Working from home means longer hours, fewer sick days, & fewer bonuses, according to a major report

The remote-working shift is hailed as the future – but new data highlights potential negative trends.

Remote workers were more likely to work overtime and less likely to get bonuses, for example.

Insider rounds up four key takeaways from the report.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted bold predictions that the future of work will be from home, after millions were forced out of offices for more than a year but able to do their jobs remotely.

Homeworkers were working longer hours for less reward compared with their peers going into offices, the research found.

Here are the report’s four main takeaways.

1. Those who mostly worked from home were less likely to get bonuses

The ONS study found that, based on analysis of survey respondents between 2013 to 2020, people who mainly worked from home were on average 38% less likely to receive a bonus in salary compared with those who never worked from home in the same period.

The ONS suggested two possible reasons for the discrepancy. It may “reflect biases in the labor market with people who worked mainly from home being overlooked for promotions and bonuses due to a lack of visibility at work.”

But it also said homeworkers might have forfeited bonuses for benefits such as flexibility and a shorter commute.

Dr Lucy Davey, a former psychiatrist who is now a coach for professional women, said this trend would hit women, who are more likely to take the option of working from home.

As many companies shift to giving employees the option between working from home or the office after the pandemic, Davey told Insider: “A higher proportion of women will take up the offer of working from home in order to fit around their childcare needs.

“Ultimately, this means that they’ll spend less time in the office, will be less visible than their office-based counterparts (often male) and less likely to be next in line for a promotion.”

2. Remote workers were less than half as likely to call in sick

The sickness absence rate for employees working from home in 2020 was 0.9% on average, compared with 2.2% for those who worked from offices in their main job, the ONS report found.

Though it is possible remote workers were less exposed to illness, the report suggested that many people were simply just working through periods of illness or injury. “When sick, homeworkers may not have travelled to a workplace to work but still felt well enough to work from home,” the ONS said.

Elisa Nardi, a HR professional with 30 years’ experience, including 15 as a group chief people officer in large corporates such as Virgin Media and Bupa, said that, so long as few employees have purpose-built home offices, it’s likely homeworking will mean “many employers will face a future wave of claims related to muscular-skeletal employee health and wellbeing issues.”

3. And they did more hours of unpaid overtime

In 2020, people who “mainly,” “occasionally” or “recently” worked from home all did an average of around six hours of unpaid overtime a week. This was almost double the 3.6 hours by those who never worked remotely.

The ONS noted that, from 2011 to 2019, those who “recently” worked from home did the most unpaid overtime but the three cohorts of remote workers had done roughly the same in 2020. The 3.6 hour figure was the same as in previous years.

4. They were also more likely to work in the evenings

The pandemic appears to have caused a shift in the working day.

In September 2020, homeworkers were more likely to work between the hours of 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. compared with those never working at home, according to the ONS report.

This contrasted with an earlier sample in April, at the start of the pandemic, when homeworkers “tended to keep hours close to typical office hours, because homeworking was new to many.”

The report said homeworkers may have been continuing to work beyond their finishing time in the time they previously would have previously been commuting.

By Zahara Tayeb from Business Insider Australia

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wfh-4-key-takeaways-from-a-major-ons-report-2021-4

It’s not just you – meetings really have spiraled out of control in the pandemic

Microsoft analyzed how users of its workplace tools interacted with each other in the pandemic.

People are now spending more than double the time in meetings and receiving almost 50% more chats.

More than half of surveyed workers say they’re overworked.

If you’ve been exhausted working from home in the pandemic, here’s some alarming new research that could illuminate why. People are now spending more than double the amount of time in meetings compared to before the pandemic, and they’re getting bombarded with chat messages from their colleagues.

That’s according to an analysis, released recently, of the interactions that took place over this past year on Microsoft’s suite of workplace tools such as Microsoft Teams. The data cement what many workers have felt firsthand: Working from home creates a host of challenges that make it harder to get real work done.

“The digital intensity of workers’ days has increased substantially,” the report said.

The graph below charts the time users spent in meetings over this past year (in blue), as well as the chat messages they sent each other (in yellow). Both measures spiked in March as companies sent their employees home and kept rising throughout the pandemic.

Both meetings and chats have soared in the pandemic.

By February 2021, workers spent 2.5 times as many minutes per week in meetings compared with February 2020, and they were sending 45% more chats per week to their coworkers. They also sent 42% more chats to each other outside of regular business hours.

It’s no wonder that workers are burned out: In a survey of about 30,000 full-time or self-employed workers that Microsoft also released on Monday, more than 50% of respondents said they were overworked. Other surveys have shown similarly widespread levels of burnout. If people are spending more time attending meetings and responding to messages, they have less time to perform their actual jobs during regular business hours.

That often gives them no choice but to keep working through the evenings or on weekends to get everything done. In fact, people do appear to be working longer hours in the pandemic, by anywhere from 49 minutes to three hours, depending on the study.

Even before COVID-19, endless meetings and digital overload have been widespread problems in corporate America. Businesses have deployed some small fixes over the years: Years ago, Google built a “speedy meetings” setting in Google Calendar to encourage shorter calls. But now, several companies are doing more to intervene on behalf of exhausted employees. For example, Citigroup told its employees on Monday that it’s banning internal video calls every Friday (although it’s still allowing phone calls).

“The blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being,” Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser wrote in a memo obtained by CNBC.

In addition to this communication overload, the data from Microsoft showed another downside of working from home. During the pandemic, people within teams communicated more often, but people in separate teams communicated less often.

Teams have become siloed in the pandemic.

“When you lose connections, you stop innovating,” Nancy Baym, a senior principal researcher at Microsoft, said in the report. “It’s harder for new ideas to get in and groupthink becomes a serious possibility.”

Interestingly, in New Zealand, where lockdowns eased once the country effectively stamped out the virus, a measure of team isolation improved, according to Microsoft.

