Doona Day could pay Dividends
Giving employees the OK to take a ‘mental health day’ leads to less absenteeism and less presenteeism. However, many organisations still don’t recognise mental health days as a viable reason to call in sick.
Psychologist Rachel Clements says that taking a mental health day is not just for those of us who have a diagnosed mental health condition, but that it’s a “proactive thing… to get it before it becomes a mental health issue”. Too much stress, overwhelm or feeling disconnected could be the warning signs that your focus has shifted away from your mental health and a short break away from work to refocus may be necessary.
Organisations that allow staff that sometimes very necessary break in a busy period, will have a more resilient, emotionally balanced, and engaged workforce.
With RUOK? Day last week, it’s important to keep conversations going about being OK at home and at work. It may be easier said than done to change the culture about mental health at work. Our suggestion? Implement Mental Health Days into your sick leave policies. In some countries these are called ‘Duvet Days’ so why not instil a ‘Doona Day’ policy, where staff feel comfortable that their employer understands that sometimes staff just need to look after themselves for the day.
For those companies that feel like individuals may still not feel safe taking a Doona Day, allowing staff to take a sick day here and there without a medical certificate might help alleviate stigma attached to taking a Mental Health Day.
Imposter Syndrome is very real and may be robbing employees of productivity and advancement opportunities. Imposter Syndrome is feeling out of your depth, underqualified or unworthy of a position you hold or responsibility you have been given. It is experienced by more people than you might expect too (an estimated 70% of men and women have experienced it at some point in their working life).
You would be forgiven for thinking that the most successful of us are immune to Imposter Syndrome but the sensation does not discriminate by accomplishment. In fact Australia’s youngest billionaire and co-CEO of Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, recalls feeling like a fraud throughout the meteoric rise of his company and happily admits that he hasn’t yet managed to shake the feeling. He explains his experience with the phenomenon and gives tips for harnessing its power in a TED talk we can all relate to.
While the research paper that coined the term follows over 150 women, ranging from PhD recipients to well respected professionals, suggests that Imposter Syndrome is more common in women. More recent research has shown that its effects are felt more acutely by men. They are more likely to exhibit higher levels of anxiety, reduced effort and deteriorating output upon receiving negative feedback. Women under the same conditions are prone to responding with working harder, with outcomes reflecting superior performance.
This information suggests that an organisational culture fostering self-doubt is likely to have negative implications for productivity, internal promotion and achieving gender equality in the work place, especially in executive positions.
A fairly young concept in psychology (the term was coined in a 1978), breakthroughs are just now being made on how to deal with it. Here are some tips to deal with Imposter Syndrome in your workforce.
- Normalise the feeling – just as your employees will have moments of unwavering confidence, they will also have moments of self-doubt. Make sure they know that they’re deserving of their position.
- Reframe the negative thoughts – If you set a task that is likely to push someone’s capabilities make sure you’re framing it as a learning opportunity instead of insinuating that someone may be in over their head.
- Embrace constructive criticism –make sure criticism is always constructive. Honest feedback is a great way to improve skills quickly, but it is important to make sure people don’t feel attacked.
Managing Mortgage Matters
Mortgage stress is common amongst many Australians with home loans and is becoming of increasing concern. This can have deteriorating effects on mental health which are “comparable to those resulting from long-term health conditions” – Rachel Vifor, Professor of Economics at Curtin University.
Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) conducted a study and found a third of all Australian mortgagors struggle with mortgage stress. Arguably more concerning, mortgage default risk is the highest it’s been over the last 2 decades with an estimated 66,700 households at risk of default.
With mental health month coming up in October, it is imperative to highlight the importance of keeping your mental health in check along with your physical and financial health. What can you do to manage your mortgage stress levels? Here are a couple of tips that can help manage your mortgage debt and keep you mentally healthy:
- Budget– Create a budget for yourself early so that you can manage your cashflow. Just tracking your expenses can make you realise where you are spending too much and can cut down on. This will free up your finances to help reduce your mortgage debt. Here is a great budget planner provided by ASIC that you can use to help set up your budget.
- Review your mortgage – don’t get complacent and set and forget, there is a big discrepancy between the rates banks charge loyal long term customers compared to their rates available to new customers. Re-negotiate with your existing bank, if they wont reduce your rates, consider changing providers.
- Start Saving Now– Try to pay off your high interest debts such as credit cards and overdrafts first. Next, set aside money into your savings account as you will be less likely to spend your hard earned savings if you have to transfer it back into your everyday account first. Do this as soon as you receive your pay. If you wait till the end of your pay cycle you may be quite surprised at how little savings you have for the month!
Stanford Brown can provide financial education seminars to your employees to help manage their mortgage debt and relieve some of the stress associated with it.
A Guide To Education Funding
The cost of a K-12 private school education has soared by over 40% in the past decade, and will continue to outpace increases in wages and the cost of living for the foreseeable future. How can parents (and grandparents wanting to help out) hope to get ahead of these price increases? Stanford Brown adviser James Diegelman has written a white paper outlining a number of funding strategies, and who they are most suitable for!
Helping your staff better understand the tools and strategies for how to save for private schooling is a valuable addition to any benefits program. Reach out to book in an Education Funding Presentation at your office!
Worrying about our words at work
Israel Folau and his legal team have made clear their intention to get their day in court and when the verdict on his case is handed down, there is likely to be a change in precedent that could have ramifications for workplace codes of conduct across the country. What could this mean for HR?
This high-profile case portends a long overdue meeting between codes of conduct and discrimination laws in the courts. Folau’s team argue that his termination has impinged on his religious freedoms whilst Rugby Australia argues he breached their code of conduct.
How might your organisation respond to an employee posting something that offends other employees or clients on their social media? Do you have clear guidelines or boundaries around where and when employees are responsible for the reputation of your company?
For Australian employers it serves as a reminder to review codes of conduct, with specific attention to be paid to social media policies.
Communicate your expectations to staff clearly. Given the almost universal use of social media it may be necessary to pay special attention to the use of social media and activity that may bring the organisation into disrepute.
Prevention is better than cure. Seek feedback from employees on your code of conduct. If anything is unclear or impinges on someone’s freedoms, you will want to change your wording.
Being the Best in Benefits
Facebook, Citigroup, Procter & Gamble, eBay – these are the companies that every man (or woman) and their dog want to work for. Forbes reported the 33 best companies to work for, and it comes as no surprise that those five companies were all rated to provide the top benefits in their industry!
- Facebook’s impressive employee perks include wellness reimbursements, financial assistance to new parents, dry cleaning and laundry services, and a 30-day break every five years.
- P&G have prioritised equal gender pay, along with its efforts to commit to achieving 50/50 representation of women and men at all levels of the organization.
- Citi provides a range of programs for work-life balance management – including on-site medical clinics, health advocacy programs, and Save Well plans to help employees build personal financial sustainability.
- eBay provides exceptional paid parental leave to new parents – with 24 weeks offered to new mothers and 12 to fathers and secondary caregivers.
Companies are always aiming to standardise their benefits across the globe, which sets precedence in local markets such as Australia. We recommend all companies review their current benefit offering if you want to attain and retain stellar employees.