Our guide to better interviews

Improve your interview skills

Whatever side of the desk you’re on, you can probably up your game for your next interview. For employers, it’s important to take the time to find the right candidate, so that you spend your recruitment budget wisely and build a strong team. For candidates, the right approach to interview can significantly enhance your chances of getting an offer – even if you don’t meet all the criteria on paper.

With years of expertise in finding candidates and interviewing on behalf of clients, we’ve been able to compile a list of advice and tips that can help anyone involved in an interview to work towards the best outcome. Of course, we can’t guarantee that you’ll get the job, or make the best hire, but we can absolutely share some tips that will help to point you in the right direction.

These tips apply just as much to the new way of interviewing – via Zoom or Teams or other online platforms – as they do for traditional face-to-face interviews. Body language, tone of voice and interaction remain just as important. So you can apply this advice straight away, no matter who you’re interviewing, how or when.

For interviewers

Be aware of bias – unconscious bias is all about the decisions you take and opinions you form without even realising it. Understanding your own potential biases and working hard to overcome them is no easy task, but it’s vital for conducting a better interview. We’d take exception to being told we are biased about some things, but the fact remains that we often are. According to Psychology Today, some of these biases include:

  • The perceived physical attractiveness of the candidate
  • The perceived things you may feel you have in common with the candidate
  • The stereotypes you may hold about gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, qualifications and religion
  • The assumptions you may make based on dress, voice and non-verbal signals

In order to overcome bias, and remembering that the way that candidates behave in interview is highly influenced by stress and nerves, you need to have a clear structure for the interview that is consistent across all the candidates you see. This means you will have a standardised basis for looking back at the interviews to make a decision. In theory, it should also mean that you can hand your notes to someone who wasn’t in the interview and they should be able to see who is the best candidate.

Our top tips

  1. Really prepare for the interview. Know exactly what you are looking for in the right candidate, in terms of qualifications, experience, attitude and willingness to develop. Read the candidate’s CV thoroughly, along with any other material they have been asked to submit. Look for particular areas that may need further investigation or that you think are particularly relevant to the role.
  2. Set a standard list of questions. You need to be able to compare candidates after the interview process and this will be easier if you ask them the same things. You can go off-topic to explore answers, but you should to your list to make sure you are gathering all the most relevant information. Finally, keep your questions open, so that you give the candidate a chance to explain or expand, rather than just giving ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.
  3. Listen to your candidate. The most common problem with interviewers is a failure to listen. Instead, you’re focused on getting through the questions on your list and, in your mind, you’ve already decided what ‘golden’ responses you are looking for. We can pretty much guarantee that if you don’t listen and concentrate on the answers your candidates give, you’ll end up hiring the wrong person. As a leader, you should be able to listen to an answer and see how it reveals something that might be useful or flags up a warning sign.
  4. Set expectations – tell the candidate at the start how long you expect the interview to last and what you will be covering. If you are introducing other elements into the interview, such as the opportunity to meet other members of the team, a presentation, a test or a group challenge, you should let them know. Obviously, for some interviews, you will have spoken to the candidate ahead of time if there’s anything you expect them to prepare in advance.
  5. Stay on the right side of the law – there are questions that you are not allowed to ask in interviews because they are discriminatory. Stick to the attributes, qualifications and experience for the role.

 

For candidates

At a time when redundancies are being announced on an almost daily basis and there are hundreds of applicants for a single job role, it’s a real achievement to get to the interview stage of the process. And that’s often when the nerves kick in. At the moment, most interviews are happening via video call, which might mean that you can do them from the comfort of your own home, but also means that you’re at the mercy of the technology and that there are some new things to think about.

You may have already gone through a phone or video interview with a recruitment consultant – we speak to all of the candidates we shortlist to make sure that they are a good fit for the role and for the company. So that means you should have picked up quite a lot of background about both the company and the job you’ve applied for.

