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The Ugly Side of Overtime

It is a well-known fact that any business operating in any industry, in any country, has had employees working overtime, to the point where overtime is already considered a workplace norm. The question is, why is overtime seen as the norm and has overtime become a ‘necessary evil’?

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It is a well-known fact that any business operating in any industry, in any country, has had employees working overtime, to the point where overtime is already considered a workplace norm. The question is, why is overtime seen as the norm and has overtime become a ‘necessary evil’?

Simply defined, overtime is work rendered by an employee beyond their normal working hours. For many businesses, overtime is an expedient way of dealing with fluctuations in ‘operational requirements’ which could be a multitude of situations like tight deadlines, staff shortages, busy periods, staff absences, or perhaps work that is best carried out after normal working hours (e.g. computer repairs when office staff have left the building).

While overtime essentially addresses the business’s requirements, the ugly side of this is that business owners not only have to tussle with the expense of premium overtime rates but where used excessively, it could be an expensive and inefficient way of organising jobs and could adversely affect their employees’ health and social well being; and it may potentially lead to unsafe working practices or an increase in the incidence of absences.

For the employee, it could work both ways. Let’s face it – human nature dictates that people don’t generally wish for more work and less time for their personal lives, yet much can be said about why people agree to work the extra hours. Apart from the obvious increase in take home pay that usually means time and a half or, in some cases, double pay (albeit a big chunk that also goes to the tax collector), we just cannot discount the fact that there are workaholics in the workplace (and be honest, how many of us out there, on occasion, have waited to leave the office only when we know ‘witching hour’ is over and the kids are settled for the night?). What drives employees could range from having that feeling of job insecurity, to being motivated by the concept of reward, to just being committed to the job. There is also the ugly truth that some employees slacken their pace of work during working hours in order to qualify for overtime.

For others, it takes more than money to offset the loss of personal time for sporting activities, catching up with friends or spending quality time with family. Given a choice between more money in your pocket and time off, those who would choose the free time do so not because they either don’t need the extra cash, know what they need to/want to do during the working day, or they have a different kind of satisfaction and arguably a different set of priorities – and I am not saying here that anyone’s perspective is better. It may leave them poorer by some standards, but from a different perspective they feel they are better off.

With the advent of high speed technology, connectivity, and portability we might think that we are on our way to working fewer hours but the reality is – often we can’t switch off… literally. How many of us are checking emails in the evening whilst supposedly relaxing with the family, ‘just checking’ to help us stay ahead and on top of things for the day ahead. Arguably, we are making ourselves even more accessible and setting even higher expectations in terms of how soon we get back to our clients.

Sometimes, employees work overtime because in the age of open offices, they feel that they never quite achieve what they need to in the ‘normal working day’ – again, I feel that I get more done in the office between 7.00am – 8.30am and between 6.00pm – 7.00pm… when most people have vacated the workplace and at last I have peace!

Whilst overtime can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow – especially if you are an employer who feels your team are taking advantage of paid overtime; but equally so if you are an employee and you are not being sufficiently rewarded or recognised for the extensive hours you work to achieve results.

As business owners, managers and employees, ultimately, the ideal scenario would be to work the hours needed to get the ‘right’ results – whilst allowing plenty of time to do other external activities. How can this be achieved? Why not ask your team for ideas on how to cope during busy periods, consider flexi hours which allow team members to start early/late and or finish early/late to fit around personal circumstances or personal preferences, or offer alternatives like time off in lieu when you know team members have put in the hard yards….remember ‘all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.’ There are many ways to skin a cat and with proper communication, at the end of the day work is eventually accomplished. Aim for give and take within your team – a committed and engaged team who are being appropriately rewarded will aim to achieve the common business goals.

New Zealand employees are covered by the Department of Labour’s hours of work and overtime provisions. When an employee works more than their normal hours, they need to be compensated for the extra hours that they do (though do note that salaried employees are supposedly fully compensated by their salary for ‘any extra hours’ they may need to work). Whilst there are ‘no legal requirements to pay overtime above the normal rate of pay (waged employees) after working a certain number of hours in a day or a week’, this is usually a subject of negotiation between employer and employee and as good practice, it is recommended that these provisions are clearly stipulated in the employee agreement. At the end of the day, work in good faith – are the hours you are being asked to work and/or the hours you expect your team to work realistic?

