Category Archives: Life & Style

I Can’t Get No (Job) Satisfaction

A third of workers are in struggle town to get job satisfaction and almost one in ten say choosing the wrong career is their biggest regret in life.

satisifaction

A study commissioned by Start Profile has indicated that job satisfaction in the UK is low, with many workers wishing they were doing something entirely different with their lives.

The Satisfaction Results

 The research into job satisfaction uncovered that:

  • 39 per cent of people are happy in their career
  • 24 per cent confessed that they ‘fell into’ their profession
  • 36 per cent are unhappy at work
  • 14 per cent actively admit to seeking new job opportunities

The results are a little alarming, indicating that 61 per cent of participants are unhappy in their current jobs. The research went on to reveal that in Britain, people working in retail were the most likely to seek alternative employment opportunities, closely followed by the transport and healthcare industries.

So why is job satisfaction so hard to come by?

On an interesting note, the study revealed that nearly 1 in 10 participants stated that choosing their current career is the biggest regret in their life. A further 17 per cent wished that they had followed their dream instead, while 11 per cent are just putting up with the job.

Andy Pickles, CEO of Online Careers Service at Start, commented that, “Many of us end up in a job we don’t enjoy because of decisions we make at a young age, whether that be choosing the wrong subjects, or not having enough guidance at school.”

Interestingly, a third of respondents said their parents had provided the most influence on their careers. 9 per cent indicated that it was their teachers who inspired their career path, and 6 per cent claimed to have been influenced by a literary or TV character.

satisfaction

With Job satisfaction getting harder to achieve, is salary the key to our happiness?

The relationship between money and happiness isn’t as straightforward as we might think. Michael Page, the British based recruitment business, used data from the Cabinet Office’s Wellbeing and Policy report to plot salary against happiness of 260 occupations.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 12.09.21Click here read more on Salary vs. Happiness

‘Happiness’ was measured as the mean life satisfaction rating (a score out of 10) taken from the Annual Population Survey 2011-2013. The life satisfaction ratings were grouped as followed:

  • 0 to 4, (low);
  • 5 to 6, (medium);
  • 7 to 8, (high);
  • 9 to 10, (very high).

Salary data has been sourced from the 2013 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

The Happiness Curve

The happiness curve indicates the overall relationship between happiness and salary. Compared with the general trend, occupations appearing above the curve are happier than you might expect for people on their salary, and those below the curve appear less happy than you’d expect.

Who are the happiest outliers?

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 14.13.54

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 14.13.48

Happy outliers are those jobs which appear furthest above the curve. The biggest outliers are fitness instructors, who despite earning significantly less than many occupations, are actually happier. Dental nurses (who are happier then dentists) and school secretaries follow closely after fitness instructors.

When you look at the top happiest jobs, we see a huge salary range from £18k for company secretaries, to £117k for CEOs and senior officials. The clergy come out on top in terms of happiness, despite earning nearly 6 times less than CEOs and senior officials, who sit in second place.

How does Procurement stack up against job happiness and satisfaction?

According to happiness curve, the procurement profession is holding steady, with buyers, procurement officers, and purchasing managers and directors having a high happiness rating of 7.4 (the red dots on the happiness curve below).

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 14.31.46

Procurement Leaders highlighted a fascinating point about job satisfaction and happiness – satisfaction levels tend to fluctuate, and can be dependent on a particular day or week.

Furthermore, in the 2016 Procurement Leaders Salary Survey, which provided an insight into the earning potential of those working in roles across the procurement function, it found that there was a clear relationship between earnings and satisfaction. The survey indicated that the more you earn, the happier you tend to be.

The survey also revealed a difference between men and women. Men’s satisfaction levels increased with their earnings, whereas women’s satisfaction levels did not follow the same pattern.

Throughout the results, the conclusion is clear – job satisfaction is the dependent variable. Happily, the procurement function is positioned uniquely to offer global travel opportunities, participation in stakeholder negotiation and collaboration on an internal and external levels.

Combined with higher than average pay, and the chance to create meaningful impact across organisations, this has the potential to make procurement a very attractive career choice (and not one to regret!).

So maybe Mick Jagger was wrong after all…

Working from Home: Heaven or Hell?

