Softworks Blog

Juggling the Work/Life Balance with Flexitime

Posted by Oliver Mitchell on Thu, Aug 31, 2017

The now famous 30 second speech given by the former CEO of Coca Cola Bryan Dyson (86-91), identified work as one of five components of life. It went along the lines of:

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air.  You name them - Work, Family, Health. Friends and Spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You'll soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls- Family,Health,Friends and Spirit -  are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed,marked,nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it. Work efficiently during the office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if it's value is valued."

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Life today is very different from the 1980's. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Communicaton methods are constantly evolving and a vast amount of people post their every movement and interaction on some form of social media to share with the world. But that in itself is a whole other conversation!

Work is also a much more fluid environment nowadays. My colleagues are spread over 4 different time zones , with customers and suppliers in numerous others. But with the range of devices now available we are practically contactable 24/7 almost anywhere in the world.  So I ask the question: "Are we truly ever off the clock?" 

Don't get me wrong, I think it's amazing that we can be at home, out for a walk, having dinner with friends or doing any number of things and can solve an issue or respond to a question from someone who needs an answer during their working day, and vice versa. Without a doubt this makes the work flow quicker and easier, but it also blurs the lines of what Bryan Dyson was trying to get across. In his speech, there is seemingly a clear divide between the 5 elements we're all  constantly struggling to juggle. In today's reality, they all intermingle, blend together and managing your time ensuring each one is kept in the air is one of modern life's biggest challenges. 

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Using Flexitime within your organisation can assist employee's with managing this quandary. Having freedom to choose your start and end time to your office day can help you to deal with the other things that life throws at you from time to time. From the employers point of view, knowing that your employee is monitoring their hours to ensure they work the contracted amount of time over a week or month gives you some peace of mind too. It doesn't neccessarily cover the extra little segments of time that get spent on those late night emails or phone calls but it does offer more balance than the traditional office hours.  

In essence, having flexibility around the demands of work enables a person to better juggle all the balls they have in the air at any given time and that, I believe, encapsulates the message that Bryan Dyson was conveying in his 30 second speech. 

Topics: Time & Attendance, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Workforce Management

The Importance of Employee Leave

Posted by Jimmy English on Wed, Aug 16, 2017

The Importance of Employee Leave.

 July and August are the most popular times of the year for employees to take their annual leave. There are typically less active projects and a lighter workload during this period, making it the ideal opportunity to get away for a while. While some employees may take a day off here or there, it is still important to take an extended period of time off work. Employees benefit psychologically and emotionally from annual leave, and enjoy a boost in enthusiasm and productivity when they return.  Let’s take a closer look at the benefits that result from annual leave and why it is so important.

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 1. Turning off your email. 

It is widely believed that constantly checking your email leads to an increase in stress levels. While some managers might not be able to avoid their email altogether, to fully benefit from your holiday set your out of office message before you leave. Take it one step further and don’t even think about checking your email on your phone. Unless you’re expecting an important message it can wait until you get back.

  1. Spending quality time with family.

The work life balance is a tough one to achieve sometimes. We all get caught up in our work at some stage or another and can neglect other areas of our lives. Getting away from your desk for a week or two with your family or loved ones will increase your happiness and remind you that there is more to life than work.

  1. Refreshed and rejuvenated.

The biggest benefit of annual leave is the positive effect it has on the employee mindset. An employee returning from holidays will have a fresh outlook and attitude and will be ready to perform to the best of their ability.

 

A business can only prosper from having satisfied and motivated employees. Employees who are happy and productive are a huge asset to any company. And while annual leave is limited, Flexible Working is not.  Flexible Working is unique in that it allows employees to achieve greater work life balance which in turn makes them more productive workers. To find out more about flexible working from Softworks click here.

Book a Demo

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, absences, Employee Motivation

Leave the Office Early

Posted by Jimmy English on Tue, Jun 6, 2017

‘Leave the office early day’

Friday last the 2nd of June marked National ‘Leave the Office Early Day’ . This particular day has been introduced to encourage office workers who usually work more than 40 hours a week to take a couple of extra hours to themselves by leaving work early.  There are many factors that impact on employee productivity.  Often, something as simple as leaving work a few minutes before your normal finishing time can have a huge impact on your outlook and performance.

