When It’s Raining Job Candidates

Before the pandemic struck, employers were struggling to find people to fill open positions. But the pandemic has changed that in many respects. There were almost seven million jobs available in October (latest figures available), but in November (latest figures available) nearly 20 million people were getting some sort of unemployment benefits.

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What this leads to is more people applying for openings, and companies faced with more candidates to screen. Moreover, many people are simply sending in applications for anything that looks remotely like something they might be qualified for. This causes a lot of headaches for recruiters and hiring managers and results in hiring processes taking longer than they should.

So, in the midst of this glut that is clogging the hiring pipeline, what can companies do to improve the process and improve their hires? The answer is to provide clarity and openness – about the requirements for the job, the duties, the pay, the application, and the hiring process itself.

  1. Job Requirements

When posting job ads, most companies frame job requirements in terms of education and experience, which actually may have little to do with the actual skills needed for the work. Moreover, requirements are often expressed in abstract terms whose meanings may be clear to the hiring manager, but no one else.

Rather, the job requirements should focus on the skills, knowledge and abilities the person actually needs to do the work and how these skills will be measured.

  1. Job Duties

Too often this is a general description filled with language that sounds more at home in a courtroom than a job ad. Companies need to show what the job is really like. To do this, they should include things such as photos, videos or a podcast to describe it. Candidates need to see all aspects of the job, both the good and not so good parts.

  1. Salary

There is no reason to keep salary information hidden on the assumption it will strengthen the company’s negotiating position. This is not a useful approach. Nor is discounting candidates who ask about salary early in the process.

Again, companies need to be open about salary, including a pay range in the job posting.

  1. Application

Too often the application is long and detailed, prompting many qualified candidates to simply look elsewhere. Sometimes companies ask candidates to upload a resume into an applicant tracking system and submit an application, which is a recipe for candidate frustration.

Applications should be as easy as possible to complete. You need to consider what information you really need at this initial stage of the process. Do you really need a Social Security number and references at this point? The simpler the application, the more likely the candidate is to complete it.

  1. The Hiring Process

The hiring process at many companies is often rather mysterious. Not many understand how it works, why it is set up the way it is, or how long it should take.

Companies need to be transparent about the hiring process. In fact, some recruiters advocate putting it online, offering regular email updates as to where things stand. Moreover, hiring managers need to be accountable for evaluating candidates according to established criteria. They should not be allowed to kick the can down the road, to hold candidates in limbo. They need to review resumes and applications with an eye toward skills and not simply education and experience.

Changing these things will make the whole process less of a numbers gambit, but rather an effort focused on finding someone who can do the job and add value to the company.

Helpmates can help you sort through “too many” job applicants so that you interview just the top candidates. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more.

Best Practices for Hiring a Diverse Workforce

To hire a more diverse workforce, you need to start by taking a step back and looking at your hiring process from start to finish, from advertising an open position to onboarding. You need to look at everyone who will come into contact with the job candidate to ensure they are all working together to convey an open and inviting environment. Here are some areas to look at.

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  1. Salary

It’s been a common practice for employers to ask candidates for their salary history during job interviews. They use it often to determine the salary for a new hire, simply bumping up the pay from the person’s previous job. But this is not a good practice in general and especially if you are looking to increase diversity in your workforce.

First of all, if you want to hire good people, you need to offer competitive salaries, regardless of what the person made at his or her last job. It should be based on the responsibilities of the position. This is particularly important if you want to attract minority workers, who often are underpaid.

  1. Company Culture

When recruiting job candidates, a business needs to highlight the company culture, which may help to attract a more diverse group of people. For example, you can list the different types of benefits it offers, such as paid time off, support for pregnancy or adoption, parental leave policies, disability leave, and other support services.

Employees of different ages, genders and backgrounds will all have different needs, so focusing on what you offerthese different groups may help increase diversity.