In a separate blog post that was released in tandem with the research report, Microsoft said that it’s going to allow more of its workers to return to the office if they wish to do so, starting on March 29. It announced in October that, after the pandemic, its employees will be working a hybrid workweek, in which they will be working from home less than 50% of the time.

By AKI ITO from Business Insider Australia

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/meetings-during-pandemic-spiraled-out-of-control-2021-3

We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April

By Marty Makary
Feb. 18, 2021 12:35 pm
The Wall Street Journal

Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.

Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March. There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.

Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity. Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop “memory” once they are activated by the virus. Survivors of the 1918 Spanish flu were found in 2008—90 years later—to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells.

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. would also suggest much broader immunity than recognized. About 1 in 600 Americans has died of Covid-19, which translates to a population fatality rate of about 0.15%. The Covid-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23%. These numbers indicate that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has had the infection.

In my own conversations with medical experts, I have noticed that they too often dismiss natural immunity, arguing that we don’t have data. The data certainly doesn’t fit the classic randomized-controlled-trial model of the old-guard medical establishment. There’s no control group. But the observational data is compelling.

I have argued for months that we could save more American lives if those with prior Covid-19 infection forgo vaccines until all vulnerable seniors get their first dose. Several studies demonstrate that natural immunity should protect those who had Covid-19 until more vaccines are available. Half my friends in the medical community told me: Good idea. The other half said there isn’t enough data on natural immunity, despite the fact that reinfections have occurred in less than 1% of people—and when they do occur, the cases are mild.

But the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans travelled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.

My prediction that Covid-19 will be mostly gone by April is based on laboratory data, mathematical data, published literature and conversations with experts. But it’s also based on direct observation of how hard testing has been to get, especially for the poor. If you live in a wealthy community where worried people are vigilant about getting tested, you might think that most infections are captured by testing. But if you have seen the many barriers to testing for low-income Americans, you might think that very few infections have been captured at testing centres. Keep in mind that most infections are asymptomatic, which still triggers natural immunity.

Many experts, along with politicians and journalists, are afraid to talk about herd immunity. The term has political overtones because some suggested the U.S. simply let Covid rip to achieve herd immunity. That was a reckless idea. But herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination. When the chain of virus transmission has been broken in multiple places, it’s harder for it to spread—and that includes the new strains.

Herd immunity has been well-documented in the Brazilian city of Manaus, where researchers in the Lancet reported the prevalence of prior Covid-19 infection to be 76%, resulting in a significant slowing of the infection. Doctors are watching a new strain that threatens to evade prior immunity. But countries where new variants have emerged, such as the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, are also seeing significant declines in daily new cases. The risk of new variants mutating around the prior vaccinated or natural immunity should be a reminder that Covid-19 will persist for decades after the pandemic is over. It should also instill a sense of urgency to develop, authorize and administer a vaccine targeted to new variants.

Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.

Dr. Makary is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, chief medical adviser to Sesame Care, and author of “The Price We Pay.” 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/well-have-herd-immunity-by-april-11613669731

Achieve Success off Social Good

In 2020, it’s becoming clear that the priorities of large businesses have shifted immensely.

More than ever, businesses are making an effort to break the status-quo by using profits to foster their consumer community for the greater good, becoming leaders in their fields in the process.

Here’s a look into how 5 different businesses have approached generating positive impacts for their employees, economies, communities, and the environment, integrating those goals as part of the profit-making process.

CUA

CUA (Credit Union Australia) was founded on the ethos of giving members access to fair and affordable finance while also having a say in the company’s direction.

With a slew of community initiatives that have made up the foundation of their work since 1946, CUA members have the chance to participate in the governance of the company, as well as actively ask questions about their management and financial performance, putting the “people” at the forefront of their decision making as an entity.

Currently providing banking and other financial services to more than 500,000 Aussies, CUA’s community focus extends beyond the power it gives to its members.

In an Australian first collaboration with Australian Red Cross and Infoxchange, CUA has sought to connect people who are isolated with its Connected Future partnership, a digital inclusion initiative that provides essential skills to its members and communities to thrive in an online world.

The credit union has also sought to create deeper social and community connections to support their most isolated members by educating and empowering them to make better financial choices.

T2

Founded in 1996 in Fitzroy, Melbourne, aside from their immersive in-store consumer experiences, T2 is the largest tea retailer across Australia and New Zealand.

Its attitude as a business is skewed towards not only providing the best product in the tea market, but also by continually innovating in attempts to increase sustainability.

In 2020, the company officially sourced 72% of its tea ingredients sustainably, with the remaining 28% on track to be certified sustainably sourced by 2021. All T2 teabags are manufactured entirely from plant-based sources and, all teawares and accessories are derived from suppliers that are ethically audited by the SMETA 6.0.

Patagonia

Patagonia is one of the most popular outdoor apparel brands worldwide, with stores in 16 countries generating $750 million in revenue in 2017.

Their dedication to community fostering has always been front-of-mind, as the company was a founding member of the Textile Exhcnage (formally known as Organic Exchange) – a nonprofit group formed in 2002 with the goal of increasing global sales of organic cotton apparel and home textile products.

It was also the first brand to join the network of Bluesign system partners, which seeks out to level up consumer safety through improving the process of textile supply chains, which uses the “Bluesign” system to ensure its products will yield minimal impacts on people and the environment.

Kickstarter

Having launched in 2009, Kickstarter is a leader in the crowd-funding field. Since then, 7.5 million people pledged $1.5 billion to fund creative projects.

The independent company have a dedicated Trust & Safety team which is dedicated to delving into concerns raised by project backers to ensure the security of their projects.

The Body Shop

Skincare and cosmetics brands have been notoriously slow-moving in their efforts towards sustainability and cruelty-free product testing. The Body Shop, however, founded in 1976 with over 2500 stores worldwide, has been a leader in this movement.

