HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Featured Image

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Main Image

The exponentially growing digitalization of business and life itself is disrupting almost any industry in every country, and it didn’t bypass their HR departments either. Until recently, HR has operated relatively separately from the other parts of the organization, but the evolution of HRMS and SaaS solutions made the HR embedded in everyday business just as much as Marketing or R&D. On the other hand, just like new technologies have created new forms of organizing work (think about digital nomads and virtual organizations), so must the way of managing those employees differ from the conventional ones.

In my attempts to understand the challenges of managing people in large enterprises, as well as the shift in the approach that technology brings in this area, I spoke to a couple of experts in this area – a director of HR department in a large corporation, and a CEO of HR software developing company, about their views on employee time tracking as a business practice. Their rich experience in “both sides” of human resource management allowed them to discuss the benefits of this concept, but also to elaborate their objections.

It’s not for everyone

The first professional I talked to is Sonja Jovanović, head of HR in Serbian branch of accounting and advisory company Ernst&Young. Besides using manually filled timesheets for tracking revenue streams, and punching cards system for checking in and out of the building (although this serves primarily as a security measure), the company does not use any other forms of time tracking, nor do they intend to in the future. Working hours are flexible, remote work is allowed in some circumstances, and their company culture simply doesn’t leave much room for implementing this type of business practice.

The very nature of the industry of providing high-quality services to business clients requires a substantial level of professionalism and severity of their personnel. It takes a tremendous amount of confidence, followed by the strong and thorough selection, to entrust a client to a group of employees. “ […] Therefore, I do not see a situation in which a time tracking tool could bring any value to our organization,” says Sonja.

In EY, performance reviews and feedbacks are being conducted through the complex network of department managers and counselors, and though the employees do use computers, their performance simply cannot be seen nor measured by the amount of time spent on particular computer activities. “Our HRM is digitized in many ways, but tracking time does not fall into that. It simply isn’t applicable, because you cannot gauge the scope and quality of intellectual work by time,” she explains. “The more you try to frame people and their creative process, the greater the set-down will be, and the poorer results you can expect. This simple principle is something that many discipline-obsessed managers fail to understand.”

It’s about culture and priorities

In order to find which companies do find time tracking useful, or even a must have solution for their business, I spoke to Ivan Petrović, CEO of WorkPuls, a company providing time tracking solutions for businesses around the world.

“When it comes to implementation of time tracking solutions in medium and big companies, there are two basic factors that affect this. The first is the company culture, and the way productivity is understood in the company. The second factor are the individual views of managers, especially the HR Directors and their priorities”, says Ivan. WorkPuls works with various companies, from BPO companies, software and video gaming companies to construction companies and e-commerce businesses. While they think that there are certain patterns that one might observe among use cases of different customers, they say that there are also differences among specific goals different managers want to achieve.

“If you are in charge of HR in a company that has more than 500 employees like one of our clients, and your top level management has an initiative to increase productivity, or just wants to gain better insights into current ongoings, you might sometimes feel that it is impossible to know what everyone is working on currently, how happy or productive they are, and whether some teams or employees might be too loaded with work. So you want to find a way to get your insights efficiently, and this is what a good time tracking solution should provide. Such software gives you an easy overview of what your employees are doing at any given time, if this is what you want to know, but also whether they are getting more or less productive over a specific period of time; if they have too much work to do, whether they are “morning birds” or “night owls” and so on. With these insights, it is easier to work together with your employees to optimize workflow, provide a better working atmosphere, and consequently bring up the productivity of the whole company. Of course, all under the condition that your employees’ work is dominantly computer-bound,” explains Ivan.

Smaller companies, however, seem to have a different motive. “Speaking of smaller to medium size businesses, many times owners or managers look for an easier way to monitor whether everyone is working as promised, or they want to use insights to reduce the waste of time,” explains Petrović. “But there have also been cases where business owners used time tracking to see whether their employees needed any additional training with the tools they use. If some of your employees are spending way more time on those Excel sheets or Google Translate then the rest of the team, that might suggest that it’s time for additional training in that specific area.”

Since large companies already have their own payroll accounting solutions and punch in/punch out systems, the analytics side of time tracking software here becomes much more significant. Ivan mentions security related questions, along with the need to integrate time tracking data with other data in the company.

“There is an increasing need in this field to provide ever more flexible solutions, balancing the transparency for the employees with solid protection of security and privacy, within the company, but also towards the outside. Integration with other systems is also important.”

Control or motivation?

The overall impression was that for companies like these time tracking would not be yet another control mechanism, but a tool for improving the insight of HR professionals in everyday work and interactions of their people as well. It seems that if you are willing to dig deeper into the metrics, you might discover some remarkable ongoings which would hardly be detected in traditional ways of performance management. For many managers, this feels like a big step forward.

Although the digitalization of HR activities has opened great opportunities in terms of increasing the speed and quality of analytical processes and providing greater insights into organizational affairs, while at the same time reducing costs, there are still some downsides to be looked after. Downsizing the HR departments or burdening HR professionals with technical details are the first threats to successful adoption and modernization of people management. The serious threat to privacy that technology presents is the main reason why the initiative for using such tools should and must come from the HR. Bearing all this in mind, we can conclude that the basic challenge of the profession will be to recognize, develop and exploit the positive potentials of digitalization, while at the same time avoid, or at least minimize the concomitant risks.


If you want to share this article the reference to Gina Ora, WorkPuls and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

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4 BYOD Risks HR Managers Should Know About

4 BYOD Risks HR Managers Should Know About

4 BYOD Risks HR Managers Should Know About

In today’s employment atmosphere, a growing number of companies are shifting toward a more flexible workplace. By implementing bring your own device (BYOD) policies employees are now increasingly using their own devices for business purposes.

