The 9 different personality types at your office Christmas party
December 22, 2021
Christmas is almost upon us. Less than a week away, the countdown is officially on.
Chances are, you’ve recently celebrated with your colleagues at your highly anticipated work Christmas party.
The festive work shindig is your one chance a year to see your co-workers outside of their natural habitat. As the prosecco starts to flow, a whole new side to your company rears its head.
Like Dickens’s Ghost of Christmas Past, we’re here to help you reminisce about your office Christmas party this year. We’ll be examining some of the staple caricatures that grace every work Christmas celebration.
Hold onto your Santa hats: this could get interesting.
The Worker Bee
With one foot always in the office, this colleague is guaranteed to be harping on about their latest project. Shaking their head and tutting in the corner of the room, the Worker Bee isn’t exactly the life of the party.
Unlikely to stay longer than the obligatory hour or two, they’ll keep their drinks to a minimum as they’re already planning on putting in some extra hours tomorrow to get a head-start on some work due next spring. No sore heads here!
We don’t condone drug-taking, but there’s always one colleague who will end the night on a high (literally). Away from their partner and five kids, tonight is their one opportunity of the year to let loose and blow off some steam.
You’ll probably find them centre stage, karaoke mike in hand, and they may even resort to standing on a chair singing “I wish I could do packet every day”.
During the festive period, London is teeming with people who come into the city once a year for their office Christmas party.
You can spot them from a mile off: in amongst a sea of moody commuters, this bunch are cheery and chatty, donning Santa hats and sipping on their M&S pina colada tinnies as they attempt to engage with the locals.
The event of the year, their office Christmas party starts out as a classy affair. Champagne on a boat ride down the Thames or at a West End musical. These occasions always end up far livelier than you’d ever have envisioned. By 3am you’ll find them at Be At One, wearing tinsel scarves and belting out cheesy Christmas anthems.
They’ll be in for a rude awakening when the train jolts to a stop at 6am the next morning in the middle of nowhere, or they find a hefty taxi bill on their credit card receipt.
Some people will use any event as a chance to climb up the work ladder. In a bid to impress their co-workers and bosses, their shamelessness knows no bounds.
Flashing the Amex about and droning on about their latest accomplishments, there’s something a touch Grinch-like about these characters.
This lot will make a competition out of anything with their colleagues.
And they’re pretty ruthless. A Christmas game of Twister can easily get out of hand with this personality type around. It starts with right hand on blue and ends with a performance review, sure to bring some awkward conversations into the new year.
We all know the type. Drinking by far the most and yet somehow the least drunk. Immune to the effects of alcohol, this individual takes pleasure in pulling everyone’s strings and bringing out the wild side of all the people at the party.
The devil on your shoulder, they’ll convince you to get up on a table and make a fool of yourself or buy the entire team another three rounds of tequila shots.
They’ll sow the seeds and then gleefully watch the chaos of their own making unfold.
The Silent Assassin
There’s always a dark horse at the office Christmas party who surprises everyone. Quiet and lowkey in the office, this character is sure to have one too many mulled wines and come out of their shell on the night.
It’s never a dull night with this personality type around. You may have only exchanged a handful of words with them all year in the office, as they very much keep to themselves. But when the Christmas party rolls around, they’ll be sure to make themselves known.
Oversharing with the CEO, nicking cigarettes off the HR team in the smoking area, climbing onto the bar counter and performing a sloppy rendition of ‘Last Christmas’. Expect the unexpected.
Often an HR Director, these characters gush year-round about their diverse and inclusive hiring policy. They may spend much of the year waxing lyrical about how incredibly progressive their company is, but when Christmas rolls around, you’ll catch them at the most lavish and garish event around.
You’ll probably find them hosting a black-tie Christmas party at the Savoy. Go figure!
Champagne, hors d’oeuvres, ball gowns, string quartets. Great Gatsby, eat your heart out.