Working from home has become the latest trend and we are talking globally here. Every day, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home at least once or twice a week.

Working from Home

And even more companies are looking to outsource, looking for employees who can work from home and, sometimes, from a different country. We can see these “work from home” job offers increasing every single day on the different job boards and people are really starting to get into this new groove because, let’s face it, staying at home has to be better than going to the office every day.

However, this is not true for everyone. Working from home has its pros and cons, but, in the end, it depends on each person.

Benefits and Balance

Let’s begin listing some of the pros:

  • No commuting – That alone should convince you to stay home. No traffic, no public transportation, no people on top of you during rush hour, just bliss while you walk from your room, to the office space.
  • Flexibility – of both hours and in managing that time. Most of these jobs do not necessarily have a rigid schedule you need to follow, so you are able to manage your own time, especially if you are a freelancer.
  • Less stress – Since most people working from home are their own bosses, or their bosses are nowhere near them, stress can be reduced to a minimum.
  • Fewer distractions – hence more productivity. No useless meetings, no coworkers telling you about their 13 cats or children, no running around the whole office looking for a photocopier that actually works, no wasting time with small talk, just you and your family.
  • More family time – Since you are already at home, there is a really good chance you can spend more time with your family, or your dogs, while working from home. You just need to be organised, and know how to manage your time in a productive way.

Not All Good

Even though you are now probably ready to pack up your desk and go home, you need to know that working from home also has its disadvantages:

  • Isolation – Even though some people prefer being alone, others would rather have some company during the day, but if you have a family, this is not really a problem.
  • Distractions – we might have more distractions in an office, but that does not mean there are not any at home, browsing social media becomes your biggest enemy while working from home.
  • Separating work from home – this is probably one of the worst disadvantages of working from home. You need to be able to organise your day in a way you get to spend enough time working, and enough time with your family or friends. Try to have a separate space for working – do not stay in your bedroom, find a good nook in the house to do so.
  • Working endlessly – Since you have no one controlling your hours but yourself, you might feel the need to work at all times. That is why you need to be very organised with your time and prioritising your responsibilities.

Now you are ready to consider your options and decide whether you are a good candidate to work from home or not. Welcome to the future!

Vanessa Fardi is the Leader of US, Central America, and Latin America Team for Canadian startup neuvoo. Neuvoo is a job search engine that indexes jobs available online in one unique platform, without any charge for the source of the job. It was created in 2011 and is currently available in more than 60 countries.

How Middle Managers Can Make or Break Supply Chains

Can middle managers or supervisors make or break your supply chain company? Are organisations selecting the wrong people for these roles?

Middle Managers

To watch the video of this article, click here.

Over the years working and consulting in a wide variety of business, health, and education settings, I have noticed a common and obvious trend. The selection of supervisors or middle managers from the existing employee pool.

For some workplaces this is a smart choice. You know the person, their work history, and their technical skills, and, as the senior manager or company owner, you generally like them.

Plus, it saves a truckload of recruitment time, costs and fees.

Capability Struggles

So what’s wrong with this common practice?

Well it depends. Often the successful employee displays all the seemingly right characteristics: reliability, dependability, happy to go the ‘extra mile’, and deference to their superiors!

But what happens when they now have to supervise and direct their former colleagues? Did they suddenly get an USB stick full of management and leadership skills to download into their brain?

Did that person immediately demonstrate new behaviours, negotiation skills, creative and collaborative thinking, and ability to motivate their team? Probably not.

They usually struggle big time with the change. They’re like a duck on a pond – seemingly calm upon the surface, but paddling away furiously under the water.

They have no idea how to manage and lead their people. The shelf life of these middle managers is around two years if you’re lucky.

Some senior managers may think, “when they resign or burnout, I’ll just promote someone else”.

Cultural Harm

But what’s the real issue here for your company? It’s culture destroying. Supervisors or middle managers who are thrown into the deep end of the pool without a buoyancy vest usually sink.

And they will take down the rest of the workforce with them.

It’s usually a slow insidious slide:

  • grumblings from workers,
  • dissatisfaction on how they’re being treated or spoken to,

with a resulting in a decrease in productivity, increase in accidents (real or concocted), sabotage of company assets, absenteeism, and an unhappy workplace.

