We asked Keith, our founder, why he started dotgap in the first place, and what did he feel needed to be changed in the world of media recruitment - here’s what he had to say… The short and simple answer is that when dotgap launched in 2006, there was no other recruitment agency in London dedicated to servicing the needs of Digital Media Agencies. I founded dotgap with the goal of quickly soaking up the demand from the biggest agencies in the country to source digital media people for them. Given my heritage, I had instant credibility as my previous job was Head of Digital for the then-number one UK media agency Carat. I knew the heads of other UK agencies to establish business with, and I knew how to properly source, scope, and interview candidates for any vacancy they needed to be filled. Over the years, dotgap has changed and evolved, surviving two recessions and a global pandemic, so we must be doing something right! We still work with a range of media agencies, covering pretty much any job discipline they ever have. We work with clients directly as they are in housing media disciplines such as PPC, SEO, Social, and Programmatic. We also work with some media owners/ad-tech companies. The principles of dot-gap and why we are different are as true today as they were when we launched. With my hands-on media agency heritage at senior and activation levels, I understand the pressure points within a media agency and speak your language. I have a thorough understanding of all areas of media, so I am well qualified to engage with any media professional and help them progress their career in their chosen direction. We give informed, impartial advice to employers considering how best to staff up their business. We listen to job seekers at all times! It’s only by understanding what you want from your next job move and helping make it happen that we deliver our true value to you.
Stress isn’t an individual problem. High turnover and increased absences cost businesses money. Employee retention is important for success – as an employer, you cannot afford to overlook stress and mental health of your employees. This month, stress awareness month, we have been talking about the causes of workplace stress and how to manage it. Today we turn the focus around to employers and look at how they can better look after their employees' well-being at work, specifically with regard to stress. Read on for more ways to reduce stress for your employees and increase happiness and productivity.
10 Ways To Reduce Stress In The Workplace
Reduce Stress With Better Communication
- Set clear expectations and goals. This will help provide employees with a sense of direction and purpose. Unclear expectations or excessive workload can lead to stress and burnout. Employers can also work with employees to set realistic goals and provide feedback and support to help them achieve those goals.
- Lead by example. Consider how you can model healthy work habits, managing your own stress effectively. When leaders prioritize their own well-being and manage stress in a positive way, it sets an example for employees and promotes a healthy work culture.
Make These Environmental Changes To Reduce Stress3. Create a supportive work environment by promoting open communication, providing resources for stress management, and encouraging work-life balance. Prioritising employee well-being and promotes a culture of support. 4. Employers can create opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues, build relationships, and foster a sense of community at work. This can be achieved through team-building activities, social events, or collaborative projects. Social connections can help employees feel supported and reduce workplace stress. Increased remote working can make this more challenging. Managers can help with this by investing in internal messaging tools or setting up a virtual 'water cooler' space for people to connect and chat about non-work things. 5. Employers should encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day and utilize their paid time off to recharge and relax. Taking breaks and time off can help employees manage stress, prevent burnout, and improve overall well-being. 6. Employers can offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible work hours, or compressed work weeks, to help employees manage their personal and professional responsibilities more effectively, reducing stress related to work-life balance. 7. Promoting a healthy work-life balance, such as avoiding after-hours emails or limiting work-related tasks during weekends or vacations can help employees maintain a healthy balance. This helps with reducing stress related to work overload. For more about the importance of a work life balance check out How To Maintain Your Work-Life Balance and Feel Good About It.
Provide Adequate Resources8. Provide resources for mental health support. For example, employers can offer access to mental health resources, to provide employees with confidential support for managing stress or other mental health concerns. 9. Providing training and development opportunities can help employees build their skills and confidence in their roles. This can reduce stress related to feeling overwhelmed or under-skilled at work. 10.Stress management programs such as mindfulness sessions, yoga classes, or other relaxation techniques can help employees manage stress effectively. These programs can be offered during work hours or as part of wellness initiatives.
Reducing Stress Is A Win WinThere are many ways employers can better look after their employees' well-being at work. Start by reviewing what you currently have on offer, and asking employees what they would find helpful. By creating a supportive work environment, offering adequate resources, providing flexibility and training opportunities and encouraging breaks , social connections and time off, employers can help employees manage stress effectively and improve overall well-being in the workplace. For more articles head to our blog. Don't forget to let us know what you do to help improve wellbeing in your workplace!
