowing them to schedule their day according to data such as what time the most emails come in, what notification preferences each user wants, and so on. In fact, these assistants can even be trained to answer simple questions and thus help minimise communication backlog. The beauty of virtual assistants is that this tech has become widely available, meaning it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for businesses to adopt.

 

Wellness and Mental Health

 

Monitoring the safety of mobile workers

 

Mobile workers are often thought of as those working at home from their laptop, but this category comprises all kinds of employees who do fieldwork, such as logistics and delivery drivers. One of the main reasons why Verizon Connect recommends businesses invest in fleet telematics is because this system continuously gathers data on driving behaviour. Such data is then used to make tables highlighting driver performance, which managers can then use as a way to see where (in the case of recurring incidents) their drivers need more safety training and assistance. Telematics is a prime example of how AI can improve employee health, and help employers to see where their current health and safety efforts are lacking.

 

Boosts diversity and equality opportunities

 

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can do wonders for employees’ mental health. While most employers know this, few actually take the time to implement measures and ensure that this diversity becomes a reality. Part of the issue is that for diversity and inclusivity to really be attained, companies have to look into every nook and cranny to remove unequal practices. So, BizTech suggests using AI to sort through HR and payroll information and compile an account of pay statuses across departments. Data visualisation allows managers to catch huge over-arching trends that might have been lost under the piles and piles of records.

As with most tech innovations, AI is still continuously being developed in line with what people need. Our previous post on 7 Wellbeing in the Workplace Initiatives You Can Start Today underscores the need for employers to always look after and nurture their employees. And with safety on everyone’s mind nowadays, companies would do well to look into this often-neglected link between AI and employee wellness.

 

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.

Book A Demo

JillianCraig@smartrecroot.com'
Jillian Craig


Jillian Craig is an aspiring tech writer whose love for technology stems from her love for video games. Since she held her first Gameboy Color and watched the fast-paced development of gaming consoles, she's been curious about technology and how it impacts businesses and consumers alike.


How to Get Through Working Long Hours
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Working additional hours is a common practice among many employees nowadays. According to the data from the European statistics agency Eurostat, full-time employees in the UK work longer hours than full-time employees in other EU countries (except Greece and Austria). In fact, workers in the UK work 42.5 hours a week, on average, which is more than the European average (41.2 hours per week).

Before making the choice to work longer, be aware that this habit can have serious consequences on your physical and mental health. So, whenever you can, you should avoid staying late at the office.

 

Mental Health

 

If you really have to stay late, you should at least learn how to make it less stressful and more comfortable. This article will provide you with several tricks.

This blog post will help you to discover:

  1. Helpful tips when working extra hours,
  2. How overworking can cause burnout,
  3. The difference between workaholics and hard workers, and
  4. How overtime work affects your health.

Even if you’ve never worked more than your regular working hours, this could be your guide in case you have to work late sometimes.

 

Helpful tips when working additional hours

1.   Plan your day ahead

If you know that you’re going to have a busy day and you might stay longer at the office, plan your day ahead.

These are the steps you should take:

  • first, think about your priorities for that day,
  • then, write down your priorities in the form of a to-do list,
  • finally, decide how much time you will need for each priority and write it down.

Having all your significant tasks in one place will help you stay focused. Besides, you can add a checkmark next to the task you’ve just finished. This will keep you motivated to complete the full list.

 

2.   Take frequent breaks

Having breaks when working is always essential, especially when you’re supposed to work long hours. Try taking quick breaks every two hours. You can take a walk, call your friend or make another cup of coffee – it’s up to you.

Breaks help us regain our focus and make us more productive. Here’s how a psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, from the University of Illinois, explains that:

From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks, it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself.”

As he points out, these brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.

 

3.   Ask for help

Let’s say that you’ve been trying to solve a particular issue at work. You’ve worked extended hours for days and haven’t succeeded.

Whenever you’re exhausted, you need a fresh point of view. The best thing you can do is ask for help from your colleagues. But, before you seek for their advice, ask yourself whether you’ve exploited all simple solutions. If so, then you should consult with your colleagues.

In addition, you can write down the list of the best ideas you’ve come up with so far. Then, feel free to show the list to your colleagues and ask for their opinion. The chances are, maybe you’re on the right path to the solution, but just need a few tweaks.

 

4.   Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Keeping up a healthy lifestyle should always be your priority, but especially when working too much.