  1. Flexibility

You certainly need to have a minimum set of standards when hiring. But too often companies only consider people who have qualifications that fit the job description exactly. This eliminates many good candidates and it has a stifling effect on diversity.

You should cast your net wider, maintaining more flexibility when it comes to related experience. When hiring, you need to think not just about skills and experience but forming a team of diverse personalities and backgrounds. It is this diversity that will help the team perform better because the exposure to different viewpoints and perspectives will spark creativity and innovation.

When evaluating experience, look beyond the amount of time a person spent in a job to the value of the work they did, what they accomplished, what they learned, even if their tenure was not as long.

The same is true for education. Rather than requiring a specific set of educational credentials, companies should be willing to consider a combination of education and experience. This again allows for a broader reach and a more inclusive approach which will improve diversity.

Companies need to bring consistency to their hiring practices, focusing on a core set of skills and knowledge for each position. This focus will help to reduce more subjective judgments of hiring managers from creeping into decision making, the kinds of judgments that are more likely to be influenced by the biases of the interviewers, whether they are conscious of them or not.

These prejudices may undermine your efforts at diversity because they may be discriminatory against certain people or groups.

  1. A Group Approach

The group of people interviewing job candidates should itself be composed of people with diverse backgrounds. Hiring managers need to consult with a range of people in the company to get a variety of viewpoints and feedback on candidates. This too will help to winnow out hidden bias.

Hiring for diversity may take longer than it did before. If you’d like some help, contact the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more about our own recruiting practices.

On the Lookout: Recruitment Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Technology and the competition for talent are changing the recruiting landscape significantly. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are giving recruiters powerful tools to locate, evaluate and communicate with job candidates. These digital tools are also helping recruiters find passive job candidates as the recruiters become more aggressive in their search for talent. Here are some of the trends gaining momentum in recruiting and likely to become even more widespread in the future.

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  1. Employer Branding

The competition for top talent is keen, and a company’s reputation and popularity have become increasingly important in attracting the best people. A brand name that stands out can make a real difference in recruiting, and that is why companies are focusing on branding.

Studies have shown that employers with strong brands get 50 percent more qualified applicants. More than 75 percent of job seekers check out the employer brand before they apply to a company.

  1. Automation

More companies are automating the recruiting process, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. The technology used for recruiting is becoming more sophisticated. Eighty-eight percent of all companies worldwide already are using automation/AI technology in their HR and recruiting efforts.

  1. Data analytics

Because of the large amount of data now available through applicant tracking systems and recruitment marketing websites, companies are able to analyze the data to help them make hiring decisions. They are using the data to determine what recruitment strategies are working and which are not.

Using data analytics improves hiring in a number of different areas, including the quality of the hire, and the cost and time to hire.

  1. Soft skills

Companies report that they are struggling to find workers with the needed skills. The shortage is especially acute with soft skills. Recruiting trends will focus on finding candidates who have demonstrated soft skills. According to some sources, two-thirds of all new jobs will depend heavily on soft skills, and the demand for such skills is expected to increase further into the future. These skills include such abilities such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.

  1. Talent pools

Recruiters will be creating and using talent pools to a much greater extent in the future. They will be building their talent pools using both internal and external talent. Using current employees to fill open positions is a good way to retain employees and ensure a good fit for open positions.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is helping recruiters handle some of the more routine tasks associated with the job, giving them more time to interact with candidates. It is also helping to improve the candidate experience. AI is expected to play a greater role in future recruiting.

Screening candidates is another task that AI is very effective at doing because it is much better than humans at minimizing bias in the process.

  1. Social media

This is a trend that has been gaining in popularity and is likely to become more so in the future. It has become so popular because recruiting on various social media sites really works. At least 84 percent of all companies recruit on social media (reported in 2017 so that percentage undoubtedly has increased since then).

  1. Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tools

Companies are increasingly using CRM tools in their recruiting activities. CRM tools are software that is specifically designed to enable companies to manage and look after their job candidates. This is more important than ever because of the war for top talent.

