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First day (back) in the office

First day (back) in the office

Feeling anxious about meeting your colleagues for the first time or feeling overall nervous for your first day back in the office?

After a few years of uncertainty, it is important to highlight that you are probably not the only one feeling these nerves, and settling into a ‘new normal’ is as aspect of life that many of us havefeared as it marks a new beginning. New beginnings do tend to be daunting, and landing yourself a new job comes with new colleagues, new roles and responsibilities and a new office! Change is exciting, and an aspect of life that should be embraced, as it often leads us to new opportunities and depths of ourselves we wouldn’t reach without it.

A few top tips:

Be prepared:

Be organised; the day before, plan your day, your outfit, your commute and even the small things like what you will have for breakfast. If it helps, you could make a note of all of the things you’d like to get done during the day, a to-do list is always helpful, more so for the satisfaction of crossing things out once they’ve been actioned! If you’re feeling anxious the night before you attend the office, be sure to read the NHS top tips, and get an early night.

Take time for you:

What makes you feel at peace? Is it yoga, meditation, a simple walk? What about listening to your favourite song? What makes you feel grounded? Whatever it is, do that. It is often difficult to make time for yourself, especially after caring for somebody else, but it is evermore important to do this to ensure nerves are relaxed and we can perform at our best. Whatever your peace is, utilise it to the fullest.

Stay hydrated:

Water contains natural calming properties which help when feeling anxious, and can also provide feelings of relaxation. In addition to this, having a cold shower also encourages the release of cortisol which is also a stress-inducing hormone. You can read more about it here. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you throughout your day!

Once you’re in the office, I would recommend asking lots of questions, be aware of your body language, and be available to your buddy/manager to ensure you are learning lots and doing your best to fulfil your role. Take notes when you can, and if you can’t ask a question there and then, make a note and be sure to ask your manager at a more appropriate time. indeed.com have some useful tips here.

By Priya Tank

 

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Caring for Carers: How to reduce workplace stress

Caring for Carers: How to reduce workplace stress

Working carers face stress and challenges both in the workplace and at home. There can be a lot to balance as with working comes significant responsibilities and pressures. For carers it is critical to address workplace stresses to reduce the burden they carry.

17.9 million working days are lost due to work-related stress, with 828,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2019/20. With a tremendously difficult couple of years as a result of the pandemic, for carers it is now more essential than ever that they prioritise their happiness and reduce the strain of working.

It is important for carers as they care for others to also care for themselves. Here are some useful steps to help carers combat work related stress and reduce the burden working has when also caring for a vulnerable person.

Taking time to recharge

It is important to remember that taking time to recharge is productive too. Work can be draining and balancing that with being a carer can be a lot to cope with. You may feel prone to focus your time and efforts on others and your job but taking time for yourself can help protect your wellbeing and mental health.

Doing something to relax after work such as taking a warm bath, listening to music or baking a cake can be a great way to soothe your mind.

Practicing mindfulness can help you relax and manage stress. Mindfulness teaches people to manage their stress by paying attention to the present moment. Meditation in a span of six to nine months can reduce anxiety levels by 60% and so can help reduce the anxiety that can come with balancing being a carer and working.

Flexible Working

Flexible working could help you to balance your work and caring responsibilities. If you have been with your employers for 6 months then you have the right to request flexible working. This could provide more flexible working hours, job sharing or teleworking which may be more suitable to your needs.

Support network

Being able to confide in a friend, family member or colleague means a problem shared can be a problem solved. Letting them know when you’re stressed regarding work and responsibilities can be an effective way to get advice and support.

We at Harrow Carers can provide a devoted support network to help when caring and working becomes stressful, through advice and support we aim to reduce the burden and increase the quality of your life.

Let go of mistakes

Letting go of mistakes and not being too hard on yourself can help reduce the potential stresses of working. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes in the workplace, it is valuable to acknowledge that you are doing your best. You need to resist the urge to be a perfectionist, if you’re working as well as caring for someone, it can be a lot to handle at once so remember to give yourself credit for that.

