As refreshing as the spring may be, keeping your employees refreshed and maintaining a vibrant workplace is not always as easy as it looks. For one, as soon as spring kicks in, the weather starts to bring out the color in most things around us and the environment tend to turn nice and welcoming. As a result, staying inside the work environment can get stuffy and your employees can feel confined, to say the least. Surfing looks more inviting and so do days on the beach.
It is normal to feel a burst of excitement when the spring kicks in, however, it is not always easy to maintain the excitement and channel the energy into more productivity. Although spring can heighten vitality and energy, it can also result in restlessness and disorientation.
Also, the change in season often results in a change in time. As a result, routine activities like eating, sleeping, and exercise might have to change. Unfortunately, most employees find it difficult to adapt to these changes and it often affects their behavior and mood. Luckily in Queensland we don’t have a change in the clocks but as close to the boarder as we are on the Gold Coast we often need to move between two time zones with our clients.
Behavioral changes, either positively or negatively impact workplace productivity. Whichever way it would, it is best to be prepared for these changes than to be caught unawares. To keep the workplace refreshing during spring, it is important to avoid distractions that prevent work from getting accomplished.
How you can get your team healthy for spring
- Make Your Schedule Flexible: Nothing says “killjoy” faster during the spring than a rigid schedule. The inability to feel the warmth outside and spend time with those you care about can play down on workplace productivity. On one hand, you can decide to let in a bit of sunlight at the workplace, however, flexible scheduling has a more psychological impact on employee productivity. This makes it possible for employees to strike a balance between their work life and their life outside work.
- Make the schedule interesting: since it is a fact that an average employee would rather spend time outside work than stay within the walls of an office, your best chance against negative behavioral changes is to make your employee schedule interesting so much that they would be motivated to work and not lazy around. To do this, only delegate tasks that employees would be interested in carrying out.
- Redecorate the workplace: if employees can spend all day outside the office, let them experience it in the office as much as they can. To redecorate the office, open the blinds and window to let in sunlight, bring in live plants or flowers, and encourage a little bit of spring cleaning. The feeling of freshness goes a long way in encouraging positivity in the workplace.
- Make their work challenging: one of the best ways to boost employee productivity and personal development is to make their task challenging. Such challenge encourages them to break their record and stretch themselves to their limit. To effectively implement this, create opportunities for personal development and encourage them to set new goals.
- Create a reward system: although the idea is for employees to spend more hours in the office during spring, you can increase workplace productivity with a reward system that guarantees time off from the office. For example, a reward system like vacation or time off will naturally encourage an employee to put in more effort in the workplace. Such program, although is a way of thanking them for a job well done, is also a way of making sure that they do not miss out entirely on the spring season.
In all, maintain a healthy workplace and focused employee can be difficult during the spring, however, you can keep your workforce engaged and your workplace productivity with the tips above.
Related Tag: HR Workshops And Support
2019 Look At The Trend Of Political Opinion In The Workplace
Politics stands as one of the most sensitive and widely debated topics all over the world. From simple dinner among families to a business meeting among friends, politics has gained prominence among various social circles and the intensity generated from its discussion leaves many licking the wound of the aftermath. Or is it otherwise? Discussing politics in the workplace have generated a lot of controversies over the course of time. While it is evident that politics affects the atmosphere at the workplace, the question is how and to what extent?
The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their political belief or activity. The Act does not define political belief or activity, but decided cases indicate that it refers to beliefs or activities relating to the policies, structure, composition, roles, obligations, purposes or activities of government. Government includes Commonwealth, state and local governments.
A council employee in a managerial position did not have his contract renewed because of his involvement with an environmental activist group which had publicly criticised the council’s policies.
At a federal election, a woman who works as a dental technician handed out how to vote cards for a local candidate. Her boss saw her at the polling booth and told her that she should look for another job, as he didn’t want someone of that political persuasion working for him.
A group of people wanted to hire a community hall to conduct a public meeting to protest about a particular government policy. They were refused hire of the hall because the manager of the hall disagreed with their views.
For an employer to understand how to manage political opinions in the workplace and how much it affects the employee relation and functionality, they need to know how their employees feel about holding political talk in their workplace and identify when the discussion is getting too much and when it sets off the wrong impression. Don’t be afraid to hear a conversation, take part BUT also know when things need to stop.
