Category Archives: Happy work environment

5 Ways That A Wellness Program Can Save An IT Business Money

In the Information Technology (IT) business, maintaining project profitability often requires keeping personnel costs at a minimal level. However, rising health insurance premiums coupled with new health care reform legislation is putting an additional burden on IT companies. For employees who spend eight-plus hours a day working on intense projects at their computer stations, the need for routine wellness care is vital to their productivity and quality of work. Not having access to affordable health care support means illness, injury, and lost work time for your most valuable investment: your people. Therefore, it’s up to each IT company to ensure the health and well-being of all employees.

A corporate sponsored wellness program can be a solution to reducing the costs of health care in the workplace. Here are five ways a wellness program can save your IT business money this year.

  1. Reminds employees of risky lifestyle behaviors. The IT world can be a very high pressure work environment, leading employees to engage in risky health behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and overeating. The long work hours can also be damaging to physical and mental well-being, due to being stuck at a desk a lot and not getting enough exercise. Having a wellness program on site allows employees alternative ways to deal with stress and help reduce risky behaviors, which over the long run improves employee performance.
  2. Provides access to self-managed wellness care. The best wellness program can empower your employees to take better control of their health and well-being. Providing onsite wellness benefits, such as a corporate gym, massage therapy, an employee assistance program, flu shots, and more can help employees see you are vested in their success. Web-based wellness programs, which cost pennies as compared to doctor visits, provide even more value by reminding employees to take care of their health and reach important wellness goals.
  3. Reduces health care insurance premiums and sick time. A study conducted by Harvard University in 2010 advised that when employees have access to corporate wellness support, this reduces the cost of health care insurance premiums and sick time. For each dollar spent on an employee wellness program, health premiums drop by $3.27 and an additional $2.73 is saved in absentee days. That can be significant for an IT department that deals with frequent illness or absenteeism.
  4. Prevents catastrophic losses due to illness and injury. Imagine an IT workforce that’s healthy, mentally and physically strong? When IT employees are given the opportunity and encouragement to take advantage of a corporate wellness program, they are less likely to experience preventable ailments common in IT (neck pain, stress headaches, back injuries, repetitive motion injuries) that cause them to miss work or file workers’ compensation claims.
  5. Increases workplace productivity and project management. To boost your IT employee performance levels, add a wellness programs like fitness programs from Aligned Modern Health. This can give employees a healthier outlet to reduce stress, eat healthier, and get up out of their chairs for some exercise. These activities have been shown over and over again to improve physical and mental well-being, meaning you benefit by having more productive and high performance employees on board.

While workplace wellness programs can be a cost effective way to make your IT workplace better, there are some ways to experience even more benefits. Roll it out with full management support, be consistent, and keep employees informed about new resources they can use to stay healthy at work.

Tess C. Taylor, PHR is a certified Web Content Manager, Human Resources Professional, and Career Coach with nearly two-decades of writing experience. Tess also founded the popular blogazine, The HR Writer. As a regular contributor to multiple HR and Business publications, including Benefitfocus, Dale Carnegie Institute, HR Magazine, PayScale, and US News Careers, Tess is dedicated to educating others about important human resources and marketing topics worldwide.

Hiring IT Consultants – What Are The Benefits?

With economic pressures bearing down on both large and small firms, the pressure to change the way in which things are done is mounting. Times are changing and the way in which a modern business works is constantly evolving and moving forward, especially when it comes to technology. So why does it now make more sense to hire IT consultants for projects instead of using your in-house tech department?

IT Consultants

Expand Your Base

Some business owners may be sceptical about the idea of hiring consultants to come in from outside their company and essentially ‘tell them how to do things’. However, this view can sometimes be ego-driven and is often proved not to be the case. Consultants hold their positions because they know what they’re doing. Besides which, it can often be crucially beneficial to projects, especially creative work, marketing, or system planning/redesign, to have a fresh opinion from the outside. Consultants are there to help you and your business, not just to come in and get paid to tell you the time with your own watch.

Even if your internal staff have come up with amazing ideas and possess a vast understanding of your business and how it works, the consultant can bring proven, tried and tested methods to the table and re-work these into successful ways to help your particular project. They have used these methods before and have learnt what works and what doesn’t, as well as how and why these methods have proven to be successful. Working together, you could come up with something twice as good as you could on your own.

Cost Savings

Most importantly for many businesses, it costs a lot less to call in consultants as and when you need them instead of paying to maintain an entire department. This is especially true for SMEs who lack an IT team entirely, but is also true for those who wish to keep a small team in-house but expand capability for larger one-off projects. As well as saving on salaries, employers are able to avoid paying secondary and hidden costs such as pension contributions, payroll taxes, and sick pay.