By Tabitha Desmond

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Getting Back into Work

Getting Back into Work

After taking some time to care for somebody, it can be difficult getting into the habit of having more free time to yourself and wondering how to get into work. There are a lot of emotions you might run into whilst trying to find a job, from worrying about the caring you were previously doing and how to fulfil your time, to wondering what it is you want to start doing again, it might perhaps be something brand new, or could be in an industry you have worked before?

To kick off your job search, whether it is paid or unpaid, it is worth reflecting on the skills you have gained from your role as a carer, and what it has taught you. Additionally, it is also important to highlight where you see your new role taking you, and thinking about the following questions:-

– how can you best apply these skills you acquired being a carer to the role you see yourself doing?

– when do you find yourself most happy? Take this into consideration when you are applying for new roles

– Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Consider this both professionally, and personally

Once you have an idea of which avenue you would like to take, it would be helpful to research search various job profiles of what is usually required to then integrate into your CV and whilst talking to recruiters. Creating a LinkedIn profile is also super helpful, as you have direct access to jobs that are available and can also make yourself directly available to both relevant recruiters and companies who have roles available.

A few LinkedIn tips:-

– Always have a profile photo

– Change your settings to allow recruiters/companies to message you, should they have relevant roles available

– Write a short biography for your profile which aligns to the roles you see yourself fulfilling

Emotionally, it can be difficult getting back into work, and starting a new routine, especially after dedicating so much of your time to somebody else, however it is also important to look after yourself. It is important to find what is right for you and whilst job searching and beginning a new routine may be challenging, it will be beneficial in the long-run. This does not mean we dismiss any feelings of being nervous, scared and anxious, it does however, mean that we find ways of dealing with these negative feelings; this could be exercise, meditation, cooking, reading. Everybody is different, everybody is on their own individual path, and it is important to focus on yours, get yourself where you want to be, and enjoying the journey.

Getting back into work By Priya Tank 

                                                                                                       

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

The job market now and how it affects carers

The job market now and how it affects carers

Evidence that the pandemic has affected carers significantly more than non carers is growing, and it points to carers being affected in all areas of their lives. The Office for National Statistics has just published a report that shows hard hitting evidence about the ways that carers have been affected, all to their detriment. You can read it here:

In terms of work, it shows that carers are more likely to work part time, and more carers have had to give up work during the pandemic. There are also more carers in the 55 to 64 age bracket than other age brackets. If you are a carer, this means that you will have to break several barriers to work in a competitive market. In addition, if the main caring activity is to be available at all times (ONS Report, cited above), this will impact on your being able to physically be in a work place.

However, the job market itself has changed massively due to the pandemic. We know that there are vacancies in all sectors, especially hospitality, health and social services, IT, food production, manufacturing, especially in terms of protective gear, and information and communication, to name a few. Now that we are starting to open up again, demand for staff is growing. In addition, the traditional office workspace is undergoing a sea change, with more employees working from home, and employers implementing blended work patterns.

This then may be an opportunity for carers looking to get back into work. Reed have reported that 91% of all job applications at the moment are for `work from home’ jobs. This may be ideal for carers who want to work, but do not want to compromise their caring responsibilities. The urge to fill job vacancies may mean that employers are more willing to consider flexibility in terms of hours,  and may pay more for certain skills. This is where the valuable transferable skills that carers have could come in.

If you are thinking about returning to work, think about your transferable skills, not least being able to juggle several tasks at once. Many people now are thinking about working in sectors they have never worked in before, and there is willingness on the part of employers to consider everyone on their merits and ability to do the job, as opposed to real experience in the industry. You can also gain virtual experience in some sectors, so think about your skill fit. This is a time of enormous change for the job market, and it would be well to position yourself to take advantage of new opportunities.