CRM software enables companies to provide ongoing automated communication with candidates to keep them informed and to hold their interest during the hiring process.

These software tools also provide searchable databases to help build up a talent pool. They enable companies to screen applicants for desired qualifications, schedule interviews and conduct background checks.

2021: the year things more than likely improve in so many ways

Next year undoubtedly will only accelerate recruiting trends that started a few years ago. What’s more as Americans receive a coronavirus vaccine and the economy improves, we also expect it to once again become much more of a candidate-market, making it ever harder to find and hire top talent.

We look forward to these challenges as we work with our client partners helping them source, vet and place skilled workers for jobs of all types. We look forward to hearing from our clients whenever they have a staffing or recruiting need.

May 2021 be a wonderful year on so many levels for all of us!!

Follow These Steps to Create a Great Apprentice Program

Companies are constantly complaining that they cannot find enough qualified people to fill all of their openings, saying that job candidates just don’t have the skills that are needed.

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A survey earlier this year revealed that the problem is worse than ever – talent shortages at a ten-year high, with two-thirds of companies surveyed saying they were having trouble filling positions.

Workers also are frustrated. Only about one-third of college students believe their institutions are giving them the education and skills they need to prepare them for the job market and a good career. More students are complaining that a college degree isn’t worth the high cost.

This crisis is causing some companies to take action to solve it. In an effort to bring workers’ skills more in line with the needs of employers, some companies are establishing apprenticeship programs.

When most people hear the word apprenticeship, they think of an educational program associated with the trades.

But companies are now also using apprenticeships for professional jobs so that they can shape people into the kind of workers they need. Twenty-first century apprenticeships are work-based training programs used in a variety of jobs, including cybersecurity, healthcare, data analytics, engineering, hospitality management, and manufacturing.

Companies that offer apprenticeship programs report higher productivity, innovation and retention among their workers.

How Apprenticeships Work

One salient feature of this new kind of apprenticeship is that it is highly targeted toward specific individuals and specific jobs. These apprenticeships are customized to fit the particular needs of a company. A worker is paid while they get on-the-job training. As the worker advances in skill level, their pay increases proportionally.

While apprenticeships are tailored to specific needs, there are some general guidelines that organizational experts recommend to ensure the programs are as effective as possible. They are the following:

  1. Put together a team to develop the apprenticeship program and get it off the ground. Team members should include a cross-section of company employees, including people who provide services to customers, mid-level management and leadership.
  2. If looking for external support, identify any educational institutions, such as community colleges or universities, or other nonprofit organizations or state apprenticeship organizations that can help run the program.
  3. Have coaches in place to work with those in the program.
  4. Develop clear, measurable goals for the program, as well as determining exactly what skills and core competencies each apprentice needs to master, along with a way to measure these skills.
  5. Create a curriculum that is tailored to the core competencies and skills.
  6. Establish training schedules and wage levels.
  7. Put a process in place for evaluating the program and making changes as needed.

Industry Recognized Programs

If you want your apprentice program to qualify for national recognition within your industry, you can register it with the U. S. Department of Labor. There are three general criteria that must first be met in order to register – identifying a specific occupation that the program is designed for, developing a training plan and listing a training provider for the classroom element of the program.

When you register, you will have access to federal resources and technical assistance, qualify for state tax credits and the program also will offer a nationally recognized credential for apprentices.

It’s not too early to start finding newly-minted members of the Class of 2021 for your job opportunities. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

When Terminating an Employee Remotely

With many more employees working from home because of the pandemic, companies have had to make adjustments in the way they do things. Even with the help of technology, working with people in different locations presents unique challenges.

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One of those challenges arises when you need to let an employee go remotely. Doing it long distance requires some extra measures and preparation. Here are a few tips.

  1. Set up a meeting

When terminating an employee in person, you would usually set up a meeting, telling him or her you have something important to talk about. You would never simply end a conversation with, “By the way, you’re fired.”