Gain Skills As You Require Them

As we all know, IT is something that can be hard to keep up with. New technologies are released constantly, and with these come new methods of working. This leads us to another reason as to why IT consultants could be the best choice for your your business – managers need not worry about having to get too involved in the IT project and can utilise valuable time elsewhere in the company. You don’t need to train an external consultant as they already have the skills and knowledge that businesses need; some skills that may not currently exist in-house.

Another perk is that IT consultants only need to be hired and brought in when a big project is coming up, offering businesses more flexibility and giving them a little extra money to play around with. This extra revenue could mark the difference in being able to really push the limits of the company and can make that extra room needed for sustainable growth.

Katie Barnes writes for Penman, a specialist Cloud Computing IT consultancy based in London.

7 Steps to Follow When Changing Career

Changing career can seem like a very daunting prospect, particularly if you have been in the same job for a long time. Follow our seven steps to make sure you get it right and make the transition as smooth as possible:

1.         Motivation, Not Money

Think about what is driving you to change careers and focus on it. Job satisfaction is the key to success and will keep you motivated to do well at your job, raring to return to work rather than dragging yourself in each day.

Make that change2.         Determine Skills

Write down what you are good at, what you enjoy and conduct your research from there. If you take a career in something that you are skilled in you are much more likely to enjoy it and get more out of it than something that you struggle with.

3.         Explore your Options

Take each skill one by one and look into the careers that can use them to the best ability. Link these to things that you enjoy doing and you will be amazed at the vast range of jobs available to you!

4.         Make “The List”

From the variety of options that have stemmed from your research, you can now start to make a short list of jobs that you would like to do. Concentrate on every possible aspect; location, hours worked, transport, training and anything else which may affect the reality of you obtaining your new career path.

5.         Contact the Professionals

Business Networking meetings are popular in all areas and are a great way to connect with people from your chosen career. Alternatively look online to see if you can find any organised events surrounding your chosen job.

6.         Watch and Learn

Where possible see if you can contact businesses directly and ask for advice; most will admire your determination and be happy to help. Ask if you can ‘shadow’ someone to get a better idea of the job and to learn more about how to do it.

7.         Try it out!

The only way to find out if you will enjoy a job is to give it a try. Lots of careers have a way of volunteering to see whether the job is suited, or if your career path is suitable, try part-time freelancing to build up a portfolio before taking the plunge.

There are several reasons why someone might want to change career, level of job satisfaction, a chance to learn new skills, a change in life circumstances and many other determining factors. Whatever your reason, make sure you are prepared and weigh up all of your options; then go for it!

Simon Appleton is CEO at Workcircle.

There’s no business like snow business

This year we have been hit by snow on a few occasions causing disruption throughout the UK, seeing villages without power and major road networks grinding to a halt. Businesses have had employees stuck at home, whether snowed in or looking after children because the schools closed and there’s more snow to come. So what are businesses doing to ensure they can keep operational during these inconvenient weather spells?

Speaking to a head of projects last week, he told me that he has worked hard with his business (a major blue chip) to ensure all project staff can be mobile. He said that although there is a fundamental requirement to be on site for effective PM – senior management keen to keep everyone together (and where they can see them I am sure), he had convinced the SMT that the project team can also benefit from working remotely. He stressed that being in a very rigid environment where reporting, rigorous analysis and updating of the project library for the PMO was mandatory that quiet time can be very beneficial for individuals to get on with often technical and tricky pieces of work with less interruption. This was his business case a few years back and now as unavoidable circumstances leave staff stranded at home – they can still get on with their work and reduce impact to the business. Another part of his business case was to introduce a trust ethos and make a happier employee.

Snowed in

Forcing employees onto the road in treacherous conditions, having them arrive hours late because of traffic and leaving early in the hope of getting home without any incidents is a waste of valuable time and effort plus it says a lot about how the employer views you and your safety over the business. Most project teams, especially the delivery staff tend to be mobile and can work remotely these days due to project on/off site requirements, however a great deal of the support staff and PMs in other industries are still expected to be in the office 5 days a week. An issue seen by employers is that they would need to supply staff with equipment and internet access to make the move – however if you approach staff and say the opportunity is there for you if you have a PC and internet access (let’s face, who doesn’t these days really?) and most employees have work mobiles or commonly use their personal mobiles for work.

Snow days do not necessarily mean no work days – sorry to put a dampener on it, but in times of austerity needs must. Keep calm and carry on!