Why Employers Must Be Wary Of Presenteeism In The “New Normal”

While a significant number of businesses are now beginning their phased return back to the office (or equivalent workspace), many more will have made the temporarily-enforced shift to remote working a permanent arrangement.

While this comes with a laundry list of benefits for the workforce such as improved sleep – please do check out our Global Working From Home Survey for the full story on this step-change – there may also be a resurgence in a very unhealthy working trend: presenteeism.

For those unfamiliar with presenteeism, you will likely be aware that, when ill, not every employee opts to take the time off they should. Whether out of an extreme work ethic, management pressures or worries over their advancement prospects if they take time off, they continue to show up for work despite feeling unwell, and are likely far less productive as a result. This, in a nutshell, is presenteeism.

Unfortunately, the issue of presenteeism appears to have been exacerbated by employees working remotely, meaning it is crucial for managers and team leaders to be vigilant. Recent research from the CIPD revealed that 77% of employers have observed presenteeism from employees working from home over the past year – with 43% of these admitting that they were taking no action to prevent it.

When employees are working from home, it is all-too-easy to hide illness or signs that something isn’t right mentally, and employers that do not recognise this and take appropriate action will, at best, run the risk of losing their top talent to a competitor and, at worst, see their staff put at serious risk of burnout and other mental health issues. 

So, what can employers do?

In order to minimise the risk of presenteeism, businesses must build an open, inclusive working culture wherein staff feel safe and supported. In this environment, if a member of staff feels unwell, or if they have an issue that may affect their work, they will feel comfortable taking the issue to their managers so that a solution can be found.

Particularly when working from home, staff still need to stay in regular contact with their managers, and to be encouraged to take the time off they need when they feel ill. Managers and more senior members of staff also need to lead by example and take the time off they need, when they need it.

Particularly for businesses that have made working from home their “new normal”, companies must take a preventative, rather than reactive approach to employee wellness, ensuring it is always front of mind throughout every facet of the business. By doing this, employers will enjoy a happier, more engaged workforce, while reducing the risk of presenteeism.

It’s a cliché, but that makes it no less true – people are the lifeblood of any business. Encourage their development, offer them the benefits that matter most to them and support them in sickness and in health, and your business will reap the rewards. To find out more about how Wrkit can support your company with its talent engagement and wellbeing strategy, visit www.wrkit.com.

Worker Wellbeing In The Hospitality Industry

The gradual reopening of hospitality over the past few weeks has been a significant signal of better times – meeting friends, enjoying food and drink that you cannot have at home and generally soaking in the feeling of the return of normality.

However, behind the scenes, a staffing crisis within the sector is a real challenge.

Hospitality does have a reputation of staff working long, antisocial hours and dealing with difficult customers as well as it being a somewhat physically demanding and often low-paying job. A year of uncertainty, furlough, increased risk of infection and last-minute closures has only exacerbated these issues as jobseekers may be avoiding the sector in search of more stable and safer employment. Furthermore, Brexit has caused many European nationals previously working in the industry to return to their home countries.

As the country reopens to both citizens and international visitors, an adequately staffed hospitality sector is essential not just for the industry, but for the wider supply chain. To attract and retain staff, it is now vital that employers are making a conscious effort to support employee wellbeing and offer additional staff benefits to attract and retain workers.

Some businesses have increased wages and offer other financial incentives and while this is a good move for an industry that is known for low wages, support for hospitality employees should go beyond this. By being creative with their employee benefits offering, employers will improve staff satisfaction, morale and retention which may be crucial to the survival of their business.

Resilience

It is no secret that hospitality staff frequently come under fire from disgruntled customers and that these exchanges can be unkind and may leave team members upset, low and feeling less resilient. Similarly, amid busy service tensions between staff can run high and lead to stressed encounters between colleagues.

Offering stress and resilience training will give staff the tools they need to handle difficult situations, reduce the effects they have on them and allow them to protect their mental wellbeing while developing their confidence.

Employees can take an active part in developing their own resilient mindsets by discussing issues with supervisors and by reframing challenging situations to look like a learning opportunity and to discuss ways to grow and develop as an individual and as a team.

Employers can also support staff resilience by recognising that they have handled a difficult situation well and reassuring them that it is not necessarily a reflection of them or their capabilities. In combination with mental health resources, stress and resilience training will go a long way in protecting employees’ wellbeing.