Why would any CEO or business owner want that?

What can you do?

Invest in them – train, educate, coach and mentor them. A one off induction just won’t cut it. It takes time, practice and a willingness to master new skills.

If you have ever been motivated by a inspirational person at any time in your life be it a footy coach, church leader, primary school teacher, or the old guy/gal next door, then you know how it affects you and your environment around you – in a great way!

So why not get your newly appointed supervisors or middle managers on the leadership bus?

The ROI will be worth every cent! You’ll have functioning teams, increased productivity, less absenteeism and WorkCover claims, and a place employees want to continue working for.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?!

Learn more about developing leadership skills, both your own and your team’s, and get to grips with some great life and style thinking at www.productiveminds.com.au.

The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Niche Social Networks

Social media has enabled global collaboration on an unprecedented scale. But as attitudes towards the major platforms change, it’s actually niche social networks where the future lies.

Niche Social Networks

In the interests of full disclosure, I do work for a niche social network. So yes, I am slightly biased. But stay with me, as you’ll see why the argument for niche social networks holds weight.

It might seem strange to talk about a more narrow focus when technological advancements have ensured that we can speak to anyone, in any corner of the world, at any time. But as the world grows, it’s important to ensure that you are speaking to the right audience.

We only have a finite amount of time during the day to engage with colleagues, peers and stakeholders, read interesting articles, and share our experiences with others. If you’re spending that time talking to the wrong people, then you are potentially missing out on great new opportunities.

Facebook-isation

Does this post look familiar to you?

Niche Social Networks

How about this one?

Niche Social Networks

These and countless others pop up on the major social networks on an hourly basis. And while you may think I’m talking about Facebook, these were actually lifted from LinkedIn in the past week or so.

Yes, that’s right, the world’s largest networking site is now beset with endless maths problems, selfies, family photos and quizzes. While presumably posted by well-meaning members, they serve to create friction on what constitutes an ‘appropriate’ post for LinkedIn.

And it doesn’t stop at the main network feed either. Speaking to procurement professionals at conferences and events in recent weeks, many have voiced the opinion that LinkedIn’s Groups and Discussions have become “spammy”.

There are a couple of possible explanations for this turn of events. The first is that, with over 300 million members, the network has grown too large while trying to cater for too wide an audience. The other is possibly that for many users, LinkedIn represents their entire social media presence, which is why there are Facebook-type posts appearing on it.

Both LinkedIn and Facebook aren’t going anywhere. They are great networks for connecting with people and, on a professional side, LinkedIn remains the place to be for marketers and recruiters. But for individual professions, the future lies in niche social networks.

Finding Your Niche

For many professions, relevant discussions, content and connections are lost in the noise on the larger networks. This was one of the primary reasons that Procurious was founded, and why it has grown as it has. People know that the site provides up to date, relevant content for procurement and supply chain, all in one place.

Procurious caters to the procurement and supply chain audience, but there are many others you can find, depending on your profession and interests.

  • Spiceworks – A network for over a million global IT professionals, providing content, and a free IT help desk for all its members.
  • RESAAS – Over 300,000 global real estate professionals, providing leads and listings.
  • Doximity – Over 60 per cent of US-based doctors as verified members, and possible expansion to overseas markets.

The list doesn’t end there, and there are countless others for a whole host of professions that are getting started every week.

Benefits of Niche

The benefits of a niche social network are along the lines of what I have said already. Joining one of these network allows you the following:

  • Connections – Surely the Number 1 aspect of social media are the connections we make. Niche social networks offer people who could really help with your latest issues or questions.
  • Content – Is a post about global politics interesting? Probably. Is it relevant to your next negotiation? Maybe not. Niche social networks offer articles relevant to your day-to-day work (although we do throw in the occasional off-the-wall topic to keep you interested!).
  • Learning – Whether it is eLearning, or learning by asking questions to other network members, niche networks are more likely to offer a more focused, better answer.
  • News Feed – What all the sites I have mentioned have in common is a collated news feed. This means up-to-date, relevant headlines, brought together in one place.
  • Events – An events calendar for all the major events for your profession. Quickly see what is near you and decide which one you want to attend.