 Flexible Working Arrangements, or more commonly Flexitime is a proven approach to boosting employee output and satisfaction. Flexitime doesn’t just benefit employees. There are a number of advantages, financial and other that businesses can enjoy from implementing Flexitime.

 

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  1. Reduce Absences and Lateness.

 Employees who are constantly late or absent without approval end up costing your company money in the long run. By introducing flexible working hours for employees, you reduce the scope for lateness and reduce the cost of employee lateness.

  1. Match working hours to demand.

With Flexitime, you can match employee working hours to periods of high or low demand, thereby reducing the costs of having too many staff when they are not necessary.  By matching staff levels to demand you can optimise productivity and reduce costs.

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  1. Happy employees are productive employees.

Employees that are well rested and happy are likelier to have a higher morale and increased motivation to perform their role to the best of their ability.

  1. Inexpensive Implementation.

Flexible Working is an inexpensive solution and can be quickly implemented providing a Return on Investment in a short period of time.

 

Flexible Working Arrangements benefit both your employees and your business. You can find out more about flexible working arrangements in our whitepaper. To download our whitepaper click here. 

How can Flexible Working benefit your company? Request a Live Demo of Softworks Solutions and a member of our team will be in touch to give you all the information you need.

Request Live Demo

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Happy Workers, Workforce Management

Workplace Wellness

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Apr 3, 2017

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Workplace Wellbeing

 Last week saw the celebration of the International Workplace Wellbeing day, and in honour of this celebration we’re going to take a further look at the many benefits of workplace wellbeing.  Workplace wellbeing practices has benefits for both employers and employees. Employers who promote workplace wellbeing typically enjoy higher output from their employees and a reduced rate of absenteeism. For employees, workplace wellbeing programs can lead to improved morale and greater self-esteem in the workplace.  The value of workplace wellbeing can be enjoyed equally by employers and employees alike.

Benefits of workforce health for employers:

  • Increased motivation and production
  • A Happy workforce
  • Attracting top employees
  • Reduced Absenteeism
  • Reduced turnover of employees

While employers and organisations can certainly reap the benefits of introducing a  workplace wellbeing program, it is the employees that truly enjoy the advantages. For example , employees who are  a part of workplace health program enjoy:

  • Improved workplace morale
  • Increased performance motivation
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved physical and mental health.
  • Enhanced self-esteem.

 Workplace wellness schemes are more commonplace than ever among Irish companies. For example, companies who offer gym memberships, healthy meal options or social club subscriptions to their employees are all actively embracing workplace wellbeing and wellness.  By promoting and encouraging healthy life practices such as exercise and proper nutrition, companies can ensure that their employees are always properly fit and fuelled to perform their role successfully.

One particularly popular and effective workplace wellness practice is the introduction of flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements, or Flexitime, provides benefits to both the employer and business, as well as to employees.

For employers, flexitime can lead to higher retention rates of employees as well as increasing employee productivity while they are in the workplace. For employees, flexible working arrangements allow for a better balance between work and life.  You can read more about the business benefits of flexitime and how they can be implemented as part of a workplace wellness program here.

If you decide to implement flexible working arrangements, then Softworks can help. Get in touch with us today and organise a Demo of our Workforce Management Solutions!

                                   

   Request a Live Demo

  

Topics: Employee Retention, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Workforce Management, Healthy Workplace, workplace wellbeing

Millennials in the Workplace

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 27, 2017

 

 

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Millennials in the workplace - attracting your new workforce.

 The term ‘Millennial’ has been gaining quite a lot of traction lately. They seem to be becoming more and more prominent. But what exactly is a millennial? And how are this emerging generation affecting workplace dynamics and hiring practices?

For the uninitiated, a ‘millennial’ is a person born between the late 80’s and the early 90’s. They tend to be digital natives and as a result are significantly more comfortable with new technologies than older generations. 

Recent research indicates that by 2020 over 75% of the Irish workforce will be comprised of millennials. With this new workforce, companies and employers will be faced with a new set of challenges. For example:the average tenure of a millennial employee in a particular role is less than 2 years.