The Remote Evangelist
The Operations Manager who is constantly driving to improve efficiency and proclaims the benefits of remote working to no end.
You’re not surprised when they cancel the work Christmas pub crawl. They’re thoroughly convinced that working remotely is the best thing since sliced bread, and they use the annual festive celebration to make their point by insisting that it take place online.
Be prepared for cheesy online Christmas quizzes. No doubt you’ll be inhaling a glug of red wine to fill the awkward Zoom-induced silences.
The High-Octane Junkie
There’s always that one boss who loves the great outdoors, and will no doubt drag the company along with them on their adventures. Come rain or shine, the office Christmas party is bound to be activity-based. It’ll most likely involve rolling about in the mud in some capacity. Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned team-building exercise? (Cue eye roll…)
At these office Christmas parties, it’s less about the booze and banter and more about the endurance and adrenaline. After all, nothing says ‘Christmas joy’ like hiking in a 3-degree blizzard in South Wales.
So now, we’ll put the question to you. Did any of these hit a little too close to home? Which character are you at the office Christmas party?
Mid-career crisis: how to navigate a job pivot
December 15, 2021
Humans are creatures of habit.
Unfortunately for us, that means getting stuck in a rut in our working lives is all too common.
But let’s say you want to change the narrative, break the mould, and pursue a directional change in your career. How do you make the prospect of a mid-career job pivot a little less daunting?
In the past, it was the norm to enter a profession and stick with it until retirement. However, it seems that nowadays, less people are willing to follow this straightforward career trajectory.
According to Aviva’s How We Live Report, 60% of workers are considering some form of a career change, compared to 53% in July 2020.
Although a career change is more common nowadays, it’s no easy feat. It’s a big change, one that requires the right approach if you want it to pan out.
Rather than taking a blind leap of faith by handing in your notice and hastily applying to every opportunity that sounds vaguely attractive, the key to a successful career change is a clearly mapped-out game plan.
Let’s explore some of the best ways you can prepare yourself for a mid-career job pivot. We’ll try to arm you with the tools necessary to ensure a positive outcome.
Establish what you (don’t) want from your new career
Before you swiftly quit your job at the first opportunity, consider using your current position to your advantage.
You may already know you want to leave, but ask yourself: why?
Take time to reflect on the things you love and hate about your current role. What do you want to carry over into your new profession and what do you want to leave firmly behind?
Use your current job as a point of reference against which you can shape your new career. By identifying what’s important to you in a career as well as the root cause of your dissatisfaction in your current role, you can better prepare yourself for a career move, as you’ll be more confident in what you’re looking for.
After all, ‘career change’ is a pretty broad and abstract term. For some, a career change could constitute moving into an entirely new field or industry. But that’s not always the case. A career change does not always involve up sticks and moving into an entirely different sector.
You ultimately define what a career change means to you. Do you simply need a change in environment because the company or organisation no longer aligns with your personal values? Do you need to tweak your current role by going part-time or freelancing? Or do you ultimately need a complete overhaul by entering an entirely new industry?
Knowing where you stand by using your current job to gauge your interests and pain-points is crucial before you venture out and attempt a mid-career job pivot.
When you have a clearer idea of what you’re (not) looking for, you can conduct more focussed research on the career paths that interest you.
Identify your transferable skills – and showcase them
Once you’ve identified the type of position that you’re keen to start applying for, it’s time to tailor your CV based on the target role.
It would be a rookie error to simply list all of your experience and skills on a resume without any consideration for the particular role you’re aiming towards. The best approach is to masterfully curate your CV by making it directly relevant to the position you want.
Think about what soft skills you have that could be useful in the new role you want.
Are you an excellent communicator? A critical thinker and problem-solver? Are you persuasive and influential? Do you have experience in stakeholder management?
Identify these key transferable soft skills and showcase them on your resume.