Our top tips

  1. Check your technology. If you’re interviewing online, try to use a tablet or laptop rather than your phone. Make sure you have checked that you have strong enough wifi, and if you don’t perhaps arrange to go to a friend or relative’s house where you can use stronger wifi. If you’re doing this, make sure it’s within the regulations and that you socially distance.
  2. Make an effort. Just because you’re interviewing online, you can’t assume that everything’s more relaxed. You still need to project a professional image, and that includes making sure you have a neutral background and good lighting so that there’s nothing to distract the interviewer from what you’re saying.
  3. Be prepared. Make sure you’ve checked out the company as thoroughly as you can. Look at the website, read their news pages, check out their product or service development. Follow them on social media and find out what’s important to them. Get used to their tone. You can look your interviewer up on LinkedIn now – there’s no excuse for being unprepared. By the same token, make sure you’re really confident about the role and what the company is looking for.
  4. Have your CV and any other documents ready to share. The beauty of an online interview is that you can share your screen to talk your interviewer through elements of your CV, or to showcase other work that you’ve done. If you’ve been asked to prepare a presentation, make sure it’s open on your screen and ready to go when it’s needed.
  5. Be engaged – look directly at the camera, if you’re interviewing online, or make regular eye-contact with your interviewer if it’s a face-to-face meeting. Be enthusiastic – but not over-the-top and engage positively with the questions. This is your chance to show how you can add to the business. We know that not everyone is outgoing, but if you are quieter or more introverted, you can still demonstrate passion and enthusiasm for the things that matter to you.
  6. Have some questions. This is standard interview advice, and that’s because it’s really important. Move away from basic questions about holiday or pay, and find at least three interesting questions to ask. These might be about learning and development programmes, or their attitude to sustainability, or their diversity programme. Ask questions that will help you to find out if this is a company you really want to work for.
  7. Make sure you know the next steps. You’ll want to know how soon you’ll find out about the decision and what feedback you might get. Be as relaxed as possible at the end of the interview – don’t bolt out of the door or leave the video meeting too quickly.

Whatever the role and whatever the circumstances, the interview is a critical part of the recruitment process for both sides. Approaching it with structure, preparedness and confidence can help everyone get the most from an interview, and can help both the interviewer and the interviewee learn valuable lessons for next time.

Find out more about our recruitment support here or contact us to see how we can help.


Are your children returning to school next week?

Children in England are heading back to school.

It’s been a strange – and challenging – few months for parents. You’ve not just had to manage home-schooling alongside working your everyday job at home; you’ve also had to deal with the ups and downs of children not being able to see their friends, not being able to go to their regular clubs and struggling with exam changes and the well-documented issues with results.

It’s also been a challenge for your children, who may have missed the structure and routine of school and may feel that they are going back in September disadvantaged by so much time off. And when they do go back, the school routine and layout will be different, so there’s lots to get used to.

Is this the new normal?

The state of things as we knew them at the start of the year is clearly not going to return for some time. You may still be furloughed, or you may be working at home. Redundancy and job insecurity are widespread and reports suggest that many people in the UK feel less well-off financially than they did in January.

School closures have meant that is has been difficult for parents to juggle work and child-care, especially where one or both parents – whether living together or not – are still working full-time away from the home as key workers, or as businesses start to return to the office.

So, getting the children back to school might be a relief all round, but you will need to have some contingency plans in place, in case of local lockdowns and school re-closures, in case your own business changes the way it works, or in case someone in your household tests positive for the virus and you have to isolate for a period of time. Things you might want to think about include:

  • Dedicated space to work at home: can you provide a dedicated space for your children to work if they need to stay at home? Even if it has to be shared, this will help them to have some space to do any work set for them.
  • Childcare options: if schools close as part of a local lockdown, what are your childcare options? Can you speak to your employer about flexible working or going back to work from home if you need to? Can your children’s other parent do the same?
  • Playing by the rules: lockdown easing means that we are coming into contact with many more people. So it’s important to observe rules for wearing face masks, hand sanitising, social distancing and gatherings to help reduce the risk of infection. You should also make sure that you know what rules the schools are implementing so that you can keep you and your family as safe as possible.

Now is a great time to speak to your employer about how you might manage a range of potential circumstances as we go into autumn and winter. And if you’re an employer, make sure you have spoken individually to all of your employees, and have a risk assessment and clear plan in place to help keep your business running whilst also taking your employees’ caring responsibilities into account.

For help and advice with returning to work, managing changes to employee contracts or drawing up new policies to deal with the current situation, contact us today.


Have you been affected by CV fraud?

As we move into a position where a large number of people are going to be job-hunting and some employers need to take on increasing numbers of staff, it’s important to make sure that your business is not losing money because of fraudulent candidates.

Research has showed that around 20% of CVs have some sort of misdirection on them, and feedback from employers has highlighted that nearly 50% have experienced candidates who lied about their degree qualifications.