Typically, these employees view new roles as opportunities to upskill and advance in their careers as opposed to settling down. Millennial employees are driven: they want engagement and they want advancement.  On a practical, tangible level millennial employees look for flexible working environments. They place a high value on the ‘work/life balance’.  Millennial employees also want the flexibility to work from home, or to work remotely.

How can employers attract this new generation of employees?

Employers are now being faced with a difficult scenario. How can I attract top millennial talent while maintaining my company’s values? The first step is to introduce ‘Flexi – Time’. ‘Flexi – Time’ offers a number of advantages to a business. With ‘Flexi Time’ businesses can stay true to their core values, while adapting to retain employees.

By introducing ‘Flexi- Time’ companies can meet the changing demands of their employees. In meeting these demands, employer/employee relations are improved. Employees feel that they are being listened to and are receiving the recognition they deserve. When employee engagement is improved, there is a corresponding upswing in output.

Ultimately, millennial employees seek to be given the freedom of flexible working. With Flexible working, companies can increasingly attract millennial employees.

 

                                   Click here to Download our Whitepaper on Flexible Working.

 

 

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

The Benefits of working from Home.

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 20, 2017

 

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Working from home – the benefits of flexible working arrangements for employees.

Your office can be a distracting place, especially on a Monday morning. People are catching up after the weekend and the coffee machine is on overdrive. While you would expect your co-workers and employees to be well rested after the weekend, it is often the complete opposite and concentration levels are quite low. Monday mornings could be the perfect opportunity to introduce Softworks Flexible working arrangements into your company. The majority of people would relish the opportunity to avoid the Monday morning commute and work from the comfort of home instead. And despite the common perception; there are several benefits of working from home, as part of a Softworks Flexible working arrangement scheme. Here are some examples of why companies should implement Flexible working arrangements for employees:

  1. Less Distractions: Pets and family member aside, working remotely from the quiet of your own house lets you avoid the myriad of distractions that come with working in an office environment. In the office, peoples phones are ringing, the radio is on and it’s often hard to concentrate. Working in your home office or even at your kitchen table with some peace and quiet allows you to zero in on your daily tasks.
  2. Increased Productivity: Less distractions leads to higher levels of productivity for your staff. By creating an environment for your employees where they have minimal distractions and higher levels of satisfaction and motivation, productivity also increases, which has a positive impact on the bottom line. Happy workers are productive and higher quality workers and productive workers drive business.
  3. Adapting to Shifting Mindset: With more and more millennials joining the workforce, companies need to adapt to match the emerging talent. Millennials view work as a thing, rather than a place. So companies will need to free themselves from the traditional nine to five mentality if they want to attract and retain this generation of workers. In order to attract and retain top talent, businesses need to be able to respond to employees demand for non-full-time working hours and/or flexible working time schedules that will suit their chosen lifestyles and to balance work and family life.

You can learn more about the multitude of business benefits of flexible working by downloading our whitepaper here.

                                   Click here to Download our Whitepaper on Flexible Working.

While Flexible working arrangements may seem to work in favour of the employee, there are also benefits for the employer. Above all, employees that are content tend to work harder and longer at achieving company goals. And that should be the focus of any business.

 

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

Beating Blue Monday

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Mon, Jan 16, 2017

Monday-1.jpgAs if January isn’t bad enough, today has been marked one of bleakest days of the year – the dreaded Blue Monday! With daylight hours still short, consistently bad weather along with the hangover of Christmas – financially and emotionally, still looming over all of us, it’s easy to see why the third Monday of the year is linked with lots of people feeling low. So, what can be done to battle the Blue Monday fears?

  1. Get Organised

Try and reduce stress by thinking about which situations occur regularly and cause you the most stress.  

  • Declutter the office and your desk space.
  • Make lists so you have everything in order and you can get the most important tasks completed firstly.
  • Client meetings? Plan the journey and allow extra time if it is not a journey you do every day. Look up alternative routes to have other options and make sure you have the clients contact details with you, just in case.
  1. Go out for Lunch

Beat Blue Monday by organising a work lunch with your fellow co-workers. This is a great way to catch up outside of the office. A change of scene is always good so picking a new cafe/restaurant or somewhere you don't regularly go would be a nice treat for during the week.

