5
/11
 

What’s trending?

Apple’s Tim Cook, Britvic’s Paul Graham & mental health


In this month’s myGrapevine magazine leadership round, we explore how bosses are becoming increasingly concerned by staff sickness rates, how Britvic Managing Director Paul Graham thinks mental health should be at the top of every business leader’s agenda, and whether videoconferencing may actually be killing creativity. We also investigate why Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is at odds with his staff...

 
 

Why staff sickness
is hurting businesses

 

Why staff sickness
is hurting businesses

When remote working was in full swing at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the sickness absence rate fell to a record low of 1.8%, according to Government data. However, as staff began to return to the office in 2021, this shot up to 2.2% – the highest it’s been since 2010 – and although there are not yet figures for this year, anecdotal evidence has suggested that sickness absences could be higher still in 2022.

Unsurprisingly, this is having a negative impact on productivity and output that is concerning many employers. EasyJet went so far as emailing its employees to tell them that the number of staff absences were “unsustainable”.

 

But although Covid-19 is partly responsible for staff absences – with employees now reluctant to infect colleagues by coming into work if showing signs of being unwell – it seems some of the absenteeism may be driven by resentment among employees about the return to office-based working. Employers who are suffering from staff sickness-related issues may need to consider looking again at their flexible working policies.

Why Britvic’s MD Paul Graham thinks mental health should be at the top of the C-Suite’s agenda

In line with Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from May 9th to 16th, Britvic’s Managing Director Paul Graham wrote an exclusive article for Grapevine Leaders explaining what business leaders need to do to support employee mental health post-pandemic.

He wrote: “Following the pandemic, many of us have had to adapt to major changes in the workplace and it’s not surprising that this has impacted employee wellbeing – indeed, uncertainty breeds anxiety. That’s why this Mental Health Awareness Week I wanted to take some time to consider what we as business leaders can do to support staff’s mental health as we transition to a ‘new normal’.”

Britvic itself set up a ‘Working Well’ programme during the pandemic to support all staff, whether working remotely, in the office, or on the factory floor, and creating spaces where staff could work collaboratively and interact with one another.

However, being proactive about mental health, Graham said, is one of the most important things organisations can do to support their staff. Bosses, in particular, need to lead by example and encourage open dialogue with their staff around this important issue.

He continued: “Workplaces should take proactive steps to ensure they have initiatives in place which promote mental health awareness within the organisation. Rather than just a reactive approach which focuses on supporting employees when they’re already facing difficulties, HR professionals and business leaders should actively promote positive wellbeing and introduce purposeful initiatives.”

 

 

Why Britvic’s MD Paul Graham thinks mental health should be at the top of the C-Suite’s agenda

 

In line with Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from May 9th to 16th, Britvic’s Managing Director Paul Graham wrote an exclusive article for Grapevine Leaders explaining what business leaders need to do support employee mental health post-pandemic.

He wrote: “Following the pandemic, many of us have had to adapt to major changes in the workplace and it’s not surprising that this has impacted employee wellbeing – indeed, uncertainty breeds anxiety. That’s why this Mental Health Awareness Week I wanted to take some time to consider what we as business leaders can do to support staff’s mental health as we transition to a ‘new normal’.”

 

 

Britvic itself set up a ‘Working Well’ programme during the pandemic to support all staff, whether working remotely, in the office, or on the factory floor, and creating spaces where staff could work collaboratively and interact with one another.

However, being proactive about mental health, Graham said, is one of the most important things organisations can do to support their staff. Bosses, in particular, need to lead by example and encourage open dialogue with their staff around this important issue.

He continued: “Workplaces should take proactive steps to ensure they have initiatives in place which promote mental health awareness within the organisation. Rather than just a reactive approach which focuses on supporting employees when they’re already facing difficulties, HR professionals and business leaders should actively promote positive wellbeing and introduce purposeful initiatives.”

 
 

Are video calls killing creativity at your company?

 

Are video calls killing creativity at your company?

As remote working became the norm during the pandemic, workers throughout the UK adjusted to the idea of using Zoom or Teams instead of face-to-face meetings. However, new research published in the scientific journal Nature has now identified that working collaboratively through videoconferencing may actually stifle creativity.

For those employers who already have concerns about the effect remote working may be having on output and productivity, these new findings are likely to ring alarm bells, as creativity drives business innovation and growth. However, not only do numerous studies suggest that remote working actually boosts productivity – a US-based study by FlexJobs found that employees felt they were 65% more productive working from home – but the researchers also identified that working collaboratively via videoconferencing can have a positive impact on decision-making.

When a summary of this research was posted on LinkedIn, many posters suggested that hybrid working may offer the best of both worlds – the creativity brought through in-person collaboration and the productivity and engagement that is enhanced by remote working. As in most things, it seems that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and finding a balance that works for individual employees may be key.

 

 

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is at odds
with his employees over flexible working

Apple staff have penned an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Executive Board, expressing their concern about the Board’s decision to mandate a return to the office for all employees, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (they may work “flexibly” on Wednesdays and Fridays).

Cook has in the past described in-person collaboration as “essential” – but the open letter disputes that. Indeed, it describes Apple’s Hybrid Work Pilot as “driven by fear”.

As tech companies such as Apple make huge profits selling a lifestyle based around remote working, the letter also pointed out that, by mandating office-based work, the company isn’t living up to its own values.

However, Cook is not alone in favouring an office-based culture – many Silicon Valley tech companies that pride themselves on being “inclusive” disruptors, such as Netflix, are also doing the same.

Nonetheless, with employees putting a high value on flexible working, and many employers falling over themselves to offer it, if Cook wants Apple to win the ‘war for talent’, it appears he may have to reconsider his flexible working policy.

 

 

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is at odds
with his employees over flexible working

 

Apple staff have penned an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Executive Board, expressing their concern about the Board’s decision to mandate a return to the office for all employees, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (they may work “flexibly” on Wednesdays and Fridays).

Cook has in the past described in-person collaboration as “essential” – but the open letter disputes that. Indeed, it describes Apple’s Hybrid Work Pilot as “driven by fear”.

 

 

As tech companies such as Apple make huge profits selling a lifestyle based around remote working, the letter also pointed out that, by mandating office-based work, the company isn’t living up to its own values.

However, Cook is not alone in favouring an office-based culture – many Silicon Valley tech companies that pride themselves on being “inclusive” disruptors, such as Netflix, are also doing the same.

Nonetheless, with employees putting a high value on flexible working, and many employers falling over themselves to offer it, if Cook wants Apple to win the ‘war for talent’, it appears he may have to reconsider his flexible working policy.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.