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New Zealand

Trump’s Triumph Crashes Immigration Website

Canada and maybe New Zealand will be the top beneficiaries of exiting Americans unhappy with Trump’s triumph victory in the US Election. Canada’s immigration website crashed once news spread that Trump’s victory was likely and Reuters reported New Zealand’s website also had a spike in interest from visitors looking for information on residency visas.

Canada and maybe New Zealand will be the top beneficiaries of exiting Americans unhappy with Trump’s triumph victory in the US Election.  Canada’s immigration website crashed once news spread that Trump’s victory was likely and Reuters reported New Zealand’s website also had a spike in interest from visitors looking for information on residency visas.

We published an article less than a week ago on How to move to New Zealand & get a job in 31 easy steps. This is an extract from a book written by an American woman who sailed to New Zealand with her husband and two daughters in 2012.   Sara and her family have now settled into the kiwi lifestyle and Sara’s tips on how to move to and get a job in New Zealand is timely.  The Brexit vote and now Trump’s triumph has many residents of the UK and America seeing their future somewhere else.

Canada has been quick to embrace the interest in their country saying:

“In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens.”
@Canada

The list of celebrities whom have said they will leave America is if Trump becomes President includes the likes of Barbara Streisand, Cher, Miley Cyrus, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Stewart and on Twitter

Locally, NZHerald reports many Hollywood celebrities are commenting on twitter and Instagram saying they will leave America.

“I’m freaking out too but, together, we are gonna be OK, we got each other, animals, don’t lose your s***. Worst case, let’s all move to New Zealand,” wrote Kesha alongside a selfie on Instagram, before editing her post.

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New Zealand

How to Move to New Zealand & Get a Job in 31 Easy Steps [Book Extract]

If you plan to work in New Zealand, the time to start looking into getting a job is long before you arrive. While you may not begin your official job search until you are in the country, there are a number of things you can do to kick-start the process.

New Zealand work visa

If you plan to work in New Zealand, the time to start looking into getting a job is long before you arrive. While you may not begin your official job search until you are in the country, there are a number of things you can do to kick-start the process.

We were still in Tonga, aboard our sailboat, and not planning to arrive in New Zealand for another three months, when my husband, Michael, polished up his curriculum vitae (CV) and sent it along to friends in Auckland. They forwarded it to their information and communications technology (ICT) contacts and to recruiters with whom they’d worked. A number of the recipients responded immediately, asking Michael to get in touch again when he landed in country. Although it felt like he was jumping the gun at the time, the tactic appears to have worked. Within a week of arriving at the Bay of Islands, Michael had a job interview scheduled in Auckland and a job offer in hand a few weeks later.

Getting a job in New Zealand is a lot like anywhere else. It’s all about who you know. I’d say it’s even more so in New Zealand as there is only a degree or two of separation between people due to the small population. This is a tight-knit country. So if you do know someone down here, it may pay to leverage that contact.

On the other hand, it’s certainly not required to know anyone. Michael landed his current ICT gig by applying for positions advertised on seek.co.nz, the most thorough job listing website in New Zealand and Australia. This is the best place to start researching the jobs that are available and where they’re located. (See Step 11 for choosing which part of the country to live in.) Many New Zealand companies advertise open positions on LinkedIn.com.

My other favourite job listing sites are:

  • Trade Me (all types): trademe.co.nz
  • New Kiwis (all types of skilled work): newkiwis.co.nz
  • Kiwi Health Jobs: kiwihealthjobs.com
  • NZ Education Gazette (teaching positions): edgazette.govt.nz>

For an extensive list of job websites, browse careers.govt.nz/job-hunting/job-vacancy-and-recruitment-websites. Check out the rest of careers.govt.nz too. It’s chock-o-block full of job hunting, training, and general career advice for New Zealanders.

Finally, have a look at the government’s Skill Shortage Lists (skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz). On these, you’ll find occupations that New Zealand needs more people to fill, either temporarily or long-term. If your occupation (or one of them) is on one of the skill shortage lists, your work or residence visa application is much more likely to get approved, and more quickly.