The shift from office-based to hybrid and remote work during and after the pandemic has had an adverse effect on workplace relationships. Those managers who were really great at communication in the office might not be as good now their teams are not working together all the time. Remote communications and successful team collaboration require different management styles and responses from all parties. The remote work environment overall needs to be more structured to ensure workers feel supported, and in general, tough conversations can be avoided if regular comms are managed proactively. In December 2021, 54% of professionals said the pandemic had a negative impact on their relationships, and we are still seeing evidence of this. Having difficult conversations with superiors or colleagues has always been hard. It relies on a solid foundation of trust and regular communication. Fully remote work is impacting how we establish these relationships in the first place. Consider workers who have only come on board as remote workers and so may not have had the chance to meet their co-workers at all. Remote working means red flags can be easily missed. For example, poor communication with colleagues or customers can go unnoticed for longer - especially if someone has only come on board recently as a remote worker. Having difficult conversations is essential for maintaining a healthy working relationship and achieving your goals. Here are our top tips for approaching difficult conversations at work when you work remotely.
Top Tips For Handling Difficult Conversations With Your Boss
#1 Prepare How and What You Want To SayBefore you initiate the conversation, make sure you have thought through the issue, identified your concerns, and prepared to articulate them clearly and succinctly. You may also want to consider the possible reactions your boss might have and prepare responses to address those reactions. Consider the other person's perspective and ask for feedback from someone who is not involved in the discussion to see what they think
#2 Think Carefully About The Time and PlaceIf you can have the conversation face to face, do! This is not always a) possible or b) suitable if you have never met face to face, for example. But being able to read someone's body language is very important and can help make difficult conversations easier! Try to choose a time when your boss is not too busy or stressed. If you know there is a big event or meeting ongoing for example. Agree a location where you can have an open and honest conversation without interruptions or distractions. Work together to select a time when both you and the other person are likely to be in the right frame of mind.
#3 Focus on The IssueSeparate the person from the issue. It can be easy to get worked up and emotional - especially when you are remote working and perhaps don't have anyone to vent to. Stick to the topic at hand and avoid bringing up past issues or unrelated topics. Be specific about the issue and avoid making generalisations or assumptions.
#4 Be Clear And Concise When Having Difficult ConversationsWithout the benefit of body language, your actual language becomes even more crucial. When discussing your concerns, use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. For example, instead of saying "You never listen to me," say "I feel like my opinions are not being heard." Be clear and concise. Stick to the facts and avoid using emotional language. Be direct and specific about the issue you want to address.
#5 Listen ActivelyAllow your boss to express their thoughts and feelings and listen actively to what they have to say. Active listening is a great skill to learn and practice. Listen without judgement and avoid interrupting. Maintain eye contact. If you are having your difficult conversation online, make sure you look directly into the camera regularly. You still need to look at the other persons face, as you need to try and read and respond to non-verbal cues but by regularly glancing into the camera, it mimics direct eye contact. Try to understand their perspective and look for common ground. Repeat back what they have said to show that you have heard and understood them.
#6 Be Open To SolutionsInstead of just highlighting the problem, offer potential solutions to the issue and be open to compromise. You can also ask your boss for their input on finding a resolution. Collaborate with the other person to find a solution that works for both of you.
Difficult Conversations Are Normal (But Can Be Avoided)After the conversation, follow up with your boss to ensure that the issue is being addressed and that you are both on the same page. Check in regularly to show that you are committed to resolving the issue. Remember that having difficult conversations with your boss is a normal part of the workplace, and it can lead to positive outcomes for both you and your organization. By preparing, choosing the right time and place, focusing on the issue, using "I" statements, listening actively, proposing solutions, and following up, you can have a productive conversation with your boss. Forbes has a great article for managers looking for helpful advice on difficult remote conversations. If you enjoyed this post, you can read more on our blog.
