Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is something people experience on a daily basis, but are too afraid to speak out about it… By law, harassment is described as any unwanted verbal or physical behaviour which are based on ideas such as colour, race, sex, religion, nationality, age, either physical or mental disabilities, and last but not least, gender identity. A harassing behaviour can take many forms which include: slurs, offensive jokes, intimidation, ridicule, insults, name calling, physical threats or assaults, offensive pictures and many more.

Many people encounter harassment even during interviews. It is important to know what rules apply to the employers and what they can and cannot ask you. Moreover, recruiters cannot ask you about your religion, race, marital status, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, age or sexual preferences. Next time you’re going into an interview, pay attention at what and how they ask about information regarding yourself.

Unfortunately, anyone can be in a situation where he or she is the harasser or the person being harassed. The harasser can range from being your boss, a co-worker, a supervisor from a different department, or even a non-employee, whilst the victim of the harassment doesn’t necessarily have to be the one directly harassed, but it can be any person in the office who feels affected by the harassing behaviour.

How to Deal with Harassment at the Workplace

Usually, people who are dealing with workplace harassment have the intention of solving the incident internally. The first option would be to approach the offender personally and explain how his behaviour and language have offended you. If you feel uncomfortable with the direct approach, the other option would be to contact your manager or supervisor and ask him to handle the situation before it develops into something more problematic.

Of course, there are cases in which the offender is your manager or supervisor and your only course of action is to contact the HR department or your manager’s boss and request an analysis of the situation.

Types of Harassment

There are numerous ways in which harassment takes place in the workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be one of the primary courses of harassment, although that does not mean that non-sexual harassment must be treated lightly. It is essential that people understand that harassment at the office can affect them, whether they are victims or not. One way or another it could impact people’s state of mind and even their careers.

As mentioned above, harassment can take many forms at the office. It could vary from being both physical and sexual and ending up with it being based on religion or race.

In the United States, the definition of harassment ranges from state to state. For example, in Florida a court decided that ‘fat jokes’ are offensive, while in Wisconsin and New York harassing people based on their criminal record is against the law. It is obvious that this issue represents a tricky subject everywhere around the world.

Sexual Harassment

This type of harassment does not limit itself to just physical contact or words and just between co-workers of the opposite sex. All of the following examples classify as sexual harassment:

  • Staring in a provocative manner, or whistling.
  • Emails, letters or notes with provocative messages.
  • Obscene videos and images shared with colleagues during a break or at lunch.
  • Expose posters of inappropriate sexual imagery.
  • Sharing sexual anecdotes or lewd jokes with the co-workers.
  • Making offensive remarks about a person’s gender identity.

Non-Sexual Harassment

This type of harassment includes remarks ranging from a person’s physical appearance to his mental disabilities or cultural values. A co-worker can create a hostile work environment by continuously commenting that a person is too old, too stupid or too fat.

If you someone in the workplace is making either racist or negative comments regarding another person in the office is definitely harassment. In this category can also fall drawings, clothing or gestures that hurt or transform someone in a victim at the office. The following examples fall into the category of non-sexual harassment:

  • Making jokes and negative remarks about a co-worker’s religious beliefs, or enforcing one’s own religious views on a person.
  • Racist nicknames, slangs and phrases are all prohibited.
  • ‘Distinguishing’ people at the office by the colour of their skin or ethnic characteristics.
  • Talking about cultural or religious stereotypes in an offensive manner.

So, having read all this, next time you are a victim of sexual harassment or notice a colleague in this situation, you will know how to recognise it and take action.

The Great People Inside employee assessment solutions and technology can be tailored to your company’s specific needs and organisational culture and can help you to boost the levels of job-fit and skill-use in your employees, generating job satisfaction, improved motivation, health and happiness, and boost employee retention.

Try out our assessment in order to measure the level of wellbeing in your organisation and find out the best approach to improve it.

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Sources:
https://www.thebalance.com/types-of-harassment-in-the-workplace-2060886
https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-handle-harassment-at-work-2060887

 

Why is freelancing so popular these days?

 

Freelancing is becoming a more and more common practice in this day and age because of the simple fact people get to ditch the routinely 9 to 5 schedule. In a study conducted by the HR service Paychex, the freelancer market has shown rapid growth. This surge in the freelancing market couldn’t have been foreseen back in 80s or 90s. To put things into perspective, between 2000 and 2014 the freelancer workforce has grown by 500% according to the same report from Paychex. This type of work environment has become possible due to the rise of startups, millennials and their pursuit for a more flexible work schedule. The economic recession and the continuous development of technology have also been key for this shift to occur.

At the moment, there are around 53 million freelancers working in the United States. Out of them all, 14.3 million are people who have full-time jobs, but also perform freelancer tasks when time allows it – they are also known as “moonlighters”. Another 9.3 million people do freelancing in combination with part-time jobs. The remaining people are working as full-time freelancers going from project to project. By 2020, it is estimated that over 40% of the workforce available in America will be pursuing independent work.

Given these numbers and the growing desire for more control over their own schedules, there now are co-working spaces specifically designed for freelancers. It is a well-known fact that working from home can become uncomfortable and maybe just a little bit depressing. In the U.S. this issue is beginning to be tackled, especially in large cities. For example, WeWork has become one of the most popular providers of common workspace for freelancers and has also started expanding outside the United States. They have concentrated on creating the best working atmosphere for everyone around, competing with the best startups. They provide independent workers with things such as fresh fruit, arcade games and even beer on tap. Why wouldn’t anyone want to be a freelancer these days?