Talks and workshops offered by Wrkit will give teams the tools they need to grow, develop resilience and manage the challenges that they face throughout the day through practical workshops and coaching sessions.

In addition, the self-help tools on the POWR platform will help employees build resilience and improve wellbeing. The platform allows employees to take control over their health and wellness through Self Awareness, Goal-Setting and ongoing Self-Monitoring.

Recognition

Recognition is not just a tool to build resilience, but it also makes employees feel valued in their role which improves overall job satisfaction.

Wrkit’s recognition module is a fantastic tool for promoting this and creating a culture of mutual support and celebration between the team to help everyone to feel appreciated and respected. This should span from management down and between both back and front of house staff.

Switching off

Spending hours on your feet, working busy shifts and keeping on top of what customers need and want throughout the day sounds exhausting, but in reality, it stimulates your brain and makes it hard to transition out of “work mode”.

Employers should encourage staff to unwind at the end of their shift, whether that is sitting down and having a drink before going home, providing a quiet space to sit at the end of the day and process the shift before leaving, or giving access to mindfulness or meditation tools.

These switching off practices are especially important for employees working late night shifts as failure to do so could leave them awake until the early hours of the morning and not getting enough rest.

Sleeping and resting

The hospitality industry is known for long, late hours and often a lack of breaks. While it is understandable, especially in the face of a staffing crisis, that staff cannot always take a break during a busy service, managers must ensure they are doing everything in their power to give their staff a reasonable amount of downtime.

Getting a good amount of sleep is critical to performing well at work and maintaining mental wellbeing. Late-night hospitality venues in particular must consider this. Avoid putting staff on shifts that require an early start after a late finish and explore options to help staff rest quicker after a shift, such as mindfulness or meditation resources.

Megan Sowney, Wrkit’s UK Managing Director, said: “Hospitality staff face challenging situations every day, but these challenges have been amplified in recent weeks. The public have missed eating and drinking out, so have descended on establishments in huge numbers. This combined with staffing issues means that hospitality workers are working incredibly hard, and this is likely to take its toll on mental health.

“Employers must ensure they are taking care of their staff, or they could end up losing them to other businesses or industries, which could have dire implications. The hospitality industry needs staff to operate, and it needs staff who are not burnt out to run well.

“Businesses that look after the wellbeing of current staff, re-evaluate the current industry standards and offer an attractive employee benefits package will enjoy higher levels of retention and an improved employer reputation, aiding recruitment.”

5 Employee Wellbeing Lessons From Your Favourite TV Shows

On occasion, we all like to sit down and indulge ourselves with a few episodes of our favourite TV show, but when it comes to fictional workplaces it’s best not to hold their practices as a guide on what to do. We have therefore collated our top five employee wellbeing lessons we have learnt from our favourite fictional characters.  

The US Office –  

For some, having a boss like Michael Scott might be a dream come true, but generally, it can be a bad idea to encourage a culture of over-familiarity within a workplace. In fact, unlike almost every The Office character you should want to encourage all employees to respect each other’s boundaries.

A great step towards this is ensuring all personal disclosures stay private and confidential. If an employee needs time off for a sensitive issue make sure to be as discreet as possible and refrain from prying into others situations.  

Grey’s Anatomy –


The life of a fictional doctor is likely to be full of high stress and emotions, but more often than not workers in the show are often pitted against each other. While competition can be healthy if it is conducted in good faith, you will have a much better success rate in promoting your team to co-operate instead.

It may seem that competition can encourage one employee but it can come at the cost of discouraging another. It’s a great practice to help employees focus on their own progression and explain to them how they can improve without comparing them to one another.  

The Crown –

One may argue that the job of a royal is a duty and not just normal employment, but if this show is to teach us anything about a role, it is that you shouldn’t let it consume you. Dedication and perseverance are great qualities to have in an employee but their job shouldn’t be their whole life – we all need downtime to recover from the stress of a day.

In doing this make sure not to reward unhealthy behaviour, as it will set a bad precedent and you will discourage workers from prioritising a healthy work/life balance.

Mad Men –

Immersing yourself in the world of an advertisement agency during the ’60s can be thrilling, and although being as dapper as Don Draper may seem like a great goal to strive for, promoting an unhealthy lifestyle at work can actually do a lot of damage.