How many women in digital are there? Over the past decade, there has been significant progress in terms of gender diversity in the digital industry. Amidst the growing awareness of the importance of inclusive hiring practices, many companies have made notable commitments to diversifying their workforces and digital marketing is no different. For example, in 1971 the gap was almost 40% and a decade ago it was 10.4%. The number of women working full time increased by 299,000 in 2021. So, there is a positive overall trend. However, there are still significant challenges that women face in the digital industry. The gender pay gap persists in many fields, including tech, and women are often underrepresented in leadership positions. Discrimination and harassment are still prevalent, with studies showing that women in tech are more likely to experience these issues than women in other industries. Additionally, women are still underrepresented in certain areas of digital, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, which are expected to be significant growth areas in the coming years. Addressing these challenges will require concentrated efforts on several fronts:
- Policy changes
- Increased investment in diversity and inclusion programs
- Cultural shifts in the industry.
Women In Digital 2023Digital marketing and ad agency industries have been traditionally dominated by men. However, women have been making significant strides in the digital marketing industry over the last decade. Many women have taken on leadership positions in the industry, including CEO, COO, and CMO roles. More women than ever also starting their own agencies and businesses. Women bring a unique perspective to the digital marketing industry. They are often more focused on building relationships with customers and clients, which can lead to better marketing strategies.
Challenges Faced By Women in DigitalDespite the progress made, women still face challenges in the digital marketing industry. For example, women may not be taken as seriously as men in the industry, or they may be paid less for the same work. There are several challenges facing women in the digital marketing and ad agency industries, including:
- Despite progress in recent years, there is still a significant gender bias in these industries, with men occupying more senior roles and earning higher salaries than women.
- Women are underrepresented in leadership positions, particularly in the tech and engineering aspects of the industry.
- There may be a male-dominated culture in these industries that is not always welcoming to women, and there may be a lack of support for work-life balance or accommodating maternity leave.
- Women may face discrimination or harassment in the workplace, which can create a hostile work environment and limit their opportunities for growth and advancement.
- Women may struggle with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, leading them to hesitate in pursuing leadership positions or taking risks in their careers.
How Can We Improve Digital For Women?You might be reading this thinking, this is the same story again and again; minor improvements but no real change. Support networks are crucial for women in digital marketing industries. With examples of women in leadership positions and supportive peers we can help younger generations see they too can succeed. We need to work on providing access to women who can offer advice, support and guidance. For example, mentorship can be a very important tool. Diversity and inclusivity are important in all industries, including the digital marketing industry. Companies that are diverse and inclusive are more likely to succeed in the long run. For more article like this, and for jobseeking tips, head to the Dotgap blog now.
Writing a successful CV in 2023 might sound like a daunting task. There are a lot of job vacancies but competition is fierce. A lot has changed and continues to change in the world of recruitment too. New hiring techniques and different candidate requirements post-pandemic have caused a seismic shift towards flexible and remote working. With the ever-evolving job market, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the most effective CV writing techniques. In this blog post, we will explore five important things to consider when crafting your CV in 2023: using keywords, formatting, and showcasing your accomplishments.
#1 Using KeywordsKeywords are words or phrases associated with a job description or industry and they help recruiters match you to a job. They help hiring managers quickly identify whether or not you are a match. The average hiring professional with spend just six to eight seconds scanning through to determine whether or not the candidate is right for the role. It is, therefore, important to focus on using keywords when writing your CV in 2023. When crafting your CV, be sure to review the job description, research the industry and include all relevant keywords that highlight your skills and experiences. This isn't a new one but it is worth revisiting. Formatting is a really important element of your CV. Your CV should be easy to read and well organized. Be sure to use headings and subheadings to break up the text and highlight important information. Moreover, make sure that your contact information is clearly visible at the top of the page. This will make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to contact you. Using bullet points to summarise key experience is a good way to pack information in an easy -to -read format. Keep to simple fonts and layouts. Let your experience and skills do the talking. It is important to showcase accomplishments in your CV. Rather than simply listing your experiences and skills, be sure to include any successes you have had in your past positions. This can help you stand out from other applicants and provide a more comprehensive view of your abilities. This means highlighting the output of your duties, rather than the duties themselves in your work history.
- Focus on offering proof of your qualifications by including specific examples, figures or case studies that illustrate your abilities.
- Wherever possible, quantify your contributions and achievements to show the value you’ve created for your past employers. For example, have you helped to reduce costs, eliminate bottlenecks, increase productivity, drive more revenue, or improve operations?
