Wednesday 30 October 2019

Are you a team player?

Most businesses rely on great teamwork to be truly successful. No matter what job a person has, each role makes up an important part of the bigger picture. So, for an organisation to run smoothly and achieve its goals, it’s vital for every member of staff to work effectively in a team.

In order to become a better team player, there are several attributes we can focus on developing.

Be committed to your team

Although some roles might require you to work autonomously for some of the time, undoubtedly you will also need to interact and work alongside colleagues. By being committed to your team, you should learn to listen to what others have to say, respect their opinions and be helpful whenever possible.

Take accountability

We are only human and, from time to time, we make mistakes. By shifting the blame onto someone else and denying our part in any kind of oversight or error, we’re likely to create negative feelings in the workplace. When we take accountability for our actions and take complete responsibility in our individual roles, we can avoid these kinds of negative situations and are likely to gain more respect from our colleagues. More importantly, we can learn from our mistakes and move forward with better judgement in the future.

Communicate effectively

Communication is one of the greatest parts of becoming a great team player. By sharing our ideas and taking on board the ideas of others, we open the communication gateways and create a more powerful rapport with our co-workers. By contributing ideas and actively taking part in meetings, we can inspire others by displaying a positive, can-do attitude. Try to refrain from monopolising discussions and be mindful of your body language. Making eye contact, keeping an upright posture and speaking clearly will make you appear more confident and colleagues are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Be adaptable

To work collaboratively, we must learn to be flexible and adaptable. Some situations may arise that require us to take a different approach in our day-to-day roles and if we are able to adapt accordingly, we can encourage others to do the same - overcoming obstacles and achieving greater success.

Be reliable

We all know how frustrating it can be when someone lets the team down by not turning up, being late or not completing a task on time. One of the most important attributes of being a good team player is reliability. When our team members know that they can depend on us, we create a level of trust that is integral to becoming a successful team player.

John J. Murphy, a business specialist and author of books such as The i in Team and Pulling Together: The power of Teamwork offers some great insights into the power of teamwork as well as useful tools and techniques that can improve collaboration in the workplace.

Thursday 24 October 2019

Returning to work after the holidays

Rather than totally clearing your mind of your happy holiday memories, why not embrace all the things you loved about your holiday and incorporate them into your working day? Not only will this ease you back into your normal routine, you might just find there are some feel-good factors that you want to adopt permanently. After all, there’s no reason why we can’t feel just as happy every day of the year.

We’ve got some nifty little tips that will help you make the most of your time once you return to work - making every day count.


Many of us love to get lost in a good book while we’re on holiday but what’s stopping you from picking up where you left off and imagining you’re back on your sun lounger at the side of the pool?

Treat yourself

There are no rules to say that we can only treat ourselves when it’s a special occasion so why not enjoy a spot of retail therapy and buy some new clothes for work? It might just help you feel as great as you did on holiday. Perhaps your desk could do with a little colour therapy, so treat yourself to some bright new stationary that will bring a smile to your face.

Plan something for the weekend

If your holiday hasn’t left you totally destitute, maybe make plans for the weekend. This will give you something to look forward to and keep you motivated throughout the week. How about a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant, a night out with friends or a cheeky getaway?

Book a buffer day

The thought of returning to work after a holiday can leave us feeling anxious and stressed knowing that we’ll have to face countless emails and catch up on all the work we missed while we were away. Not to mention the endless loads of washing and shopping we have to face. Booking that extra day off after we return from our holiday gives us time to get organised and acclimatise to reality, ultimately relieving some of the stress and allowing us to sleep better at night.

Take a full lunch break

Missing lunch break to catch up on work is a bad habit that many of us fall into but remember that you are entitled to your break. Making the most of this time gives us a chance to rest our minds and recharge our batteries.

Replace those times when you would be lounging in the sun or exploring an exotic location for something enjoyable in your lunch break. You might want to take a walk outside to get some fresh air – this is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and appreciate your surroundings. Or, instead of sightseeing, maybe you could venture somewhere new and learn a bit about the area.

Enjoy a tasty treat

It’s not uncommon for us to over-indulge while we’re holiday, devouring delicious goodies without giving it a second thought, so adjusting to our usual eating routines can play havoc with our sugar cravings. Think about livening up your usual lunchtime sandwich with an exotic wrap or a something from home that will take your thoughts back to your holiday or instead of your mid-afternoon cocktail, why not stop for some flavoured water, which will also keep you hydrated and your mind alert.