The same etiquette applies to remote workers. It is simply bad form to abruptly send an email to the person telling them they’ve been terminated. Set up a virtual meeting first so you can give the person the time and attention they deserve. With remote workers, this may involve taking different time zones into account.

Also, during the meeting set up a time for a virtual exit interview and a timeline leading up to the employee’s exit from the company.

  1. Be open and honest

When talking with the person, be up front about the reasons for the termination. The news will most likely not be entirely unexpected if it is performance related because it will be the final step in a process. The person should be well aware of the issues that led to this point.

You also need to inform other employees about the termination and be ready to answer questions about the impact on them and the company.

  1. Be ready for questions

The employee will probably have a number of questions about their termination, questions related to administrative details such as severance pay and benefits. You may want to have someone from your human resources department sit in on the meeting to answer these types of questions. The employee will also probably have questions surrounding the reasons for the termination.

Again, it is important to be open and honest about the situation. This should help to maintain an amicable relationship with the employee, and he or she deserves no less.

You should prepare for these questions in advance. Put together written notes about everything that is likely to be discussed. This is a good precautionary measure to take in the event that the employee decides to take any legal action against the company.

  1. Be aware of the legal requirements

A remote employee could be in a location far away from the company, and the laws where they’re located could be different from those where the company is located. As a result, the manager needs to be aware of the different legal requirements that may affect the termination.

  1. Determine how equipment will be returned

Often companies supply remote employees with equipment to enable them to do their job and communicate with coworkers. If you are terminating a person, you need to work out a way for the equipment to be returned. This can usually be accomplished by having the employee ship it back, with the company covering the cost.

It is important to plan ahead to work out the details and prepare for different possible outcomes.

  1. Cut off the employee’s electronic connections

Remote employees have access to a company’s digital information from their home. To protect this information, you need to cut off their access to all company information immediately after their termination.

You may also want to make backups for any information available to the person and change passwords.

If you’ve had to let someone go and need a replacement quickly – even if the person worked remotely – contact the Helpmates branch nearest you. We have many terrific temporary specialists ready to get to work quickly, even remotely!

Tips for Getting the Candidate Experience Right, Right Now

Recruiting is a lot different today than at the beginning of the year. One of the major changes is the way in which candidates experience the hiring process. From Zoom interviews to virtual onboarding, there are a lot of adjustments to make for both companies and candidates alike.

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The hiring process may have changed in a number of different ways, but one aspect of it should never be altered. That is the candidate experience. It should always be a positive one for the applicant.

Change in the Landscape

Before the pandemic, job seekers had the upper hand because unemployment was so low. Now, however, the advantage has shifted more toward employers because so many people are now out of work. Employers may become more lax in their dealing with job candidates — and less concerned about making sure candidates are well looked after.

But this would be a mistake for several reasons. First, companies are still looking to fill about five million open positions, which is actually more than in 2014, when employers were really starting to have difficulty finding people. Second, companies that allow a poor candidate experience lose money because of it. Third, your brand will suffer – job candidates tend to talk about their negative experience with others in their profession. And fourth, job applicants are more likely to accept a job offer if they have had a positive experience. They’re also more likely to recommend your company to others.

How to Provide a Good Candidate Experience

  1. Communication

This is most important. You don’t want to leave candidates guessing about where they stand in the process and what the next steps are, or even how many other people are being interviewed. You should find out what questions they have as well.

You should also be honest with candidates. Some HR professionals advise discussing salary up front to be sure the company and the candidate are in the same salary range. You don’t want to go through the whole process, offer the candidate a job, and then find out that salary is a deal breaker. You also need to be honest about the position’s duties – the good and the bad aspects of the job.

Also, respond to all applications, whether you intend to follow up with someone or not. This is simply common courtesy, and it will make a good impression on applicants. Most companies don’t even bother to acknowledge the receipt of applications.

  1. Respect

You need to treat candidates with respect. That means preparing for the interview, knowing the candidate’s background and having questions already drawn up. Sometimes hiring managers show up unprepared, resulting in a haphazard interview.