CV and job application fraud has a knock-on effect on your business and finances. If someone is prepared to lie on their CV, they are less likely to be trustworthy employees. And if they have lied about their qualifications, they may not have the essential knowledge, skills and capability that you require for the position.

Fraud in the digital age

Whilst it’s true that it’s harder to commit CV or job application fraud now that so much information is available online for third party sources, it doesn’t seem to have prevented some candidates from trying to get one over on employers.

This type of fraud is often discovered too late: the employee has been hired, paid and invested in. In order to correct the problem you’ll have to spend time and money on dismissing the original employee and starting your recruitment all over again.

  • That’s why it’s so important to have a rigorous screening and referencing programme as part of your recruitment process. And it’s not just about having the process in place; it’s about making it clear to candidates that you will be checking their details for accuracy and honesty. This helps your business in a number of ways:
    Discourages fraudulent candidates from applying for your jobs
  • Enhances your reputation as an employer that values honesty and transparency
  • Gives you confidence that you are spending your recruitment budget efficiently and wisely
  • Builds a strong relationship between you and your candidates/new hires
  • Allows you to concentrate on growing your business successfully

 

What does screening and referencing offer?

Screening and referencing allows you to make sure that your candidates are who they say they are. It also gives you the opportunity to ensure your candidates have the right to work in the UK – which will become particularly important on January 1st 2021, when new immigration procedures come into force – and it means you can check qualifications, experience and professional memberships.

Screening as part of your recruitment process helps to give your candidates confidence in your process and gives your business confidence in the candidates, and it should be built into your recruitment process as a matter of course.


Does home-working affect teamwork and socialisation?

We’ve been thrust into a situation where homeworking has become the norm for many. But is it the best option for everyone? Not necessarily. There are lots of reasons why homeworking is good; studies show that some people are more productive when working from home, for example. But equally, not everyone has enough space to work well from home; not everyone has a good-enough broadband connection; not everyone wants to stay at home all the time.

So how are businesses going to approach the issue of homeworking now? Here are some of the pros and cons that we’ve discovered through working with our clients during this period:

• Productivity – for many, homeworking has resulted in greater productivity. The lack of a morning and evening commute means that people can get straight to their desks, and often take less time for lunch and are less distracted during the day.

• Caring responsibilities – homeworking can be useful for those with caring responsibilities – either for children, parents or other relatives. Being in the home means they can manage any visits or appointments needed and can adjust their working hours if possible, to accommodate school runs. Studies have shown that people who work at home for this reason are often very productive because they are aware of the flexibility they enjoy from their employer. However, this is a balance: managers and business owners will want to make sure that the employer is able to perform all their tasks from home and won’t be disturbed or distracted by their other responsibilities.

• Teamwork – teams often work best when they are in the same place, so homeworking could have a negative effect on the way that teams work together. Keeping a remote team working closely together requires more planning, more effort and more measurement, so businesses offering this opportunity will need to make sure they are providing the support needed to keep teams together.

• New hires – working in the office is a positive part of the induction process for new hires. It gives them a chance to integrate into the business, to get to know the people they are working with and to have a sense of purpose from day one. Starting a new job remotely – as many people have discovered during the pandemic – is a strange and difficult way to begin a new job and, like managing teams, requires more effort from line managers to ensure that new hires are able to work well.

• Managing absence – it’s easier for work to be picked up by others when everyone is in the office. Handing over tasks or projects ahead of holidays, during a period of long-term absence or even just for a week’s sickness is much easier when everyone is in the same place. Managing work handovers remotely is more time-consuming and requires advance organisation.

In the end, of course, this is going to be a choice for each business, based on the type of business and the job role. But it’s more than likely that many employees will be asking either for full-time homeworking or a split between office and home and businesses need to have a plan in place to deal with this new way of doing things.


5 ways to manage returning employees

As lockdown eases and businesses of all types can return to work, employees need to be treated fairly and with respect.

Some employees may be anxious about returning to work at all; others may want to renegotiate working conditions so that they can work more often from home. Employees who have been shielding since March will be able to go back to work from August, and will need significant support in order to do so.

So, what must you do to manage these issues to make sure that your employees are taken care of and their concerns heard, whilst also making sure that your business can continue to run smoothly?

1. Understand individual positions

It’s important that employers listen to the individual concerns of employees. In smaller businesses, line managers, HR managers and even Managing Directors can have individual conversations with employees to find out how they feel about returning. In larger businesses, every employee should have the opportunity to express any concerns they have about returning to work.