For the most part, we expect that most places don’t encourage smoking and excessive drinking but an office can also go a lot further to helping employees make healthy choices in their day-to-day life. Offering out free healthy snacks and access to or discount on exercise classes can help your workforce develop both a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Line of Duty –

The pressure is likely to be high when you are tasked with catching a renowned crime boss but even detectives need to sleep. DS Arnott’s ability to catch a bent copper will be hindered if his work schedule impacts his sleep. Not only can poor sleep hygiene affect productivity but lack of sleep has been linked to lifelong health complications.

Our recent Global Working From Home Survey found that UK workers are strongly positive about their sleep quality when working from home, scoring sleep quality 7.6/10 on average, and also find it far easier to plan their nightly sleep routine (7.3/10). With this in mind, employers need to be wary of the effect on their employees quality of sleep when they eventually return to the office.

To find out more about how Wrkit can support your company with its employee wellbeing and wellness strategy, visit www.wrkit.com.

Are Staff Equipped To Handle The New World Of Work?

Following months of frenzied media debate it is clear that, for many businesses, remote working is here to stay in some capacity. Whether this means working from home permanently, or in a hybrid fashion for a couple of days each week, the way we work will look very different to how it did in years past.

While workers will see a great many benefits to this more flexible world of work, this cannot come at the expense of worker productivity or, more importantly, wellbeing. Unfortunately, our recent Global Working From Home Survey indicates that, unless action is taken, this may very well come to pass.

Specifically, our research indicates that UK workers overwhelmingly believe that they are not equipped to work from home permanently, with workers scoring only 1.6/10 – a significantly low reading – for the affirmation “I have the tools I need to do my job from home”. What’s more, there appears to be a disconnect between how the public responded to our survey, and how they actually feel.

In our survey, our respondents actually responded positively to the affirmation around being adequately equipped to work from home, scoring this at 8.4/10 – more than five times higher than the score above when you take into account the unique Implicit Reaction Time (IRT)* scale we have used for this research.  

This is a concerning finding, given it indicates that staff surveys across the country may be susceptible to similar “false positives” and, subsequently, a significant shortfall in equipment provision may be going unnoticed. Moreover, it may indicate that, while employees want to work from home, they may be struggling with aspects of the remote working environment such as limited work space and childcare, signalling that employers may need to rethink their benefits provision in favour of solutions that better fit the needs of their workforce.

Looking at the knock-on effect of this shortfall, whether this be in terms of equipment or environment, there is a clear correlation with (remote) workplace stress. In our survey, UK workers scored substantially lower than their counterparts across the globe when it came to managing stress levels, with UK workers rating their capacity to manage stress while working from home at 5.1/10, compared with the global reading of 7.2/10.

Given that the national rate of work-related stress, anxiety and depression has skyrocketed in recent years according to the HSE, employers would do well to pinpoint elements of the job that may be causal factors, and look to better support their staff in these areas wherever possible. Investing in the tools and platforms staff need to do their jobs effectively and (where possible) stress-free is a clear step towards this, which is highly likely to pay for itself many times over in the long run.

Simply enough,while it is encouraging to see that businesses are increasingly adopting more flexible approaches to working patterns, such as hybrid working, employers must now ensure that these changes amount to more than just lip service.

If businesses are to make the permanent leap to remote working in any kind of meaningful way, they must provide realistic employee provisions to ensure that they support their staff with the tools and technology they need to work from home effectively. After all, a business is only as strong as its people, and staff morale and wellbeing are paramount.

Interested in finding out more about how the team at WRKIT can help your business to provide world-class support to its remote staff? Visit https://wrkit.com

Exclusive Concert Series: Lunch and Listen – with Irish Pianist Maire Carroll 🎵☘🎹

Wrkit take the wellness of our clients and their people seriously, bringing innovative initiatives to boost morale and complement culture – and to become your trusted Wellbeing partner.

🧬 Did you know?

