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Emily Kennon

How To Thank Your Staff This Christmas

By Blog, Employer

Gift them personalised stationery

Personalised stationery is both thoughtful and practical. Think a monogrammed leather notebook, laptop case, or coming into the new year, a personalised planner that can be used all year round. Make the gift extra personal by engraving a thank you message.

Give your staff some paid time off

Christmas is an extremely busy time for everyone, and if your workplace remains open until Christmas Day your staff will be feeling the pressure to find time to get everything done beforehand. Work out a system where each staff member gets some time off to shop for their Christmas gifts or spend some extra time with family leading up to the holidays. If it works for your business, also consider closing a day or two before Christmas.

Surprise them with an office gift 

Instead of giving out individual gifts to your staff, buy one larger one that everyone will be able to enjoy in the office. Think a great quality coffee machine, a new breakfast bar, or even a foosball table to add some fun to office lunches.

Treat them with an experience

This is the perfect opportunity to give a great gift, while encouraging some good old team bonding at the same time. From a lunch cruise to a jetboat ride, an experience is a great way to show you care.

Host a round of ‘Secret Santa’

Have your staff draw names for an end-of-year Secret Santa. Decide on a budget and a date to host the gift exchange. For a fun spin on the traditional Secret Santa, give Bad Santa a go. It’s the same idea – that everyone exchanges gifts – however this time your staff have the chance to steal gifts from each other during the exchange. Perfect for workplaces that love a bit of healthy competition.

Brighten their day with flowers

Flowers are always a welcomed gift, no matter the occasion. A beautiful bouquet is the perfect gift to brighten their day and their home for days to come. For something a little different, a dried bouquet is another great idea for a gorgeous gift that will last.

Update the office over Christmas

Looking for a gift that will keep on giving? An office makeover is a great way to say thanks to your staff and make their workspace more comfortable for the new year. Think updated furniture, ergonomic chairs, or something as simple as some new plants to freshen up the space. Your staff will appreciate the surprise when they head back to work in the new year and be able to enjoy the new space all year long.

Plan a Christmas party

A staff Christmas party is the perfect treat for your staff after a long year of hard work. Plan an event that everyone can enjoy and give your staff notice that it is coming up. Whether it’s an office party, a long lunch, or a day out, a Christmas party is a must for celebrating the end of the work year.

The hottest jobs right now

By Blog, Job Seeker

Being a job seeker certainly hasn’t been easy over the last few years. From snap lockdowns to industry shutdowns and an endless amount of Zoom interviews, finding a new role has been tough. The good news? Job ads are up, and it’s an employee’s market, so it’s the perfect time to put yourself out there and find a new gig. We’ve put together a list of the hottest jobs going right now, all of which have had significant job ad growth recently.

Painters & Sign Writers

If you fancy yourself on the creative side and have a good eye for detail, then this one is for you. With jobs ads for painters and sign writers up an incredible 157% it’s time to crack out your paintbrush, along with your killer resume, and get noticed.

Carpentry & Cabinet Makers

Another win for the tradies out there. Carpentry and cabinet maker roles are up 146%, making them one of the most sought-after tradesmen right now. So, whether you’re a seasoned professional, or long for a career change after binge watching the latest season of The Block, there are plenty of carpentry jobs available right now.

Childcare Workers

If you love being creative, working with children, and have a whole lot of patience, then working in childcare could be for you. With parents returning to the office or a WFH/remote hybrid role, childcare and before and after school centres are seeking staff. Job ads are up 107%, so now’s the time to search for your dream childcare role – or start studying to get yourself qualified for the future.

Chefs & Cooks

Uber eats is good to us when we’re feeling lazy, but there’s nothing quite like the experience of going out for a good meal with friends or family. The search for chefs and cooks in Sydney is on the rise. Job ads are up 108%, so you could be cooking up a storm in no time.

Merchandisers

Have an eye for design and a strong understanding of the retail space? Then becoming a merchandiser could be for you. With stores opening back up and Christmas fast approaching, it’s no surprise that merchandiser job ads are up 103%.

 

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8 Habits For A Healthier Workday

By Blog, Tips and Advice

1. Pack a pre-made lunch

A great way to start your workday on the right foot is to pack a lunch. By bringing your own lunch to work you can ensure you will have a healthy lunch option, and you’ll also save time and money – up to $2600 a year, assuming you’re spending $10 per lunch. That’s a holiday fund!

2. Stay hydrated

Not only is drinking plenty of water important for your physical heath, it also helps keep you mentally sharp. Forgetting to keep up your water intake can lead to dehydration, which can cause headaches, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Make staying hydrated easier by bringing a reusable water bottle with you to work each day and aiming to drink approximately 2 litres while you’re there.

