Softworks Blog

The Key to a Happy Workforce

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Mon, Feb 2, 2015

 

happy workforce

 

We all know that saying, find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life. There's nothing I would like more than for everyone I know to be working in a job they love, in a field they are really interested in, surrounded by supportive, talented co-workers. I am generally a positive thinker but the harsh reality behind that statement is that we have bills to pay, the job we love isn't always that easy to find and we all know every office has a nuisance (or two). There are a number of simple steps that will help you on your way to a happier workforce. This one is for you managers, CEOs, presidents and everyone else in charge of someone else's working day. Implement the ideas below now and I promise you will see a difference.

 

1. Introduce Flexitime.

Its 2015. Our lives are crazier and busier then ever. As it is, most of us spend 25% of our week at work and 34% sleeping leaving just 41% of your week to do the things you like. Plus or minus a family, hobbies, exercise, eating we really are short on time. Just the other day I wanted to kill my Iphone. Just this one device allows me to communicate in over 10 different ways; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Viber, Imessage, text message, email, call, Facetime... Yes I am ranting but my point is that there is more to life then work, however much we like our job. It will make such a difference to everyone if they can leave ten minutes earlier so that they can make that appointment or take an extra long lunch if its been a particularly stressful day. Remember that your workplace is made up of people, not machines. Being honest, we could all use a bit more flexibility in all areas of our lives so the workplace is a good place to start.

2. Celebrate Moments and People.

If somebody has been in the building for 20 years today, why not send a mass email to all staff and congratulate and thank them. They are choosing to be here and they wouldn't still be here if they weren't important to your company! Something I love about working at Softworks is that there are so many people working here that unless we were obesity advocates, we couldn't possibly have a cake for everyone's birthday. With that in mind our CEO introduced "cake day" where once a month we get in an array of buns and cakes and enjoy them together. Its definitely in the little things, and there is a great sense of fun round the office once everyone realises it's "cake day".

3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

There is nothing worse than your job taking over your life. I remember years of working in restaurants and the problems the messy schedule brought. I knew I had to get out of the shift work world when I had to miss an award ceremony where I was actually receiving a prize because my manager wouldn't let me reschedule my shift. I also missed birthdays of loved ones, my own birthday and lost a few friends because it. For people like nurses, doctors and many more escaping the 24 hour roster isn't ever going to happen. Set up a system where if needs be co-workers can do a swap. A disappointed and sulking worker is of no benefit to anyone.

4. Hand Over the Power

I cannot stress how important I think Self Service is. Employees, in my opinion should always have access to their own records. I want to be able so see how many hours overtime I have done, I want to check my holiday balance and I want to know how many times I was late or early this month without having to ask HR who will usually pass comment or wonder why I am asking. Don't get me wrong I think every company; big or small should have a HR department. A great HR team is fundamental to every successful company but my roster and my holiday details are the business of my manager and I. Get rid of the middle man.

5. Time to be on Time

We all have great intentions. You all know that amazing feeling when you come out of a productive meeting feeling all motivated because you and your team brainstormed tons of great ideas that could really work. Then you look back on the minutes of the meeting a month or two later no progress has been made and most of the ideas have been tossed aside and forgotten about. Start tracking your projects. Once the whole team can see on a shared screen what needs to be done and who needs to do it, the project will be done in no time. Set a deadline, make a task list, assign responsibility and get on with it. A great idea should never be let slide.

 

I would love to know your tips too! Feel free to share

Best,

Nadine

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Labour Scheduling, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home, Rostering, Working Hours, Performance, Happy Workers, The Key To a Happy Workforce

Webinar - Fall in love again with your Time & Attendance System

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Tue, Nov 25, 2014

 

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Do you find managing areas such as; employee attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexible working, scheduling, leave, pay rules & policies, compliance etc. a nightmare? Does any of the following sound familiar…?

 You are still calculating your more complex pay rules by hand.
 Your system makes it difficult for managers to approve time.
 Your employees still contact HR to find out the status of their leave requests.
 Your current system is not able to grow with you.
 Your system was chosen without understanding your department’s “actual” needs. 
 You are not getting the benefits you originally expected – doesn’t do what it said on the tin!
 You have multiple locations but no visibility across them.

There is an easier way to work!  Join Andrew Ferguson, Softworks CEO for a live 45 minute webinar on Wednesday 10th December at 3pm GMT/10am EST*.  In this session Andrew will demonstrate what you should expect as standard from your Time & Attendance System.

*Not sure what time this is in you city? Click here to check

Can't attend? Click Here to Register anyway and we will send you on the recording.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Compliance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home

How to keep Generation Y engaged in 2014

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Jan 7, 2014

First there was talk about Baby Boomers, then we heard about Generation X and today’s conversation is focused firmly aound Generation Y.  So who are this generation and why is it going to be so important to keep them engaged in the workplace now and in the future?

Generation Y generally refers to people who were born between the late 70s and 80s although the group is sometimes expanded to include all those born between the late 70s and 2000. When it comes to defining a generation, the boundaries are quite loose.  The point is, Generation Y are now all grown up and are set to become a significant force within the workplace and keeping them engaged could be key to your company's success or otherwise. 