The company have a history of engaging customers in “activist campaigns” including “Forever Against Animal Testing” which influenced lawmakers and stakeholders worldwide to discuss the change in legislation around animal testing.

Bringing their ethos into stores physically, The Body Shop’s recycling scheme encourages customers to return empty bottles back into the store for correct recycling methods, to reduce the companies contributions to landfill.

By Bianca Davino from Business Insider Australia
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/t2-cua-patagonia-and-kickstarter-have-all-achieved-success-off-social-good-heres-how-their-strategy-works-2020-6?utm_source=Business+Insider+Australia+-+10+things+you+need+to+know+in+the+morning+in+Australia&utm_campaign=d3b5a4ce14-businessinsider_2020_06_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8a990bd96b-d3b5a4ce14-280925195

How to turn a bad day around

Let’s face it. Life can be full of frustrations—an argument with your teenager over breakfast, a missed train, or even just a spilled coffee can make you wish you could crawl back into bed. How can you change your mood when you’ve started your day off on the wrong foot? How do you stop annoyances from dragging you down and killing your productivity?

What the Experts Say

The good news is you can turn a bad day into a good one. “Happiness is a choice,” says Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. Even when something objectively negative happens—your star employee gives notice or you’re late to an important meeting with the CEO—it’s important to focus on the positive things that are also happening. “Studies show that when you’re positive, you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, and your creativity rates triple,” he explains. Discontent is also contagious, adds Annie McKee, founder of the Teleos Leadership Institute and coauthor of Primal Leadership. “Your negative emotions spread like wildfire,” she says. “It’s worth changing your mood, not just to make your day more pleasant and productive but to spare those around you.” So what can you do when you’re in a downward spiral? Here are some ideas:

Pinpoint the problem

The earlier you catch your bad mood, the easier it will be to do something about it. “We have to have early warning signals that tell us that our resilience is dwindling,” says McKee. She recommends pausing regularly to check your emotional state. “Perhaps you’re being snappy with people, you’re not smiling as much, or you have a headache,” she says. It’s also important to pinpoint and name what’s going on. It’s better to say, “I’m upset because I’m behind on an important project and traffic was terrible today,” rather than the over-simplified, “I feel awful,” McKee says. Having a concrete reason for your unhappiness gives you something to work on.

Take a moment to be grateful

One of the simplest ways to focus on the positive is to think about what you’re grateful for, whether it’s your job, your kids, or the clothes on your back. “There are neuroimaging studies that show it’s almost impossible to be in a depressed state and grateful at the same time,” explains Achor. McKee agrees that gratitude is “a powerful antidote to the urgent feeling of stress and lack of control.” So as soon as you start to feel negative, short circuit your mood by asking yourself, What are three good things that are going on right now? Consider saying them out loud or writing them down. This will help you get some perspective on the bad day. Sure, you may have had a fender bender or missed an appointment, but there are other, perhaps more important, things in your life that are going well.

Take action

Another way to stop yourself from “trending negative” is to “take a single concrete action,” Achor says. Send that email that you’ve been meaning to get to or make a phone call you’ve been dreading. Even choosing a healthier snack, a piece of fruit over a candy bar, can create a positive “mental avalanche” for the rest of the day. “Your brain records a victory,” Achor explains. The effect is even stronger if the action you take benefits someone else. You might be buried in your inbox, but if you take two minutes to send an email praising or thanking someone else, you’ll actually feel like you’ve gained time.

Change your routine

If you’re feeling miserable, don’t hunker down at your desk for the rest of the day. A change of scenery often helps signal to your brain that the current mood doesn’t need to be sustained. “Drive around, take a walk, or just go to a different floor. The key is to put yourself in a different physical location,” McKee advises. And once you’re there, take a few deep breaths. “If you’re heading for or already in an amygdala hijack, you have to do something to get control of your frontal lobe and breathing does that physiologically,” she explains.

You can also do something you enjoy, like listening to music or a podcast or catching up on news. Just be careful about the content you choose! A recent study by Achor in partnership with Arianna Huffington showed that just a few minutes of consuming negative news can cause a bad day. “Try to find a news outlet that focuses on solutions. Or at least create a different ratio. If you’re going to read a negative piece, read two positive ones as well, about medical breakthroughs or someone helping others,” says Achor.

Reset realistic expectations

“Expectations can have a huge impact on mood,” says Achor. “If I expect my flight to be canceled and it’s only three hours delayed, then I’m going to be thrilled. But if I expect it to be on time and then it’s delayed, then I’m going to be upset.” A lot of bad days start when you have unrealistic expectations about what you can accomplish. If your mood is deteriorating because it’s after lunch and you feel behind, don’t despair. “You can rewrite the narrative on the day,” he says. Highlight what progress you have made. “Write down two or three things you’ve already done. You woke up, you had breakfast with your kid, you drove to work, you even wrote a checklist. That way you’re starting at 25% progress.” And then make a list of “short, attainable goals” for the rest of the day.

Learn from your bad days to prevent future ones

When you do have bad days, it’s important to reflect on them before you put them behind you. By taking note of what went wrong—and then right—you can “learn what your triggers are so you stay away from those particular stimuli or at least know how you’re likely to react if you’re triggered,” McKee says. If you’ve tried the above strategies, make a note of what works for you and what doesn’t, and “be more precise in the future in how you turn things around.” And definitely pay attention when bad days pile up. Is there something bigger going on that you need to address? Is there some broader action you need to take? “We’re seeing a movement toward higher workloads and longer work hours and there’s lots of research that shows that when people work more than 55 hours a week, engagement and happiness levels plummet,” says Achor. Consider whether you need to fundamentally rethink the way you do your job or balance your work and family life.

