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Latest News & Tips in the SHR Space

Preparation is Key to Avoid a Christmas Party Hangover!

We have all witnessed some pretty horrific things at office Christmas parties. There was the time the employer chased a client down the stairs and proceeded to fall down said stairs in a not too glamorous fashion after them. Or the time the CEO had a few too many and was a little loose lipped about a forthcoming restructure. How about the time when a male supplier thought it was ok to get a little “too close” to some female employees on the dance floor?

These might seem reprehensible to you, or maybe they don’t – but honestly, we can’t even begin to describe the aftermath of these scenarios. What we can say is, they fundamentally changed the culture of those teams at the time, and it was near impossible to regain respect for the senior leaders in the equation.


We are not telling you this to scare you, but as they say, “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail”. So, if you want to make sure your 2022 doesn’t end with your key objective being “cleaning up the Christmas party aftermath”, then it may be worthwhile reading on to find out how we recommend you prepare for a great night and avoid the hangover!


  1. Set the scene with an invitation – This is particularly important if your parties have been a bit “wild” in the past, and you’re attempting to change the tone. An invitation can go a long way in building some excitement while preparing your team for what type of vibe to expect. A start/finish time and location help to create some boundaries around where the employer’s responsibility starts and ends. It’s also not a bad idea to include some brief behavioural expectations, and a little note about drinking responsibly on the invite too!

  2. Re-establish conduct expectations – Now is the perfect time to review and update relevant policies. This might include your Code of Conduct, Drug & Alcohol Policy, and even your Bullying and Sexual Harassment Policy. If you are worried then it might be worth sending these to your team alongside a reminder of your company values and ensure the team are clear that these are the expectations during business hours, when representing the business in anyway, AND when attending events connected to your business.

  3. Limit excessive drinking – It is absolutely ok to allow alcohol consumption at your Christmas party. However, there are certainly some things you can do to minimise inebriation! Why not introduce alcohol a bit later, by starting the party with another activity? Ensure there is plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks to go around (not everyone wants to right themself off), and make sure your team know that it is their responsibility to arrange safe transport home. Warn them in advance that anyone drinking in excess may be asked to go home (honestly, for their own good) have a cut off time when the “official party” ends.

  4. Don’t put your head in the sand – If you see something at the party that is just not ok, call it out straight away! The reality is that you still have a duty of care to your people during a work Christmas party, so if its behaviour you wouldn’t let slide on any other day, then don’t make today any different. Or, if you didn’t witness anything on the night, but you get to work on Monday and you can hear “whispers” of poor behaviour, follow it up. Gossip can quite easily turn into a formal complaint if it is not nipped in the bud straight away.

Most importantly, have fun! It’s been a challenging few years and you and your team deserve it. There’s certainly no reason why setting a few expectations has to put a dampener on things. If possible, use your Christmas party as an opportunity to recognise your team, share business success, and generate some excitement for 2023!


 

World Stroke Day 2022

The importance of our physical and mental wellbeing continues to be a theme as we leave the pandemic behind and continue to make small changes to improve our overall health. World Stroke Day was celebrated in October with Big Blue Brunches taking place world-wide to fundraise (gold coin donation) and promote awareness around prevention and the signs to look out for during the acute stage of a stroke.


As stroke is one of Australasia’s most deadly, yet most preventable diseases, reports published by Deloitte and The NZ Institute of Economic Research showed the economic impact of stroke to be shockingly high! During the 2020-2021 FY, it was estimated that the economic impact of stroke in Australia would be AU$6.2 billion in direct financial costs with a further AU$26.0 billion in lost wellbeing and premature mortality. Whilst in New Zealand, the economic impact including lost wellbeing and premature mortality was sitting at NZ$1.1 billion.


Prevention is key when we are living increasingly stressful, yet sedentary, lifestyles so a focus on nutrition, regular exercise and mindful activities have been found to be some of the easiest ways to improve overall health and prevention of disease leading to the likes of stroke, Type-II Diabetes and heart disease. Given the high economic cost of stroke noted above, it is also sobering to remind ourselves that behind those figures are connected to people whose livelihoods – and that of their co-workers, friends and families – have been affected by incident of stroke and the subsequent recovery period – and sadly for some, loss of life.


If you have an immediate concern that a colleague may be suffering a stroke in your workplace, but you are unsure as to how to identify the signs, follow the F.A.S.T indicators to determine risk and call emergency services:


F.A.S.T – there will be a sudden onset of some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Face Drooping – usually on one side of the face

  • Arm Weakness, Paralysis or Numbness – this also pertains to the legs and can be unilateral or bilateral

  • Speech – slurring of speech and/or difficulty swallowing

  • Take Action – call for emergency medical attention

In addition to your workplace First Aid Champions being aware of the above, all staff may be informed via workplace toolkits and information resources found here at Stroke.org.nz or Stroke Foundation AU .


When we are looking at tools for prevention, the options are endless, and with the warmer weather upon us we can recommend the following as a good starting point:

  • Try taking some of your meetings outside and go for a walk

  • Promote a little inter-office (healthy) competition with staff aiming to get up to 10,000 steps per day or lunchtime cricket and touch rugby games!

  • Incorporate 10 minutes of mindful breathing and stretching for your teams each day at 3pm instead of reaching for sweets and caffeine to see them through (guilty!)

  • Havea balance of fresh healthy options as well as more indulgent options when catering for upcoming Xmas Morning Teas and start to make this ‘the norm’

If your business is already ahead of the game with active prevention or you have a stroke survivor story to share including the measures your company put in place to support recovery and return to work, we would love to hear from you!


 


Changes to COVID-19 Isolation Rules

With the …. I don’t know what ‘wave’ we are at now … so let's say the fourth wave… hitting the New Zealand shores it seems we are back in the COVID spotlight again. In Australia it is no longer a requirement for people diagnosed with COVID-19 to isolate. For their Kiwi cousins it’s just the COVID positive person who must isolate for a mandatory 7 days after you test positive.


Without strict isolation rules, it may be more difficult for employers to know what they can and can’t do if a team member tests positive for COVID-19. Here’s what we recommend, to protect your team and business:

  • If your team member is showing symptoms of COVID-19 they should take personal/sick leave during this time. You should ask them not to attend the workplace or come into contact with anyone connected with your business.

  • If your team member tests positive with COVID-19 but they are not showing symptoms, or are well enough to work, direct them to work from home if practical to do so. If their usual job does not allow them to work from home, consider providing alternative duties or offering them the opportunity to take annual leave or unpaid leave.

  • Encourage the team member (or with permission do so on their behalf) to notify anyone they were in contact with at your workplace in the 2 days before they had symptoms so they can get tested. This is particularly important for those that may be at a higher risk of severe disease.

  • For the Aussies - If your team member is not showing symptoms and cannot work from home or take leave, you may wish to allow them to come to the workplace (assuming they do not work in a high-risk setting). Direct them to wear a mask indoors, practice social distancing and wash their hands regularly, for at least 7 days after they test positive.

  • ·For the Kiwis - You may be eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, or financial support where income has been affected. COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, or financial support where income has been affected.

As a last reminder, if COVID-19 isolation requirements have changed for your business, don’t forget to review, and update any policy you have in place regarding COVID-19 – or reach out to your Streamline HR Consultant for assistance.




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