By being able to access all of this in one place, you can spend less time wading through irrelevant posts to find good information, and more time connecting and collaborating with the right people.

So if you’re only going to use one platform for your social media activities, why not think about a niche network.

Are you a Grumpy Supply Chain Professional?

Are you a grumpy supply chain professional? Do you regularly go home unhappy from your day job? Then you need an imaginary rubbish bin…

Grumpy Supply Chain Pro

Going home unhappy again?

It all started this morning. Someone forgot to get bread yesterday, and the anticipated tasty tuna on nice crusty bread for lunch today, turned into tuna on stale Saladas. The first reason to be annoyed!

You’ve just missed the 06.40 into the city for that big logistics presentation and the next train is 13 minutes away. The crowd of commuters is getting bigger by the minute, and guess who’s going to be standing all the way into the city.

To annoy you further, someone who forgot to manage their body hygiene is standing up close and personal to you. Starting to get Irritable?

And what about that teenager who “shares” the latest Justin Bieber contribution to the world through her scratchy sounding iPhone speaker?

You eventually get to work, and the office prankster has pinched your chair, and replaced it with the one with the dodgy wheels. The phone is already screaming at you, and the operations managers is heading your way, looking like he’s just got a parking ticket.

Now it’s anxiety that’s kicking in.

Fight or Flight Infographic

And your office nemesis is giving you an evil smirk. Just another day in your supply chain organisation.

What to do?

But what can you do to help this, particularly when the working day is over? A couple of choices can be made. The ones you usually make…

  • expect a re-run of the morning commute,
  • get home, walk in and start yelling “because the bins are not out for collection”, and the TV is too loud!
  • the kids have heard you, and bolted from the house into the backyard or bedrooms,
  • the dog is under the table trembling and your partner has lost that “glad to see you look”.

Or you can start to practice some new skills and rituals to prepare yourself for “home reintegration” – a fancy term for getting your head in the right space!

So when you walk into what is meant to be your sanctuary with people you love and care about, it becomes exactly that. You could also call it managing your stress levels!

How to do this

At work, just before you leave your cubicle or exit the building, go through a process of “shaking off” all the bad stuff that has stuck to you over the day.

If you have ever seen a wet dog at the beach shake itself, that’s what you do! Now, if you’re feeling a little self-conscious, just imagine it, but make the process as real as possible.

Some people find that before leaving their desk that figuratively throwing that imaginary rubbish into the office bin works well too.

You can have specific landmarks on the way home from work, like a particular roundabout on the road, or the “Myki touch on pad” at the train station.

Get creative and make it a powerful daily routine.

And of course, use the breathing technique, on the train back home or just before you get out of the car.

Breathe Infographic

 

So give these tips a go…and be Grumpy no more?!

A Disney Tip for Dealing with Supply Chain Anger

Are you experiencing a lot of supply chain anger? Then the Mouse House might be able to help with this key tip.

Supply Chain Anger

For the video version of this article, click here.

Angry people – they’re everywhere. Most you can avoid, but some you just have to deal with. Especially if they’re your customers or suppliers (two of the essential ingredients for your supply chain or procurement company!).

Why Dealing with Anger Is Important

Have you ever contacted a “customer support’’ service either by phone or email and had a really negative experience? I’ll bet you have.

Have your angry emotions bordered on rage or thoughts of wanting to abuse that company out of sheer frustration? I’ll bet you have.

Did you tell your friends, share that distasteful experience through social media, leave a negative review or contact a government regulatory body? Or simply make a commitment to NEVER EVER do business with them or their product again? I’ll bet you have!

Not good for business!

Dealing Effectively with Supply Chain Anger

So how can you deal effectively with angry customers or suppliers?

Heard of Disney? You know that incredibly successful business icon of theme parks, movies, cartoons, products and people management? They must be doing something right if they can deal with 100+ million people a year at their theme parks and still have raving fans.

Odds are they’re bound to get their fair share of irate or unhappy people! So what technique do they use?

A wonderfully simple technique called H.E.A.R.D. 