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • •Think of three things that you’re grateful for
  • Consider what you’ve already accomplished even if it’s minor
  • Reflect on what triggers your bad days and which tactics help to turn them around

Don’t:

  • Believe that you are a victim of your circumstances—you choose whether to be negative or positive
  • Hunker down at your desk—change scenery and take a few deep breaths
  • Set unrealistic expectations for your day

Case study #1: Focus on opportunities not problems

Kate Hanley, a mindset coach and the author of A Year of Daily Calm, often helps her clients develop strategies to get out of their bad days. “People come to me because they’re feeling stuck and they’ve tried everything they know how to try,” she says.

She usually starts by asking them what triggered their negative mood. “I try to get them to pinpoint where it started to go bad,” she says. “Naming it can be really helpful.”

Then she advises her clients to “get curious” and ask a lot of questions about what is going on. Is this a one-time event or an ongoing trend? Have I felt like this before? What caused it last time? “We’ve evolved to scan for danger so once you’re in a bad mood, it can be hard to get out,” she says.

She also tries to get people to reframe problems as opportunities. If an important client meeting gets canceled, what can you do with that free hour? If a direct report doesn’t do a good job on a presentation, how can you help her learn from the situation?

Kate uses these same tactics when she’s having her own bad days. A few weeks back, she noticed she was in an awful mood around lunchtime and quickly identified the cause: two clients had canceled on her that morning. “I don’t like when my appointments get moved a lot because it screws up the rhythm of my day,” she says.

“My mind quickly made a trend out of it but I pulled back and asked myself, ‘Do clients cancel a lot or is it just today?’” With that perspective, she was able to think more positively. She also took a few moments to get out of the office and do something she enjoys—listen to music. “If you ever see me driving around in my car listening to classical, you know it’s been a crazy day.”

Case study #2: Remember it’s just one day

Darin Freitag, who manages residential and commercial projects at the general contractor RYAN Associates says that he can usually tell early on in a day when things are going wrong. “It starts when I receive a phone call from an angry client or I realize that an important project isn’t going to be done on time,” he says. Then “I’m distracted so I’m not thinking clearly and I make more mistakes, like speeding into work and getting a ticket or even backing my car into something.”

That’s when he takes a step back. “I tell myself, ‘OK, something’s going on here. I’m just not in a place where I’m going to win today.” To get himself back into the right frame of mind, his first step is to get some perspective. “I think about how this is just one day in the long haul of a career, or a project, or the business,” he explains.

He reminds himself that it’s normal to have a rough patch here and there and that he can’t solve every problem. “Like many people, I often have this grandiose idea that I’m so important that I can fix anything. But that’s just not true. And if I try to fix it all, it’s just going to get worse,” he says.

So he temporarily resets his expectations for the day. “Sometimes I need to lower my standards and be more realistic,” he says.

He remembers one day when he had to give a presentation. Not only did he feel unprepared but there were also technical problems with the projector. But instead of getting frustrated, he took a deep breath and told himself, “OK, this is not going to go as well as I hoped or planned.”

Over time, he’s learned that, while he can’t stop bad things from happening, he can control how he responds to them. “I know I’m going to be miserable until I change my perspective, or accept the situation,” he explains. “I can wallow for a while but it’s not fun and it just leads to depression. I eventually realize that I’m swimming upstream and that I need to stop swimming and just float. And then usually it doesn’t take long for the situation to change.”

By Amy Gallo from Harvard Business Review
https://hbr.org/2015/10/how-to-turn-a-bad-day-around

How to turn a bad day around

Let’s face it. Life can be full of frustrations—an argument with your teenager over breakfast, a missed train, or even just a spilled coffee can make you wish you could crawl back into bed. How can you change your mood when you’ve started your day off on the wrong foot? How do you stop annoyances from dragging you down and killing your productivity?

What the Experts Say

The good news is you can turn a bad day into a good one. “Happiness is a choice,” says Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. Even when something objectively negative happens—your star employee gives notice or you’re late to an important meeting with the CEO—it’s important to focus on the positive things that are also happening. “Studies show that when you’re positive, you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, and your creativity rates triple,” he explains. Discontent is also contagious, adds Annie McKee, founder of the Teleos Leadership Institute and coauthor of Primal Leadership. “Your negative emotions spread like wildfire,” she says. “It’s worth changing your mood, not just to make your day more pleasant and productive but to spare those around you.” So what can you do when you’re in a downward spiral? Here are some ideas:

Pinpoint the problem

The earlier you catch your bad mood, the easier it will be to do something about it. “We have to have early warning signals that tell us that our resilience is dwindling,” says McKee. She recommends pausing regularly to check your emotional state. “Perhaps you’re being snappy with people, you’re not smiling as much, or you have a headache,” she says. It’s also important to pinpoint and name what’s going on. It’s better to say, “I’m upset because I’m behind on an important project and traffic was terrible today,” rather than the over-simplified, “I feel awful,” McKee says. Having a concrete reason for your unhappiness gives you something to work on.

Take a moment to be grateful

One of the simplest ways to focus on the positive is to think about what you’re grateful for, whether it’s your job, your kids, or the clothes on your back. “There are neuroimaging studies that show it’s almost impossible to be in a depressed state and grateful at the same time,” explains Achor. McKee agrees that gratitude is “a powerful antidote to the urgent feeling of stress and lack of control.” So as soon as you start to feel negative, short circuit your mood by asking yourself, What are three good things that are going on right now? Consider saying them out loud or writing them down. This will help you get some perspective on the bad day. Sure, you may have had a fender bender or missed an appointment, but there are other, perhaps more important, things in your life that are going well.

Take action

Another way to stop yourself from “trending negative” is to “take a single concrete action,” Achor says. Send that email that you’ve been meaning to get to or make a phone call you’ve been dreading. Even choosing a healthier snack, a piece of fruit over a candy bar, can create a positive “mental avalanche” for the rest of the day. “Your brain records a victory,” Achor explains. The effect is even stronger if the action you take benefits someone else. You might be buried in your inbox, but if you take two minutes to send an email praising or thanking someone else, you’ll actually feel like you’ve gained time.