Neurological researchers have found that listening to music triggers the release of several neurochemicals that play a vital role in brain function and mental health:

  • dopamine, associated with happiness
  • serotonin and other hormones related to immunity
  • oxytocin, a chemical that fosters the ability to connect to others

Here at Wrkit, we understand the science behind feeling good, which is why we’re thrilled to announce we’re hosting a 4-week Lunch and Listen Series with the wonderfully talented Maire Carroll, an Irish concert pianist who has performed across the world including performances at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, National Opera House in Tallinn, the Barbican, Royal Over-Seas League, St. John’s Smith Square, and the National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Each week is a different theme, starting with

🎬 Week One: “Movies” which includes classical renditions of famous movie scores, lasting a maximum of 25 minutes.

This session is open to all, and can be accessed by pressing the registration link below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMucuutrzkoEtUoAKLXFXeOKpS-BlZNPlbl

The remaining three concerts are exclusively for Wrkit clients and will be themed as follows:

👩 Week Two: “Female Composers” – with pieces specifically created by some of the world’s most renowned female musicians

🎹 Week Three: “Hidden Piano” – taken from Maire’s latest album which beautifully entwines classical music with contemporary

💬 Week Four: “Requests” – which gives our clients and their people the chance to submit their favourite songs, and hear them played by a world renowned pianist

Just As A Puppy Is Not Just For Christmas, Mental Health Should Hold The Spotlight All Year Round

As Mental Health Awareness week is behind us once more, we think it’s important to remind ourselves that our mental health, and that of our work colleagues, is something we should focus on year-round.

We wholeheartedly welcome the focus on mental health and anything which throws a spotlight on wellbeing, particularly workplace wellbeing, is, in our book, something to celebrate.

But, just as all reasonable people understand that the responsibilities of owning a puppy stretch well beyond the 12 days of Christmas, you should not leave your focus on your own and your work colleagues’ mental health fallow for too long.

Keeping your glass half full

The NHS provides typically sensible and achievable evidence-based advice, suggesting five steps to mental wellbeing:

  • Connect with other people. We’re social animals after all. Call your friends or family, take a colleague to lunch and build bridges. If you know of a neighbour who lives alone, check in on them or put a note through their door.
  • Be physically active. You don’t have to run a marathon or cycle 100 miles, get away from your desk at lunchtime, walk a different route home or to the next bus stop along. Tune into your surroundings. There’s a whole world out there to explore.
  • Learn a new skill. This can help boost your self-confidence and provide a new purpose. What will you do next? What can your employer do to help?
  • Pay attention to the present moment. What are you experiencing right now? Build your self-awareness. Challenge yourself to understand your thoughts and feelings. And be honest.
  • Give to others. This can create positive feelings of self-worth. It could be as simple as helping somebody with a deadline or just saying thank you.

Wrkit are privileged to offer a product for every bullet point of advice, giving a 360 Wellness solution:

  • Connecting – with changing working environments, see each other face to face and even calling without purpose can be difficult to fit into the working day. Wrkit’s Recognition tool provides a social wall that takes less than 30 seconds to populate with stories of thanks, well wishes or congratulations.
  • Physical Activity – not just exercise, but movement. Moving every hour on the hour is so important for supple joints, and Wrkit’s Move module provides on demand movement, deskercise and exercise videos that take no longer than 2 mins to complete.
  • Upskilling – learning what you want, when you want, is even more of a breeze when it’s free of charge. Wrkit’s Learning tool offers over 4500 courses in Nutrition, Pet Care, History, the Arts and professional skills such as leadership, technology skills and management – and 92% of courses are free to learn.
  • Being Present and Self-Aware – Wrkit’s POWR module provides scores in 6 key pathways: Mind, Work, Life, Sleep, Active and Food, providing a visual representation of how you’re doing and where you’re in need of a boost. Self-awareness is the key to change, and the scores are just the beginning. Tips, tricks and plans are provided to improve scores, optimise resilience, and drive longevity of positive mindset.

To find out more about how Wrkit can support your company with its talent engagement and wellness strategy, visit www.wrkit.com.

The Proof Is In The POWR

There has been a massive increase in digital technology and wearable devices over the last decade and many of us are striving to reach that daily ten thousand step goal, even if this means doing laps around our bedroom just before bedtime. The buzz of acknowledgement when we reach our target goal is like getting a pat on the back from our very own 24/7 personal trainer and the sense of pride we feel before we rest up for the night is indeed very satisfying.

These little prompts and notifications really do help us to stay motivated and these days these same technologies can really help us set and achieve goals across a wide range of areas and activities, helping us more easily monitor our healthy behaviours over time.