  1. Exercise and Fuel your Body

Regular exercise is important for our physical and mental health. It helps boost your energy levels and immune system. Fit in a walk on your break. If it is too cold to exercise outside, attend a gym class or go swimming. With flexible working, you could go to the gym before work or during your break.

Food choices can have a huge impact on how you feel during the day. Eating healthy should be something we all do on a regular basis and just a once off to help beat blue Monday or the January blues.

  • Bring your own lunch and snacks to work. This will eliminate the temptation to buy sugary and fast foods.
  • Try and prepare lunches/dinners in advance and freeze them so it saves time and eliminates doing it after a long day at work.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol and trans fats.
  • Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts.
  1. Be Positive!

If you are really feeling Blue Monday, try and stay positive and make plans after work.

  • Use flexible working and get the most out of your evening
  • Go to the cinema
  • Meet friends or family for dinner
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Book a weekend getaway or summer holidays
  • Go for a walk
  • Grab a coffee & get lost in a new book
  • Catch up with an old friend
  1. Contact Softworks!

Not only can we benefit your company but we can benefit your employees too. Take Flexible Working, it can lead to a healthy work-life balance along with improved job satisfaction, increased energy, better staff morale and reduced levels of stress. Having the right work-life balance is increasingly important with more and more people finding that their working day is getting longer as businesses struggle to keep up with the demand for 24 hour services. 

Contact Us Today!

Take on the January Blues and Blue Monday by making sure to be organised, positive and healthy. Make 2017 a year to celebrate your many triumphs!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working

Updated Blog - France Win New Law 'Right to Disconnect'

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Mon, Jan 9, 2017

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This is an update on my blog from February 2016 - France Set to Pass New Law Giving Workers the Right to Ignore Work Emails Outside of Contracted Hours.

France have won the law that employees do have the 'right to disconnect' from work emails outside of typical work hours. From Sunday January 01, 2017, French companies with more than 50 employees will begin drawing up policies with their workers about limiting work-related technology usage outside the office. The reasoning behind this law is that too many people were suffering from work-related stress which can leak into their personal time. The country is trying to tackle the modern-day scourge of compulsive out-of-hours email checking. Under the new law, companies will be obliged to negotiate with employees to agree on their rights to switch off and ways they can reduce the intrusion of work into their private lives.

The measure was introduced by Labour Minister, Myriam El Khomri, who commissioned a report submitted in September 2015 which informed about the health impact of "info-obesity" which affects many workplaces.

Some large groups such as Volkswagen and insurer Axa in France have already taken steps to limit out-of-hours messaging to reduce burnout among workers. Actions being put in place include cutting email connections in the evening and weekends. In 2014, the German vehicle-maker Daimler set up an optional service for workers going on holiday; instead of sending an out-of-office reply, they could opt to have all new emails automatically deleted while they were away.

Here in Ireland and the UK, we may not have such a law in place but we can make use of flexible working. It can allow people to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still committing to their careers.

If you would like to learn more about flexible working or any of our other solutions, contact us today!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working

Five Ways to Beat the January Blues

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Tue, Jan 3, 2017

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Happy New Year! December was a fun-filled month of celebrations with family, friends and work colleagues, lots of delicious food and plenty of relaxation. Today however, is the first day back to the office for the majority of people. This may more than likely be followed by the dreaded “January Blues.” We have listed a few ways to help keep you upbeat, get back to being motivated in the workplace and beat the January Blues.

1. Hold Motivational Meetings

At the end of every week or month, hold a quick meeting with employees to share their accomplishes. Use this time to compliment employees who have gone beyond the call of duty or who have achieved something exceptional. Employees will come to expect the meetings. They will also welcome the chance to share their successes and challenges with you and their co-workers and experience a supportive vibe.

2. Be Flexible

Flexible working is one of the most useful tools in helping workers achieve a healthy work-life balance. It can allow employees the ability to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still being fully committed to their careers. Mercer carried out a survey on over 1,500 employees across UK and Ireland, which showed that 52% of workers are very concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while holding down a job. Flexible working arrangements can help reduce stress as employees working flexibly are more satisfied with their job and lives, and they experience better work-life balance.

3. Promote a Healthy Workplace

Food choices can have a huge impact on how you feel during the day. Eating small, frequent and healthy meals can help your body maintain an even level of blood sugar, keeping your energy and focus up, and avoiding mood swings. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, can make you feel anxious and irritable, while eating too much can make you lethargic.