Change your routine

If you’re feeling miserable, don’t hunker down at your desk for the rest of the day. A change of scenery often helps signal to your brain that the current mood doesn’t need to be sustained. “Drive around, take a walk, or just go to a different floor. The key is to put yourself in a different physical location,” McKee advises. And once you’re there, take a few deep breaths. “If you’re heading for or already in an amygdala hijack, you have to do something to get control of your frontal lobe and breathing does that physiologically,” she explains.

You can also do something you enjoy, like listening to music or a podcast or catching up on news. Just be careful about the content you choose! A recent study by Achor in partnership with Arianna Huffington showed that just a few minutes of consuming negative news can cause a bad day. “Try to find a news outlet that focuses on solutions. Or at least create a different ratio. If you’re going to read a negative piece, read two positive ones as well, about medical breakthroughs or someone helping others,” says Achor.

Reset realistic expectations

“Expectations can have a huge impact on mood,” says Achor. “If I expect my flight to be canceled and it’s only three hours delayed, then I’m going to be thrilled. But if I expect it to be on time and then it’s delayed, then I’m going to be upset.” A lot of bad days start when you have unrealistic expectations about what you can accomplish. If your mood is deteriorating because it’s after lunch and you feel behind, don’t despair. “You can rewrite the narrative on the day,” he says. Highlight what progress you have made. “Write down two or three things you’ve already done. You woke up, you had breakfast with your kid, you drove to work, you even wrote a checklist. That way you’re starting at 25% progress.” And then make a list of “short, attainable goals” for the rest of the day.

Learn from your bad days to prevent future ones

When you do have bad days, it’s important to reflect on them before you put them behind you. By taking note of what went wrong—and then right—you can “learn what your triggers are so you stay away from those particular stimuli or at least know how you’re likely to react if you’re triggered,” McKee says. If you’ve tried the above strategies, make a note of what works for you and what doesn’t, and “be more precise in the future in how you turn things around.” And definitely pay attention when bad days pile up. Is there something bigger going on that you need to address? Is there some broader action you need to take? “We’re seeing a movement toward higher workloads and longer work hours and there’s lots of research that shows that when people work more than 55 hours a week, engagement and happiness levels plummet,” says Achor. Consider whether you need to fundamentally rethink the way you do your job or balance your work and family life.

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Think of three things that you’re grateful for
  • Consider what you’ve already accomplished even if it’s minor
  • Reflect on what triggers your bad days and which tactics help to turn them around

Don’t:

  • Believe that you are a victim of your circumstances—you choose whether to be negative or positive
  • Hunker down at your desk—change scenery and take a few deep breaths
  • Set unrealistic expectations for your day

Case study #1: Focus on opportunities not problems

Kate Hanley, a mindset coach and the author of A Year of Daily Calm, often helps her clients develop strategies to get out of their bad days. “People come to me because they’re feeling stuck and they’ve tried everything they know how to try,” she says.

She usually starts by asking them what triggered their negative mood. “I try to get them to pinpoint where it started to go bad,” she says. “Naming it can be really helpful.”

Then she advises her clients to “get curious” and ask a lot of questions about what is going on. Is this a one-time event or an ongoing trend? Have I felt like this before? What caused it last time? “We’ve evolved to scan for danger so once you’re in a bad mood, it can be hard to get out,” she says.

She also tries to get people to reframe problems as opportunities. If an important client meeting gets canceled, what can you do with that free hour? If a direct report doesn’t do a good job on a presentation, how can you help her learn from the situation?

Kate uses these same tactics when she’s having her own bad days. A few weeks back, she noticed she was in an awful mood around lunchtime and quickly identified the cause: two clients had canceled on her that morning. “I don’t like when my appointments get moved a lot because it screws up the rhythm of my day,” she says.

“My mind quickly made a trend out of it but I pulled back and asked myself, ‘Do clients cancel a lot or is it just today?’” With that perspective, she was able to think more positively. She also took a few moments to get out of the office and do something she enjoys—listen to music. “If you ever see me driving around in my car listening to classical, you know it’s been a crazy day.”

Case study #2: Remember it’s just one day

Darin Freitag, who manages residential and commercial projects at the general contractor RYAN Associates says that he can usually tell early on in a day when things are going wrong. “It starts when I receive a phone call from an angry client or I realize that an important project isn’t going to be done on time,” he says. Then “I’m distracted so I’m not thinking clearly and I make more mistakes, like speeding into work and getting a ticket or even backing my car into something.”

That’s when he takes a step back. “I tell myself, ‘OK, something’s going on here. I’m just not in a place where I’m going to win today.” To get himself back into the right frame of mind, his first step is to get some perspective. “I think about how this is just one day in the long haul of a career, or a project, or the business,” he explains.

He reminds himself that it’s normal to have a rough patch here and there and that he can’t solve every problem. “Like many people, I often have this grandiose idea that I’m so important that I can fix anything. But that’s just not true. And if I try to fix it all, it’s just going to get worse,” he says. So he temporarily resets his expectations for the day. “Sometimes I need to lower my standards and be more realistic,” he says.

He remembers one day when he had to give a presentation. Not only did he feel unprepared but there were also technical problems with the projector. But instead of getting frustrated, he took a deep breath and told himself, “OK, this is not going to go as well as I hoped or planned.”

Over time, he’s learned that, while he can’t stop bad things from happening, he can control how he responds to them. “I know I’m going to be miserable until I change my perspective, or accept the situation,” he explains. “I can wallow for a while but it’s not fun and it just leads to depression. I eventually realize that I’m swimming upstream and that I need to stop swimming and just float. And then usually it doesn’t take long for the situation to change.”

By Amy Gallo from Harvard Business Review
https://hbr.org/2015/10/how-to-turn-a-bad-day-around

Who made the list of 50 best places to work in Australia in 2020?

The 50 Best Places to Work Australia list has been released, which includes companies such as Canva and Salesforce.