2. Vary work patterns for furloughed workers

The changes in the government’s furlough scheme come into force in July. From then, employers can bring furloughed workers back into the business for any amount of time, whilst still claiming furlough payments for time not worked. Just as employees needed to agree to be put on furlough in the first place, they will need to agree the way in which they come back, particularly if they have anxieties as carers for vulnerable people.

3. Consider parental and carer responsibilities

With schools unlikely to return to full opening until September, those caring for children may need to be more flexible in their working patterns. Employers need to think about the circumstances of these employees and be as flexible as possible with encouraging return to work, varying contracts if necessary to protect the jobs of employees who need to continue flexible or home working in order to manage childcare.

4. Communicate clearly and often

One of the most common complaints from employees at times of change is the lack of communication. It’s extremely important to keep employees in the loop about your progress both in terms of returning to work and in terms of risk assessments and health and safety. Encouraging employees to ask questions and make suggestions about how they can work safely and productively will engage them in the process of returning to work and give them the information they need to make the right decisions about their own return.

5. Embrace new ways of working

Many employers have discovered that businesses can operate even when the office is shut. You may have discovered ways to streamline your processes or to save money on your office rental. The fact that everyone is now used to holding virtual meetings means that daily face-to-face working may not be as vital as before, and you now have the opportunity to improve productivity. Whilst for some businesses this may mean an eventual reduction in the workforce, for many employers, this presents an opportunity to save money, do things better and offer more flexibility to employees.

Finally, remember that the negotiations and contract variations you make may only be temporary, so you’ll need to set review dates with each individual and keep track of how the new arrangements are working.

For help and advice with helping your employees return to work, just contact us today.


How are you managing employee holidays?

It might seem like a ridiculous question, given that we can’t travel or stay in other houses, but a holiday’s about more than ‘getting away’, and you should be aware of how you might manage employee holiday requests now and in the future.

This period has been hard work for everyone. Whatever you’ve been doing: on furlough, working normally, working longer hours, shielding, caring for a vulnerable family member or facing the possibility of making staff redundant – it’s been a trying and worrying few months.

And, although things are slowly starting to return to business, you and your employees will still need a break. Whilst there’s a limit to where you can travel, you can get to see friends and family, you can celebrate special events and you can take some time to relax and switch off.

Managing excess holiday

Employees can now carry leave over for the next two leave years, to take into account the fact that businesses are having to work differently to manage the impact of COVID-19.

Guidance on the government’s website states:
“Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days’ holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.
The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.”

So employers will need to manage the carrying-over of leave whilst also making sure that employees take leave in a way that is sustainable for the business, and promotes their wellbeing.

How to talk to your people about holiday

Holiday is one of the most precious benefits that a company offers. Many companies offer more than the standard holiday entitlement, including things like a holiday on an employee’s birthday and holiday rewards as part of recognition schemes. There are also holiday buy-back schemes and all these variations will need to be taken into account.
If you have employees that want to take holiday at this point, accommodate them if you possibly can. It could be that they have had a stressful time and need to recuperate – or that they have had COVID-19 and want to make the most of recovery. Or it could be that the holiday time was booked in advance and they still want to take it, even if holiday plans have been cancelled.

Whilst you need to make sure that you have the staff and skills to help your business return to work or meet new demand, you have to balance this with the impact on your employees’ wellbeing from not taking a holiday until much later in the year.


CEOs and MDs need to be kinder to themselves

There’s been no shortage of articles online and in the press about ‘how to be a better leader’ during the COVID-19 crisis. Of course, leaders are having to do things differently and think about their business and their employees in a different way, but being inundated with articles and thought pieces telling you just how badly you could be doing doesn’t help.

In fact, our experience is that leaders are working harder than ever, whilst also making sure that their employees are taking time out, flexing work around caring responsibilities and looking after their mental and physical wellbeing.

Anecdotally, we’re hearing that bosses are working longer hours from home and keeping devices on so that they can respond to business and employee concerns at any time. They’re trying to keep track of the support on offer and preparing for a return to work, all whilst keeping the business operational in difficult times.

If you’re a leader whose business is still operating during this period, you’re likely to be busier than ever. You may have to re-structure your business completely – something that you usually have the luxury of doing over a significant period of time. Or you may have to change your operations to account for the restrictions in opening or social distancing. You may have re-focused your business into designing, developing or producing equipment and supplies to help support the health service, or you might have re-directed your drivers to help charities with food deliveries.