Even though such policies can bring numerous benefits to companies, they come with some inherent risks. The following four issues are worth examining before deciding on a BYOD policy.

Irregular Updates

Every mobile device is vulnerable to hacks from outside sources. Your smartphone, tablet and laptop all have similar software that can be hacked if firewalls and other security features aren’t in place or aren’t updated regularly.

Busy employees often put off their security updates. Unfortunately, their phones are then automatically open to potential attacks. In a regular IT environment, it’s up to the business’s IT department to secure every device used for company purposes. Since the devices are the employees’ private property, they are responsible of keeping them updated with the latest versions of security software.

Viruses and Malware

Viruses and malware have numerous pathways that they can take to infect an employee’s device. The worst thing is that an employee’s device could be hacked without them even being aware of the situation.

For example, your employees can receive phishing email with a malicious link that could install viruses or malware when clicked on. The infection could then spread onto the company’s server and compromise corporate information in a matter of seconds.

The phishing email could also look as if it’s from a familiar contact or even a legitimate website. It could ask your employees to click on a link and in order to log in into their account. The employees would then enter their user names and passwords on fake websites giving hackers access to their sensitive information. Identity theft is always a possibility in these hacking situations.

Unsecured Connections

Your employees might use their devices to connect to public Wi-Fi to access necessary data on your company’s server or to go online for personal needs. Unfortunately, using public networks is dangerous since they allow multiple people to connect to the same network, and that includes hackers.

Hackers could intercept the data your employees download or upload, they could install malware on your staff’s devices and even gain access to their email. This is another way malware could spread from the infected devices onto the company’s server and compromise the safety of corporate data.

Your employees need to be aware of these threats and take the appropriate preventive measures. Instruct your employees to turn off Wi-Fi when they don’t need it and disable it from automatically connecting to open networks.

You can also set up a virtual private network (VPN) which will allow your employees to connect to a hotspot without worrying about data breaches. Connecting to a VPN encrypts and secures any data being sent or received. This disables hackers from intercepting sensitive information and compromising the security of your employees’ devices.

Missing Devices

The best opportunity for stealing corporate data is when a device gets into the wrong hands. Lost or stolen devices are always a big security issue, which can lead to leaked proprietary data and vulnerable business positions.

IT professionals need a plan in cases this happens. A remote wipe policy is a very good solution which allows the IT team to completely remove all data on a device after it’s been reported missing.

Since BYOD devices include an employee’s personal data, you need to make sure that the employee agrees to a remote wipe of every piece of data even before they are hired.

Employees should see this step as both a protective corporate and identity-theft policy. To avoid any further information hacks, employees can also make it more difficult to access the data in the first place. A fingerprint or PIN passcode frustrates thieves, and they might toss the device before trying to access the information.

Final Thoughts

These security issues aren’t a reason to forgo a BYOD policy. However, appropriate security measures are necessary in order for it to be successful. Begin your BYOD strategy by educating your employees about the importance of regular updates and how to recognize security threats.

They need to understand that every piece of data is priceless to the business and their personal life. In reality, many people don’t realize how valuable their data is to hackers outside of the corporate atmosphere.

Employees also need to agree to corporate statements, liabilities and compliance measures in order to make this BYOD program a success. At the very least, add professional indemnity insurance coverage to the company so that any data leaks are quickly resolved.

Finally, by protecting the data with software and passwords, businesses can keep their proprietary information private. In the end, the employee’s device can be as safe as any company-issued electronic.

About the Author:

Josh McAllister

Josh McAllister is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector, and independent business consultant. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. 

Josh is a contributor of a number of digital outlets, and well published including DZoneIoT World News, and Rabid Office Monkey.


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5 Contract Careers That Were Non-Existential Just 5 Years Ago

5 Contract Careers That Were Non-Existential Just 5 Years Ago

Last year in December, whilst I was reflecting on the future of careers and jobs, I wrote this article focused on the most exciting career paths of 2017. So now as we are half way through, I wanted to investigate a little bit more on this but only from an interim/contract jobs perspective.

Contract jobs аre basically flexible on timescales, mostly full time and uѕuаllу leave уоu а choice tо continue wіth thе contract fоr as long as feasible оr leave wіth nо extension. This flexibility works both ways, which is why this form of employment is so much more popular amongst futuristic organisations and professionals. What is important here is to learn the difference between these longer term independent contract jobs and freelance jobs, as freelance jobs оn thе оthеr hand аrе nоt long term unlеѕѕ agreed аѕ such and does not provide the stability that a full time contracting can provide, so it is a lot more sporadic, can be performed from anywhere in the world and usually is less hours not more.

In thе remaining part оf thіѕ article, wе wіll bе discussing the rise of contracting jobs especially by focusing on five types of professions in contract jobs thаt didn’t exist іn thе lаѕt fіvе (5) years.

Big Data Architect

Big Data job roles hаvе surfaced іn thе lаѕt fеw years аlоnе thаt wоuld nоt hаvе bееn thought оf fіvе (5) years ago; big data scientists, big data architects, big data visualizers, data virtualization аnd cloud specialists, tо nаmе but а few. Sо іt іѕ fair tо ѕау thаt іn аnоthеr ten years frоm nоw thеrе wіll bе еvеn mоrе Big Data jobs thаt don’t exist today.

UI/UX Scientist

Thіѕ role thаt requires а professional thаt understands hоw tо create fantastic user experience whісh dоеѕ nоt оnlу depends оn design elements, but аlѕо user perception, user requirements, аnd оvеrаll user expectation саmе tо thе limelight fеw years back. These roles existed prior to 5 years but let’s say the expectations and format have changed substantially since.