Certain traits have emerged that are distinguishing this generation from previous generations. One of the most significant differences between generation X and Y cited, is that  generation X are often seen as the “abandoned generation” or "latch-key kids" due to the fact that they were raised at a time when both parents had to work so they had to fend for themselves.

Generation Y, on the other hand, are often considered to be the most parented generation in history. They are also the largest generation of youth in history being three times larger than Generation X.  Generation Y includes terms such as Millennials, the Net Generation and the Trophy Generation (due to the tendency for kids in this demographic to get trophies from activities regardless of their actual achievement levels!)

Generation Y resized 600

Generation Y are idealistic, digitally-enabled, social and ambitious and research tells us they are likely to have a distinct set of characteristics and expectations from their managers.  The implications are that the management styles that may have worked for previous generations may not have the same impact or motivation factor for this generation.  

Due to the endless positive feedback bestowed on generation Y kids from their parents, the young adults of this generation tend to be extremely confident. They tend to enter the workforce with high expectations both for themselves and for their employers. They have higher salary expectations and unlike previous generations, they don’t overly fear losing their job, as they have had the luxury of bouncing from one job to another until they found one that suits. This lack of fear tends to make them more outspoken and less afraid of the boss than previous generations.

This generation is likely to "work to live" rather than "live to work". Working assists them to do the things they really want to do. They would rather an interesting job for less money that allows them plenty of time out of the office (or working at home/flexible working) rather than putting in 12-hour days for a six-figure salary. In summary they want engaging work with opportunity for change and growth. Both on a personal and professional level.  They expect instant feedback at work, in the same way they receive feedback in their personal lives via text messages or "likes" on Facebook.  They want work to be an enjoyable experience and if this experience can include working with their friends in a casual and fun environment – even better!

So if you are looking to engage this generation consider the following motivation and retention strategies for 2014...

  • Share the company vision – This generation will look for meaning and by explaining your company vision you will give them a clearer sense of purpose.
  • Give encouragement and regular feedback – honest supportive feedback will go a long way; they have received this from a young age and continue to receive it via Facebook etc.
  • Coach rather than manage – Generation Y need to feel they are learning, and they especially appreciate being coached.
  • Offer more flexibility – Work life balance ranks high on their agenda. To Generation Y-ers, a 9-5 shift can seem like a prison sentence!
  • Stretch the comfort Zone - Generation Y people welcome new challenges.  
  • Provide education and professional development - Facilitating their continuing education and hobbies will go a long way towards keeping them happy and engaged
  • Promote team cohesiveness and social interaction - Team loyalty is a key tool for motivating and retaining Generation Y members who enjoy working in a team environment.
  • Give time for personal projects – Offer time to work on personal projects as this keeps them engaged and can also boost innovation within your business.
  • Set multiple tasks and goals in a structured way - They are excellent multi-taskers and enjoy variety at work.
  • Allow time for social causes – Generation Y feel responsible for making a difference in the world and like to give back via volunteering, supporting charities etc. Support them by allowing some flexibility in their hours to facilitate. It's good for them, it's good for your business and it's good for the world in general :)

Topics: Jobs, Employee Retention, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home, Motivation, Performance, Generation Y

Working from home on the increase despite the recession

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, May 22, 2013

The number of people working from home has increased by 13 per cent in the last five years, according to a new TUC analysis of official figures to mark National Work From Home Day, organised by WorkWise UK.

The TUC analysis from the Labour Force Survey shows that just over four million employees usually worked at home in 2012, a rise of 470,000 since 2007. The South East, Scotland and Wales have seen the sharpest rise in homeworking over the last five years.

While nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of people who work from home are male, an increasing number of women are also making this career move. According to the research, the majority of homeworking jobs created in the last five years have gone to women. The rise in female homeworking is partly due to the fact that almost nine in ten (86.8 per cent) of these new jobs are part-time, says the TUC.

In addition to the four million people who usually work from home, many millions more occasionally work from home, says the TUC.

The sharp rise in homeworking in spite of the recession - which many feared would halt flexible working practices - confirms that this new way of working has become an essential part of the UK labour market. Technological progress and the rise of the services sector, where many jobs do not require specialised machinery or face-to-face contact with colleagues or customers, have helped fuel this growth, says the TUC.

Working from home

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

'The recession may have fuelled rising unemployment and put pressure on flexible working practices, but homeworking has continued to thrive and grow.

'Over four million people usually work from home, while many millions more occasionally do so. The sheer scale of homeworking proves how easily it can be done but there are still too many employers who are reluctant to allow staff to work away from the office or the shop floor.

'With government figures showing a further 4.5 million people would like to work from home more often there is still much more that employers can do to meet this unmet demand for more flexible working.'

According to WorkWise UK's chief executive Phil Flaxton

 'The key issues for success still surround management styles and the acceptance of change. Building a culture of information sharing and creating trust takes time and careful planning. By carefully choosing and training the virtual workforce and by structuring the organisation to make best use of its virtual employees, most organisations should be able to see an improvement in productivity of between 8 and 15 per cent.'

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