3. Create a to-do list

Creating a to-do list at the start of your workday is a great way to visualise your goals for the day, and plan out how and when you will achieve them. Find a structure for your to-do list that works for you. Some people like to plan out their workday by the hour, while others find they’re more productive ticking off items on their to-do list organised by task rather than time. It’s important to remember that your daily to-do list is not only there to keep you organised, but also to keep you motivated. If you create a list that is miles long it will be easy to become overwhelmed and give up the on your list altogether. A good tip is to write your list of what you would like to achieve then break your tasks into daily and weekly tasks. So, what you can’t get done in a day, you can get done in a week.

4. Maintain proper posture

If your work requires you to sit at a desk for most of your day, chances are you’ve experienced related neck or back pain. Workplace injuries caused by bad posture are super common, but there are measures you can take to improve your posture and lower your risk of injury. The best thing to practice a neutral posture, which is your spine’s natural alignment. A neutral posture can be achieved when sitting at a desk by keeping your monitor at eye level, keeping your back flat against your chair with your shoulders back, and resting your feet flat on the floor.

5. Make time for movement

Sitting at a desk for hours at a time is not healthy for your physical or mental health, so it’s super important you find time in your workday for movement. A lunchtime walk is a great way to get in some exercise, and the benefits range from lifting your mood to reducing stress. Don’t have time to leave the office? No worries. We’ve put together a list of exercises you can do from your desk.

6. Look after your mental health

We all know that work can sometimes bring stress and worry into your day, and that anything from looming deadlines to working overtime can seriously start to impact your
mental wellbeing. Sure, it’s great to take pride in your work, but if your work is seriously impacting your mental health, it’s time to take a step back. Keep on top of your mental
health by taking breaks during your workday to get some fresh air or chatting to a co-worker or HR manager if you are feeling overwhelmed. Remember to take your annual leave when you can, and make time for other interests and hobbies in your life that aren’t work related to de-stress. And if you’re looking for a new job, create a profile on I Want 2 Work.

7. Keep it fun

Sure, the workplace is a place to get work done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some fun into your workday. In fact, if you don’t ever have fun at work then you’re probably in the wrong job. From going out to lunch with co-workers, to showing your manager the hilarious YouTube video you saw last night, be sure to inject some fun and laughter into your workday.

8. Switch off after hours

Whether you’re back in the office, or still working from home, it’s important to keep work for work hours only. Sure, there’ll be the odd project you need to work overtime on, but day to day try to only engage with work during your set hours. This may include shutting down your work laptop, switching off your work phone, or stopping checking work emails after a certain time. Switching off from work allows you to relax and recharge for the next day, as well as enjoy quality time spent with loved ones.

Exercises At Your Desk: 8 Easy Ways

By Blog, Tips and Advice

EXERCISE AT YOUR DESK: 8 EASY WAYS

Doing exercise at your desk is an easy way to get some movement in to your day (which should ideally start with a solid morning routine). Sitting at a desk is a big part of a lot of people’s jobs, but extended periods of sitting can be damaging to your health. It’s important to cultivate healthy habits during your workday but we know times are busy and, and you can’t always go for a lunch time walk or hit the gym. So we’ve put together a list of 8 quick and easy exercises, and the steps to complete them, that you can do during the workday from the comfort of your desk.

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How to prepare your business and staff for lockdown lift

By Blog, Employer

Today officially marks ‘Freedom Day’ in Sydney, as we leave lockdown after a mammoth 107 days of staying at home. For a lot of us, this meant working from home for 15 weeks. 15 weeks of Zoom calls, phone calls, and trying our best to run a company remotely. For others it meant putting business on hold, as they were no longer able to work at all. No matter what your work situation was for the past 15 weeks, it is undoubtedly going to feel a little weird returning to work in-person after such a long period of doing things differently. We’ve put together the top tips for preparing your business and staff for lockdown lift and the return to work.

Tip 1. Devise a return-to-work strategy

Return-to-work strategies will look different for each business owner and will depend on multiple factors, including the type of business you run, where your staff operate out of, and how many staff you have. A good place to begin is with the government guidelines, which you can access here. These guidelines outline everything you need to know, from when your business can resume trade again if it was put on pause during lockdown, to when masks are no longer required in the office. These guidelines are constantly changing, so it’s best to check them regularly.

Another great resource is the Safe Work Australia site. This is your go-to for all things related to returning to work safely and ensuring the health and safety of your staff.

A few things to consider when devising your return-to-work strategy are when your staff will return to work, if this return to work will be staggered, and if it is more suitable to allow staff to continue working from home. If you do plan on having all your staff back working together, staggering their return – or having staff come in on alternative days – is a good way to ensure social distancing measures. It’s also a simple way to ensure your employees are not overwhelmed by such a sudden shift to their work life.