Fundamentally, employers needs to recognise that under Australian Workplace Legislation, their employees have a right to offer their opinion about political matters anywhere, even in the workplace. What then becomes the concern for an employer is how to manage the discussions and prevent it from becoming a full-blown war among employees that belong to different factions. Hence they can establish a limit.
Employers should draw the curtain on political opinions in the workplace when any of these happen:
Whenever employees allow their political opinion to get in the way of their effectiveness in the workplace, it often leads to disunity, and employees often find it hard to corporate with one another. Whenever an employer identifies the lack of harmony between the employees, it is a sign to draw a curtain on the political discussion in the workplace.
- Ineffectiveness and distraction
Whether your employees find common ground or not on political opinion, it distracts them from the task that they are supposed to be focused on and renders them ineffective. To maintain focus in the workplace, an employer needs to cut down political discussions as much as they can.
This is usually described as the last straw. A physical brawl between employees is the green light for an employer to put a stop to political opinions in the workplace. Political opinions in the workplace can quickly spiral out of control and result in accusations and confrontations between employees. Not to mention crossing the line for Serious or Gross Misconduct and the consequences of that.
Although an employer should allow a free flow of political opinion in the workplace, the negative effect of such discussion often outweighs the positive effect and it disrupts. To ensure that employees understand not to go overboard, an employer should implement the following when it gets out of hand:
- Establish a policy concerning political opinion
The employer should seek to clarify which political opinion is acceptable in the workplace and put it into writing. The policy should cover which activities, discussion, and political clothing material is prohibited in the workplace. The employer should be clear on the punishment for harassment, threat, and derogatory comments aimed at other employees. Make sure there is an open door policy and a clear pathway for communication.
- Work out a complaint procedure
Even with the utmost care, an employer tends to miss some acts of aggression to comes with political opinions in the workplace. To combat this, an employer should implement a legal complaint procedure through which employees can report acts of political harassment or violence in the workplace. Ideally as an employer you will already have policies and procedures in place for most things so check them over and tighten them up. If you are not sure seek the advice of an Employment Relations consultant such as Fresh HR Insights
- Follow up on every complaint
The decision to discipline bias political opinion in the workplace should be reinforced by an employer with immediate action. Just remember to check the facts, do an investigation, don’t rely on hearsay or take one person word over another. You must ensure at all times you have a well founded basis for any disciplinary action and you also need to ensure procedural fairness. Hot headed environments are no time for you to go off the correct ways to deal with workplace complaints. Always, always get the paper trail too – if it is not written down, it didn’t happen.
Political opinions in the workplace can be as bad as a rival sports team that can pollute the work atmosphere if it is not adequately contained. Although HR should permit such discussion, they should be fast to curtail any excesses and prevent the situation from deteriorating.
If you are unsure you can consult with the team at Fresh HR Insights – Book in a session with us HERE
Can an employer fire or discriminate against an employee based on political beliefs?
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their political opinion. However, the Act also provides that where it is found that the action was taken because of the inherent requirements of the particular position concerned, then it will not be a breach of the applicable unlawful discrimination provisions, such as political opinion. An employer is allowed to deem an employee’s views as being inappropriate if they’re “unauthorised and inconsistent” with the employee’s role or the organisation’s values. This is particularly the case where the public can scrutinise an employee’s comments and then form an adverse impression of the organisation that the employee works at. Read more here
Sometimes, employees often act in the stereotyped manner of attempting to make jokes at the workplace in a bid to lighten up the atmosphere and make it conducive for everyone. Unfortunately, rather than ease the tension on other employees, they end up presenting themselves as a pushy and a self-promotional employee. The tight rope on which such employees walk is often a source of major heartaches for Australia’s employers who are finding it hard to tackle jokes and remarks that are not so friendly in the workplace. It can often not be about what the person meant but the perception of the person receiving.
Ultimately, the workplace is not designed to be a boring routine with no element of fun and humor in it. What every employer and HR Manager needs to know is how to find a balance between harmless jokes in the workplace, and targeted jokes. It is also important for employees to understand the uniqueness of every individual and make a conscious effort not to make jokes that might be perceived wrong by their fellow employees. As a rule of thumb, everyone needs to understand that some phrases are not allowed in the workplace despite their intention. Phrases like “I will make you understand who wears the pant around here” and so much more phrases that might be tagged as sexism should be discouraged in the workplace.