Cloud Computing Specialist

Aѕ technology continues tо advance, thе nееd tо introduce solution tо bеѕt manage resources аѕ аlwауѕ bеіng оn thе forefront. Thіѕ аlоnе led tо ѕеvеrаl big companies thаt hаѕ thе tendency tо work wіth а lot оf data tо adopt thе cloud computing technology. Aѕ such, thіѕ nеw challenge requires professionals tо step іn tо hеlр manage thіѕ resources called cloud computing. Thе cloud computing specialist contract jobs again had a very different profile prior to a few years ago, but as more and more businesses and individuals rely on cloud day to day, this is becoming an increasingly important career direction.

Drone Operators

Aѕ thе global market fоr thе unmanned aerial vehicles аlѕо knоwn аѕ UAVS continue tо grow steadily, thе ѕеrіоuѕ nееd fоr operators tо fly thеm аѕ surface. Thіѕ job role јuѕt саmе іn nоt long ago and it is also a brilliant role for people who love flying objects or have a keen interest in handling almost any kind of remote controlled or otherwise device that works wonders. This role is in its infancy in many countries, but who knows in the next 5 years could be one of the most desired roles too.

Driverless Car Engineers

Wіth thе rесеnt innovation іn thе automobile sector thаt іѕ set tо kick оut taxi driver’s аnd couriers. Thе nееd fоr Engineers tо handle thіѕ driverless cars is rising. Thе Driverless cars won’t bе аblе tо mend themselves, ѕо engineers, mechanics аnd software developers whо work оn vehicles wіll bе increasingly іn demand іn thе not-too-distant future. Thіѕ role јuѕt rесеntlу саmе tо thе fold too, and whether everyone agrees with driverless car philosophy or not, it is certainly a technology that will emerge in the next decade.

May be with so many emerging career paths schools, universities, government and parents need to be a lot more openminded in terms of career choices graduates or school leavers may take. In fact, it is pivotal that they get supported in choosing these key careers on the growth so it does not leave the industries developing these careers deprived of great future talent. If you would like your school, or college or university to learn more on this especially on how to choose non-traditional careers, I am happy to deliver a talk as part of my mission to help the young and innovation along the way.

To read more on similar topics explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch. We are a free platform for interims with thousands of jobs refreshed daily, join us today.

About the Author:

Bhumika Zhaveri’s expertise lies in business strategy, change, human resources and talent management. Her experience is built over years in varied sectors where she has worked within Recruitment, Resourcing and HR. Now as Founder & CEO of InteriMarket a platform for Contract/Interim Talent Management. She is a firm believer of success through people, change and culture!


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Unemployment in Changing Times – Are Seasonal Workers Protected?

Written by Jackie Edwards, specially for The HR Tech Weekly® ▸

Unemployment in Changing Times - Are Seasonal Workers Protected?

In many industries, there is an ever shrinking demarcation of the traditional working day. The fact is, we live in a 24/7 consumer society, and those demands are cascaded through to businesses throughout the value chain. This is particularly the case in the tech industry, where the growing trend in flexible and remote workers means the boundary between home and work balance is becoming ever more blurred. When it comes down to it, the 9-5 working day and 35 hour week with time off for good behavior that was the norm for our parents and grandparents is actually quite a rarity today.

But flexible working practices do not just mean fitting hours to suit personal and business needs, and seeking that holy grail of 21st century existence, the mythical work life balance. Seasonal work is also becoming more common in industries outside the traditional farming and recreational sectors, and is starting to be seen in everything from retail to back office to academia. Here, we take a look at how employment law applies to workers falling into this ever widening category.

Claiming Unemployment Benefit

Even for those who have been in regular employment within the HR tech industry, the rules might seem complex due to variations between states, but the underlying principles are simple enough. If the worker has been laid off through no fault of his or her own, and meets the requirements for the amount of time he or she was in work, then benefits are available.

For seasonal workers, the same principles are in play, but they are a little more complicated to navigate. Specifically, the lack of work at certain times is an understood and acknowledged part of the deal. As such, workers are not actually unemployed, and so many states will not subsidize them during this “lull” period.

States that have a more generous attitude towards seasonal workers, typically those with a significant tourist sector and therefore a larger proportion of people falling into this category, calculate the amount payable on the basis of what was earned during the base period, just as they would for someone who had been in full time employment.

How about Contractors?

Almost three quarters of employers use contractors to provide tech support at one time or another, so how is this sector affected? Only an employee can claim benefits, and in the vast majority of cases, contractors are considered to be self employed, and are therefore ineligible. Even more complex is where the contractor hires seasonal assistance. In this case, however, the key word is “hires” – the assistant is not considered an employee any more than the contractor is, and therefore is not generally going to be able to claim unemployment.

If in doubt, ask

The above all suggests that where unemployment benefits are concerned, the deck is clearly stacked in favor of full time workers, and it could be argued that seasonal employees are not as fairly treated as they could be. Ultimately, though, it is important to remember that rules can vary significantly, so if you are unsure regarding an individual’s eligibility to claim, it always makes sense to check with your state unemployment office to get specific advice.


Not everyone fits the traditional, eight-to-five, year-round job scenario. Seasonal employees work for defined, often short periods of time during specific times of the year. This phenomenon is created by variations in certain industries that are affected by seasonal shifts in demand or weather-related impediments.

Click here to learn more: Unemployment Rules for Seasonal Workers | AboutUnemployment.org

Industrial Changes and Interim Work: Temporary Professionals Arе Mоrе Important Thаn Evеr in Thе Modern Economy

Industrial Changes and Interim WorkI usually write a lot about interim and contractor workforce and the need to start hiring top short-term talent for growth even in well-funded growing startups, but why do I feel so passionate about it? Many blogs outline reasons for hiring contract resource but today I attempt to break it down as simply as possible. Temporary workers аrе becoming аn important part оf mаnу struggling businesses employment pool. Wіth thе increasing economy, companies аrе nоw finding ways whеrе thеу саn continue аnd trу tо save оr reduce thе expenses. Onе wау іѕ bу gоіng аhеаd аnd recruiting оn contracts. Temporary staffing іѕ а process whеrе organisations hire temporary professionals based оn thе requirements, fоr а раrtісulаr time period. Mаnу employers don’t feel thеу hаvе thе funds tо tаkе оn mоrе full-time staff but ѕtіll nееd work tо gеt done.