The list was chosen by global workplace research and consulting firm, Great Place to Work. It was done between September 2019 and June 2020 – including when COVID hit – and took into account more than 39,000 Aussie based workers across 124 companies.

Each company in the study for the best places to work list earns a score based on two main factors. The majority (two-thirds) is based on employee responses to a survey, while the remaining one-third comes from Great Place to Work’s evaluation of company procedures and policies.

The list looked at companies with over 1000 workers, between 100-999 workers and under 100 workers.

“Through the 2020 Best Places to Work study process, we have had the opportunity to observe how businesses inspire, invent, and innovate as they introduced new initiatives whilst navigating through this changing landscape,” the report said.

“The 2020 Best Places to Work sprang into action early on by leading and demonstrating care for their employees by being supportive, communicative, and flexible through this time of uncertainty with clarity and confidence.”

Here are 20 companies that made it onto the list and what they did during the coronavirus pandemic:

Over 1,000 workers:

Cisco Systems Australia

During the pandemic, the company unveiled a ‘Your Response to COVID-19’ campaign asking employees to suggest ways they could take action to help their teams, customers and community.

Salesforce

The company launched a B-Well Together half-hour series with tips and resources from wellbeing experts that employees and their families could use. It became so popular, Salesforce decided to make it available to customers and communities as well.

SAP Australia

SAP released a remote ‘pulse check’ for employees to share how they were feeling and what management could do to support them. The company also launched health and wellbeing resources such as mindfulness sessions and virtual yoga.

Mars Australia

The consumer goods company launched a ‘Be Well’ program to help workers become emotionally resilient, mentally focused and physically energised.

DHL Express

Transport and logistics company DHL held virtual team building events and even sent out care packs to those working from home.

Between 100 and 999 workers:

Interactive

IT services provider Interactive implemented new ways to connect with workers during the pandemic, by using social channels and collaboration tools.

AbbVie

Biotechnology company AbbVie reviewed its internal communication plan during COVID and launched a daily bulletin that kept workers informed about any updates.

Canva

Design giant Canva created a ‘Keeping the Vibe Alive’ website with resources that helped reinforce staff camaraderie while they work remotely. The company also launched more Slack channels with work-from-home tips and tricks and how-tos.

SafetyCulture

During the pandemic, SafetyCulture launched measures to keep workers mentally and physically healthy such as access to online fitness videos and launching a mental fitness app.

BPAY Group

Amid the pandemic, BPAY’s CEO Blog rolled out weekly instead of fortnightly to keep workers updated on the business, how he is feeling personally and share his thoughts on a range of topics. It’s also a way for workers to connect and speak with him.

Insight

IT company Insight worked with its employees during the pandemic to make sure they had the right tools and systems when working from home. It also provided workers with chairs and monitors where needed.

OMD Australia

Media and Communications agency OMD created a weekly newsletter during COVID which was about promoting health and wellbeing while in isolation.

Nintex

Software business Nintex rolled out a range of initiatives during the pandemic, including a COVID Committee, company updates though Slack, virtual meetings and a webpage with local information about the coronavirus.

Mantel Group

Mantel introduced a weekly Q&A live forum where they discussed business updates, health and safety and accepted questions from employees.

Stryker

During the pandemic, medical technology company Stryker rolled out a redeployment plan which included internal and external secondments (temporarily transferring a worker to another position) and developing a ‘Stryk-tasker’ role for one-off projects.

Intuit Australia

When the pandemic struck, Intuit decided to close its Sydney office and allow remote work. Information about working from home was put up on an internal microsite to guide employees.

Kronos

Kronos rolled out a ‘Working Virtually’ microsite to support staff as they work through the pandemic.

Adobe

During the pandemic, Adobe offered a flexible schedule to workers. It also released a “Time Off” benefit, which provides up to 20 working days off for the rest of the year for employees who can’t work because of a COVID-related issue.

Envato

During the pandemic, Envato provided two weeks extra paid leave for workers who were unwell or caring for an immediate member of the family.

Service Now

The company developed a virtual ‘global village’ to help parents with home-schooling. This included virtual story reading sessions and access to high school maths tutorials.

Starlight Children’s Foundation

The organisation created a program where workers could donate their annual leave toward a ‘hardship fund’. The fund would in turn be used by Starlight to pay casual workers who had reduced or no shifts.

Other companies that made it onto the list include digital bank UBank, comparison site Finder, eBay Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia.

Top Tips on different tactics business leaders employ to get stuff done effectively

Amantha Imber, founder of innovation consultancy company Inventium, told Business Insider Australia she began the podcast “How I Work”, after hearing her clients say they don’t have enough time to focus on innovation.

“I was looking around at people that I thought were really successful and great innovators,” she said, “And I thought, well, they’ve got the same number of hours in the day – so what are they doing differently?” With plenty of interviews under her belt, Imber shared some of the biggest tips she learned:

“Batching” meetings for better productivity

Imber’s first interview was with Wharton psychology professor and New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant. There were two main tips which stuck out to her from that interview.

The first was that Grant “batches” all his meetings, meaning he does them back to back. It came from research from Ohio State University which found that productivity decreases by 22% if you know you have an upcoming meeting.

Another tip Imber picked up was that when Grant finishes work for the day, he will finish half-way through a certain task. “That way, when he starts the next day, it’s super easy for him to pick back up because he’s already halfway through it,” she explained.

Using clothes as a communication tool

When Imber interviewed former Pinterest president Tim Kendall, she said he talked about using clothes as a communication channel.

“When he was at Pinterest, one of the focus areas strategically was about just focusing … on doing a small amount of things really well,” she said. And so Kendall had several different t-shirts that said ‘focus’ which he would wear.

“He literally wore that all year,” Imber said.

Changing your password when you’re on holiday

Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of junk removal company 1800 Got Junk, told Imber he would get his assistant to change the passwords to his email and social media accounts when he goes on holidays. In doing so, he ensured he isn’t “lured” to answer them.