This digital health technology boom now includes apps and online platforms providing interactive tools and information on wellbeing guidance, mood tracking and practical advice across a multitude of wellbeing areas including Life Satisfaction, Physical Health, Emotional Wellbeing and Social Support. POWR is one of these innovate platforms, leading the way and contributing to the wellbeing needs of employees across Europe, the US, Australia and the UK.

Over the last 3 years, Wrkit, the company behind digital wellbeing platform, have been developing POWR which has grown and evolved in response to the ever-changing landscape of wellbeing. The wellbeing of employees, ease of access to information, and effectiveness of online self-help tools are at the forefront of everything that POWR strives to provide. The user-friendly and interactive nature of the platform ensures that support is available at the click of a button and provides instant advice and access to hundreds of behaviour change plans, that have been created by a team of psychologists and health experts to specifically meet the needs of each employee, in a personalised way. These plans help improve wellbeing based on Self Awareness, Goal-Setting and ongoing Self-Monitoring and gives individuals the chance to take an active part in improving their overall health and wellbeing. Designed to recreate a professional health consultation experience, with a variety of ongoing supports.

Companies have always faced the challenge of effectively supporting employees to improve their levels of health and wellbeing and these challenges have increased significantly in recent times, considering the amount of employees now working from home. Research shows that the promotion of employee wellbeing in the workplace has many long-term benefits, not only for employees but also for the overall health of the organisation. From an employer’s point of view, it can be hard to monitor the mood of staff and to check in with team members who are away from the office, as they don’t have the same opportunities for casual chats or to notice visual signs of how colleagues are. The pandemic has certainly highlighted the need to be proactively supporting employee health and companies know that it is not easy to motivate their staff to engage in daily self-care and invest in on their wellbeing at work, however recent engagement statistics for POWR are showing that this can be achieved!

Within POWR employees are given the opportunity to not only track their mood every day but are encouraged to engage in the behaviour change plans which are specifically created to improve mood and wellbeing. These plans provide people with the skills to ‘Understand Worry’, to manage ‘Feeling Overwhelmed’ and ways to overcome being ‘Stuck in a Rut’, common stressors seen in the everyday lives of many employees during the pandemic.

The ‘Breathe’ and ‘Listen’ exercises within the POWR platform are particularly popular among employees across the globe according to our engagement statistics. Medical research shows that taking just a few minutes out of your busy work day to focus on your breathing, activates the parasympathetic nervous system which has been proven to significantly reduce stress levels! Employees can then go back and log their wellbeing after the completion of these exercises or having completed a plan and figure out which coping strategies and skills work best for them. POWR also provides short informative blogs and videos which include feel-good, educational pieces on a wide range of health and wellbeing topics, providing employees with the opportunity to learn useful ongoing health strategies.

Employee wellbeing is of the utmost importance during the ongoing challenges of a pandemic and as we spend one third of our adult life at work, POWR is an effective tool to help make it somewhere employees can thrive.

Recognition Trumps Reward…Every Time

I recently came across a letter I received from a former employer a long long time ago. It was in recognition for my participation in a major incident and finding it again caused me to pause and reflect and ultimately has prompted me to write this short article.

On May 02nd 1981, I was a fledgling co-pilot on the Boeing 737 fleet with the Irish national carrier Aer Lingus. My duty on this day was to check-in and be close at hand in the pilots lounge for the next 8 hours. This we did to ensure all eventualities were covered and to be available to replace any other co-pilot at very short notice.

This day was to be very different for our team. Moments after checking into the lounge and settling down for a long afternoon I got a call from Crew Control to say that I was needed immediately and to hurry.  I was informed that an aircraft had been hijacked as it was approaching landing in Heathrow and I was being called up to be the co-pilot on a second aircraft being organised to follow the hijacked aircraft. This meant I was heading to Iran, the destination the hijacker had announced he wished to go.

Another aircraft was quickly made available with politicians and advisers gathered and onboarded as we flew to Shannon to pick up a person the hijacker had requested to talk to in person. Meanwhile the hijacked aircraft had landed in Le Touquet in Northern France, which was the fuel limited endurance of the aircraft that had only expected to fly to Heathrow.