1. Hear (it involves listening)

That’s right, let the person tell their story. Just hope it’s not “A Never Ending Story…”! People who have had a chance to ‘let rip’ with their perceived injustices usually feel better.

2. Empathise

Let them know you understand their frustration. Comments like, “I can see how that would make you really angry”, are helpful. When you’re saying this, be mindful of your tone and voice inflections, or they might think you are insincere.

3. Apologise

Let that person know that you are sorry about the situation, product or service issue. Say something like, “I’m really sorry that this has happened to you”.

If you know your company is not at fault, diffuse the outrage by saying, “Can I offer my apologies? I’m always sorry when a customer is unhappy”. Once again sincerity must be obvious.

4. Resolve

Get the situation under control quickly and make amends. If you can’t do it right away, give that person a clear timeline when someone else will rectify the issue.

Be specific who it will be. Give a name if appropriate. People want to connect with people, not a “service or complaints team”. Keep the person in the communication loop of what’s happening.

Saying something like, “Mr Smith, would it be ok with you if I call you back this afternoon and let you know the progress on this? What time works best for you?”

Diffuse, Diffuse and Diffuse a bit more…it works!

5. Diagnose

Get your detective on and find out what happened. Was it a product fault, wrong or late order, delayed payment, or was it miscommunication and customer or supplier expectations not being met?

What systems or change in procedures could prevent or minimise these issues reoccurring? Systemic problems may need to be pushed up the food chain for attention and action.

A good manager will listen to suggestion on improvement from staff at the coal face. After all what Supply Chain Company wants increasing complaints and the fallout from that?

In Summary

Dealing with supply chain anger, and customer or suppliers complaints, is often a part of doing business. If you can manage those complaints in an ordered and sincere way, then your company is going to be in front of your competition.

Because most businesses don’t handle supply chain anger very well at all. Sometimes just asking that irate or angry person, “How could I solve this issue for you “and listening will give you an obvious starting point for resolution.

It may not actually be that complicated.

Why It’s Critical to Keep Your Skills Up to Date

Technological change is disrupting every industry and profession around the world, and obliging professionals to ensure their skills are up to date.

Keep your skills up to date

In recent weeks, Procurious has published a number of articles on personal development, training and up-skilling. The idea of keeping skills up to to date, and making time for learning and development, are applicable not only in procurement, but also to virtually every profession in every country.

However, this is not to say that all the onus is on the individuals to take responsibility for their development. It’s important also for organisations to ensure that resources are made available to allow employees the opportunity to take advantage of the training that is available.

AT&T – Remaining Competitive

AT&T is a US-based telecommunications company, currently owned and operated by SBC Communications. In the USA, the company is the second largest provider of mobile phone services, and the largest provider of fixed phone services. The company also provides broadband services.

The rapid pace of technological change in the telecommunications industry has left AT&T vying to remain competitive against larger technology organisations, such as Google and Amazon. Part of the strategy for remaining competitive in this industry is ensuring that employees’ skills are up to date.

It was estimated that approximately 280,000 employees need to update, or learn, coding skills, something that the organisation is supporting through the provision of eLearning. The company will reimburse around $8,000 (USD) per year per employee for this training, although this will still mean employees are funding some of the training themselves.

Up-skill. Or else…

While this may sound like the organisation is being supportive of employees’ efforts to ensure they have the skills they require to perform their job, there is something of a darker undertone. In essence, AT&T are forcing their employees to learn these skills, or find that their career choices are “very limited”.

CEO, Randall Stephenson, has been quoted as saying people who do not spend 5 to 10 hours per week in online learning will “obsolete themselves with the technology”. The time commitment involved means that many employees are now working evenings and weekends, on top of their day jobs, just to keep up to date.

The company also plans, eventually, to include personal development and learning as part of performance reviews too. This will be based on what people have studied, how well they did, and whether they are willing to keep learning.

The Right Reasons

It would be easy to point the finger at AT&T and say that they are being unfair. That they shouldn’t be forcing employees to learn skills, or essentially be out of a job. However, there are many organisations who do not offer the support that AT&T are giving their employees.

Yes, employees own time and money are required in order to keep pace, but if these employees don’t have the same skills as those at competitor organisations, then the chances are good that AT&T will cease to exist, and those employees will be looking for new jobs in an ultra-competitive job market.

