Workplace stress is a tricky thing to manage, and unfortunately it seems to be on the rise for many businesses.
There is no legal entitlement for stress leave from work and NZ employment law doesn’t provide an exact definition of stress leave, so it is a bit of a grey area which compounds the challenge of dealing with it.
The lack of legislation means that if an employee feels they need time-off to recover from work-related stress, the leave options are largely up for negotiation between employer and employee, unless the stress is causing illness, in which case sick leave could be taken.
We really need to look at the Health & Safety At Work Act 2015 for guidance on dealing with workplace stress, as this piece of legislation classifies it as a hazard, and therefore provides the framework to guide us. This means employers have an obligation to monitor, identify and manage workplace stress just as with other hazards.
It’s time to wrap up our first month of The Working Women’s Tribe!
Make sure you’ve also read our posts on managing work life blend for other tips and tricks and checked out the other information provided in the facebook group.
For those of you that were able to make it to the September session, we really hope you gained something from the practical exercises Erin showed us to relax our mind and body on a daily basis.
To recap, here are the key takeouts:
Earlier this month we had our first meeting of The Working Women’s Tribe where the topic was about work life blend, and the feeling of being fragmented into a million different pieces with the demands of life and work.
Erin gave the Tribe some tips to counteract these competing pressures, by finding ways to connect within ourselves and with those we love, and really BE present in the moment. Our focus was on relaxing our mind and body and taking control of what we could, and accepting what we couldn’t.
Finding calm amongst the chaos can be a mental game, that requires consciously changing your perspective and mindset.
This can be done through 5 essential practices:
It’d be great if we could all get along with everybody, but sadly, we can’t.
You can pick your friends, but you can’t always pick your colleagues, and for that reason, personality clashes in the workplace are inevitable. It’s not uncommon to have one or two people who just don’t seem to get on with the others.
We’ve been brought in to mediate our fair share of employee conflicts in the past couple of months, and while the meetings are slightly uncomfortable for everyone in attendance, they are essential to finding a resolution – you have to be prepared to have the tough conversations.
You can not ignore it.
Here are our pointers to managing conflict between two employees (or even between yourself and an employee):
Employment issues again hit the headlines in the last month with cases that had gone before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA). And again, the learning is the importance of PROCESS when considering terminating an employee.
In Queenstown, a carpenter was awarded $24,500 after being unjustifiably dismissed while in Fiji attending the funeral of a close relative. He was only told his employment had ended when he contacted his employer to see why he hadn’t been paid. It was then that he was told they’d run out of work for him.
A British Airways worker made the news last week after his employment was terminated because he had a ‘man bun’. He argued it was discrimination because females were allowed to wear their hair in that style, and yet because he was a male, he wasn’t.
While the jury is still out on who will win this one, it does raise a good point about company dress codes, and the right way to enforce them.
A company is absolutely entitled to have a dress code to reflect the type and status of the business, but it must be reasonable in the context of the company’s business – you can’t really prevent someone having a specific hair style for no justifiable reason.
Today’s teachers strike got me thinking. At face value, it looks like a group of employees who want a pay increase, have decided to boycott their jobs until they get one. According to mainstream media, the nurses did something similar last month.
In a non-unionised corporate world, striking would never fly.
I don’t know any business that would respond favourably to an employee refusing to do the job they’re employed to do, until they’re paid more money. In fact, this blatant refusal to work may lead to a disciplinary discussion.
But for essential public services that we all depend on, it’s an effective strategy for pay negotiations. Both nurses and teachers are at the mercy of a pay scale system that rewards longevity in the profession, rather than individual performance so their approach to pay negotiations has to reflect this. The professions are also largely unionised, which restricts their ability to discuss pay with their manager.
For those of us in paid employment in a non-unionised workforce, we have to approach pay negotiations differently.
A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to meet with other female business owners as part of a newly forming networking group in Hamilton.
Roadworks meant it took longer to get there than I had anticipated and I battled finding a park in the big smoke, but I made it.
And I had a nice time. The Tank salad was delicious. My boy Otis charmed everyone, and I scored extra brownie points because I happened to be wearing a dress made by Hayley Addison from Addison Clothing who was there too. No better way to show your support of small NZ business than by sporting their wears!
During the catch up, we went around the table and each of the 25 ladies introduced themselves and their business. They rattled off their achievements, future business goals and strategic plans, and all had an impressive resume – it was a group of self-starters who’d forged their way in a predominately male business world.
Almost as an after-thought, they mentioned the fact that they were a mum.
I started eight73 consulting in 2013. It was a month before I became a wife, and 15 months before I became a mum. For that first year, my business was my baby. It was pretty all-consuming, physically and mentally, and the responsibility I felt to keep the business alive was at times intense.
I was torn between spending time developing the business through approaching new potential clients, while also investing in nurturing the partnerships I’d already secured, and of course delivering to the work I had on. There were never enough hours in the day and I constantly felt like I was chasing my tail.
And then, in May 2014, just as my business was really starting to hit its straps with consistent work from strong partnerships I’d developed, and a steady pipeline of referrals, I had a baby, a real baby. A real life human being who’s sole survival depended on me. I had to think and act for Archie all day and all night, on top of running a business.