We all know the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved,’ but when it comes to issues at work it is one that is too often ignored. At least, that is what we discovered when we asked UK professionals how they cope with problems at work, with almost half (49%) of UK workers saying they never seek help for problems in the workplace.
In an ideal world, everyone’s work lives would run smoothly with no problems or issues. The reality – everyone has times when they are stressed at work, whether feeling burnt out, dealing with a high workload or struggling with tasks. Yet, despite this, employees may not seek help, even if these issues are impacting their health and keeping them up at night. Almost one in five (19%) UK workers admitted that work issues affect their sleep on a weekly basis.
Read more on ‘Chatter outside the box: The key to helping workers alleviate work stress’ from Julie Chakraverty, founder of Rungway, on HR News.
The UK’s workforce puzzle still remains unsolved. It’s why, for example, the gender pay gap still remains a hot topic – a gap expected to remain until 2041. Workforce equality goes beyond salary though. For me, beginning my career on a trading floor in the early ‘90s, I was very conscious of being different in the male-dominated environment.
Since then, the challenge of solving the workforce puzzle and ensuring everyone feels included has been embedded in my thinking – first within the City and most recently as founder of Rungway. Innovation has been my other constant career force, and the intersection of inclusion and innovation is now more crucial than ever.
However, many companies haven’t harnessed new opportunities coming from these, seeing them as “nice to haves” instead.
Read more on ‘The workforce puzzle: It’s time companies changed, not people’ by Julie Chakraverty, founder of Rungway, in full on Real Business.
Many people use the Christmas break to re-evaluate their job and career in order to start the year on a fresh footing. According to a Glassdoor survey this year, January is the most popular month for job hoppers. The primary reasons why workers leave a job were low salary, followed by needing a new challenge and work being too boring.
These reasons are important to have in the back of your mind when looking to make the right hire for your business. A question often asked on Rungway is which are the best interview questions to ask. Whilst a Google search can show generic questions, here are some of our favourite responses from Rungway users on the questions that really reveal something about a candidate.
1. Ask questions with scenarios, for example, “What would you do if…”. This is very telling of whether the candidate would react to a problem in a way that aligns to your company culture.
2. Ask about the time the candidate was part of a team? Often people describe a time when they led a team, rather than how they worked with others towards a common goal. This will help highlight team player qualities.
3. Find out about the candidate’s passions and what gets them out of bed in the morning. Make sure they’re not just moving on for being bored.
4. Ask what impression they have of your company. This shows how much research they’ve done and how much they want to join your firm. Candidates should be able to deduce a company’s culture by looking through sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Glassdoor
5. Look to understand the candidate’s own development plan. And if they don’t have one, be worried! Automation means many jobs are in a constant state of changing, meaning we must
constantly seek to learn new skills.
Need some interview advice, or possibly considering a job move in the coming months? Download Rungway and ask. We’re all there, ready and willing to help and pass on our wisdom!
Christmas is around the corner and many cannot wait for some well-deserved time off to step away from the computer and recharge. But how many of us will be checking work emails now it’s so easily done on our smartphone? Too many is our prediction!
One Rungway user asked for people’s views on the idea of checking emails in one batch just once a day. There were very mixed reactions to such an idea – here is a selection:
“It would probably mean I’m more productive the rest of the time, but I’m not sure how I would manage the stress and anxiety of knowing that I was about to hit an email tsunami.”
“I love the idea and I plan to try it for a week. I also saw someone say it’s a good idea to add a footer in my email to say what time I’m checking them, so I’ll do that.”
“I like the concept of not having the email distraction but the thought of waiting a day for a response could be frustrating.”
“There are too many people who use email for urgent issues – this would not work at all!”
“I suspect the volume of phone calls we would receive would increase – but would that be a bad thing?”
Sounds like email is far from being dead but many wish there was a better way. Rungway is a great way to get quick feedback on a new idea, so if there’s something on our mind, download the app and ask away!
The 10th November 2016 is Equal Pay Day. This is because on the 10th November the average full-time female employee stops earning for the year, compared to the average full-time male employee. The pay gap is even wider when reviewing salaries of part-time workers and ethnic minorities.
Despite the Equal Pay Act which was put in place 45 years ago, women are still being paid less than men. In fact, accountancy firm Deloitte recently calculated that the gender pay gap in the UK will not close until 2069 based on current salary progression.