It is also not to say that AT&T are leaving their employees to fend for themselves. The company has a programme called “Vision 2020”. It combines online and classroom-based work in subjects like digital networking and data science, but also looks at old skills that can be transferred to new careers.

AT&T management want to ensure that the company has a future, and the employees have got on board with this, and are actively working to make sure that they have the necessary skills to do so.

Stay ahead of the personal development game by making use of all the eLearning resources at your disposal. Check out the Learning Hub on Procurious for over 80 free video and audio resources, from learning about procurement, to learning from the experts.

Social Media Fever Is The New Man Flu

Fret Not! Doctor Procurious is here to cure your social media fever!

Social Media Clinic

Social media has become a vital tool in both our personal and business lives. Conquering social media platforms can be difficult without the right knowledge and help.  Procurious is running a social media clinic at the eWorld Procurement & Supply conference in London on 2 March. The clinic will cover the following social media areas to give you the best tips and tricks of the trade.

Get noticed: Create Your Powerful Profile

  • Detailed Profile is Strong
  • Proof Read
  • Customise Your URL Profile
  • Have the right profile picture
  • Be part of the correct groups
  • Be aware of LinkedIn Applications
  • Bonus Tips and more on Procurious

Stay In Touch: Supercharge Your Market intelligence

  • Mastering Google Alerts  
  • Wonders of the Google Drive
  • Streamline content with Feedly
  • Must have marketing tools of 2016

Twitter 101: A Beginner’s Guide

  • Getting started – key terms and definitions of Twitter
  • Setting up an account – building the right Twitter profile
  • The Basics – Top tips and tricks
  • Using hashtags – what is ‘trending’?
  • Following Twitter influencers – information gathering

eLearning: Revolutionise Your Professional Development

  • Picking the right platform(s) for you
  • Podcasts and TED Talks – Introducing users to Soundcloud
  • Bite-sized Learning videos
  • Peer to Peer Networking
  • Fitting learning into your routine

Simplify: Make Social Media Work For You

  • Selecting the right platform for you
  • Why time doesn’t have to be a limiting factor
  • Introducing social media tools – Buffer; Hootsuite
  • Scheduling posts – when and where to do it; ensuring your posts make sense on all platforms
Procurious at eWorld
Social Media Fever…Get Cured with Procurious!

Don’t google your symptoms, fight them with Procurious. Come see us at eWorld Procurement & Supply conference!

The Ultimate Stress Busting Tip for Procurement Pros

Workplace stress getting the better of you? You need the ultimate stress busting tip to help level out, settle your jangling nerves and combustible temper.

Workplace Stress

Does this sound like your day? High pressure deadlines, the constant juggling of priorities, demanding customers and suppliers, and the never ending dramas of your employees or colleagues!

Do you ever get yourself so worked up that you become short tempered, irritable, and go home exhausted and not ‘available’ for your partner, kids or friends?

Do you dislike what’s happening to you? Well, it’s called Workplace Stress, and you have some control over how your body reacts to it.

What do I do?

Have you ever drawn a breath – I’m sure you have. But have you done it to slow yourself down? You know, when your heart is racing, your muscles tighten up, and your stomach is contracting or about to bring lunch up?!

What about when your teeth start to grind and your head feels like it’s about to explode like a bag of overcooked microwave popcorn bag? Then I guess you know all about anxiety!

These feelings and responses were developed in us over thousands of evolutionary years. We needed to have these responses to enable us to be wary of really scary things that wanted to  eat us!

When our brain interprets danger, adrenaline and cortisol go nuts in our bodies to help us to run away or fight the danger. It’s known today as the Fight, Flight or Freeze response. Check out our infographic below:

Stress Busting Tip

But where are the Sabre-Tooth Tiger and T-Rex when you’re in a procurement negotiation, or dealing with difficult clients or team members?

All this stress is in our head, and our mind being such a powerful machine makes these fears real…well sort of!

So What’s the Stress Buster Tip, O Great Wise One?   

Breathe. Yes, that’s it. But let me explain all the really technical moves:

Slowly breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs up with the good stuff called air. Breathe as deeply as you can, hold your breath for 2-3 seconds, and then slowly breathe out through pursed lips.