My duties were focused on supporting the Captain and maintaining constant communication with air traffic control and phone patch to allow the Irish Transport Minister of the day, Albert Reynolds, to talk directly from the aircraft with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Charles Haughey, back in Dublin, keeping the Irish Government and the Aer Lingus team at base up to speed on developments.

We got to Le Touquet and landed.

After a relatively short period, 8 hours, on the ground the French special forces stormed the aircraft and brought the lone hijacker under control, avoiding casualties. The passengers were checked and fed and eventually we flew back to Dublin that night and along with the passengers, politicians and advisers we all went home. I was 20 years old at the time.

Three days later I received the note pictured below.  It was from the Deputy Chief Pilot Europe (DCPE) Capt Jim Brady. Three lines, thanking me for my help during the incident, typed out, signed and posted to me.

I have valued and held on to this letter ever since and to me this was how employee recognition works.

The positive and lasting effects of being really valued and appreciated by a colleague or in this case by a senior leader, has carried me through a long career and has stuck by me always on my journey in the last 40 years. I ended up having a pretty uneventful 35 year career at Aer Lingus following this initial drama…..as an airline pilot you want to be uneventful!

For me this single gesture by Capt Jim Brady was an exemplary behaviour recognition, taking the time from his position of authority to reach out and individually recognise my efforts on that extraordinary day. He didn’t have to, but he did. He simply took the time to write to me personally.

There was no voucher, no bonus at the end of the month, but a note to personally thank me for doing my job on that day. This has proven many many times since, to be far more powerful and personal to me, and one which I have appreciated more than a reward might have been at that time in my fledgling career.

The note also aligned with a change in management culture at that time at Aer Lingus, aligning to a new and more modern intent that cockpit workload was to be shared across the cockpit crew. This was being done in order to maximise the effectiveness of the team and on this day the Captain, being the most senior crew member, was allowed to share many of their tasks and responsibilities, so that they could devote themselves to the tasks and experience that allowed them to perform most effectively.

So powerful was this note of recognition that I stapled it into my pilots log book almost 40 years ago, as a permanent reminder that good behaviours should be recognised and lauded and as a reminder that I was grateful at the time for this personal touch. Also as a reminder to me to adopt the same attitude to my peers and colleagues throughout my thirty five years as a pilot.

I don’t fly any more but as CEO at Wrkit, employee recognition is central to my effectiveness as a leader and a key component to our employee engagement portal. Every week I encourage our team and leaders to recognise each other through the work we do together. It is an important part of our culture and our Wrkit behaviours. Peer to peer recognition is statistically proven to have a positive effect on employee performance, and is even more engaging then top-down recognition. Hats off to Capt Jim Brady in 1981 for having the vision and the courage as a leader to reach out with this brief but valued letter of recognition and for setting me on the path to emulate these behaviours; to be a leader that encourages employee recognition and to be able to provide organisations with the tools available for them to do the same. If you can, socialise the recognitions in your company whenever you can, because three shorts sentences really can go a long long way.

This year we are celebrating International Womens Day by showcasing women in leadership.

V is an experienced tech leader, presently leading and growing Slack Engineering teams in EMEA. She works in complex environments and thrives on bringing people from multiple disciplines together to create robust and resilient applications. Having previously led engineering teams in Spotify, she is passionate about leading and growing high performing teams and achieving the best possible results through collaboration and empowerment. She thrives on the ability to convert learning into tangible actions that lift team capability and is a champion for change. She consistently supports, educates and encourages her team through the change process.

Hi V, what advice would you give to women who want to be leaders?

Now is a great time to be or become a female leader. With so many companies embracing diversity and inclusion there are lots of opportunities to step up and into leadership. For companies today, inclusion is not just about getting the numbers right, it is about leveraging unique experiences, creating real opportunities for diversity and seeking out other points of view. Women have a huge amount to offer organisations, in leading teams at all levels and being actively engaged in company boards. The opportunities are far greater now than ever and women can confidently go for these roles.

What has helped you build your confidence in the workplace?

Knowing my strengths really well and relying on them. One of the key strengths that I know I have and that others have acknowledged in me, is that I am a relational person. People and connection are really important to me. This has helped me be a strong collaborator, as I seek out my team members’ ideas and opinions, and I rely on their feedback, as well as looking to others who have experience and provide input and guidance. Often I am not the most experienced in the room on a certain topic, so I look to my other members to chip in and I help support their growth and confidence to do this – whether it is presentation skills, critical or strategic thinking etc. So another key strength is openness and a willingness to learn, sometimes then being in a support role as a leader.

