Eloise’s August 2023 News – Summer Rhythm, Jobs Market, Office Space, Unplugging For Happiness
Hello and welcome to August
Shh, it’s August, but I’m saying it quietly because then it doesn’t have to be real. I mean, it can’t possibly be August, can it?!
In Leicestershire, we’re already almost three weeks into the school summer holidays. Lots of people, including me and my family, have taken their main holiday of the year and are well into the juggling act of working and entertaining children. Or, on the flip side, people who aren’t restricted by school timetables are now not far away from taking their main summer holiday when the schools go back.
Here’s a pic of my husband and me in Menorca (we did take the kids but they didn’t want me to share a pic of them) 🙂 Really missing the sunshine since we’ve been home 🙁
The rhythm of the summer
It’s a funny time of the year for non-seasonal businesses. There is a real stop-start and constant change to the natural rhythm of life and working patterns. The big push for people about to take leave trying to tick everything off their lists.
Then there are those who have just got back from leave, feeling slightly overwhelmed by the bulging inboxes and having to ease themselves back into the swing of the ‘real world’. And those who are not taking leave this time of year who are just trying to get things done whilst those around them are in the throes of gearing up for a holiday, being away, and then readjusting after leave.
It’s certainly true for most non-seasonal businesses that this time of year sees a downturn in productivity. But it can also mean a downturn in morale, and this is something to look out for.
There’s been lots of research into how taking annual leave and having holidays is good for mental health and overall well-being. But it can also provide people with a glimmer and a taste for a life they’re not able to live all year round.
It can also be that whilst some are taking holidays, or even reducing hours over the summer to juggle children at home, others are left to hold the fort. And this can cause resentment or even burnout due to increased workload.
So, if you’re postponing employee engagement activities until September or even October. You might want to have a rethink. Providing people with a boost this time of year can be a great way to keep everyone on track. Anything that gives people a sense of being appreciated and valued is well worth the investment.
Plus, there is always a surge in the available jobs market come September, so maintaining your employees’ feelings of engagement with your business now will pay off with retention efforts later.
Some useful articles:
Why are employee benefits important? – https://www.vanillarecruitment.co.uk/recruitment-news/why-employee-benefits-important/
Boosting Employee Experience and Morale in Uncertain Times – https://www.vanillarecruitment.co.uk/recruitment-news/boosting-employee-experience-and-morale/
The jobs market
The overall picture is still pretty good. Across the Midlands, the demand for staff rose for the 29th consecutive month. The rise in demand in the Jobs Market has softened slightly on previous months but we would expect that coming into the quieter summer months.
There has also been a switch back to temporary placements and fixed-term contracts. Employers who are not as confident in the market are reducing their risk by using fixed-term contracts as a ‘try before you buy’ type of set-up, or for getting project work done. And the rise in temp roles in the jobs market, again, isn’t unusual for the time of year but could also indicate a hesitancy in permanent recruitment.
The really good news for anyone recruiting or about to is that for the third month in a row, the number of available candidates/job seekers has grown. Previously this had been linked to redundancies, but it could also be attributed to returning confidence in the market, or people seeking out higher salaries.
Also, the growth in starting salaries has slowed but is still seeing a 28-month consecutive rise. This has continued for so long as organisations compete for the best available talent.
Looking at data from the Office for National Statistics, average weekly earnings across the UK increased by 6.2% year-on-year to £743 over the opening quarter of 2023. The average pay increased across all but one of the 12 UK regions. The East Midlands saw a 12.5% increase to an average weekly wage of £700.
My summary would be that everything is looking on track for the usual surge in the market for jobs and candidates come September, with the traditional slowing in the summer months. But, as we’ve learnt over recent years, we have to take each month at a time, so let’s wait and see if that’s how it plays out.
Office changes and space to rent
We’ve moved!!!! Well, we have moved downstairs but it’s still a pretty big undertaking and a massive change.
We eventually finished our office renovations. If you remember, we had a large reception space and meeting rooms on our ground floor, then two large office spaces on our first floor. Now the team are hybrid working, we just didn’t need all that space. Plus, meeting rooms weren’t getting used as we tend to conduct candidate meetings online and client meetings either at their offices or online.
So, change was afoot…
On the ground floor, we knocked a few brick walls out and put some glass walls in. Added an extra kitchen space and a new toilet. We now have a fantastic ground floor, open plan working office for us, a small interview room, a glass-walled board room, a kitchen, two toilets, and a gym. The work is all completed and we’re in and making it our home.
This move has not only generated more space for our Vanilla team. But we now have some lovely offices to rent in our building. If you are interested in more information about renting an office or would like to visit to see the office space we have available, please contact me.
Is unplugging the key to happiness?
The irony is not lost on me that whilst I was away, not unplugged, I read this article on LinkedIn discussing digital/technology detoxing.
We all know that at the beginning of the workday when you login or open the laptop, and again at the end of the day when you logout or close the laptop, this doesn’t always create a boundary for when you are and aren’t working.
Most of us will have work email accounts or the Microsoft Teams app etc set up on our personal phones. This then means every time a message drops in or a digital conversation takes place, it’s in our conscience whether we want it to be or not.
Some people will say they prefer this because they’re keeping on top of things, it’s stopping them from feeling out of control, overwhelmed, or blindsided later.
Others will need to have more clearly identified boundaries and time away from work tech, or all digital input to stop them from feeling overwhelmed, badgered, or ‘always on’.
The conversations on this LinkedIn thread lean towards understanding what you need and when to support your own mental health. And I think what is important in turn is to be aware of the impact you’re having on others by doing what works for you.
Read the LinkedIn thread here: https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/is-unplugging-the-key-to-happiness-6369146/
Having read through this, it led me to Google to ask what scientific research about digital detoxing is out there. I expected to find loads pointing to the benefits of unplugging, being present, stopping the continual multi-tasking, and connecting in real life rather than through technology.
But it seems that it really does just come down to personal preference. Working out what works for you and when. Recognising when you need to silence certain external digital input. And that digital detox can mean different things to different people and that is absolutely fine.
Those who know me know I love to read a business or self-development book whilst I’m on holiday. I like using my downtime to open my mind and to help me hit the ground running full of ideas when I get back to work.
Whilst I was away for the past couple of weeks, I got through four books, but one really stood out and I want to recommend it to you. It’s called The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy.
The book reveals core principles that drive success, eradicate bad habits that derail progress, and provide insights to build real and lasting keys to motivation. I couldn’t put it down, so if you like this type of topic add it to your reading list.
Another potential for your list is a recommendation from a member of my team. It’s another one you won’t want to put down. It’s called Strong Female Character, by Fern Brady.
Fern is a comedian; you may know her from series 14 of the TV show Taskmaster. She got an autism diagnosis in her thirties and the book is about her life as an undiagnosed autistic female. Some of it is quite hard-hitting but also a fantastic insight into the mind of an autistic person. If you want to become more aware and educated about how autism can manifest itself, this is a fantastic book to read. Obviously, all autistic people are different and how they experience the world is different, but as there are still very few books like this written by the person themselves, it’s a great way to develop your understanding of neurodiversity.
And that’s it for another month
I’d love to hear from you about your experiences of unplugging/digital detoxing, and also about your recommended reads.
Have a great August!
Our temps do an amazing job for a wide range of clients in the area. They are some of the most flexible and hardworking people and we want to recognise that every month.
So, if you have a Vanilla temporary worker on assignment, or who has just completed an assignment, who you think has gone above and beyond or exceeded expectations in any way. You can nominate them to receive our Temp of the Month Award.
We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – Sales, Marketing, Accountancy & Finance, HR and Office
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