Small changes create big differences

Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, discussed how small hacks or changes can help you develop good behaviours. He described to Imber a little hack that would encourage him to read, right on his bedside table. “He finds if he puts the Kindle on top of the phone, he’ll be more likely to read it,” Imber said.

Read your work out loud

Author Daniel Pink explained how he reads his work out loud during the editing process to see if the sentences flow. “He will…read or have someone read his books – the whole book, end to end – out loud,” she said.

A podcast that can “improve people’s lives for the better” Imber explained that from every interview, there would be at least one thing she would try out when it comes how to she works. She also said she gets people writing to her saying it has changed the way they approach work too.

“I just want my podcast to continue to have that impact and improve people’s lives for the better,” she said. “For me, that makes it an intensely rewarding project.”

And her dream interviewee? Playwright, composer and actor Lin Manuel Miranda.

Is Your QSR at Risk With Employment Compliance?

Compliance Analytics is your simple solution!

A proactive and preventative risk management approach is key to avoiding damaging issues for the entire network.

Compliance analytics quickly highlights anomalies and “de-risks” any potential liabilities.

Currently, employment compliance is in the spotlight, particularly within the QSR industry. Breaches have seen many a brand’s credibility very publicly come under scrutiny. Non-compliance, by even one franchisee, can affect the reputation and income of every franchisee in the network.

You are probably well aware that the Franchise industry is proving to be particularly at risk when it comes to employment compliance issues such as underpayment of staff. Under the new Bill, franchisors may be liable if their franchisee breaches workplace laws, even if they are not directly involved in the breach. Part of the responsibility of a franchisor is to ensure their franchisees are well equipped to adhere to workplace laws, specifically when hiring and dealing with employees. Best practice at the moment in employment compliance monitoring within the franchise industry is far from ideal and is not preventative:

Typical Franchisor Employment Compliance Review

 

Automated Compliance Analytics

For many organisations, legal resources can be limited. Reviewing hundreds of (franchisees) employment compliances with varying degrees of priority can be hit and miss and very expensive. Under this structure franchisees wanting to beat the system can still potentially manipulate their financials to comply with once-off audits.

To minimise risk and reduce the costly burden of the current system of auditing, franchisors need to be able to understand new regulations or changes to current regulations, and typically respond to them within a specific period of time. Better insight into employment compliance laws is crucial to maintain regulatory compliance and can reduce the pain of an audit process.

In response to these growing issues within the franchise industry, employment compliance analytics solutions have been developed to apply data gathering applications to satisfy current legal requirements and improve across-the-organisation employment compliance.

Along with up to date application of legal obligations**, employment compliance analytics solutions are designed to analyse a large volume of employment compliances quickly and accurately. With Resurg’s ClearView you will discover issues earlier, limit potential exposure and ensure that you stay on top of obligations. Our system enables you to collect and connect all of your employment compliance data in one place for real-time predictive analytics of employment compliance. The system will flag the franchisees that need auditing, saving time and money on lengthy audit processes.

ClearView will help turn your employment compliance practices from reactive to proactive. Our preventative early warning system detects potential problems and by doing so reduces your risk. ClearView will ensure that any required audits are being directed to the at-risk stores, minimising the time and resources usually required in this area of your business. Ongoing real-time analytics from multiple data sources makes it very difficult for franchisees to evade the audit system through standard records manipulation.

Our customised operational analytics use your data to benchmark and compare results across the network, quickly highlighting anomalies and “de-risk” any potential liabilities.

Ultimately, ClearView will grant you peace of mind and allow you to put your focus and resources toward positively building your franchise operation.

**Resurg partner with employment relations specialists ER Strategies, who provide tailored support and advice for the franchise sector.

Schedule a free consultation with our team to reduce your employment compliance risk

Do I need cyber insurance for my business?

When it comes to cyber insurance, many people in small and medium sized businesses assume that the risks involved with cyber security don’t affect them, or that they are already protected. They say things like “We don’t take credit card payments so we’re not at risk”. Or, “We have anti-virus protection and the website is secure”. But when they learn about the different risks and areas they could be liable for, such as being responsible for client data, and data privacy laws, many are surprised.

Before you bury your head in the sand, consider one common cyber security incident:

What would you do if you had a security breach and had to tell your customers you’ve lost their data?

Data security breaches are a more common occurrence than you may expect, especially for SMEs. The Notifiable Data Breach Scheme managed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner actually imposes certain threshold requirements where businesses are obligated to notify clients about the breach, and notify the Privacy Commissioner. Not only would this affect the company reputation, but also take up valuable time and resources to fix.

The Notifiable Data Breach Scheme applies to agencies and organisations that the Privacy Act requires to take steps to secure certain categories of personal information. This includes Australian Government agencies, businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of $3 million or more, and regardless of your annual turnover applies to credit reporting bodies, health service providers, and TFN recipients, among others.

So, it’s more than worth taking a few minutes to learn about common cyber misconceptions, how your business could be affected, what the potential costs might be, and what the options are if you need insurance cover.

How could cyber threats affect my businesses?

There are some scary statistics when it comes to the cost of cyber risks:

• $10,299 – the average cost of cyber crime for small to medium-sized businesses (according to Norton SMB Cyber Security Survey 2017)

• $1.9 million – the average cost for medium sized businesses (100-500 employees) if hit by a cyber attack (according to Webroot, 2017) with the figure over $1million for larger organisations (Radware 2018-2019 Global Application and Network Security Report)

• 25 hours downtime or more – was the number of hours it costs for one in four businesses hit by cyber attacks (according to Small Business Best Practice Guide 2017)

• Downtime is the main impact of a cyber security threat (39%), followed by expense for re-doing work (25%), inconvenience (27%), financial loss (11%) and data loss (13%). Of those that had lost data, over half (52%) had not been able to recover it.