Tip 2: Make communication a priority

There will likely be some confusion from your staff about when the return-to-work is happening and how it will all work. Stay in regular communication with your staff via Zoom and phone calls to make your businesses’ return-to-work plan clear. This is also a good time to communicate any guidelines your staff need to be made aware of, such as whether their vaccination status will affect their return to work. During this time, keep communication lines open and listen to any questions or concerns coming from your staff.

Tip 3: Ensure the workplace is COVID safe

Your team may have reservations about returning to work while COVID-19 cases are still present in the community. Thankfully, vaccinations have dramatically decreased risks involved with COVID, and there are measures workplaces can take to keep their staff safe. COVID-19 safe practices in the workplace include maintaining physical distancing, practising good personal hygiene, and ensuring the regular cleaning of common spaces. You may also want to reduce the risk of spreading potential disease by eliminating the use of hot desks and encouraging employees to avoid common spaces in the workplace if they become overly crowded.

Tip 4: Set clear policies around illness

It’s important your staff feel safe when they return to work and have peace of mind that they are returning to a healthy environment. One of the best ways to ensure this is to set clear and consistent policies around illness in the workplace. Health advice is likely to be constantly changing throughout the period that your staff is returning to work, but there are some policies you can introduce from the get-go. A good place to start is making it clear to your employees that they must stay home if they are sick, as well as get tested if they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms. This will ensure their illness does not spread throughout the workplace, keeping both your staff and any customers safe.

Tip 5: Practise patience 

The past 15 weeks have been hard on everyone, and each of your staff members would have certainly faced their individual struggles during the lockdown. Many would have been home schooling while working from home, while others may not have worked for quite a while. Take some time to reconnect with your each of your staff on their return and touch base on how they have been going during lockdown. It’s also a good idea to see if anyone needs any training to refresh, or help getting back into a work routine.

How to dress for success in a job interview

By Blog, Job Seeker

Interviewing for a job comes with all sorts of nerves, so the less you stress about what you’re wearing the better. If you feel confident in what you’ve got on, this confidence will come across to the interviewer. Here’s our top tips to present the best version of yourself in an interview and dress for success!

Tip 1. Stick to your own style

Stick to the style you feel most comfortable in, with some alterations so it fits the formality of an interview. Love wearing dresses and skirts? A skirt suit could be the perfect option for you. Do you love wearing jewellery? Don’t be afraid to accessorise for the interview but keep it simple with some studs and a small necklace. If you feel confident in what you’re wearing, this confidence will come across to the interviewer. Also, interviewers want to see who you are and what you’re about so it’s important you present the real you in an interview.

Tip 2. Dress for the job you want

Different industries have totally different dress codes, so it’s a good idea to wear something to an interview that you could see yourself wearing to your new job if successful. For example, formal business wear is appropriate for an interview at a large corporation, while wearing something so formal to an interview for a retail position may get you a few strange looks.

Tip 3. Go with the safe option

Unsure what attire is appropriate for the job you’re going for? We present to you: The Safe Option – outfits that will always get the tick of approval and will work for just about any interview. For men, dark trousers or chinos with a button-up shirt is always a good option. Trousers are also a good option for ladies, or a mid-length skirt. Paired with a plain blouse and some simple flats or small heels, you can’t go wrong. Opt for neutral hues for your clothing such as black, tan, or grey and always remember to iron your clothing before the big day.

Tip 4. Keep it simple

It’s important that whoever is interviewing you can focus on what you’re saying and how great a candidate you are for the role. You don’t want your strengths to be outshone by distracting clothing or accessories during your interview. Keep it simple with jewellery and avoid wearing bangles or earrings that make a loud jingle or get in your face. A tie can be a nice formal touch for an interview, but again keep it simple. Your brightest tie will have its time another day.

 

How to stay connected to your staff during lockdown

By Blog, Employer

Another week of lockdown. Yawn. By now, your staff are probably settled into a routine of working from home, but they may also have hit a lockdown plateau: fatigue (especially if they are also homeschooling); a drop in motivation; and a loss of connectivity to their work. You can help combat your team’s lockdown plateau by keeping communication levels up and letting them know you’re still there for them during these hard times. Try these four ideas to stay connected to your staff throughout lockdown.

Tip 1. Check in daily

Whether it’s a quick phone call in the morning with each member of your staff, or a larger group Zoom, daily check-ins are a great way to stay connected. Use this time to not only touch base on work projects for the day, but to also check in with your staff on a personal level. Just by asking them how their weekend was, or how they’re going in lockdown, your staff will feel assured that you truly care for them, and don’t only contact them when it’s work related.