Thіѕ mode оf employment іѕ cost effective аѕ thіѕ way, уоu simply hire іf іt іѕ required, increase productivity аnd save а lot. However, whеn уоu аrе hiring а temporary professional, уоu hаvе tо mаkе ѕurе thаt а proper assessment аnd screening іѕ dоnе оf thе individual оr people whо соuld bе working fоr you. Yоu саn find thе bеѕt іn thе field tо work fоr уоu fоr а сеrtаіn amount оf time depending оn thе duration thаt уоur project wіll run. Thе ѕеvеrаl ways thаt temporary professionals gеt tо contribute tо thе economy саnnоt bе оvеr looked. So, іf уоu аrе а business owner аnd hаvе а project thаt nееdѕ thе touch оf professionals, thеn уоu nееd tо соnѕіdеr hiring temporary professionals.

Talent

Sоmе оf thе benefits оf hiring thеm includes, but not exclusive to:

Flexibility — This form оf employment helps tо fill thіѕ gap аѕ wеll аѕ gеt thе work dоnе оn time. It іѕ аlѕо helpful аѕ people whо work оn contract basis аrе wіllіng tо tаkе uр work fоr а specific time whеn іt іѕ needed.

Cost effectiveness — This type оf work helps а company tо cut costs аѕ thеу аrе hiring people оnlу fоr а сеrtаіn period оf time аѕ wеll аѕ оnlу whеn іt іѕ required. It wіll hеlр thе company tо reduce оthеr expenses thаt аrе incurred whеn thеу hire people tо work fоr thеm continuously. Additionally, іt saves thе company frоm thе time аnd energy thаt gоеѕ іntо training nеw employees fоr thе job.

Receiving thе bеѕt — Whenever уоu hire people оn а contract basis, thеrе аrе mаnу expert’s whо wоuld rаthеr act аѕ freelancers оr аѕ contract employees. Whеn а requirement соmеѕ in, уоu саn bе сеrtаіn thаt аѕ а company уоu wіll gеt thе bеѕt іn thе market tо dо thе job аnd add tо thе pride оf quality work.

Save оn liabilities — We hаvе ѕееn companies closing due tо thе fact thаt thеу hаvе gоnе bankrupt аnd hаvе cut dоwn thе amount оf people employed іn thеіr company due tо vаrіоuѕ reasons lіkе process shutting dоwn оr finishing etc. In thеѕе cases, іt bесоmеѕ а liability fоr thаt company bесаuѕе thеу ѕtіll nееd tо pay еvеn whеn thеrе isn’t аnу work left, hiring people оn contracts helps thе company tо save оn thіѕ aspect оf а company.

If you are an interim/contract professional, join us free for more than 20k+ mid-senior level jobs sourced daily. For organisations big or small, if contract hiring and management is a headache best outsourced, get in touchget in touch. As we have the perfect digital solution to save your businesses huge costs and empower you with direct access to data and talent.

About the Author:

Bhumika Zhaveri’s expertise lies in business strategy, change, human resources and talent management. Her experience is built over years in varied sectors where she has worked within Recruitment, Resourcing and HR. Now as Founder & CEO of InteriMarket a hybrid SaaS platform and an online marketplace for Interim Talent and In-House Recruitment & HR Teams. She is a firm believer of success through people, change and culture!


If you want to share this article the reference to Bhumika Zhaveri and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

How will Brexit affect Businesses, HR Teams and Contract Job Seekers?

How will Brexit affect Businesses, HR Teams and Contract Job Seekers?

Brexit, whісh іѕ а portmanteau оf “British Exit” refers tо thе United Kingdom’s decision tо leave thе European Union. Thе European Union іѕ аn economic partnership bеtwееn 28 countries thаt formed аftеr World War II tо hеlр cultivate economic prosperity аnd cooperation. Fоllоwіng аn advisory referendum held іn June 2016, U.K. citizens voted 52% tо 48% іn favour оf splitting frоm thе European Union. Thіѕ result, а surprise tо pundits, hаѕ hаd а substantial impact оn thе economy оf thе United Kingdom, global markets, аnd increased volatility іn thе United States economy.

Thе Brexit process hаѕ caused а sense оf uncertainty аbоut economic growth іn thе United Kingdom аnd саn affect interim job seekers іn thе UK frоm gеttіng job wіth thеіr desired company. I was interviewed on this topic last year in September, you can check out my advice on the post-Brexit effect on recruitment here. I also remarked many times last year on how the “real impact” will be seen not immediately as was asked on many occasions but longer term, starting now, including the sudden election which with all due respect only hinders and hurts taxpayers.

Brexit. What's Next?

Some of the effects highlighted here are: thе decision tо leave thе European Union hаѕ increased thе tension bеtwееn thе United Kingdom аnd іtѕ international trading partners, аnd іt соuld саuѕе mаnу Multinational Corporations tо move operations tо оthеr countries. HSBC, а global bank wіth а major presence іn London, ѕауѕ іt mау move 1,000 trading jobs tо Paris due tо thе Leave Vote. Thіѕ іѕ bесаuѕе thе U.K. wіll nо longer bе аblе tо tаkе advantage оf “passporting”, аn arrangement whеrе а financial institution headquartered іn thе European Union саn perform permitted activities іn аnу оthеr EU member state whеrе іt maintains а branch. Anоthеr major effect thаt Brexit hаѕ hаd іѕ thе depreciation оf thе British Pound аgаіnѕt оthеr major currencies. Thе impact thіѕ hаѕ оn thе British market іѕ а bit discrepant, mоrе specifically thе impact оn businesses thаt operate іnѕіdе thе country whісh саn аlѕо tеll оn what’s in-stock fоr interim job seekers whеnеvеr thеу gеt hired.