• 54% of cyber attacks are from email or phishing scams (according to Norton SMB Cyber Security Survey 2017)

• Up to $2,100,000 fine from the OAIC for not complying with mandatory data breach laws for a company and up to $420,000 for an individual. (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme, February 2018)

• 59% of Australian organisations are affected each month by interruptions caused by cyber crime (according to Commonwealth’s Stay Smart Online guide for small business)

• 2,500% increase in the sale of ransomware on dark net sites since 2016 (according to The Ransomware Economy, Carbon Black 2017)

When people see these stats, they see that the relatively low cost of cyber insurance is dwarfed by the volume and range of potential costs that it covers for.

4 main reasons why SMEs are easy targets for Cyber Attacks

Attacks on small and medium-sized enterprises are on the rise due to:

1. Lack of resources 1 in 4 Australian small businesses have fallen victim to cyber crime (according to Norton SMB Cyber Security Survey 2017) as SME clients are focused on their core business offering – be it as a Real Estate Agent, Lawyer, Accountant, Doctor, Mechanic, Manufacturer or whatever industry they specialise in. SMEs often lack the time, resources or expertise to understand their cyber exposures.

2. Lack of education on Cyber Large organisations provide training to their employees on the importance of cyber security and the key risks to be aware of. Simple human mistakes like lost smart-phones or accidentally sending an email to the wrong person, are the cause of 30% of cyber incidents (according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Quarterly Report December 2018.)

3. Weak network security or IT infrastructure SMEs typically handle their own IT systems and security themselves, or outsource to someone as they lack the expertise. This contracts with more robust IT teams and operations in larger organisations.

4. Businesses hold valuable data There is a common misconception that SMEs won’t be a target of cyber threats as they have no data or information that is of value or worth stealing. SME data is more valuable that people think. Even if the SME isn’t the direct target, the SME might be a critical point into the integrated supply chain of their valued partners.

Costs associated with cyber attacks for businesses

The costs a business may incur due to cyber security breaches come under three main categories:

1. First Party Costs The businesses’ own cost to respond to the breach, including but not limited to IT Forensic Costs, Credit Monitoring Costs, Cyber Extortion Costs, Data Restoration Costs, Legal Reorientation Expenses, Notification Costs and Public Relations Costs.

2. Third Party Claims The businesses’ liability to third parties arising from a failure to keep data secure, including data held on behalf of businesses by either an outsourced supplier or freelancer, or cloud service provider for which businesses are legally liable. Insurance Coverage is available for claims for compensation by third parties, investigations, defence costs and fines & penalties for breaching the Privacy Act.

3. Business Interruption Reimbursement for businesses’ lost profits resulting from a Business Interruption Event. In a lot of cases policies provide coverage these days not only limited to malicious attacks. Coverage can be made available for Business Interruption Loss arising from unauthorised access, any damage to the business data and/or programs, and any system outage, network interruption or degradation of the businesses’ network.

Laws & regulations governing Cyber & Privacy Risks

There are many laws and obligations which businesses must adhere to in relation to cyber security:

• Privacy Act 1988

• The Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT)

• Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979

• National Health Act 1953 (NH Act)

• Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990

• Crime Act 1914 (Crime Act)

• Anti-Money Laundering and Counter- Terrorism Financing Act 2006(AML/CTF Act)

• Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (HI Act)

• Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 (PCEHR Act)

• Personal Property Security Act 2009 (PPS Act)

Security is simply managing risk

There are various ways businesses can manage cyber security risk:

• Reducing the risk businesses should seek to put in place procedural, technical and physical controls in order to reduce their exposures.

• Accepting the risk an internal process a business has taken to evaluate the risk versus reward

• Transferring the risk insurance should be seen as an additional layer to the security process, not an alternative

• Avoid the risk When the likelihood and impact from the risk to the business is too high businesses can remove the risk source, for example by deleting old data, deciding not to start or discontinue the activity.

What does Cyber Insurance cover?

Cyber Insurance covers a business for the cyber exposures it faces from both third party claims (for example actions brought by the Privacy Commissioner or clients suing for breach of privacy) and first party cover including Business Interruption and other expenses that might incur as a result of a cyber attack. The first party expenses a business might incur include, but are not limited to, costs to repair or restore systems, credit monitoring services if data has been breached and public relations expenses.

What can I do now to avoid cyber and data privacy risks?

In addition to considering insurance coverage, there is still lots you can do to mitigate potential risks for your business.

Nine Steps to tighten your Cyber Security

1. Network Security Protect your networks against external and internal attack. Manage the network perimeter. Filter out unauthorised access and malicious content. Monitor and test security controls.

2. Malware Protection Produce a relevant policy and establish anti-malware defences that are applicable and relevant to all business areas. Scan for malware across the business.

3. Monitoring Establish a monitoring strategy and produce supporting policies. Continuously monitor all systems and networks. Analyse comprehensively for
unusual activity that could indicate an attack

4. User Education and Awareness Produce user security policies covering acceptable and secure use of the business’s systems. Establish a staff training programme.
Maintain user awareness of cyber risks.

5. Home and Mobile Working Develop a mobile working policy and train staff to adhere  to it. Apply the secure baseline build to all devices. Protect data both in transit and at locations.

6. Secure Configuration Apply security patches and ensure that the secure configuration of all systems is maintained. Create a system inventory and define a baseline build for all devices.

7. Removable Media Controls Produce a policy to control all access to removable media. Limit media types and use. Scan all media for malware before importing on the company system.

8. Managing User Privileges Establish account management processes and limit the number of privileged accounts. Limit user privileges and monitor user activity. Control access to activity and audit logs.

9. Incident Management Establish an incident response and disaster recovery capability. Produce and test incident management plans. Provide specialist training to the incident management team. Report criminal incidents to law enforcement.

Want to learn more or have a question?

Polina Kesov is a specialist in cyber insurance and Director at ii-A www.ii-A.com.au. To find out more about the risks involved in cyber security and what your insurance options are, get in touch for a free consultation with Polina.