Tip 2: Set challenges

Weekly or monthly challenges are a great way to stay connected to your staff while having some friendly competition. Set up a Zoom call to organise some fun challenges for your staff to complete and keep track of the winners on a virtual scoreboard. These challenges could be anything from who can track the most steps in a day, to who can eat the most dry weetbix in a minute. This is also a great time to learn about some secret talents your staff may have up their sleeves. A Zoom talent show may reveal a secret future poet or piano prodigy among your team.

Tip 3: Try online team building 

Another great way to keep your team connected during lockdown is to introduce some virtual team building exercises during your catch-ups. Online games such as Codenames and team trivia are great ways to introduce team building into your Zooms, while keeping it fun. Games like this are perfect for a Friday afternoon, as your staff wind down for the week.

Tip 4: Host a virtual lunch 

If your staff is used to having lunch together every day in the office, they’re probably missing these daily lunchtime catch-ups. A great alternative is to invite your staff to have a virtual lunch over Zoom, where everyone can enjoy a meal and chat with no mention of work to be done. Your staff can cook up their favourite meal for the catch-up, or to make the occasion extra exciting you could arrange to have their favourite lunch delivered to them at their home. Financial services firm Deloitte has already done the hard work for you to prove this works: in 2015, it conducted a case study to see how employees reacted to this type of virtual socialising and it was a huge success. It was found that the causal nature of the Zoom, the inclusion of food, and the Zoom having no formal structure allowed for the conversation to flow freely.

5 tips for staying healthy during lockdown

By Blog, Tips and Advice
Sydney has entered its fourth week of lockdown, marking close to a month of being away from our normal routines. It’s easy to form some not-so-healthy habits during lockdown, and if you’re feeling anxious and unmotivated you’re not alone. In a time like this it’s more important than ever to look after yourself and prioritise your health, so we’ve put together five simple tips for staying healthy while you’re staying at home.

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How to support your employees during lockdown

By Blog, Employer

Lockdown is an uncertain time for everyone, and each time it happens it brings huge changes to every part of our lives. Depending on your business, there’s a chance your staff are working fully from home – or are required to adhere to a bunch of new working practices if they are on site.

This shift brings both physical and social challenges for your employees and it is critical that you show your staff extra support to get through this lockdown successfully.

Try our top 5 tips for supporting your staff during lockdown:

Tip 1: Keep communication lines open

Maintaining regular communication with your staff during lockdown will let them know that you’re still supporting them, even from afar. Try to check-in with each team member via text or email, or organise a team zoom meeting or two as a chance to catch-up on both work and life. Chatting to your staff face-to-face, or screen-to-screen, via an app like zoom allows you to maintain a great connection with them without physically seeing them in the office. If they are working on site under Covid-safe restrictions, make sure they fully understand what they are required to do and feel comfortable with it.

Tip 2: Ensure your team is work from home ready

If you haven’t done so already, check your staff’s working-from-home set up is suitable and allows them to work effectively. Working from home comes with physical challenges as your staff must move their permanent work setup to a more temporary working space at home. If your staff work on laptops then this is an easy fix, but for employees that need to access a monitor or multiple screens it’s important that these are relocated to their home, or alternatives are arranged for them. Keeping employees’ home setup as much like what they had access to in the office will allow them to continue working productively and bring a sense of familiarity to such an uncertain time.

Tip 3: Respect work-life balance 

Remember that being at home for a lot of your staff means extra responsibilities such as teaching or looking after their school-aged children, and making extra meals for their family each day. And that is hard work. You may think that your staff will have extra time to smash out their work, but it’s important to respect that they still have busy lives outside of their work duties and work-life balance is more important than ever for lockdown survival. Encourage your team to continue taking their designated lunch break, get outside for a walk in the sunshine and to log off from their work computer after working hours.

Tip 4: Focus on the positives

While lockdown certainly brings its fair share of challenges to the workplace, it’s important to remember that there are some benefits to both you and your staff working from home. Your staff will save time not having to commute to and from work each day, the usual distractions of the office won’t be present and the flexibility of working from home will allow your staff to manage their own time, while spending more time with family. In fact, 78 per cent of Australian staff believe they’re just as (or more) productive working from home.

Tip 5: Keep an eye on your own mental health

Finally, it’s impossible to support a team of staff without making sure that your own mental and physical wellbeing is on track. This is a tough period; be gentle with yourself. Maintain catchups with your own manager, or other members of staff, for a chance to check-in on how you’re going during this uncertain time. Get outside, spend time with family, and make sure to step away from work each day to just relax.

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