  1. The hiring process

It should be designed to be user friendly. Too often, companies make candidates jump through a lot of hoops. Applications are long and complicated. The candidate has to interview with too many different people, and the process takes too long.

  1. Get Feedback

To improve the process, you also need to get feedback from the candidates. Find out what they thought of their interview. What kind of impression did they get of the company? Did they feel they received enough information as they went through the process? Did they think they were treated well? What did they like about the process, and what things would they change? What kind of improvements would they make?

Interviews are….a “tad” different now. And this does affect your candidates’ experience with the hiring process.

Helpmates can do all candidate pre-screening for you, from sourcing qualified candidates, to conducting preliminary interviews, to checking references and vetting, sending you (whether via video or in-person) only the top candidates for final interviews.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

Why a Flexible Workforce is No Longer a “Want” But a “Need”

Used to be, many employers used temporary workers, independent contractors or freelancers only sporadically, such as during employee illness, leaves of absence or during the holiday season. But things have changed – savvy employers now use these temporary folks much more strategically.

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Companies need to make sure their workforces are agile and flexible enough to respond quickly to changing conditions, and to do this, they rely on contingent labor.

They use contingent workers for a number of different situations:

  1. For specific skills

If an employer has a short-term project that requires a special set of skills, they can use temporary workers to handle it. Also, by repeatedly using the same people for these special projects, the company builds relationships with these workers, and managers know they have reliable expertise available when needed.

  1. To handle work regular employees don’t have time for

If there is work that always seems to be unfinished because employees are too busy handling more important matters, companies can use contingent labor to clean up the outstanding assignments.

  1. Surges in demand

During certain times of the year (such as the holidays for retailers and summer for amusement parks), some companies can expect higher demand, and contingent labor can help them handle the increased workload during that time.

Background Checks Even More Important

It takes new hires a good deal longer than contingent workers to become fully productive because they don’t have to be introduced to all of the company’s processes, procedures and culture. They simply come in and begin working on their assignment.

But, as with regular workers, the performance of a temporary worker depends on their skill level. So, it is just as important to know about the temporary worker’s background. That means verifying all of the information on the resume to ensure it is accurate and also contacting references.

This is where staffing companies can help. The company will do the work of screening all the applicants, perform background checks, and will send you only the ones that fit closely with the job description.

It may also help to administer a skills assessment to the applicant to evaluate their technical ability to do the job.

A Blended Workforce

A blended or hybrid workforce is one that consolidates both full-time employees and contingent workers. To get the most out of such an arrangement, a company would probably have to tweak its culture a bit to allow for greater integration of the temporary workers.

A blended workforce culture is one that also incorporates remote workers into its operations to fully utilize the contingent workers, who sometimes may even work remotely.

Communication Is Key

When a company is moving to add more contingent workers, communication is critical. Company leadership needs to inform employees what is happening – the changes that are taking place and why the company is taking this particular course of action.

The company needs to spell out any changes to policies and procedures. It’s also important to assuage concern among regular, full-time employees about the increase in temporary and/or contract workers because regular employees may feel threatened. They need to know that the move is not a threat to their job security, but just the opposite, a way of enabling them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Need some flexible workers? Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you to speak with one of our recruiters about your workforce needs.

Manager, Heal Thyself of Unconscious Bias

We all exhibit unconscious bias whenever we interact with others. In fact, psychologists have catalogued many different types of cognitive biases that filter our perception of the environment.

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But, once we are aware of these biases, we can be alert for them and recognize when we are falling victim to them. Managers need to keep them in mind when dealing with their workers to make sure the managers are dealing fairly and consistently with everyone under them. If you are a manager, here are a few biases to watch out for.

  1. Bias in delegating

Do you unconsciously favor some people over others when you delegate work? Do you tend to give the same workers more challenging and interesting work, while assigning more mundane tasks to others? Also, sometimes managers, without realizing it, give more complete and detailed instructions to certain workers, while imparting scant information to other employees, making their task that much harder.