Be sure to follow these simple rules in order to stay healthy during long hours at the office:

  • Eat properly. Stay away from junk food and try not to skip any meals throughout the day. Be sure to keep healthy snacks handy, too.
  • Drink enough water. The Institute of Medicine advises 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women daily.
  • Get enough sleep. Whenever you can, try to sleep for at least 7 hours per night.
  • Try to find a type of exercise you’ll enjoy the most, be it going to the gym, running or hiking. Besides, be sure to stay active during office hours, too. This might include stretching, sitting on a stability ball, or taking stairs instead of an elevator.

By following these simple tips, you could avoid having serious consequences of overtime work.

 

Wellness & Mental Health

 

Consequences of working additional hours

Working beyond your capabilities not only makes you tired but can cause burnout and impact your health, too. We’ll cover these repercussions in the section below, as well as explain the true meaning of a workaholic.

 

What is burnout?

Burnout is the term we use to describe the feeling of exhaustion caused by overwork or stress. This term was invented by a German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, in 1974.

Overworking can sometimes cause career burnout. This condition is the subject of many kinds of research across the globe. In addition, the World Health Organization and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) have identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”.

There are many symptoms of burnout, such as chest pain, dizziness, lack of energy, as well as sleep deprivation. Burnout can even lead to depression.

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms due to putting in extra hours, it’s time to slow down. Try limiting your workdays to standard working hours.

Now, you might be wondering if too much work makes you a hard worker or a workaholic. Let’s take a close look at these two categories of employees, and learn what sets them apart.

 

Do workaholics enjoy working?

To find an answer to this question, we need to analyze the true meaning of the word workaholic.

The term “workaholic” represents someone with “an uncontrollable need to work incessantly.” This phrase was created by psychologist Wayne E. Oates in 1968.

The most common signs of workaholism are:

  • having an urge to work hard,
  • always thinking about work, and
  • the feeling of guilt when you’re not working.

Unlike workaholics, who always think about work, hard workers have their ways to disconnect from work.

Here are other differences between workaholics and hard workers:

 

Workaholic Hard worker
Physically obsessed with work Feels passionate about work
Constantly works late Rarely works late
Disregards family life Keeps the work-life balance
Loves being addicted to work Loves the work itself
Works in order to reduce anxiety and depression Works in order to accomplish own career goals
Bad team player Good team player
Experiences work burnout every day Manages to reduce work burnout
Doesn’t delegate Delegates successfully
Never says “no” Knows how to say “no”
Even when not at work, still thinks of work Appreciates having free time

 

These qualities are noted in the research “The Prevalence of Workaholism: A Survey Study in a Nationally Representative Sample of Norwegian Employees”.

As you can see from the table, being a workaholic means being at risk of burnout. On the contrary, hard workers can manage to reduce burnout.

When it comes to the average number of working hours, workaholics constantly stay late. On another note, hard workers rarely work late.

This study has shown us that workaholics love being addicted to work, while hard workers love the work itself. In conclusion, workaholics don’t truly enjoy working. The reason behind their long working hours is their addiction to work.

No matter if you’re a hard worker or a workaholic, be sure that putting in extra hours can have consequences on your health.

 

Can working extra hours affect your health?

Many studies have shown the correlation between overworking and its impact on your physical and mental health.

For instance, there is a study called Association Between Reported Long Working Hours and History of Stroke in the CONSTANCES Cohort. The purpose of this research was to examine whether long working hours (LWH) can cause a stroke. Among the participants, there were some who reported LWH and others who reported LWH for 10 years and more. According to their results, there is a connection between working overtime for 10 years or more and a stroke.

Besides the physical, working for too long can affect your mental health, too. The research published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, analyzed long work hours, weekend working and depressive symptoms in men and women. They surveyed 11 215 men and 12 188 women in employment or self-employment in the UK. Their results show that working 55 hours or more is associated with depression among women. Also, weekend working is linked to depressive symptoms for men.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that working overtime will make you ill if you stay late at the office only a few times a year. But, if burning the midnight oil eventually becomes your routine, you might truly experience some health issues.

As we already mentioned, avoid working late when you can. In case this is inevitable, our tips can help you stay healthy during extended hours at work.

 

Conclusion

Putting in long hours can cause career burnout and impact your health, too. That’s why it’s advisable to avoid staying late at work. In case you have to work late, learn how to make this time more convenient. Organizing your workday properly and adopting a healthy lifestyle will surely do the trick.

 

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.

Book a demo

Nikola Radojcin


Nikola Radojcin is a productivity researcher and writer at Clockify. When not petting the office dog, he makes sure to check out the latest time management techniques so his co-workers can utilize time in the best way possible.