Although, mоѕt business owners thаt аrе іntо exporting wіll benefit frоm thе declining pound bесаuѕе thеіr domestic costs wіll decrease whіlе thеіr exports wіll proportionately increase іn value. At thе ѕаmе time, domestic producer’s thаt import component parts wіll experience аn increase іn costs аnd а significant decrease іn profits. In addition tо thе significant drop оf thе Pound, thе exchange rates bеtwееn thе pound аnd оthеr major currencies hаvе reached unprecedented levels оf volatility, whісh соuld result іn mоrе selloffs іn thе medium tо long term.

Whеn іt соmеѕ tо interim/contract jobs and self-employment, thе intakes welfare matters а lot. However, thе Brexit ѕееmѕ tо bе а treat іn thіѕ rеgаrdѕ due tо thе high level оf uncertainty оf whаt thе economy stand tо offer thе interim and contracting job seekers іn thе future. Who knows which directions the gig economy shifts with Brexit, but for now every business that is considering flexibility and risk aversion may want to look into more direct ways to engaging with top interim/contract talent through solutions like InteriMarket without competing agencies as we can help empower businesses and save them the eyewatering agency and managed providers fees. Business leaders, HR & Recruitment leaders can contact me directly for a confidential conversation around our solution.

About the Author:

Bhumika Zhaveri, CEO of InteriMarket

Bhumika Zhaveri’s expertise lies in business strategy, change, human resources and talent management. Her experience is built over years in varied sectors where she has worked within Recruitment, Resourcing and HR. Now as Founder & CEO of InteriMarket a hybrid SaaS platform and an online marketplace for Interim Talent and In-House Recruitment & HR Teams. She is a firm believer of success through people, change and culture!


If you want to share this article the reference to Bhumika Zhaveri and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Mum’s with careers, is that a joke? Bet you would agree

Mum’s with careers, is that a joke? Bet you would agree

maternity_and_mums_blog

So, you have had a good career before leaving for maternity, in many cases great career with lots of options on going back to work, or you are self-employed, an entrepreneur or an established business woman. Especially with the number of initiatives for flexible working, part-time hours, job share, freelancing etc. similar opportunities – how hard could it really be as a returning mum after a substantial break? The answer, unfortunately, is VERY!

From what I have read and heard, including opinions of women I have consulted with these circumstances are extremely personal, full of emotions and overwhelming with the feeling of doing the right thing. Like many have expressed, they would like to have it all – a family, a child and a career but the reality is still on the contrary. Here is what some women had to tell us:

Gemma Guise, Managing Director, online media and publishing platform JurnoLink:

I am a new mum! My little boy is one and I have seen how difficult it is to run a business and have a child. I think returning to work as a new mum is really hard because child care is so expensive. As a small business owner, I can’t afford to put my child in full-time child care but at the same time, I need to be working full time to ensure the business succeeds…

Working from home is not feasible with a little one as you feel guilty splitting your time 50% with your child 50% of the business. You either need to be at work or at home with a child. I am very lucky that I have a great team that supports the fact that I cannot be available 24-7 and puts up with a baby in the office the odd day. I honestly don’t know what the answer is for small businesses owners that want a family. 

I have been told “you can’t have everything” but I cannot accept this. It would be an easy option to forget about working but there is still the financial aspect of living to consider! Currently, I have been in a fortunate position where I could sacrifice my salary, this meant that I could put the money towards someone who could fill my shoes full time. I still work on the company but only one day a week as that’s all I can justify for child care!

Alison Bullman, Principal (and business owner) at Stagecoach Fulham, a performing arts school for children:

working_mum_blog

I’m not sure I’m fully “qualified” to answer those questions as I didn’t return to a “normal” job following the birth of Phoebe, my first child. I chose to start my own business to give myself the flexibility I needed to support my family. What I would say, however, is the reason I didn’t want a 9-5 office job was because of the pressure that is put on you to work hours that simply don’t fit with children – such as early or late meetings, last-minute demands such as business trips, the need to work late when projects aren’t finished or overrun and sometimes multiple social/networking events.

The pressure this puts on mums and working parents is a significant strain on family life, which can ultimately damage the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and parents. Having said all that, owning your own business does mean no maternity leave or the associated employment benefits, so business had to continue as normal regardless of sleepless nights and tiny babies when I had my second child, Teddy. You also don’t get access to certain benefits such as Child Care Voucher schemes, so childcare costs and taking time off when self-employed is hard to manage. 

I think women are much better placed now than ever before in terms of most companies acknowledging the demands of juggling work and motherhood, and there is support and advice within big companies. I believe what would make caring for children whilst working better would be following the footsteps of those countries where men and women share working hours and caring for their children. There needs to be a better balance and options between both parents.

Anonymous:

I am a qualified accountant by profession however when I was looking to return to work in London following the birth of my second child the flexibility I was afforded in my in between period (I returned to work after my first 3 months pregnant with my second and they needed me for an office move, team recruitment and training so allowed me to work 7.30-4pm) was removed, citing business needs (even though I also worked 7-11pm at night for them). 

With no family nearby for the support, I couldn’t see how we could manage to have two children and both working in London. I began my own keepsake business, however, it became very popular and I couldn’t balance customer demand with the needs of my children. I decided to specialise but again the products I was making were so labour intensive that even specialising didn’t really help. 