- Did you meet or exceed your project goals or complete a project on time, ahead of schedule or under budget? Have you received any awards or special recognition for your performance?
#4 Most Requested SkillsThese are the top five requested skills (in descending order):
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Time management
#5 Use Social Media To Your AdvantageMore than ever, recruiters and hiring managers are using social media to help in their selection of candidates to invite to interview. So, you should include links to relevant social media accounts. For example, you might wish to include the details of your LinkedIn profile and Instagram accounts alongside your contact information. Just make sure that whichever profiles you link to. Just make sure you ensure these are up to date and that they don’t contain any inappropriate or unprofessional content. A social media audit is a must! If you have a side hustle or profile related to your passions and hobbies, it might be better to link to those accounts rather than simply give your personal accounts.
Now, Put It Into Action!Crafting a successful CV in 2023 requires a combination of up-to-date techniques and strategies. By focusing on using keywords, formatting, and showcasing your accomplishments, you can ensure that your CV stands out from the rest. You will need to tailor your CV for each job you apply for, but if you get a good template set up using the tips above this shouldn't take you too long. Good luck out there! For the latest in digital marketing and ad agency jobs, head to Dotgap now to browse or get in touch. We are ex-agency ourselves and so we understand the industry better than anyone and are committed to helping you find your dream job.
As we near the end of the year, we wanted to reflect on some of the most popular topics covered in the blog. From tips on how to get a job in digital marketing as a graduate to re-entering the workforce after taking time away to be a parent, we have tried to cover relevant topics for recruiters and jobseekers alike. Read on for a roundup of Dotgap's 2022 digital marketing blog.
The Recession, Cost Of Living Crisis and Digital MarketingThe economic climate has presented many challenges over the last few years. Businesses have had to adjust their strategies to accommodate changes in consumer behaviour and the availability of resources. People are likely to be more cautious with their spending during a recession so it is important to emphasise value over price. Companies must reduce costs while still achieving measurable results from their marketing efforts. Considering how the current climate will impact the marketing industry we can surmise businesses need to be mindful of budgets while maximising technologies that can help reach their target audience. This includes leveraging social media platforms to build relationships with potential customers, as well as utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) to make sure they're visible in online searches. This can also be a difficult time to be looking for a job, raising questions about the impact on remote and flexible working arrangements.
Changing Jobs For Your CareerChanging jobs can be a daunting and even confusing process. It can be especially difficult to know whether you should stay or go when you are thinking about the bigger picture in your digital marketing career. The first step is to assess your current situation and make sure you are making an informed decision. Consider your current job, the new job you are considering, and the implications of a switch in terms of salary, hours, and benefits. Once you are confident that the change is the right move for you, it is time to start the job search. Research potential employers and the job market, and make sure to update your resume and cover letter. Reach out to former colleagues and contacts to see if they have any job leads you may be interested in. You may also want to consider networking with professionals in your field in order to get your name out there. Once you are ready to apply for jobs, make sure you take the time to tailor your resume and cover letter for each job you apply to. After you submit your applications, it is important to follow up with employers, either through email or phone calls, in order to make sure they have your application and understand your skillset. If you are looking to relocate, make sure you take extra consideration. The last step is to prepare for the job interview. This means researching the company, its products, and its mission statement. Make sure to practice answers to common interview questions, and dress professionally. Finally, make sure to be yourself and be prepared to discuss why you are the right fit for the position.
Diversity in Digital Marketing RecruitmentDiversity, equity and inclusion have been buzzwords for the last few years now. But what does it actually mean in practice for businesses and candidates? There are lots of benefits for organizations to embrace diversity in the workforce, including but not limited to a wider talent pool and better representation. The recruitment process should be designed to ensure diverse representation. This means that the recruitment process should not be biased towards any particular group, and should avoid making assumptions based on gender, race, religion, or other characteristics. Digital marketing companies should strive to create an inclusive recruitment process. That means it is free from any kind of discrimination. A diverse set of applicants should be encouraged to apply, and the criteria for selection should be based solely on the skills, qualifications, and experience of the applicant. Is digital marketing diverse enough? There is still a lot of work to be done and it is an ongoing task but there have been great advances in recent years. Constant review and evaluation is vital for continued development.