  1. Bias in feedback

Managers may also unknowingly soft-pedal feedback for some workers, delivering it in a more casual, friendly manner, while taking a more authoritarian and judgmental approach with others.

  1. Bias in assumptions

Managers may also not be aware of unconscious bias they have toward people based on their background, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or education.

Other factors affecting a manager’s judgment unconsciously can be a person’s appearance, mannerisms, and speech, such as a particular dialect. These stereotypes can color a manager’s beliefs about a certain employee’s ability. If you’re manager, you need to think about your behavior toward employees, bring your assumptions out in the open, and examine them.

Also, we tend to give more credence to information that confirms beliefs or assumptions we already hold, neglecting data that may contradict our beliefs.

  1. Bias in recognition

A manager may consistently recognize or praise certain workers and withhold it from others for reasons the manager is not really aware of. Again, unconscious bias may be at work influencing how the manager reacts to some employees.

  1. Bias in hiring

Managers unconsciously tend to favor people who are like them. It’s something everyone does. We feel people who look like, have the same backgrounds, etc. us are somehow better. This is a bias hiring managers need to keep in mind when doing job interviews. They need to figure out how to counteract it. This kind of bias can hinder a company’s efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, leading to employees who generally all think the same way.

  1. Bias in socializing

Again, because we have an unconscious bias toward people like ourselves, we might tend to socialize more with people like us. Managers may be chatting and bantering more with some workers than others because of this bias. This could make some of your team members feel left out or unappreciated.

  1. Bias in mentors

The bias toward people like us can also manifest itself in the choice of people managers look to for advice and counsel. As a manager, ask yourself if you tend to go to the same people for advice simply because you feel more comfortable with them, depriving yourself of different viewpoints and perspectives.

The tendencies listed above are biases related to other people, but we also have many biases about how we perceive the world around us and the information we receive. For example, when examining an issue or problem, we tend to reduce it to general terms and avoid details and specifics. When we make decisions, we gravitate more toward simple solutions rather than more complex ones. We also tend to see patterns even when there is not enough information to clearly establish one. We tend to pay more attention to events that occur more often, even though they may not be any more important than other events.

Helpmates is here to help Southern California’s employers find terrific workers for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on how we can help you find great people to help your business thrive.

The Bottom-Line Benefits of Becoming a Fully Remote Company

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many people began working remotely to avoid becoming infected with the virus. They did it out of necessity. But companies and workers are seeing that working remotely has a number of advantages in addition to keeping healthy – benefits that can help to boost the bottom line.

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One study found that companies can save as much as $11,000 a year per employee by allowing them to work from home half of the time. Here are a few more advantages for businesses from transitioning to a remote workforce.

  1. Saving on overhead

If you have a workforce that is fully remote, there is no need for a brick-and-mortar building. That is a huge savings in itself. You also save on all of the associated costs of having a building – utilities, rent, maintenance, and parking, to name a few.

You also don’t have to worry about furniture, desks, and computers.

  1. Fewer absences

Working at home offers employees greater flexibility to take care of personal matters without having to take off from work. If a worker needs to attend an event at his or her child’s school, for example, he or she can go to the event, return home – and possibly work beyond “normal” work hours – without having to ask for a half-day off from work.

If a worker has a mild illness, a cold for example, they are more likely to get work done at home, rather than taking time off from work out of fear of spreading the illness to coworkers.

  1. Greater productivity

Research has shown that employees who work remotely are more productive than those who work at the office. They don’t have to take the time for a morning and evening commute. They don’t have to deal with the interruptions that are common to office workplaces.

People working remotely usually work longer hours than those who work in an office, and they enjoy the work more. Because they have greater flexibility and freedom, they are happier in their work, and this positive outlook increases productivity. One study has found that happy workers are 13 percent more productive than those who are not.