I was struck by an idea at Christmas for a fully automated product that would need only website development, promotion and marketing and so the personalised handwriting practice workbook for 3-7-year-olds was created. I got the copyright and the domain name secured. I am launching Write My Name at the start of April and hoping that this will be the answer to my working needs while forever striving to achieve that work/kids balance. I hope it works otherwise I’ll have to go back to my profession and pay for another woman to take care of my children. Something I’ve been very against from the start.

Gerry So, the Co-Founder of Okappy Ltd.:

I gave birth to my first son last year in July. Being a first-time mum, running a start-up (incorporated July 2015) and working in a male-dominated industry is one by far the toughest thing I have ever done. It’s like doing the impossible especially I previously worked in a Tier 1 Investment banking for 10 years where I used to see people going on maternity leave, working part time etc. where the workplace would provide excellent support for mum’s returning from maternity.

Working for yourself is completely different. On one hand, you’d be so exhausted from looking after your baby yet you’d have to keep the business going as it’s your own business, let alone it’s a startup with limited resource and funds. My comment to all the mums and entrepreneurs out there is never giving up and everything is just a phase, it will get better. Communication is the key, be open about what you can do and can’t do so that you can manage your team’s expectations. Even to your clients as well, be bold to suggest your deliverables. You’d rather be honest about what’s doable within the timeframe rather than under deliver. 

What I found the hardest is our office is based in Bethnal Green, one of the buildings owned by Work Space. They don’t have any rooms or facilities available for mums if you want to express while at work or to sterilise your breast pumps etc. I had to buy a microwave for our office. Unfortunately, I have to sit on the toilet to express every 4 hours. It’s not the place you’d want to be, as one of the friends said, ‘it’s like you’re cooking in the toilet’. That’s probably the most off-putting thing. Hence, I spend a few days in the office and a few days at home. I think definitely all offices should have facilities for mums, similar to having disabled access. 

Anonymous, Marketing Manager, a premium virtual assistant company:
startups_hiring_blogs

As the ability for companies to offer flexible working conditions increases, the demand will also continue to increase. There’s a shift that has come with advances in technology that is making it easier and easier for employees to work more flexible schedules, whether that means working from home or flexing hours. For new mothers returning from maternity leave, this shift is especially important as they begin to sort out the best way to handle conflicting priorities and a new way of life. If companies want to retain new mothers, they need to fully understand and embrace the need for flexibility during the transition from worker to working mum.

While I planned to return to work after having my first child, it was difficult to completely define what that return would look like 6 or 9 months out. I think if companies want to improve the working culture for new mothers, there has to be complete acceptance around that. Plans can change and flexibility desperately needs to be at the forefront. Luckily, I work for a company that really values working mothers and work/life balance, and they worked with me to figure out a plan that worked for everyone involved. I was able to start part-time and work back into full-time as I felt ready. I wish every working mother could have the same type of experience, and I hope to see it more the focus on work flexibility increases globally. 

Steph, Managing Director, Don’t Buy Her Flowers:

The biggest issue I faced after returning from maternity leave is the juggle of childcare and work. I found the job itself wasn’t a problem – if anything I was far more efficient with my time and focused when at work. Though my kids were at nursery age when I started the business, I was looking ahead and couldn’t see how we were going to manage any of the school runs along with my commute. Most offices work with 9-5 expectations, which are limiting especially when you add on commuting times either side. 

I think something fundamental to the debate is flexibility for men as well as women. If it’s always a woman’s role to pick up the childcare side of things, they will always be ‘lesser’ in the workplace because they are limited to certain hours. In certain traditionally male industries, such as banking and sales roles, there’s often an assumption that there is no flexibility – it’s not even a discussion – and the mother will be picking up the childcare. In addition, more businesses should employ a person to do a job as opposed to being at a desk within certain hours. As an online business, we are able to provide flexible working across a number of roles because we don’t have opening hours as such. I think more and more businesses will move that way.

Lisa Fisher, 4D Business Coaching:

I think it is important for workplaces to support and value working women for a variety of reasons and that this supportive culture attracts, retains and engages working mum’s valuable contribution. Having a flexible working environment will ensure women such as myself are able to return to work and still have an effective work-life balance. I am not sure if companies are legally required to ensure flexibility but have heard horror stories from some friends who have not experienced a welcome return to work! 

It would be helpful if a woman’s overall productivity could be looked at and that might not mean working the standard 9 to 5. For example, some talented working mum’s might prefer to work shorter days, in the evenings or even a weekend which will enable them to have some form of flexibility. However, homeworking comes with both advantages and disadvantages so working women need to have an awareness of the blurring boundaries that may come from working in their home and some employer’s expectations of the permanent “on call” culture which fortunately I do not experience.

Working from home has enabled me to have more of a work-life balance as I am not commuting, feel that I am more productive as am not tired from the travel to and from work and can balance my client’s needs with working the hours that are more suited to family life. My employer has supported me in this role and I am very fortunate to be able to work 4 days a week Monday to Thursday in term time and this reduces to 3 days a week in the school holidays so we only require childcare for our 6-year-old daughter 2 days a week.

Once when speaking with a mum of two young boys she advised how she had to give up a 15-year successful career within property sales and business development as she could not do justice to her kids and felt guilty of neglecting family due to long working hours of estate agencies. Not surprisingly her employers were least interested in providing any form of a job share, flexibility or support. In a nutshell, it is still very hard and an almost discriminatory for returning mums into the world of work in many ways.

I am sure a lot is being done and it may be better than what it was 20 years ago, but times are changing fast and women’s involvement in businesses at every level is far greater than ever so I believe we need to push employers and businesses on how fast they can accommodate the personal lives of talented, versatile professionals and let them feel “not left behind” because they are actually capable of bringing life into this world, surely that should be rewarded not punished.