For more tips on returning to work after your holiday, visit the mental health charity website,

Thursday 10 October 2019

Mindset affects how we approach high workload

It's World Mental Health Day - a day for raising awareness of mental health issues.

If you're at work, drowning under the various tasks you have to complete, you won't be surprised to learn that this is a common scenario in the workplace and a cause of unnecessary stress for many employees. But what can you do to deal with the increasing demands at work? Well, according to researchers Casper, Sonnetag and Tremmel, your mindset is the key. 

Their study found that employees differed in their approach to workload anticipation based on whether or not they believed stress to be harmful to their productivity and health (their stress mindset). Employees with a positive stress mindset (i.e. those who looked at work as a challenge) found coping strategies to deal with the high workloads. However, it's not just how we approach tasks that helps us improve our productivity, but also how we anticipate them. The research indicated that people respond differently to the anticipation of high workload and these differences also affect our performance. This could be because some people view a high workload as a challenge, whereas others see it as a hindrance or a threat, causing them to avoid it. 

So, what's best way of dealing with a high workload? Nurturing a positive mindset and using coping mechanisms for managing workload goes a long way according to the researchers. But most importantly, in order to maintain wellbeing and health, it's essential to have a manageable workload with time to rest and recover after each working day.

Further reading 

Casper, A, Sonnentag, S, and Tremmel, S (2017), Mindset matters: the role of employees’ stress mindset for day- specific reactions to workload anticipation, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26, 798-810.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Wellness at work

RAND Europe, a non-profit research and analysis organisation, undertakes ongoing studies into wellbeing in the workplace and states: “Emerging research indicates that a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce, with fewer sick days taken and higher productivity when at work”.

When we take into consideration the amount of time we spend at work and the constant pressures we face each day, it’s no surprise that many of us, at some point in our careers, have taken time off work due to stress, anxiety or depression.

But with forward-thinking employers who recognise the importance of wellbeing at work, many companies are now putting wellbeing practices into place. Wellness programs that include yoga, meditation, free counselling sessions, training courses on mental wellbeing, fitness challenges, or gym memberships can help maintain a healthier workforce, which ultimately results in fewer sick days, higher retention, increased productivity and a happier work environment.

Middleton Murray, a UK based apprenticeship training provider, takes an holistic approach to wellbeing in the workplace and since introducing meditation techniques using the popular Headspace app, they have managed to retain all of their 120 staff since the initiative began.

Innocent Smoothies is a well known brand that puts wellbeing at the forefront of its success. The company provides many perks that contribute daily to the wellbeing of its staff. Free gym membership, flexible working hours, yoga club, free breakfasts, and training courses for understanding mental wellbeing are just a few of the initiatives that the brand has implemented.

There are lots of wellbeing initiatives that can be cost effective, providing benefits for both the company and employee. Good employee wellbeing increases productivity and motivation; boosts team spirit; and reduces stress, anxiety and depression.

Onsite yoga

By operating a yoga class at lunchtime, it not only encourages staff to take a break, it can also improve levels of concentration, ease muscle pain, and increase energy levels.

Nutritious snacks

Employers can try avoiding the mid-afternoon slump by ditching the vending machine and providing staff with a choice of healthy snacks such as fresh fruit and vegetables.

Flexible hours

We all have different commitments and responsibilities in our lives, therefore not everyone works to their optimum at the same times of day. Flexible working hours allow staff to work the hours that best suit their personal lives which, in turn, can reduce stress and enable them to focus better on the job at hand.

Walk or cycle to work initiative

As well as playing a part in reducing our carbon footprint by operating a walk or cycle to work initiative, we can help improve both mental and physical wellbeing of the workforce. Under the government’s Cycle to Work Scheme, employers can loan out bicycles to their staff as a tax-free benefit.

Training workshops on mental wellbeing

Mental health issues are often misunderstood in the workplace and as a result, people are reluctant to seek help. In addition, managers and colleagues may not recognise the issues that an employee is facing. Training workshops can include topics such as mindfulness, stress, assertiveness, managing difficult people, managing conflict at work, effective listening, motivational interviewing, etc. They can help provide relevant and helpful information to everyone or specific groups of people as well as guidance on techniques that people can use at home to alleviate symptoms. 

Counselling or CBT sessions for employees

More and more companies are offering counselling and cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) sessions to their employees. These are evidence-based approaches that can help employees improve mental wellbeing and also support recovery from stress, anxiety, low mood and psychological difficulties.

If you'd like to find out how First Psychology Assistance can help your organisation better understand and improve the mental health of employees, visit our website