You may just be one of the fortunate businesses who have seen demand for certain products rise and are trying to meet that demand safely and with a sympathetic customer service experience.

Whatever the circumstances, it seems that leaders aren’t practicing what they preach to their staff. This means that when you do return to work you could be tired, mentally low and not really able to motivate and support your staff in what will be a tricky transition.

So, if you’ve been working 12-14 hour days for the past three months, from an office that you’ve put together at home, being in contact 24/7 and not taking any extra time off, perhaps now is the time to re-assess the way you work.

Take some days off. Put some boundaries around your working hours. Shut your office down in the evening and either put your laptop away or shut the door to the room it’s in so that you’re not tempted to check emails. Set specific times when you’ll be available for calls and stick to them.

Your people will respect that you’re taking some time for yourself – and taking the advice that you’re giving to them. And you’ll be in a better physical and mental place to take on the next challenge.


Resilience

We’re into the fourth week of lockdown. How are you feeling?

It wouldn’t be surprising if you’re tired of seeing the same four walls, or missing the spontaneity of lunch with your work colleagues or a cheeky mid-week meal out.

In fact, we’ll all need a fair bit of resilience to keep us going over the next few weeks. Fortunately, resilience isn’t a talent that you either have or don’t have – it’s a way of helping yourself through difficult or stressful times, and we can all do it.

Your body – eat as healthily as you can, get some exercise and make sure you sleep.

Your mind – take a break from your tasks and get some fresh air, listen to your favourite playlist, read a book, engage with your family and friends.

Your attitude – try not to be too hard on yourself or others. Give yourself a break and don’t expect too much in these tricky circumstances. And appreciate that others may be struggling too.

Your communication – share your worries and problems with others. You’ll find they are often shared, and that you feel better for having spoken them out loud.


The A-Z of Positivity!

A is for Attitude – even if you’re having a low day, count five positive things in your life. Write them down, tell them to someone or just list them in your head. You don’t need to be dancing round the kitchen every day to have a positive attitude.

B is for Boosting – try giving some positive feedback to the people around you: your family, your work colleagues, the postman, the guy delivering your online shopping. It’s amazing how much difference ‘thank you’ or ‘I think you’re doing a great job’ can make.

C is for Calm – this is a uniquely stressful time. Just 5 minutes of sitting still with your eyes closed, slow breathing and relaxing your body can refresh your thinking and get you through the next stage of the day.

D is for Doing – whether you’re struggling to motivate yourself to work or just to get off the sofa, break your tasks down into small chunks. This helps you to get through things a bit at a time, so you feel you’ve made progress without being overwhelmed.

E is for Exercise – you might be limited to going out once a day, but make the most of that time to get in some much-needed exercise. A walk is fine; enjoy the fresh air and the quieter places around you. And if you can, perhaps do some additional exercise at home. There are plenty of people offering free online classes for you to join.

F is for Feelings – it’s perfectly fine to let yourself feel a range of emotions. We are all going through a lot of changes in a short time. There’s plenty to be concerned about, and lots of pressure. Acknowledging that you feel scared, worried, stressed or upset is an important step. Use our Attitude tip to remind you of the good things around you.

G is for Genuine – both you and your business need to be authentic during this period. Of course, that’s something you should strive for all the time, but it’s particularly important now. People are remembering which businesses have behaved well and which have not. Be transparent and honest about what you are doing and why – to your customers, to your teams and to your suppliers.

H is for Healthy – it’s obvious, but important! Eating well, drinking water, cutting back on alcohol and getting good exercise and rest will help to keep both your body and mind healthy during this period.

I is for Inquisitive – is this a good time to learn something new? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? You have the benefit now of having some time to develop a new skill or hone a talent that’s been set aside while you get on with life.

J is for Juggling – not circus tricks (although see ‘Inquisitive’ above!) but your time. If you are working alongside care responsibilities for children or parents; or are trying to manage teams remotely, you can feel like you have too many balls in the air. A simple list and dividing your time during the day can help you to keep on top of things.

K is for Kids – managing holidays is often a challenge for parents, never mind school time, lessons and a lockdown. But you can learn a lot from your kids if you just ask. They’ll tell you how things are run at school, they’ll teach you new technology tricks and they’ll make you laugh.

L is for Laughter – it’s important to laugh, whether you’re with people or on your own. Families and friends are getting together for games nights and quizzes over video calls; comedians are live-streaming their sets; colleagues are getting together for lunchtime quizzes or Friday night catch-ups. Stay sociable and stay happy.