Although some people may consider freelancing as a way of avoiding the real working world, businesses actually thrive on finding specific talent for particular projects and needs and with the advantage of a smaller fee. Instead of going through the hassle of interviewing and recruiting someone new (and all that comes with it), companies can now find consultants for each and every project they have. And more often than not, that person has more time to deal with arising issues when that happens.

It is important for people to understand that the freelancing world isn’t about “temporary” work. These people are highly experienced, professional and very engaged with the tasks they have to perform. All they want is more flexibility and most of time they get what they want.

There are also platforms that connect freelance workers with multinational organisations or even small local businesses. A primary example of this type of business is Upwork, a company which manages to connect 3.6 million organisations with over 9 million freelancers from all around the world (180 countries to be more precise). This platform allows large corporations to hire people when the need for a full-time employer isn’t justified and the need for cost control is very important. Small businesses profit from this service as well, especially when they require help with their finances, marketing strategy or even a product launch.

The industry of freelancing is highly evolved, given the fact that there are websites where you can hire people to do your daily menial tasks such as: house repairs, cleaning and running errands of any kind. TaskRabbit is known to offer people this type of service. Amazon is also in this area of business helping people with moving, cleaning, shopping and repairs.

But as with anything in this world, there must also be a downside. Although there are numerous platforms for people to find a job or get help in various activities, due to the increased number of such platforms and the obvious competition that ensues, many of the jobs available do not reach the living wage, which can be difficult for many people.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation, can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

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Sources:

Entrepreneur.com

Fastcompany.com

huffingtonpost.com

 

Preventing Burnout in 5 Easy Steps

If you’ve been working in the past few years, you’ve probably heard about the term “burnout” and you should know that it is directly related to stress revolving around work. The general definition for burnout describes it as a combination of 3 factors: mental, emotional and physical fatigue combined with serious doubtfulness regarding your competence and value of work. Everyone has a couple of coworkers who stay for way too long at the office after the business hours have ended. Of course, this is understandable if they have an important contract to honour, a project deadline that cannot be pushed any further, or maybe they are just really dedicated. No harm, no foul until the stress from the actions mentioned above can transform itself into a serious case of burnout.

Entrepreneurs are flying into the face of danger due to their working program, which usually is 24/7/365. Given the fact that they are trying to build a serious company from the ground up and have to deal with issues left and right, the stress that is building up inside them can lead to a serious burnout.

Thankfully, nowadays there are many ways in which you can identify if you’re starting to experience burnout symptoms. They are pretty easy on the eye if you feel you are heading towards complete exhaustion. Here is a list of a few early signs of a potential burnout:

  • Huge amount of stress and anxiety
  • Low engagement or lack of it
  • You’re more cynical than usual
  • Not enough sleep
  • No breaks during the day
  • The feeling that there aren’t enough hours in a workday
  • Consistent physical illness

 

These are 5 easy steps you should follow in order to get back on track on your own terms:

 

  1. Take frequent breaks during office hours

People sometimes fail to understand that it is an art to accomplish top workplace performance. You cannot remain at 100% during all of your working hours, which is why it is important to give your brain a bit of a break; it needs a recharge, just like your smartphone does. If you have a more flexible work arrangement, go for a run or a walk in nearby park. Try and have lunch outside the office space, it will allow you to decompress and maybe see the bigger picture. Needless to say, you need to careful when taking a break as well. Avoid doing so when your brain activity is at its highest, more often than not, this happens in the morning.

  1. Distance yourself from digital devices

Before the era of smartphones, gadgets and various wearables, when you left the office that meant you were done for the day. Even if you wanted to work from home, that required a lot of planning and effort. Now, we never really leave the workplace, because we are physiologically and psychologically very much still connected. Although it may seem difficult to get rid of this problem, there actually is an easy solution for it. As soon as you arrive home, either leave your phone somewhere in the hallway or even turn it off after a certain hour. You must understand that whatever you want to do CAN wait until tomorrow.

  1. Plan something interesting right after work

Whether this activity involves playing football with your friends or cooking with your loved one, it will make you focus on that particular action rather than telling yourself you shouldn’t check your emails every 10 minutes. You may as well want to be transform yourself into a couch potato as soon as you get home, but engaging in something more meaningful like a jigsaw puzzle or studying a new language will give you a better feel factor.

  1. Take a longer weekend from time to time

If you start to feel weak both physically and mentally, maybe that’s your body’s way of telling you it’s time for a longer break. Instead of taking a long vacation, try and constantly give yourself 3 or 4-day weekends. It is vital you don’t interact with anything related to work. It ruins the whole concept of a mini-vacation.

  1. Focus on the meaningful work you wish to do

There are some times when you simply cannot get some time off work. It happens to everyone and there is no need to panic. Instead, try and find a deeper meaning for the task at hand. Maybe you can correlate it with a personal or professional goal of yours. The reasons may vary from: getting the job promotion you wanted or simply preventing yourself from procrastinating. But keep in mind that this is just a temporary fix to the problem. If you are really stressed and lack any sort of energy, take a real break.

 

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

Forbes.com

Hbr.org