On the 10th November 2016 at 3:34pm, many women across the country will leave work early. The time has been carefully calculated as 18% early to highlight the 18.1% pay gap for full- and part-time female workers in the UK. This initiative is being led by Stylist Magazine and they invite companies to join them in this simple but symbolic gesture. The pay gap in other countries is different and walk-outs have already happened in France and Iceland this year.
Initiatives like these are great to raise awareness at a national level but we also want to call on you to help people on an individual basis. We often have questions from Rungway users on how to ask for a pay rise or how to deal with pay discrepancies in the organisation. By simply downloading Rungway and imparting your wealth of experience and insight, you can help with issues like equal pay.
In the light of National Stress Awareness Day this week, our founder, Julie Chakraverty, has been speaking with HR Grapevine and shared her insight and top tips for dealing with workplace stress. Here’s some excerpts from the article:
No single definition for stress: Stress means different things to different people, and we all have different tolerances for it. Try to be more tolerant of colleagues who approach things differently – you never know what stress they may be quietly coping with.
Stress can be good: Positive anxiety leaves you feeling challenged but focused, out of your comfort zone but believing you can ultimately influence an outcome. By contrast, destructive anxiety can leave you paralysed by fear, feeling overwhelmed, and can impact your health and sleep.
A fresh look: Try to consult a trusted friend or mentor for a fresh perspective – they will know what you’re capable of and might appreciate the wider context.
One problem at a time: Break down bigger tasks and set deadlines for each part to bring clarity to the process and let you focus on the positives.
Take care of yourself: Finding the time for fresh air, a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep can all make a big difference.
So, how can Rungway help you with stress?
Rungway lets you post questions, publicly or anonymously, about anything that’s on your mind at work. Then it matches you to others for private, one-to-one conversations and support. People are posting about office politics, health & family pressures, personal effectiveness – it’s fantastic seeing them get practical advice and varied points of view.
This input is often enough to give people the wisdom to move forward and deal with challenges more effectively. The community has plenty of people who’ve tackled their stress and can empathise with what you might be going through.
Sometimes it’s important to get a fresh perspective outside of our own work and friendship circles, and Rungway is perfect for that – it’s a warm and supportive community. It’s great seeing companies embrace the app too, for employee wellbeing and support.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Selina McCole.
The best thing about my job is the diversity of opportunity every day. I’ve been in the same division with the same employer for the past 11 years, and am now on my sixth role with them. I’m often asked to multi-hat, which adds to the diversity of activities and helps ensure there is no time for going stale or feeling bored. I work with lots of really bright and driven people, in a very multi-cultural environment, so every interaction is a learning opportunity. Our firm also invites many high-profile inspirational speakers in for talks, to provide broad perspectives on different markets, life experiences, resilience, and more.
Give yourself more credit
I think my life highlight has to be completing the Marathon des Sables, which was the culmination of 11 months of training; a real physical and mental challenge. I went from someone who was running 20-30 mins a day to running six marathons back-to-back in the Sahara Desert and placing in the top 100 runners. I was also the first British woman and the 8th woman overall out of 1,108 people who started. It helped me prove to myself – and hopefully inspire others – that we are all capable of way more than we give ourselves credit for. If we truly put our minds to a goal and have the right plan in place to prepare, there is no limit to what we can achieve. The icing on the cake was raising over £40k for two women’s charities (Aidha and Women for Women International, both of which provide financial education to disadvantaged women). That’s something I’m really proud of.
Giver not a taker
I’ve mainly been caught up in answering questions on Rungway rather than taking the time to post some so far. I get so caught up in answering questions, that I rarely sit back and reflect on what I’d really like help with. In my opinion though, a good mentor should listen more than they talk, provide options /suggestions for mentees to reflect on (i.e., not the answer) and be truthful about challenges faced.
Helping women, one step at a time
If I wasn’t doing this job I might be out running! Seriously, though, I’d like to combine my new-found love of ultra-running, interest in nutrition and passion for helping women into something impactful in future. Watch this space…
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Elena Kvochko.
Fast growing and evolving field
Our field, cyber security, is one of the fastest growing and evolving areas. It helps businesses embrace digital transformation, and meet the expectations of their customers and all stakeholders. I would not want to do another job and I encourage more professionals to join our field!
Connectivity and convenience
I like the connectivity, reach, and convenience of the rungway platform, allowing professionals to connect across various fields and share expertise and experience. They can hear different perspectives, request advice, and get new ideas for their work and careers.
Makings of a great mentor?
A mentor should challenge you to improve, encourage good development and ideas, and share their own experience. The best perspectives are based on personal experience and knowledge.
Your top tip?