At InteriMarket we are pioneering in becoming the hub for all mid-senior interim, consulting and longer term contracting roles. If you wish for a solid pipeline of work, eliminate wasted time and efforts – you need to stop hunting on several job boards and join us. We bring opportunities.


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Reasons Why You Need to Start Hiring Interims as a Savvy Business!

Reasons Why You Need to Start Hiring Interims as a Savvy Business!

Four reasons small businesses should consider interim and contract worker

Four reasons small businesses should consider interim and contract workers

Gone are the days when interim and contract work was done by low-skilled employees and restricted to the realms of admin and support in a company. Interim workers today are highly skilled and function across career fields, playing a key role in sustaining businesses and the economy. Interims can fill short-term skills gaps while saving employers money – a big reason why small businesses ought to be considering them as part of their growth plans. In this article, we discuss the benefits hiring temporary workers provides.

Cost savings

One of the biggest advantages of interim employees is the positive impact they have on the company budget. Because they are hired to fill a short-term need, they can be paid for a fixed amount of work. They do not require long-term contracts, nor do they need benefits like healthcare, pension funds, paid leave and other extras. This means that they can be given a good wage, while keeping expenditure lean. Cost savings in this area can help companies to expand and reach the point where they are able to create permanent positions for the same or different employees.

Risk reduction

Small businesses and start-ups face big risks while they are getting off the ground. This includes financial risks, as well as staffing issues. It is advisable for businesses to keep their operations as small and as streamlined as possible initially, keeping the number of full-time employees and overheads to a minimum. They can build the team as they establish themselves.

Hiring interim workers is an intelligent solution; they can be brought in to support a small core staff component. At the same time, the employer does not have to worry about being locked into a cumbersome contract with someone who may turn out to be an imperfect fit for the job – and a cost to the company.

Need fulfillment

Many small businesses have seasonal bursts of productivity where they need a few extra hands on deck to assist. They may also have permanent staff going on parental or sick leave. These are ideal situations for interim workers. They can be hired to meet demand for the duration of the big project or leave, and be let go (as per agreement) when it comes to an end. Their need for income and work is met, as is the company’s short-term skills gap.

Flexibility

Relying on interim employees gives small businesses a great deal of flexibility, while providing access to top talent. Many experienced workers have been retrenched, are in between jobs, or have chosen to do temporary work for lifestyle reasons. They can contribute to a small business on terms that are accommodating of both their own and the employer’s needs.

If the interim employees make such a good impression that the business decides they would like to offer them a full-time position, this is always an option. Many interim and contract workers transition to permanent employees in this way. The initial contract can serve as an excellent way of testing the waters for both parties.

InteriMarket connects interim job seekers with the posts best suited to them by using intelligent data. To find out more, sign up for a free account today.


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Signs it is Time to Take Your Organization Virtual

Signs It Is Time to Take Your Organization Virtual

Signs to go virtual
How to ask your boss that you want to do your work from home?

Is It Time to Take Your Organization Virtual? Here Are the Signs It Is

The on demand skills based economy is here. With today’s top talent adapting to the new climate of the workforce, organizations now must find new ways to engage and retain their staff while bringing in the best talent available as needed to survive and thrive in complex economic times. The workforce has taken their careers and income earning opportunities into their own hands and crave the flexibility that virtual organizations provide. Whether you need to incorporate contract or freelance work into your operations or want to give flexible working arrangement incentives to your existing permanent team, there are many benefits to taking your business virtual.

Below are a few signs it may be time to take your organization virtual.

Your Industry Has Already Shifted

Does the competition incorporate contract and temp work for their teams to execute projects and deliverables? Do they have satellite offices with less overhead dispersed throughout a greater geographic region than you? You may be paying for more office space than is required or missing opportunities for growth by not shifting alongside your competitors that are gaining more market share through virtual teams and contracted project management.

Accessing the Best Ability When You Need It, Cast a Wider Net for Talent

Human capital is and always will be critical for organizations to grow. The top talent of today’s workforce is already embracing the shift of the gig economy for their careers. Contract and freelance work for projects may be one of the only options for reaching some of the most talented professionals that you do not have access to in traditional employment engagements. Leverage the strengths, talents and skills of top performers available to compliment your permanent staff. Changing up your business model to attract and leverage the best talent available for your organization is critical and inevitably necessary. There are specific projects or initiatives that do not require full time engagement, try contracting out this work with the support of your existing team.

There is Flexibility to Be Gained by Both Sides with Less Commitment

A short term project to gauge ongoing working compatibilities allows each side to have less binding ties than an official employment contract. By allowing both sides to test the waters, there is flexibility to expand working relationships or simply part ways conveniently for both parties.

You Already Leverage Collaboration Tools in the Cloud

The cloud is here to stay and the same tools that are used for internal personnel communications and document management, have made their way into the workforce. The same affordable tools already invested in, can be leveraged by personnel logging on from anywhere. Programs such as Office 365, Dropbox, Slack and Google Drive allow teams to collaborate from dispersed locations in different time zones to accomplish tasks and achieve goals remotely. Implementing electronic systems and procedures will be necessary but also provide the necessary guidance and structure to improve operational efficiencies and help designate roles and responsibilities between members of the virtual team.

You Want to Incorporate Work from Home Policies as an Incentive

More and more companies are realizing the benefits of an engaged workforce by offering the flexibility to incorporate part time working from home policies. As with any incentive, it has to be carefully managed so teamwork can be developed through defined deliverables with accountabilities in place. Conference calls, in person meetings, team brainstorming sessions can help teammates engage virtually while allowing them designated time to manage their personal and professional lives more flexibly.