This leads to one of the most common questions people ask me: Do I need to be in New Zealand to get a job? The answer is…it depends. If your occupation is on the skill shortage lists, you are much more likely to be successful in applying and interviewing from out of country. But even if your occupation is not in demand, and you find a job that’s a perfect fit for you, apply.

According to one hiring manager I spoke to, they often interview applicants who are outside New Zealand. He says: “It’s difficult to find people already here that have the ICT skills we’re looking for. After we offer the person the position, they start the work visa application process. When their visa is approved, they move down and start working.”

For some positions, such as seasonal or temporary work, you are likely to have a better chance at scoring a job if you interview face-to-face. As I wrote earlier, Michael began seriously applying for work after arriving in New Zealand, but having a good idea of what’s available with a CV ready to go was key in making this process as short as possible.

This post is an excerpt from How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps by Sara Dawn Johnson.

Sara Dawn Johnson, along with her husband and two daughters, moved to New Zealand in 2012 by sailing their home, a 38-foot sailboat called Wondertime, across the Pacific Ocean. Sara is also the co-author of Voyaging With Kids: A guide to family life afloat.

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New Zealand

Is Your Website Your Best Salesperson?

Businesses who fail to look after their website and online presence do so at their own peril. There are many real life examples of businesses large and small losing market share and in some cases going out of business altogether due to their poor online presence.

Their competitors however probably engage a professional SEO company and as a result they’re reaping the rewards with more customer leads and revenue.

Businesses who fail to look after their website and online presence do so at their own peril.  There are many real life examples of businesses large and small losing market share and in some cases going out of business altogether due to their poor online presence.  Their competitors however probably engage a professional SEO company and as a result they’re reaping the rewards with more customer leads and revenue.

Google doesn’t care if your business earns millions or even billions in revenue.  Google only rewards websites that are well designed.  A mobile friendly website is not a luxury like many out of touch businesses believe, it is a fundamental requirement.

Start up businesses with well designed websites can get a jump on established firms and grab market share.  They appear to be overnight successes while steadfast market leaders can appear to go out of business just as fast.  We don’t have to look to far either to find lots of examples all around us especially in the retail sector.

Summarily if your website design is not mobile friendly it’s not going to be found by prospective customers who use Google for their research.  When your business fails to show up in the search results consumers set their sights elsewhere.  Consumers now almost rely exclusively on online research.

MYOB released a report a couple of years go stating 86% of New Zealanders were using the Internet every day and 80% of us are searching online before buying a product or service.  New Zealand is one of the most Internet savvy countries globally with four out of five homes connected to it therefore your website really should be your best salesperson!


This blog article was written for BusinessBlogs by Mobilize Mail.

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Management

How You Can Get The Best From Your Team Meetings

The benefit of regular (preferably weekly) team meetings should NEVER be overlooked. From a results-driven point of view through to team morale and a common purpose, these meetings can be pure gold for your business. Some businesses we come across don’t have regular meetings with their team. It’s just not something they’ve thought of, or perhaps they’ve considered their business is too small.

meeting

The benefit of regular (preferably weekly) team meetings should NEVER be overlooked. From a results-driven point of view through to team morale and a common purpose, these meetings can be pure gold for your business.

Some businesses we come across don’t have regular meetings with their team. It’s just not something they’ve thought of, or perhaps they’ve considered their business is too small. In my book – two counts as a team. So unless you’re really a solo flier – team meetings are relevant for you too! They provide a valuable forum for you and your team to update, communicate, handle any issues, and set the scene for success and achievement in the business for the week to come.

Getting your team together at the same time each week might seem impossible at first – but once the habit’s set you’ll find yourself and your team beginning to look forward to the meeting. It doesn’t need to be a long meeting – anything from 30 minutes to one hour max.

It helps to time your weekly meetings to occur just before a deadline (eg. lunchtime, 1 hour before closing, … or 1 hour before starting!) This will reduce the chances of running overtime.

Once your meetings are scheduled, our 7 point checklist will ensure you and your team get the most out of each and every meeting:

7 point checklist for weekly team meetings

1. Have an agenda
If you’re going to make this meeting productive and effective, have an agenda and stick to it. (Make sure you’re aware ahead of time of anything and everything that needs to be covered).