  • Bring your own lunch and snacks to work. This will eliminate the temptation to buy sugary and fast foods.
  • Try and prepare lunches/dinners in advance and freeze them so it saves time and eliminates doing it after a long day at work.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol and trans fats.
  • Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines), flaxseed and walnuts.
4. Have Fun

Everyone will stay motivated if things are kept interesting and entertaining in the workplace. There are several ways to have fun in the workplace.

  • Hold a breakfast morning once a month.
  • Set up a walking, running or exercise group during lunch or after work.
  • Create a social club (if one is not already in place). Ask all employees what they would like to do for January & set up a poll. This could range from a day trip to dinner and drinks after work.
5. Contact Softworks!

Start the New Year by contacting Softworks. Not only can we benefit your company but we can benefit your employees too. Take Flexible Working, it can lead to a healthy work-life balance along with improved job satisfaction, increased energy, better staff morale and reduced levels of stress. Having the right work-life balance is increasingly important with more and more people finding that their working day is getting longer as businesses struggle to keep up with the demand for 24 hour services. So to help make 2017 the best year yet, get in touch today!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Softworks

Most Outrageous Excuses for Being Late to Work

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Thu, Nov 24, 2016

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Lizard surgery, Homeland Security and Vaseline trucks. What do they all have in common?

According to a study from CareerBuilder, they are among a list of outrageous reasons workers claim they have been late for work.

Below are some of the bizarre reasons for being late to work:

  • I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.
  • My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.
  • I was detained by Homeland Security.
  • I had to chase my cows back into the field.
  • A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.
  • My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.
  • There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.
  • There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.
  • I had to finish watching “My Name is Earl.”
  • All of my clothes were stolen.
  • I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was “spring forward” or “fall back.”
  • A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.

CareerBuilder also asked how often employees are late to work, 25 percent (1 in 24) admitted they are late at least once a month, and with 13 percent saying it is a weekly occurrence.

With Christmas only a month away, it is getting colder and much harder to get out of bed in the morning. For some people, this can make getting to work on time a difficult task. You would be surprised of what could get in the way of your morning routine. Many of these excuses are extreme and may have more to do with one's creative imagination than anything else. However, you can bet employers are going to hearing more late-to-work excuses especially coming up to Christmas.

In order to prevent tardiness in your organisation, why not take advantage of Softworks Flexible Working and deploy a Time and Attendance system.

Flexible working is a very positive choice that needs to be embraced by more organisations. It doesn’t only provide employees with job satisfaction, better health, increased work-life balance, and less stress, it also benefits employers. With higher productivity levels, less turn over, and reduced absenteeism, employers will be able to retain qualified employees and also save money. With flexible working, excuses for being late to work will be less necessary as employees will have the flexibility to work around appointments, family events and of course, all of the excuses listed above!

Softworks Time Management Software will allow your organisation to build a clear picture of employee time-keeping through comprehensive reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexi-time, rostering and holiday leave. Softworks Time and Attendance is one of the most powerful tools available for recording and analysing hours worked. Used to manage employee attendance and produce real-time reports for analysis by management as well as to collate personnel information. It allows you to build a clear picture of employee time through detailed data and reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexi-balances, rostering and holiday leave. Scalable and completely configurable, it applies and automates processing your organisation’s unique pay rules and policies accurately and consistently and is fully compliant with legislation.

The survey also found more traditional excuses for being late to work are still very common:

  • 53 percent blamed traffic and road conditions.
  • 33 percent said oversleeping.
  • 28 percent on bad weather.
  • 15 percent on getting children to school.

By implementing Softworks Flexible Working and Time & Attendance Software, employees and employers will be able to overcome the traditional excuses of being late to work (along with a few of the outrageous ones too!).

Request a Free Demo Today!

You can also turn your administrative nightmare of managing employee time & attendance into a dream come true with Softworks new self-service app. Softworks app enables employees to record their own time, attendance, holidays, absences and check work schedules via their smart phones/tablets. Softworks app is a joy to use and loved by employees and managers alike, but you don’t have to just take our word for it, find out more via this link.  

You can keep up to date with Softworks by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working