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‘FOMU’, four-day week & diversity


In this month’s myGrapevine magazine content roundup, we take a look at how the four-day week could help businesses, and we shed light on what ‘FOMU’ is and how it could be impacting leaders. Also, we look at why leaders from M&S and Co-op have signed a new diversity pledge, as well as exploring how you can take the lead with mental health at work…

 
 

Why leaders at M&S, Co-op & PageGroup signed a new diversity pledge

 

Why leaders at M&S, Co-op & PageGroup signed a new diversity pledge

The diversity and inclusion (D&I) agenda is a hot topic in the corporate world, and one that CEOs are increasingly viewing as a top priority. So much so that CEOs from some of the UK’s biggest firms – including the Co-operative Group’s CEO, Steve Murrells, PageGroup’s CEO, Steve Ingham, and Marks and Spencer’s (M&S) CEO, Steve Rowe – have signed a pledge committing to putting D&I at the top of the corporate agenda.

They are hoping to inspire over 100 fellow CEOs to sign the ‘CEO Activist and Moving the Dial on Diversity’ pledge. The initiative was the brainchild of Leila McKenzie-Delis, CEO of Dial Global. In a letter co-authored with McKenzie-Delis, the CEOs stated that the four key areas of their pledge are:

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  • Ensuring workplaces are inclusive with clear steps to ensure current and future leadership team diversity.
  • A commitment to measure progress annually against ten areas of diversity and inclusion, which were first introduced in 2020 through an inaugural report from the McKenzie-Delis Foundation.
  • A promise to implement strategic diversity plans with clear accountability for CEOs and leadership teams.
  • A commitment for each CEO to share learnings and strategic plans for the future.

While it is apparent these leaders are striving to make positive change in this area, data has shown that D&I is generally still a problem within UK workplaces. For example, disability continues to remain a barrier at work for many, with UCL data finding that 82% said that their most “pressing problem was finding disability-friendly employers.” In addition to this, the 2020 Female FTSE100 Board Report found that just 9.7% of executive positions in FTSE100 companies are held by women, highlighting that more work needs to be done.

How can you lead on mental health at work?

Mental health and wellbeing has become a top concern for leaders in the last few years – something which was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent changes to work and life. Data from Close Brothers found that more than half (51%) of staff have experienced an increase in worries relating to their mental health due to the pandemic. Elsewhere, Oxford University data has suggested that more than 35% of adults show symptoms of anxiety, with over 28% showing signs of depression.

With the data showcasing how many staff have been impacted by this, it begs the question as to how leaders and employers can strive to help staff improve their health and wellbeing. Well, Mark Till, CEO at Unum UK said that, firstly, it’s important not to second guess what people want. Instead, he advised that employers should carry out a survey to gauge potential benefits or changes that staff want to see internally.

Additionally, he explained that it’s important to proactively encourage team members to adopt healthy practices, for example taking their allocated lunch time away from their desk, to maintaining a culture that respect’s the diary of individuals.

Finally, with CIPD’s 2021 Health and Wellbeing Report finding that almost 60% of staff said workload was the biggest cause of workplace stress, Till alluded that leaders should look out for staff who may be struggling with hefty workloads while juggling out-of-work commitments.

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How can you lead on mental health at work?

 

Mental health and wellbeing has become a top concern for leaders in the last few years – something which was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent changes to work and life. Data from Close Brothers found that more than half (51%) of staff have experienced an increase in worries relating to their mental health due to the pandemic. Elsewhere, Oxford University data has suggested that more than 35% of adults show symptoms of anxiety, with over 28% showing signs of depression.

With the data showcasing how many staff have been impacted by this, it begs the question as to how leaders and employers can strive to help staff improve their health and wellbeing. Well, Mark Till, CEO at Unum UK said that, firstly, it’s important not to second guess what people want. Instead, he advised that employers should carry out a survey to gauge potential benefits or changes that staff want to see internally.

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Additionally, he explained that it’s important to proactively encourage team members to adopt healthy practices, for example taking their allocated lunch time away from their desk to and maintaining a culture that respect’s the diary of individuals.

Finally, with CIPD’s 2021 Health and Wellbeing Report finding that almost 60% of staff said workload was the biggest cause of workplace stress, Till alluded that leaders should look out for staff who may be struggling with hefty workloads while juggling out-of-work commitments.

 
 

What is ‘FOMU’ – and how is it impacting leaders?

 

What is ‘FOMU’ – and how is it impacting leaders?

In any job, the prospect of making a mistake at work is one that often fills people with fear. And it appears that this fear is impacting even those at the top of the business too.

In fact, new research has found that C-Suite executives are suffering from ‘FOMU’ – the fear of messing up – thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the research from Treasure Data, executives spend almost half (44%) of their day on business-related decision-making – meaning that this takes up a large chunk of their time.

Yet, while 98% of UK-based executives said that they were ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ in general business decision-making, it appears that this level of confidence has been hit amid the pandemic. The research found that almost half (48%) of respondents said that they felt less confident in decision-making post-pandemic, with 56% worrying about making the wrong decision as the stakes continued to go up.

Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA at Treasure Data, said: “This year will see the second anniversary of the pandemic and during this period decisions have had to be made at breakneck speed, putting business leaders under immense pressure, often with many data points to consider.”

While making decisions under pressure is a common part of most leadership roles, psychologists have identified some “research-based” approaches to decision-making in a crisis. According to Forbes, this includes writing down your initial gut reaction and coming back to it at a later date to review it, and seeking the opinion of a neutral observer.

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Could the four-day week help your business?

Employers have been facing a myriad of challenges lately. Whether this is staff shortages, burnt out workforces or the so-called ‘Great Resignation’, there are many things that are impacting the ability of leaders to maintain healthy workforces.

As work-life balance continues to be put under the microscope amid the pandemic, a six-month trial period of a four-day work week has been launched across the UK, to help improve productivity and staff wellbeing.

Within this, circa 30 British companies are taking part in the pilot scheme, which will see staff earn the same pay while working one day less per week, according to Metro. Workers will only be required to maintain the same levels of productivity expected of them from a five-day week.

This news comes as separate data has pointed towards the wider business benefits associated with a shorter working week. For example, research by Henley Business School reported that companies adopting a four-day week found that over three-quarters of staff were happier, less stressed and took fewer days off ill.

Additionally, almost two-thirds said that providing a four-day week has helped them to attract and retain top talent, while one-third of leaders said moving to a four-day week will be important to future success.

With this data in mind, it is possible that rolling out, or even trialling the concept of a four-day week, could help leaders overcome some of the problems it is currently facing.

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Could the four-day week help your business?

 

Employers have been facing a myriad of challenges lately. Whether this is staff shortages, burnt out workforces or the so-called ‘Great Resignation’, there are many things that are impacting the ability of leaders to maintain healthy workforces.

As work-life balance continues to be put under the microscope amid the pandemic, a six-month trial period of a four-day work week has been launched across the UK, to help improve productivity and staff wellbeing.

Placeholder

 

Within this, circa 30 British companies are taking part in the pilot scheme, which will see staff earn the same pay while working one day less per week, according to Metro. Workers will only be required to maintain the same levels of productivity expected of them from a five-day week.

This news comes as separate data has pointed towards the wider business benefits associated with a shorter working week. For example, research by Henley Business School reported that companies adopting a four-day week found that over three-quarters of staff were happier, less stressed and took fewer days off ill.

Additionally, almost two-thirds said that providing a four-day week has helped them to attract and retain top talent, while one-third of leaders said moving to a four-day week will be important to future success.

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