M is for Meetings – you’ll be having lots of conference calls and video meetings right now. Being on camera all the time is much more stressful than being in a face-to-face meeting, so try, if you can, to limit the number of video meetings you have each day – or limit the time spent at each meeting. Have an agenda and someone running the meeting, so that they are productive, and only invite the people who really need to be there.

N is for Neighbour – staying at home means getting to know your street a bit better, even if it’s from a safe distance. Across the UK, neighbours have been shopping for each other, calling people in isolation to give them some company, putting rainbows and teddy bears in the window and even joining in with singing, dance and exercise. This is when you discover what a great community you are part of.

O is for Outside – if you have a back yard, a garden, a patio, get out every hour or so for 5 minutes, unless the weather really doesn’t allow it. Take in the peace and quiet, get some big lungfuls of fresh air, stretch your neck, arms and shoulders. If you don’t have an outside space, make use of your daily outdoor time to do the same. Look for new growth on the trees, listen out for the birds – it’s surprising how much is going on in the natural world around you.

P is for Pomodoro – this is a  great technique to help manage your productivity during the day. It’s named after a kitchen timer that’s shaped like a tomato (‘pomodoro’ in Italian). Simply list the tasks you have to do during the day, and then set your timer to 25 minutes and start your task. After the time is up, either cross your task off your list if you’ve completed it, or just take a 2-3 minute break. Then re-set the timer and get back to your task or start a new one. Taking a break every 25 minutes helps to keep you focused and makes the day fly by!

Q is for Questions – working remotely means that you can’t just ask questions of colleagues in the same way you do in an office. To make everyone’s lives easier, either schedule a daily call or video chat where everyone can catch up and ask or answer questions, or make a list so that you can email questions in one go rather than going backwards and forwards on email.

R is for Relaxing – it’s important to build some relaxation into your day. This means different things for different people. For some, it’s gardening; for others, it’s reading. Others may be happiest watching a box set or doing some exercise or catching up with friends. Do whatever works for you.

S is for Structure – if you’re working from home, it’s important to still have some structure to your day. Set a start and finish time for your day, and work out a routine that matches your household needs and circumstances. Try and find somewhere quiet to work, or set up a workstation that’s clearly your ‘zone’. It’s surprising how much we rely on the structure of a normal working day, and keeping to it will help you to manage your time and stay productive.

T is for Thinking – give yourself some time to think. If you’re a business owner or manager, you’ll need to be thinking about how to manage this situation for your business and your staff. If you’re a team member, you need to think about what you can learn from this experience that might change the way you work in the future. One of the struggles with remote working is that we feel we have to be ‘working’ the whole time. But, if your organisation trusts you to get your work done, you can also spend time on the parts of your business that need a little thought, but that you rarely get the time to think about.

U is for Understanding – giving and receiving understanding is a powerful thing. You and your team are dealing with a completely new set of circumstances, and a little understanding goes a long way. If you’re a leader, now is the time to share your own concerns and situation so that your people can see what you’re dealing with, and let them do the same. It will build better relationships for the point where you are back in your ‘normal’ environment.

V is for Vision – is now the time to think about how your business could change its ways of working? To learn something about the potential benefits of working remotely, or not travelling to the office every day? Perhaps it’s given you the opportunity to think about the bits of your business that you could develop more or change to make more effective?

W is for Working – if you’re working, either at home or for an essential service, look after yourself. If you’re furloughed and you can, why not consider volunteering for the NHS or for a local charity that needs your help? If you unable to work, check your rights to benefits or grants, and look for jobs with those companies that still need workers.

X is always too difficult and results in a random entry in an A-Z list that either doesn’t make sense or isn’t very funny. So our ‘X’ is to say thank you for reading this far!

Y is for Yes! Now may be the time when an unexpected opportunity comes your way. It may be to help out people in your local community who are struggling. It may be to repurpose your business to help the overall effort to defeat the virus. It may be that you get back in touch with people you haven’t spoken to for ages. Saying ‘yes’ to a new opportunity could be the best thing you do.

Z is for Zest – even in the most challenging times, we can find a passion for something. Having a zest for life doesn’t mean you’re always the happiest person in the room; it means you can find something to love, something to enjoy, something to keep you going. It doesn’t matter what that is, although we’d love you to share it with us if you feel like it!