2. Set the meeting up
These meetings are often about addressing challenges, what new stuff has to be done next week and what wasn’t done in the last week. This can sometimes feel like hard work. So set the meeting up by starting “upbeat”. Have everyone share one specific good thing that happened during the week (personal or business). As well as offsetting any negativity, it’ll help to get to know eachother and give everyone a pat on the back. At first this can feel a bit uncomfortable, but stick with it and make sure everyone takes part.

3. Reporting the Results
Go over the results for the week. Make sure your statistical reports are standardised. Graphs are a great way to do this. Your team will be able to see the trend in the numbers and whether or not they are hitting targets.

Beware of targets that haven’t been met as this can cause a reaction within your team (not to mention you!). It’s a good idea to acknowledge the breakdown and it’s a great time to look at what can be done to remedy it – opportunities to build on it … what’s going to make the difference in the next week. But remember – this is not the place for “beating up” a team member that is repeatedly under-performing!

A note on reporting the results: Create some milestones along the way – don’t just wait until the end of the project for you and your team to celebrate!

4. Customers and Team
Review whether there are any recurring problems that your team or customers are dealing with. These can either be handled on the spot (if it’s an easy fix) or you’ll need to investigate it later (but not too much later) …. and make sure you let everyone know the outcome.

5. Brain storm
If there’s a problem or something your business is grappling with – use the combined brainpower of your team. You’ll be amazed how many new ideas you’ll end up with … and your team will feel pretty good about contributing in this way.

6. Keep a record
Don’t forget keep a record of who said they were going to do what and by when.

7. Finish on time
At the end of the meeting let everyone say a brief word or two that represents how they feel about the meeting. This gives everyone an opportunity to “complete” the meeting and move on.

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New Zealand

How To Secure Your Home Wifi & Systems

Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce with Mobilize Mail Limited are hosting a one hour non techie presentation in May 2015 on how to keep your home wifi and systems secure. Most of us believe we have someone in the household savvy enough to secure our home IT systems. However it’s probably not so – when we use Wifi the unthinkable can happen, i.e. your password can end up with someone else.

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Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce with Mobilize Mail Limited are hosting a one hour non techie presentation in May 2015 on how to keep your home wifi and systems secure.

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 9.30am – 10.30am
Place: Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, IT Engine Training, Level 3, 15 Daly Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington.

Most of us believe we have someone in the household savvy enough to secure our home IT systems. However it’s probably not so – when we use Wifi the unthinkable can happen, i.e. your password can end up with someone else. During this presentation there will be a live demo on how easy it is to have your home wifi password stolen and what you can do immediately to prevent it from happening to you.

Unfortunately it isn’t any safer using free wifi hotspots – they too can be fraught with security issues. This presentation will show you how to use free wifi and what to avoid doing whilst you’re online.

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 9.30am – 10.30am
Place: Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, IT Engine Training, Level 3, 15 Daly Street, Lower Hutt
Presenter: Mobilize Mail Ltd – HVCC Silver Sponsor
Fee: Members – $45 + GST     Non-Members – $75 + GST

 

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Marketing

Less is More in Email Marketing

Expensive data plans and image loading time are two reasons to carefully consider your use of images in email marketing.

The use of mobiles to view emails has increased however the data plans are not dropped in cost so images in emails can be blocked from downloading. Therefore avoid using just one image as the entire marketing message.

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Expensive data plans and image loading time are two reasons to carefully consider your use of images in email marketing.

The use of mobiles to view emails has increased however the data plans are not dropping in cost in some countries where the volume is low, so images in emails can be permanently blocked from downloading. Therefore avoid using just one image as the entire marketing message. While this may save you time and investment it’s not a good look when the email message area is empty before images are downloaded.

Use a good mix of colour (created in HTML), text including Alt-txt (words that show in the image box before images are downloaded and also add a relevant image or two. Remember a picture speaks a 1000 words and conversion is higher when images are present. We recommend linking all images, and titles to the relevant click-through pages as well as the usual ‘click here to read more’ text links.

 

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