Mental Health At WorkMental health is an important part of overall physical health and wellness. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked, and many people struggle with mental health issues in the workplace. Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health and seeking help can help ensure that everyone is able to stay healthy and productive. There are a number of steps employers can take to create a healthy and supportive workplace. These include providing mental health awareness training, setting up an anonymous reporting system, and making sure to provide employees with regular breaks and vacation time. The increase in remote and flexible work has brought many benefits for people. But the blurred lines between home and office can make keeping a work life balance tricky. Employers should ensure that they are providing necessary resources and support to employees who may be struggling with mental health issues. This includes providing access to mental health professionals or offering flexible working hours. By taking these steps, employers can create a workplace that is open to discussion about mental health and supportive of employees who may be struggling. This can help ensure that everyone is able to stay healthy and productive in their work.
Digital Marketing Job Search In 2023We started the year with tips on writing your CV in 2022 and many of these tips remain relevant. Automation remains one of the key trends in digital marketing recruitment. Automation tools can be used to streamline processes such as job postings, CV sorting, and candidate outreach. This can help businesses save time, money, and resources, and make their recruitment process more efficient. You need to optimise your CV for these tools too. Social recruiting is a growing trend in digital marketing recruitment. This involves using social media to find and engage with potential candidates. Companies can use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to post job openings. They are increasingly using them to engage with potential candidates, and build their employer brand. Candidate, be aware of your presence online with a social media audit and make sure you are making use of platforms such as LinkedIn to bolster your credibility.
Looking Ahead: Digital Marketing 2023Digital marketing recruitment is changing, and it's important for businesses to stay on top of the latest trends. As a jobseeker it is important for you to be aware of these trends too so you can review your career progression plans and continue to grow in the workplace. Dotgap is committed to keeping media professionals in their industry. Head to our website for the latest vacancies. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
There are more people than ever working in remote or hybrid roles. But what impact will a recession have on this 'new normal'? News of an impending global recession has many remote workers worried they will be the first to go. While it is certainly wise to be prepared and ensure you are doing what you can to remain a valuable member of your workforce, it would appear that remote workers could actually help businesses retain staff and save money through a recession. Since employees were all sent home in March 2020 employees have discovered how flexible working has improved their stress levels and in many cases improve productivity. In fact, recent data even suggests that fully remote teams are surpassing the productivity of on-site teams, with hybrid workforces performing particularly well. This article will provide a brief look at a couple of key points from this discussion to help put your mind at ease.
Remote Workers Save Money: The Aim of The Game During A RecessionRemote working doesn't just save employees travel costs. Downsizing office sizes can save companies tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds (GBP) per year. On top of the saving in rent, the cost savings also come from equipment and building maintenance, repairs, and utilities. Even companies which offer their remote workers money towards their home set up or internet see an enormous saving. So what does this mean for the return to work battle? Over the last few years, workers have gained leverage in the jobs market and digital is no different. In a recession, employers generally look to reduce their headcount. This will shift the market from candidate-driven to client-led with the power shifting from jobseekers to those hiring. This represents a challenge for recruiters but remote roles could be the way to turn the situation to their advantage. Businesses need marketing, always so there will always be a requirement for digital marketers and working remotely can help cut costs.
Recession and The Workplace Proximity BiasThere has always been a thought that those who seldom visit the office to work and, as such, have little direct physical contact with their managers are more likely to be let go. In the current economic climate, the question has taken on a new urgency, are the remote employees more likely to be on the firing line? Unfortunately, data on this issue are almost non-existent. Never before have there been so many remote workers. While prejudice against remote workers may not be a manager's intention, it is difficult to imagine fair treatment when some employees are always physically close and some are at home. Given the benefits hybrid and remote work has shown so far though, it would appear that workplace proximity bias could become a thing of the past.
Good News For Digital?The digital marketing industry has shown no signs of slowing down, and while we certainly expect things to change as employers and individuals strive to cut costs, businesses are increasingly realising their online presence and digital marketing are vital in growing and retaining their customer base. By supporting remote work, digital agencies can keep people employed while saving money themselves. Hybrid and remote work is to be embraced and is proving to be a viable model for workplaces now and in the future. Digital agencies can lead the way becoming adaptable and flexible enterprises that can rapidly adapt to new circumstances while continuing to design and deliver services to customers. Dotgap is here to keep media professionals doing what they love! Get in touch today to find out how we can help.