Then repeat the performance for 2, 5 or 10 plus minutes periodically throughout the day.

Stress Busting Tip - Breathe

As Easy as That!

So, go and sit somewhere comfortably and close your eyes. If you’re self-conscious, go somewhere private, or close your office door.

Of course it’s not advisable to do this when driving a forklift! And, for those of you who have smoked a pack a day for the last 20 years, you will need to adjust the tempo accordingly.

Keep at it. When you have mastered this you can add some ‘fancy thinking’ techniques to help you really sort this stuff out, but that’s for another article.

So give it a go, what have you got to lose, apart from maybe lots of stress!

To view this as a video click here.

Is There a Case for a Leap Year Public Holiday?

It’s a leap year this year, meaning that on the 29th of February we have a whole extra 24 hours available to us.

Leap Year Day

However, looking at it in a different way, as the extra day this year falls on a Monday, work gets an extra day from all of us. For salaried workers this pretty much means employers are getting an extra 8-10 hours for free. According to some calculations, this means workers lose out on around £113 on average.

Now, before you all run off and demand either a day off or an additional day’s pay from your employer, we should examine if there is a case for an additional, global public holiday.

What is a Leap Year?

Just by way of context, a leap year occurs once every four years. An additional day is added to the end of February in order to ensure that our clocks and calendars remain in sync with Earth’s seasons.

Scientifically speaking, the Earth takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete its orbit of the sun. However, the Gregorian calendar only runs to 365 days. These additional quarter days are added together, and, once every four years, a leap year occurs.

Due to the rarity or novelty of the 29th of February, a variety of ‘traditions’ have come into being during leap years. One of the most famous is that a woman can propose marriage to a man at any time during the year. Tradition also dictates that, should a man turn down the proposal, he needs to pay a fine. This can be anything, but around the world it ranges from 12 pairs of gloves (Denmark), to fabric for a skirt (Finland).

Additional Public Holidays

There is precedent around the world for the creation of an additional public holiday. The most famous in recent years was the UK public holiday for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was estimated that the holiday brought an additional £500 million into the UK retail sector, with another estimated £2 billion boost from tourism.

However, not all the economic stories from the day were positive. There were concerns at the time that the additional holiday was bad for the economy, which was still recovering from the financial crisis at the time. Leading economists had predicted that the proximity of the wedding to the Easter weekend would reduce growth by between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent.

In Australia, the Victorian Government is facing additional costs of AUD $405 million (£200 million; US $287 million) through the addition of two new public holidays to the calendar. Even factoring in economic benefits such as increased shopping, travel, and complimentary spending, PwC have stated that the costs will ultimately outweigh any benefits.

Bank Holiday Mondays

When compared to the rest of the world, the UK actually has fewer bank and public holidays (a total of 8) than many other countries. In Japan, the total is 15, in Spain, it’s 14 and there are 11 in China. But there is still hesitance, from both the UK Government and business leaders, to increase this number.

Recent figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) might go some way to explaining why. The CEBR estimates that each bank holiday in the UK actually costs the economy in the region of £2.3 billion. There is also the argument that the close proximity in the calendar of bank holidays can have an impact on businesses.

The accuracy of these figures could be debated, as it has also been argued that any loss of growth due to holidays is recovered later in the year. There is also the argument that by spreading the holidays out, the overall cost to the economy may actually drop.

There are also many positive trends for businesses see around the Easter weekend. Many people will use the weekend to start their annual DIY attempts in the better weather. In fact, it is estimated that 15 per cent of businesses see a positive result from bank holidays.

So, the 29th of February…

The truth is, no-one is entirely sure whether or not bank holidays are good or bad overall for the economy. This also goes for the argument for the UK having more bank holidays, including the potential for a leap year one.

The goodwill impact of an extra day off is hard to measure, particularly if employees return to work refreshed and ready to work hard. Plus, as the 29th of February only appears once every four years, surely it couldn’t have too great an impact.

For the time being, we’ll just have to content ourselves with what we have. But if you’re really desperate for a leap year holiday, you could always sign this petition