Perseverance. To get my very first job, I remember I had to submit over 100 job applications.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Gurmit Kaur.
Supporting and strengthening
I have been supporting an ISO Auditor in carrying out internal audits for small and medium sized firms. In addition to this, I have also been selected to be involved in a pilot study to undertake audits and strengthen faith institutions. The second area of my work has been supporting businesses. I enjoy making a difference and meeting new people from different organisations; I have been fascinated by the work of so many people around the country.
My desire to support young girls inspired me to write my book “The Guide, Preparation For Marriage For Sikh Girls”. I have seen so many unnecessary marriage break-ups and the pain that this caused all the families. I wanted to empower women and give them support and insights into the issues that they might face. Asian weddings are a costly business and parents often spend a lifetime preparing for this expense. Yet, very little attention is focused on how to deal with many of the issues young women face once entering the extended Asian family. Many problems occur because women are unprepared to deal with the complexities of living within an extended Asian household. The book supports young women with these issues and is based on qualitative case studies of elderly and young Sikh women. I have illustrated the book with my own paintings and photography.
New connections and opportunities
I have tried to help people on Rungway with a range of topics, from work life balance to managing issues and people in the workplace. Having the opportunity to share ideas and support others helps me feel more connected to a range people who I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to speak with. Looking back in my past, there have been many times when I could have done with some career advice but did not know anyone to talk to, but Rungway allows people to ask questions anonymously.
Having written a book preparing young Sikh women for marriage, the feedback I got was that I need to write a book for men as well. The next book, if I ever have the time, will be for young men.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Apricot Wilson.
Class of 2008
I graduated during the financial crisis and really struggled to get a job. It completely knocked my confidence. When I managed to turn this around, I was offered a place on the Aberdeen Asset Management graduate scheme as my first job.
Manners cost nothing
I have received a lot of fantastic advice from Rungway on so many different areas. One of the most helpful pieces of information that I have received was about writing thank you letters after interviews. I have been told a lot of times that it is a good idea, but I’ve never been sure what you should write. The Rungway crowd shared their advice on how best to follow up – including how
to pick up on discussions, and the importance of the right style and sending punctually. Taking Rungway’s advice might have helped me to receive a job offer and a scholarship for an MBA.
What I like best about Rungway is that it’s very reassuring. Sometimes you have a question you really can’t ask your colleagues about, for instance, when I was preparing to leave the start-up where I previously worked, but Rungway is always there.
I think a good mentor should be:
Sympathetic- sometimes you just need to have a whinge. Prepared to tell you the right thing- even if it’s not what you want to hear. Practical- someone who will give you concrete suggestions about how to change the situation.
When I was interning, I was allowed to sit in on a rather important meeting with the Chair of a FTSE 100 company. It was a hot afternoon, I’d had a big lunch and I could just feel my eyelids becoming heavier and heavier. I did everything I could to stop myself falling asleep, I took notes, I punched myself, and I tried to fidget. Anyway I thought I had managed to get away with this, but at the end of the meeting my boss came up to me and asked “were you tired during the meeting?“
Download Rungway to help and be helped by people like April.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Caitlin McDonald.
Don’t let yourself be button-holed into one role
Willingness to learn and be flexible will open unexpected opportunities. Look for mentors and bosses who see your future potential. I’m a former dance researcher but that didn’t stop me from
getting hired into a very quantitative role in the edtech industry. In the past few months I’ve been able to engage with network analysis which relates to my prior research about digital communities among dancers. My presentation on digital communities research recently won the visualisation prize at the Oxford Internet Institute’s ‘Connected Life’ conference.
Everyone struggles with time pressures
The best advice I have received on Rungway has been practical steps for managing constant time pressures. It helped me to see that this is a common problem faced by many very effective people! In return, I have helped others with communication challenges, career planning and confronting sexism in the workplace. It is so great to have the opportunity to give feedback as well as receiving it.
If I could have anyone as my mentor it would be Genevieve Bell, Intel’s strategist for Corporate Sensing & Insights. Her work at the heart of culture and technology is a blueprint for any social sciences or humanities researchers wanting to move into digital careers. If I weren’t doing this job, I would like to be the next great travel writer like Bill Bryson.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Lee Robert Harrison.
Network, network, network
Learning to network is so key in achieving career success. Many have told me the importance of networking but I never really valued it until I qualified as an accountant and actually started to network. The best advice I’ve received on Rungway has also been about networking.
What I likeabout the app is that it connects you with bright and ambitious people that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to contact at such a personal level. It also gives you great satisfaction in assisting those who face a dilemma at work. I actually check it more than LinkedIn.