The Bank of England has predicted the UK will enter into recession in the last quarter of 2022. Limited spending leads to little economic growth and unfortunately, recruitment is an area which will feel this hit sooner and harder than other industries. In spite of this, the world keeps turning and recruitment is still necessary during a recession. Even though candidates are likely to be more reluctant to leave their current jobs, plenty of candidates will still be graduating from university and looking for work. Some workers will be faced with the reality of redundancy or reduced hours. Recession recruitment then will play an important role in many lives. So, what can you do to navigate the recession as a jobseeker? When there is an economic recession, finding a job can be a challenge. Successfully securing a new job requires patience, determination and the willingness to adapt to new working conditions and processes. Learning how to find a job during an economic downturn can help you navigate any potential challenges with patience and expertise. In this article, we discuss what a recession is, explore how to find a job during a recession and review some tips to help you during your job search.
Update Your CV To Stay Ahead In A RecessionThe most important thing you need to do, you can do right now. Updating your CV should be part of your job search anyway, even in a booming economy there is fierce competition in the digital marketing industry. To elevate your chances of getting noticed, you need to update your CV and establish your personal brand. You should clearly and effectively communicate your knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences to your potential employers. Focus on your skills. When job opportunities are limited, the competition becomes even more fierce so it is important that you put together a strong cover letter to accompany your CV. This will help differentiate your application from other candidates. Your CV should demonstrate your work history, skills and any relevant achievements. For graduates with limited work experience, check out our previous blog post on how to demonstrate your value to potential employers. You can include any technical skills such as computer programs or any additional languages you speak. Just make sure you would be comfortable speaking those languages in the workplace!
What Areas Of Media Remain Lucrative in A Recession?If your chosen career or industry does not thrive during a recession, you might need to consider looking for work elsewhere. Temporary jobs or those with transferrable skills to your dream career can help you gain valuable experience and build your CV for future job seeking. Some industries which tend to be recession-proof include education and law. Luckily, there are areas of the media industry which are proven to be recession-proof. Performance media offers the lowest risk return on media investment and so it is the safest form of advertising there is. Anyone with a website offering can justify highly quantifiable expenditure through performance media channels. We have already talked about the following areas being among the most in-demand marketing roles this year:
- PPC Search
- Paid Social Media
Level Up To Keep UpIn the highly competitive digital marketing and ad agency industries, you may find you have access to a wider range of jobs when you learn new skills. You can find many free resources online including podcasts which discuss the skills you are interested in learning. Spend some time determining if you need to brush up on certain skills to make yourself more marketable - it might be a brand-new skill or something you haven't utilized in some time. Review job descriptions for jobs in your field and industry, keep up to date with new technologies and trends and you can make yourself a more employable candidate both in the short term and when the economy picks up. Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning and Google Analytics are all great resources.
Networking (Always Networking!)We've said it before, and we'll say it again! Networking is such a powerful tool. Seek out like-minded professionals and research events, both in-person and virtually. LinkedIn and Facebook both host professional groups and the opportunity to comment and engage with people in your industry and beyond. You can make use of both personal and professional social media to signal that you're open to new work opportunities. make sure you perform a social media audit to make sure you are putting out the best image you can. Connecting with and contacting people within your professional or personal networks is helpful when there is a recession as they may know about job opportunities that are not advertised online. Step outside your comfort zone and make yourself visible. If there is a thread, share relevant information as well as your own personal experiences and expertise. You never know where what doors that engagement may open up in your professional career.
Act Now To Get AheadThere is no time like the present. For more helpful articles like this one, head to the Dotgap blog: Upskilling And Why Is It Important For Me Why Is LinkedIn The Ultimate Career Tool Dotgap breaks the traditional digital recruitment agency mould and have a more thoughtful, considerate approach. We know the industry because we have all worked there ourselves. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.