Most employers are now conducting virtual interviews, and there are techniques for doing these interviews well.  Here is one website that will give you tips for how to do these: How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview: 10 Tips for Success (wikijob.co.uk)  There are many more.

You need to think about how you present yourself, and how you can put your points across succinctly and powerfully. The Working for Carers Programme offers advice and support to get carers back into work, and have had success in getting carers back into the workplace despite the pandemic. In addition, they offer workshops on workplace resilience, workplace rights, and coping with new circumstances.  They are a valuable support if you want to go back to work, but do not know how to go about it.  You can find out more about them here:

Working for Carers – Carers Trust

Many carers are worried about whether they will lose their Carers Allowance if they go back to work. This is not the case, but there is a cap on earnings for Carers Allowance. You can earn up to £128 per week before Carers Allowance is affected. For more information, please see here: Carer’s Allowance – Citizens Advice or go to the Citizens’ Advice website.

It is a changing world out there for people in work, or who are looking for work, but there are opportunities. This could be the time that you, as a carer, could get something back for yourself. You have nothing to lose by trying, and a lot to gain, for yourself and your community.

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.

How Could Life Be Like For Carers After Lockdown?

How Could Life Be Like For Carers After Lockdown?

As the nation is moving into step four of the easing of lockdown, the government is removing COVID-19 prevention measures as we try and return to normal life.

As of July 19th, wearing masks in most public spaces will no longer be a legal requirement but the government is still asking  people to take caution and responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe from infection.

Guidance published by the government says they “expect and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”

This guidance also applies to factories, construction sites, offices and close contact services like hairdressers. Businesses will now be responsible for making and enforcing any face mask rules from Monday 19th July, if they deem necessary.

Here are some of the main operators and places that have specified their rules on face coverings:

Bars, pubs and restaurants

Pub chains like Wetherspoons have said customers are no longer required to wear masks, but they still require staff to wear face coverings in certain cases.

Other famous pubs like Greene King have promised that punters will be allowed to walk up to a bar and order a pint, without being asked to wear a mask. Both pubs also confirmed that they will no longer use the Test and Trace app to check customers for COVID symptoms.

Masks will also no longer be obligatory in public spaces. This means those dining at restaurants will be able to do so freely without wearing a mask.

Supermarkets

Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s will be encouraging workers and customers to continue wearing face coverings if they can. Others like Lidl will have signs at entrances to remind shoppers that mask wearing is recommended by the government.

How does removing the preventive measures affect carers?

Getting vaccinated

All eligible unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 and should have no been invited for a vaccine. If you are an unpaid carer, check here if you’re eligible for the vaccine.

Alternatively, give Harrow Carers a call at  020 8868 5224, and we’d be delighted to find out for you.

Support

As a carer, it’s vital you receive support and you know what’s available to you.

You may also be entitled to additional benefits as a carer that you may not be aware of. Give us a call at 020 8868 5224 if you’re unsure, as you may be missing out on financial support.

You don’t need to feel guilty about accepting help. Remember that there is only so much you can do – try to accept that sometimes you may need help.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

If you are a carer, it may be important to take some precaution measures as you don’t want to endanger the person you are caring for.

If you are also transitioning away from remote work, the government are offerring free PPE for COVID-19 needs to unpaid carers who don’t live with the person they care for. PPE is equipment that will protect you against health or safety risks at work. If you don’t live with the person you caring for, it is recommended that you wear PPE when delivering care.

Maintaining relationships with family and friends

Now that restrictions have been lifted, we may eventually want to connect with our friends and family again (not through Zoom anymore!)

Keeping in contact with your friends and family can be a great way to let off steam. You can talk about your emotions and what you’re going through. If you don’t feel like talking, you could catch a movie or even attend a fitness class.

As always. we’re always here to help. If you are a carer and unsure about how you’ll cope after the pandemic, call us on 020 8868 5224 for free consultation

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.