In an attempt to curb and limit unnecessary jokes in the office, employees need to understand sensitive topics and make a conscious effort to steer clear of it. Such remarks tend to upset the atmosphere around the workplace and around the community at large.
To effective battle the fast-rising trend of making unnecessary jokes in the workplace, HR needs to implement the following:
Sometimes in an attempt to curb the spread of an infection, we make use of the wrong lotions and we end up festering the wound. The motivation to curb unnecessary jokes by HR should not be an avenue for turning the workplace into a graveyard. The truth is, if you want more productivity from your employees, you need to make them happy with their job. When employees fall in love with their job and their work environment, they could carry on business for hours without breaking so much as a sweat.
Researches have proven that laughter in the workplace account for a large percentage of variations in employee productivity. As a result, HR should actually encourage an atmosphere of laughter in the workplace but should draw a distinct line over going overboard.
- Put It In Writing (if it is not written down, it didn’t happen)
The result of workplace conflict is mostly resolved after a visit to the Fair Work Commission website. Irrespective of the parties involved, chances are that it will come back to hunt the company for a very long time. The only way to be sure that your employees will comply with the rules is when they know that they have crossed the line. To do this, you might take the following step:
- Meet individual employees, obtained their perspective on jokes in the workplace, and explain to them what HR will condone and what it will not.
- The resolution of the meeting should be published, communicated to all employees and the sanction for offending employees should be clearly stated.
- Have clear Policies and procedures and workplace agreements
- Create an effective action plan to manage grievances:
HR should create a workplace culture where aggrieved employees can disclose inappropriate behaviors by employees or violations of the code of conducts. When employees are conscious of retribution, they tend to act with more decorum and compose themselves at the workplace.
The rule for dealing with inappropriate jokes is to make the employee see for themselves that such a joke is not appropriate for work. What HR should do is to make them realize their stupidity and ensure that they apologize for it. HR should take every complaint of inappropriate jokes serious and punish earing offenders.
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For small business human resources anywhere that are looking to have a merry year, it is important that you pay attention to patterns and trends. Apart from start-ups, experienced HR and ER support professionals understand that observing trends for variations and a recurring pattern is important for prediction, forecasting and ultimately getting the best out of the future to come. In a bid to keep HR relevant and ahead in the ever competitive Australia market, below are three trends we have observed as recurrent and tops our list of trends that are likely to repeat itself.
Technology: does this seem familiar? Yes, it does. There have always been big talks about how fast Artificial intelligence (AI) will reinvent the HR world. Well, Artificial Intelligence is here and both large and small businesses need to get their grip on it. Artificial Intelligence is the kind of leverage that paves way for an efficient, productive and improved workforce. AI cuts across recruiting, engaging, training, and retaining employees. Think about this, rather than spend hours sorting through job profiles, CVs, and so on, technology can help reduce the time by simply running algorithms.
A report obtained from Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends indicated that about 72% of organizations agree to the importance of HR and are embracing it.HR can drastically reduce the time spent on recruiting and screening of employees and simply focus the energy someplace else. AI is a way through which HR teams and professional on the Gold Coast, and in Brisbane, and Australia as a whole can safeguard their company’s future. It is definitely worth checking out.
Workplace Trust: Results from the Government Institute of Australia indicates that Australians have lost all faith in corporate ethics. The business sector is faced with a situation where the employee confidence in HR is at an all-time low. Most times, HR teams assumes their employees trust them, where conversely, they have a negative perception and view of HR. Creating trust in the workplace is a fast-rising trend in the workplace today. HR have come to understand the need for prioritizing employee’s confidentiality, the place of sincerity and going beyond their open door policy to intentional relationship building. HR is learning not to jeopardize work confidence by not favoring one work relationship over the other. For example, they now maintain equal direct coaching for women in business and men in the business.
Perpetual learning: Companies are currently in hot pursuit of employee development and learning. As we mentioned earlier, technology is causing a rapid and continuous change to how business is conducted. To keep up, businesses need to invest heavily in transversal and job-related skills. The big problem is; we do not know to what extent the change will be. However, to be able to handle different tasks, it is important for HR to invest in employee skill learning.
It is fast dawning on HR teams and professionals that they may be doing too much for little result. Not only that, but their initiatives are also always too long to cause the needed effect. To create the needed impact, simple and seamless organization is all that is needed. But what is the real solution here.
We encourage and would love to get some feedback on your thoughts? Please comment below
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