Amongst the women you’ve worked with, what are some of their traits you admire?

I really admire women that are inclusive of difference, kind to others in the workplace and supportive of other female leader journeys. I am particularly interested in the support and growth of other women leaders as I have experienced this in my leadership journeys. Leaders who were willing to take a chance on me and to provide a guiding hand when needed, to speak up for my competence. These female leaders help bring our voice and influence to the table.

Can you name a woman who has inspired you the most?

Cliche I know, but I would have to say my mother. She came from a difficult background, worked really hard and made me feel like I could be or do anything in life. Like the female leaders I admire, she actively encouraged me and did not put obstacles in my way. She helped facilitate me and my sister being the first in our family to go to university.

Another inspiration to me is former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I loved how she could articulate issues of diversity so well and so clearly, with the skill of keeping the dialogue open, non-threatening and moving forward.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned as a female leader?

In my role I am learning all the time, as it is a fast paced ever changing landscape, so I have learned to be myself. With so much rapidly changing and with Covid being a good example of needing to be able to adapt quickly, I have learned to rely on my own abilities. I don’t shy away from or apologise for being a woman. I openly share my challenges and experiences as a woman in tech. Openness and vulnerability is a strength and I trust that whenever I am honest and vulnerable with my team they are there for me, as I am for them.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve success in the workplace, especially in male-dominated industries?

Seek out mentors. Consider a more senior male from your company as a mentor. They can help you navigate the internal landscape and help you unlock your impact. In return, you may open their eyes to some of the struggles women face and help them by becoming an ally for other women. With other female leaders I encourage them to also be a good ally for other women along the way, so more women are encouraged into leadership and the numbers get better.

What do you think are the biggest challenges ahead for the next generation of female leaders?

The biggest challenge I see is women trusting their own inner voices and embracing the unique aspects of female presence, female experience and acknowledging them as both personal and organizational assets.

Can you recall any biases or assumptions made about you?

I have seen times when I am held to a higher standard than my male counterparts or when I feel like I have to prove myself over and over again. Sadly, I have seen this play out around project assignments – e.g. This project is tough. We better give it to Bob. Although this may be happening unconsciously, it is an impediment to female leaders as they need to be given a chance to show what they can do. Leaders, whether male or female, need to open the doors wider to give women that chance to prove themselves. When we do this more often, I believe the culture will be enriched for our doing so.

October Wellbeing Workshops

Globally 2020 has been the most significant Wellness focused year of all time

In this year full of COVID Challenges, Wrkit is here to help. This October celebrate human health and wellbeing with Wrkit, as we focus on a variety of wellness events and workshops in connection with World Mental Health Day.

A leading employee benefits provider, we can help you arrange speakers, supports and events to celebrate not just Mental Health lone, but a whole spectrum of human health.

Workshop Series Topics (Interactive Webinars, each lasting 40 – 60 minutes)

  • Covid Mindfulness
    Learn to appreciate and practise calming techniques during episodes of COVID worry
  • Anxiety Management
    Learn how to recognise and manage worrying or anxiety provoking thoughts
  • Reframe with a Positive Mindset
    Explore ways to look at life during a challenging time differently, with a positive mindset
  • Coping with Uncertainty
    Manage the uncertainty of reopening of schools and workplaces with some practical psychological tools
  • Setbacks and disappointments
    Learn to manage a variety of disappointments related to COVID with a selection of mind enhancing techniques

Contact Details

Jason Brennan
CTA in Psychotherapy, BA in Psychoanalysis, Certificate in Humanities, CBT practitioner’s cert, Member: IAHIP, TAI, EATA, ITAA

Tel 089 6127812 | Email jason.brennan@wrkit.com | Web wrkit.com

Jason Brennan is a coach and psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience. He supports clients suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, grief & loss, trauma, relationship issues, short and long-term therapy, obsessive thinking, lifestyle, work, and life stage challenges.

He authored his first book Win: Proven Strategies for Success in Sports, Life and Mental Health with friend and mental health advocate Brent Pope – having worked with corporate and sports teams of all levels providing training, workshops, and coaching.