  1. Less turnover

Lower employee turnover is another fringe benefit of having a more satisfied workforce. Because those who work remotely are happier in their jobs, they tend to stay in them longer.

This can save a company a lot of money. Hiring new people is expensive, as much as $4,000 per person. Plus, there is the time involved. You need to advertise jobs, review applications, schedule interviews, and onboard the new people, along with any other training that is needed.

Moreover, higher turnover can have a big impact on productivity. When people leave, projects are interrupted. New people need to brought up to speed on what is being done.

Managers also like remote workers: 79 percent of them in a 2019 survey said that remote it’s a great “non-monetary” way to retain employees. Moreover, remote workers say they are more likely to stay with their current companies than people who do not work remotely.

Humans are social creatures and about six months into a lot of remote working,  some employees are saying they look forward to returning to the office,  at least part-time. But most are saying they don’t want to return full time.

The next few months will really show how  much your workers do – or don’t – want to work from home but if you’re wondering if a fully remote workforce is the right move for you, there definitely some financial benefits to it.

Whether you decide to keep everyone working remotely or you want them to return to the office full time, the recruiters at Helpmates can help you source, vet and place terrific workers. Contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you for more information.

Overcoming the Overwhelm When Working at Home

The pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval in people’s lives. Many of us now work remotely, all the while trying to take precautions against the virus. We battle with a lot of anxiety and stress and even some disorientation. It’s a lot to get used to.

Whittier careers

Working from home also presents unique challenges. We need to overcome distractions from family and friends. Work time tends to bleed into personal and family time until it often feels like there is no boundary between the two. It is easy to feel that we’ve lost control.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you need to examine the sources of stress in your life. Here are a few things you can do to cope, and here are even more tips.

  • Take breaks

When working, it is best to take a short break about once each hour. That is about the limit of time that our minds can focus intensely. If that doesn’t suit your routine, you should definitely take a break when you are feeling stressed or fatigued.

Do something physical during your break, such as taking a short walk, doing some quick callisthenic-type exercises, throwing some dirty laundry in the washer, or cutting up some vegetables for supper. This helps to get the blood flowing, delivering more oxygen to the brain, improving your mood and reducing stress.

  • Set benchmarks

Most of us procrastinate, at least some of the time. If a big project is due in two weeks, we wait until a week or so has gone by before starting to work on it. To eliminate this problem, try setting benchmark goals. Break down the project into smaller tasks and set deadlines for each of  them on the way to your final goal.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

We all make mistakes. When we do, often there is a feeling of embarrassment and inadequacy, especially among perfectionists. We scold ourselves for our poor performance and become angry and depressed. If you screw up, forgive yourself. Don’t take it too hard. Realize that everyone makes mistakes and experiences failure. Treat it as a learning experience and move on.

  • Make time for you

No matter how busy you are or what you have on your plate, you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t, your performance and productivity will suffer in the long run. Take time to exercise every day. Eat a healthy diet. Get seven to eight hours of sleep. Take time to interact with family and friends. You’ll feel better, have more energy and get more done. You may even want to try meditation. Research has shown that it can help you focus and lessen stress.

  • Reduce the “modern” type of “clutter”

If you stop and take the time to notice, you will be surprised at the amount of time wasted each day on frivolous activities. For example, how often do you check your email, Facebook, texts and Instagram? How much time do you spend reading blogs or diddling around YouTube?

These are time sinks. If you want to get more control of your life, cut back on the amount of time you waste on these activities.

  • Remember your purpose.

When things get chaotic and stressful, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Remember why you chose this profession and this job in the first place and the things you want to accomplish in your career. Look at your current situation as a step along the way.

  • Get organized

Believe it or not, just looking at a cluttered desk can increase your stress level. Studies have shown that people who are better organized are more productive and not as stressed out.

Is your current employer asking you to work from home 24/7? Sensing that your boss truly is asking too much and it’s time to find another position? Check out our current job opportunities and, if you find one or more of interest, follow application instructions.

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