You Need to Scale with Speed Affordably

Small dispersed teams optimally performing are considered a threat in today’s workforce. With the right mix of trust, relationships and business process, virtual teams can deliver unprecedented results with the right controls and check and balances in place. Having a plan in place with defined goals and objectives so the project delivery can be optimized by the virtual team’s performance will be a key to the team’s success.

Your Management Team has the Soft Skills to Manage Virtually

Teamwork and accountability can be fostered through well-defined objectives and project management milestones. Team engagement through regular meetings that encourage brainstorming, strategic discussions, presenting and reporting will help make the virtual team successful. Periodical in person face-to-face meetings and engaging collaboration tools that allow you to share mini bios and personal pictures can help develop comrade from teams that do not regularly work together. Leaders of virtual teams need to have the right balance of soft skills and technical aptitudes to adapt their management style accordingly.

Is it time to take your organization virtual?

About the Author

Eric Apps, Organimi

Eric Apps is a seasoned technology entrepreneur, lawyer and early pioneer of today’s growing modern workforce methodologies. Eric has owned, operated and held board or senior management positions in several public and private technology companies. Today he is partnered in Aluvion and Organimi, Canadian law and technology firms, where he is an early adopter and advocate of building virtual teams and services to grow his companies. By leveraging the power of new technologies to streamline workflows, while utilizing a virtual network of highly skilled, and highly responsive professionals to develop his companies, Eric is a thought leader and advocate for the growing freelance/gig based economy.

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For more information, visit http://organimi.com

To book an interview or to request information, please contact Nicole Ragno at nicole.ragno@organimi.com

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Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Working Remotely is Trending Upward

I was reading an interesting article the other day on Fast Company’s site regarding work trends. It was estimated that more than 50% of the work force will be working remotely by 2020. Additionally, 25%, of the business leaders surveyed, indicated that more than three-quarters of their employees would not be working in a traditional office by 2020. Of course the definition for the word “remote” has been debated often. Does this mean working somewhere outside the office for 1 or 2 days/week? If you work off-site or in coffee shops does this ‘count’ as working remotely? If you work any at home during the weekend are you considered to be a ‘remote employee’? Therefore, if we widen the scope of the definition says, Sara Sutton Fell (CEO of FlexJobs) then:

In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99% of people are already working remotely in that they take work home. It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee… If remote work means that you check email on Sunday night then congratulations! You already have a work-from-home job.

There is little question that workers often rank ‘flexibility’ as one of their top reasons they are attracted to more desired jobs. Given the impact of the digitization of work millennials (and other age groups as well) really value the option of, “…taking an afternoon off and catching up on Saturday morning.” Further, a more flexible schedule allows for more spontaneous interactions with co-workers, but also time for focused, head-down productivity as well. For recruiters and other small business owners the power of working remotely is truly endless.

How to Remain Productive when Not in the Office

If the trend is toward more of us working remotely and/or from home what are some tips and tricks we can take advantage of to ensure success?

This article will provide a short list of tactics that have worked for me as well as a few suggested by others who are experienced at being productive while working remotely (PWWR). I’ve worked remotely (in some capacity) as a college professor and content marketer for the past 15 years and learned a few tips and tricks along the way. One thing I know for sure is you need a strategy and plan, for remote work, or it can lead to problems. There are real pluses to working at home/remotely and also pitfalls if not approached with a solid plan.

Strategies for Working Remotely

  • Work off of a Daily List of Tasks to be Done: One of the challenges with working at home (or in any other remote location) is how easy it can be to become distracted and taken off course. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put 2-4 things you want to get done on a list daily. During the day go back the list a couple of times to ensure you are staying focused. As things get accomplished you can cross them out. At the end of the day update the list by checking off what has been finished and what is pushed to the next work day. Psychologically it can be very satisfying to see items get ‘checked off’ the list. The goal is to make steady progress every work day (usually on several small tasks).
  • Don’t become a Silo & Consistently Communicate: It takes personal discipline to work remotely and remain productive. One thing to remember is avoid being a ‘silo‘ and working independently for long stretches. In other words, check in often with co-workers and bosses to let them know what you are working on and to be available to help others if needed. It can be easy to ‘fall off the radar’ when working from home, but if you are intentional about consistently communicating it will serve you well. Also, consistent communication lets everyone on the team know that you are engaged and working toward pre-planned goals.
  • Be sure to take Breaks/Change of Scenery: It may seem obvious but be sure to take breaks when working remotely. Given that you do not have other co-workers around (who can be distracting) often we can really get in a groove and get a lot accomplished while working remotely. This is great, however it’s also easy to work even more hours and ‘forget’ to take breaks. I find taking a 20-minute walk, grabbing a lunch off-campus, getting a quick coffee, or doing a chore or two around the house can serve as an effective change of scenery/break in the monotony.
  • Put Together Reports to Update Colleagues on Progress: Given the way our work places are organized, in this digital era, often we are working on individual/independent tasks that are connected to bigger goals of the company/agency. What’s more, our colleagues may or may not know what we are working on and, more importantly, the progress that is indeed being made. Therefore, if you can provide monthly and/or weekly summaries of tasks that are getting done and how they are edifying the long-term goals of your company this can be super helpful. Also, this helps for summarizing how all of the small tasks are helping move the business in the right direction. It can be easy to get bogged down in the details and not “see the forest for the trees”.
  • Have a Dedicated Work Space: Whether you are working at home or at a coffee shop it’s critical to have a work space that is ‘only for work’ and not used for other things (you may do in your spare time/down time). It helps if your home or remote location is similar to your office at work.

Optimizing Working Remotely Important

As more and more people work remotely (and the time they do so also increases) it is going to become even more important to continue finding ways to optimize this type of work environment. For even more information check out a recent article from The Muse: 10 Reasons Working Remotely is Even Better than You Thought it Was.


Source: Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely – Crelate