7 Wellbeing in the Workplace Initiatives You Can Start Today
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

A growing number of businesses are incorporating workplace health and wellbeing programs for their staff. Business benefits for organizations keeping their workers healthy and happy are tremendous.

It is now recognized that wellbeing initiatives lead to a significant increase in your team’s productivity and engagement. Working in the best interest of everyone in your company contributes to building a strong and successful organization.

Let’s take a look at how you can improve the health and wellbeing of your employees.

 

1. Personal and Professional Development

Most employees feel the need to progress and develop their skills further. There are multiple ways to ensure your staff is learning new stuff and growing.

A personal development library is a simple and affordable way to help your team achieve their goals.

To take it up a notch, you can create an individual development plan for every single employee. It helps in better understanding strengths and weaknesses as well as the professional needs and aspirations of every worker.

Consider including personal and professional development training for your staff. Lunch-and-learn emotional intelligence or time management courses can help your team reduce stress and enhance their productivity.

 

Mental Health

 

2. Corporate Fitness Programs

If you are looking for a way to incorporate effective wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, you can’t miss corporate fitness programs.

If you have the means needed, then creating on-site fitness facilities is what you should aim for. Also, there are organizations like Exos that provide worksite fitness programs.

Some of the companies provide customized lifestyle programs to improve the workers’ wellbeing and performance.

Since we live in the age of technology, there are even team-based fitness challenges you can complete using apps or utilizing wearable devices.

 

3. Practice Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness techniques involve meditation, breathing, mental imagery, and yoga. These practices are efficient at alleviating stress and boosting focus and productivity.

Visualization is an overlooked yet potent tool to go beyond our limitations and achieve our goals. Visualization helps people perform better in all aspects of life.

Self-improvement is achieved easier by implementing visualization in fitness, work, or private life. Imagine an important conversation or stressful meeting approaches. This technique helps you arm yourself with strength and positivity and perceive them as less intimidating and less stressful.

 

4. Access to Healthy Food Choices

Make sure the cafeteria within your organization offers processed-free foods, as well as fresh and organic produce at a moderate cost. You can encourage your staff to eat a more balanced diet by providing discounts for healthy foods sold at work.

Taking a vegan or vegetarian challenge is a great way to promote healthy and mindful nutrition. Opting for nourishing meals, packed with micronutrients, is excellent both for employees’ health and their work performance.

Adding a variety to a healthy menu will get people more interested and feel less deprived when choosing more balanced meals.

 

wellness and mental health

 

5. Flexible Work Schedule

To improve employee motivation, consider including one remote workday a week for your staff. Allowing employees to work from an offsite location one day a week can boost their productivity and morale significantly.

They get to take a mental and emotional break from the office environment and annoying traffic on their way to work. The change in scenery has a fantastic effect on the employees’ wellbeing and engagement.

Flexible working arrangements provide greater focus and a flow of new ideas. This type of flexibility also contributes to better work-life harmony, and the workforce is less likely to leave the organization.

 

6. Encourage Your Employees to Cycle to Work

Cycling to work not only helps your staff exercise more and achieve better health, but it is also great for the environment. And it is a more affordable transportation option too.

Half of most trips are three miles or less, according to The League of American Bicyclists, and they can be easily tackled by bike.

To encourage your staff to bike to work, provide a secure place for bike storage, and pass out materials that promote cycling to work. You can include information on safety, on the best places to purchase a bike, etc.

Offering financial incentives goes a long way. You can consider negotiating corporate discounts on gear from local bike shops.

 

7. Fight the Sedentary Lifestyle

Even if you are active throughout the day, spending most of the hours sitting in the office, your car or at home, means you are still at risk of cellular ageing and chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even premature death.

In the work environment, you can counteract the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle by adopting walking meetings. It may seem odd, but studies have shown that walking increases creativity output by a staggering 60% while keeping your health in check.

Another way to offset the dangers of all-day sitting is by replacing existing desks with standing ones. While standing, your body burns energy and remains active. This also means the reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.

When you prioritize the wellbeing of your workforce, the whole company reaps the benefits. Incorporate wellbeing ideas and create a healthy culture in your organization, and your business will thrive.

 

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.

Book a demo

Alexander Hunkin


Alexander Hunkin is an Australian based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advices have helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches. The top ones are business, career, finance and marketing. He aspires to share his experiences and is always on the lookout for the next opportunity to enhance his skills. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving and cycling.


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