If I could have anyone as my mentor it would be Sir Alex Ferguson, such an leader that has been at the top of his game for a quarter of a century.
Download rungway to help and be helped by people like Lee.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Catherine Heath.
At the moment I’m transitioning out of my current job into freelance writing. Some of the best advice I’ve received from Rungway is to emphasise the services and benefits that you can offer your clients as a freelancer.
I’ve helped people with interpersonal problems, like dealing with colleagues or how to approach balancing their wellbeing at work. I’ve also advised people on how to deal with interviews and the politics of networking at parties!
Making mentoring easy
The app is easy to use and doesn’t pressure you to post. If you have a question you can easily and quickly get an answer from other experienced professionals, with much less effort than usual.
So far in my career I’ve learnt to make connections with people in your field and seek out mentors who can help you. It may seem impossible now, but so did lots of things that you have already done.
Download rungway to help and be helped by people like Catherine.
Our ‘Rungway reveals…’ section on the blog is to spotlight Rungway users. Today, we have the pleasure of profiling Anna Strillacci.
Variety is the spice of asset management
I enjoy the variety in my job, the fact that it brings me to deal with different teams from across the firm and it is very dynamic. I am constantly working on different projects and it makes my work non-repetitive. I’ve recently moved from banking to asset management. I thought it would be very difficult to transfer my skill set but I have managed to find a niche role that is perfect for what I can bring to the table.
Thanks to my fellow Rungwayers, I have learnt that, in a new job, being proactive and voicing my ideas from the beginning is a good thing. I was conscious that perhaps it would come across as too aggressive but actually, they made me realise that if I believe in my idea, I have thought it through and if I manage to communicate it in the right way, then it can be very beneficial to the firm.
I like that I can ask any question I want on the app, because even if I feel embarrassed or if I feel it is a ‘sensitive’ topic I can ask it anonymously. I have asked advice on an array of topics, from politics to whether I should wear my hair straight or curly!
Helping women ease back to work
Through rungway, I have helped a lot of women who have taken a career break and needed a confidence boost to go back to work. I myself took a career break for five years and felt I completely understood their anxieties. Many women feel worthless after a break from the working environment but actually do not realise that the skills they gain from their time out can be almost more
valuable than re-using the same skills at work time and time again. I truly enjoy empowering women in believing they can do whatever they set their mind to do: be it finding a job, running their own clothes shop or baking a fresh loaf of bread every day!
If I wasn’t doing this job, I’d like to be on the board of a charity that helps women around the world to become more independent and empower them to be what they want to be. My (secret) dream is to appear on TED Talks to tell people about my experience in helping women everywhere!
Download Rungway to help and be helped by people like Anna.
For many of us, it was probably getting our homework done on time. For Malala Yousafzai, it was if her and other girls in Pakistan would have any sort of education at all.
A couple of days ago the rungway team celebrated Malala Day, to support the global call for all children, especially girls, to have access to education.
This day was created thanks to and in recognition of the incredible efforts and campaigning of Malala Yousafzai. Beginning with a blog for the BBC outlining her life under the Taliban and promoting girls’ education, to being recognised as one of the most influential people in the world and becoming the youngest ever winner of the Nobel peace prize, Malala’s inspirational story has sparked a global call to action on education.
It these causes like Malala’s that we at Rungway are keen to aid and be a part of.
Today we announced our first exciting partnership with the Aspire Foundation and we hope to help and inspire more amazing women and girls, like Malala, to make a difference in the world.
Whether you wanted to Leave or Remain, we are all affected by the EU referendum result and many people have been seeking to understand the consequences for their jobs.
The outcome prompted a whirlwind of different reactions across the country, from elation to despair. But there has been one shared emotion: uncertainty.
“So now what?”
A simple question asked on Rungway that perfectly summarises how many of us are feeling. And it is not only Brits and Europeans. Australians and Americans have also been trying to find out how people and companies will be affected.
People’s biggest worries on the app are centred around their work and career prospects. Many are in need of comfort and reassurance.
So, how can we best keep going and move on?
Instead of shutting down communication, we should open it up. Worried about the effects on your job, company or home life? Ask someone. Too many of us can be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when we need it, but this is the only way to make sure we are well-informed and supported.
On Rungway what people have been seeking most is more and clearer communication from their employers, or even simply someone to talk to whom they can trust. We need to keep talking, seeking advice from colleagues, friends, family and also those outside of our normal network, particularly during these uncertain and unpredictable times.