In honour of World Mental Health Awareness Day on the 10th October, this week's blog post will consider how to evaluate your work-life balance and offer some ideas on how to improve your sense of well-being. Work-life balance has been a subject of discussion for decades but it has become much more so following the pandemic lockdowns and subsequent shift in remote /hybrid working not only in digital industries but beyond. During the lockdown, many of us experienced more time at home with remote working and the many benefits of this such as no commuting and being able to spend more time with family. Many companies have kept this freedom with remote working and hybrid working options but what does this mean for our work-life balance? Even though we are a couple of years into this shift, it can be difficult to adjust. Working from home can make it difficult to set boundaries and it can become easy to normalise working long hours or being under extreme stress. Our assumptions around work and what is expected of us easily become deep-rooted unless we take a step back and review our situation
How To Self-Check Your Work-Life BalancePerhaps you've gotten used to feeling a certain way, or maybe you feel as though something is off. This is normal. Media careers are notoriously difficult to keep and set boundaries in due to the nature of the work and company cultures. Here are three steps you can take to evaluate how you are doing in your work-life balance:
- Stop and step back. We usually wait until a big life event, such as a loss or birth before letting ourselves reflect on our lives. However, it is important to consider how you are feeling and what might be causing it. For example, is there something making you feel stressed or causing you unhappiness? What are you prioritising and what are you missing out on? Figuring out and being aware of your feelings can help you work out what changes you need to make.
- Weigh it up. Once you know what is wrong you can think about your priorities and what needs to change. A good example of this is to work out whether needing to work on weekends is worth losing out on your free time and social life. Or, is working long hours worth losing out on family time?
- What are the alternatives? Is there anything that you can do within your working routine to adjust to your new priorities?
What Can You Do To Improve Your Work-Life BalanceIf you work from home, a great first step you can take is to make sure you take a phone break. there are plenty of mental health benefits to limiting your exposure to the blue screen light last thing at night and first thing in the morning. In regards to maintaining a better work-life balance, taking time away from your phone will help you draw a line between work and home. Try to work smarter by prioritising and try to avoid getting caught up in unproductive tasks and distractions. A good way to do this is to set time limits to spend on tasks and take regular breaks. This is particularly hard when you are working from home but try taking at least half an hour for lunch and get away from your desk if possible. Visit the gov.uk website for information on your legal break requirements. If you can, consider keeping track of your working hours over the course of a week or a month to give you a better idea of how long you are actually working. Make sure you factor in time spent outside of your normal working hours where you might be worrying or thinking about work. This will be a good indicator of work-related stress. Keep track of your working hours over weeks or months rather than days. This will give you a better picture of your work-life balance. Finally, always talk to someone if the expectations and demands of work are too much. Your manager and employer need to know where the pressures lie in order to address them.
What Can Your Workplace Do?It isn't just your responsibility to find a balance. Your workplace and employer play a role too and have certain responsibilities to look after your well-being. They should ask their employees about this and be responsive to ideas that could improve the work-life balance of you and your colleagues. It is down to you to communicate your needs if you are under too much pressure. A good employer will foster a culture of openness and train managers to spot signs of stress. It is becoming more and more expected now that people should have flexible and remote working options wherever possible and provide the infrastructure to make this workable for all parties. They should increase support for parents and carers so they can continue working and also allow for the use of relevant support services or counselling during work hours as they would for medical appointments. And finally, just as you should step back and review your situation every so often, so too should your employer, taking time to regularly review your situation and workload with you to make sure it is achievable.
Work-Life-Balance Is A CycleMaintaining your work-life balance requires regular check-ins and effort from employees and employers. Work-related stress can seriously affect your ability to perform well in your role and can have a serious impact on your mental health. Make sure you know what you are entitled to and communicate with your managers. For more tips on working from home, check out 7 Simple Tips To Tackle Working From Home on the NHS Website. Mental Health.org have some great tips on how to reduce stress. If you are struggling with any mental health issues please seek help from friends, family or the NHS urgent care helpline.
Recently, we've been talking a lot about how to get jobs, perform well in interviews and utilise moving companies to your advantage. However, given the current economic climate and cost of living crisis, many people are looking for stability and assurance they will be in work and able to pay their bills. Upskilling enables you to strengthen your position, improve your skills and develop new ones. In times of economic trouble, employers may focus on retention and fill job vacancies internally, making it a crucial time to upskill for your career growth. So, whether you are still looking for a new job, or staying where you are, you can secure your position and increase your chances of success by upskilling – in digital, there is no such thing as knowing too much!