In the same vein, any work experience you’ve obtained thus far isn’t necessarily null and void as soon as you enter a new sector that isn’t directly relevant. Think about key tasks and responsibilities you’ve had in past roles that could be carried over to your new job.
As you’re crafting a CV, make sure you have your particular career ambition in the back of your mind. This guarantees that all of your skills and experience link back to that particular target role.
Knowing your transferable soft skills and showcasing them ensures that you present yourself in the best light to a prospective employer, demonstrating how adaptable you’d be in a new working environment.
Network: put yourself on the map
Opportunity can arise when and where you least expect it.
So, take the initiative to network with any contacts you may have within the field you’re interested in.
Use your network to uncover as much information and insight as possible about the career you want to move into. There’s nothing to be lost and everything to be gained from engaging with your personal network when exploring the prospect of a mid-career job pivot.
It’s also a great idea to branch out of your own network by contacting people who inspire you directly, and asking them for any advice or insight into how they got where they are today.
For an added layer of support, it could be a good idea to get in touch with a recruiter. They’ll do a lot of the networking for you!
Using a recruiter adds extra weight to your application. Not only do they tap into their extensive client network, but their network usually trusts their judgement, so they can present you in the best possible light to prospective employers and ensure that crucial parts of your transferable experience don’t go unnoticed.
They can provide you with insights into the job market and help you cultivate your own personal brand accordingly.
Depending on what industry you’re interested in, we’d recommend opting for a recruitment agency with a more focussed specialism in niche fields, as they’re more likely to have an in-depth understanding of those particular job markets.
Here at Nicholson Glover, we may be slightly biased, but we think the support a recruiter can provide during a mid-career job pivot is unparalleled.
There’s a whole world of resources out there, at your disposal.
Make use of them!
There are many soft skills you may already possess from past employment. But there are also hard skills which are often far more job or industry specific. Some examples include coding, report writing, or database management. These skills can be gained through training and courses.
Whether it’s by taking a class at a local college or by signing up for a free online course, the best way to stay employable is by taking the initiative to upskill in your own time.
By building your skillset in a particular area, you instantly demonstrate to any prospective employer that you’re willing to learn and that you have a genuine interest in that particular field.
Alongside taking courses, you can also build up your industry knowledge the old-fashioned way. Start reading around your new role or sector and develop a deeper understanding of the career transition you’ll be making. Read up on the latest industry topics and trends and keep up to date with the companies you’re interested in (and their main competitors).
This way, by the time you get to interview, it’ll be clear to your potential employer that you’re not making a mid-career job pivot on a whim. It’s obvious that you’re invested in your new career path and have a clear sense of direction.
So, there you have it. As long as you have a sense of direction, confidence in your abilities and skills, and the drive to dedicate yourself to something new, anything is possible.
These are the key ingredients of a successful mid-career job pivot, but it’s down to you to put them into action. A new challenge awaits!
Hybrid, home, or office? The future of work post-pandemic
December 8, 2021
It seems like only yesterday that we were opening up our laptops at the beginning of the pandemic and having our first real encounter with the world of remote working.
Initially, working from home was a series of awkward moments playing out on our desktops. Accidentally leaving our cameras and microphones on, dealing with frozen screens and faulty connection, cringing when a family member would stumble into the room and interrupt a call with the boss.
We’ve all been there.
Almost two years on, it’s safe to say that we’ve come on in leaps and bounds since then, having adapted to remote working.
With offices now slowly opening their doors back up again – a steady stream of commuters trickling back into their company buildings bright and early each morning – we’re in a bit of a limbo stage.
It’s difficult to ascertain how remote working will be incorporated into our working lives post-pandemic.
So, where do we go from here?
In this article, we’ll try to paint a picture of the different scenarios at hand: office, home, or hybrid. We’ll dive into the pros and cons of each, in a bid to determine what the future of work looks like.
Back to the daily grind: returning to the office
As a rule, most large corporates are keen to get their employees back in the office. A number of different factors play into this decision.
Training and support in the workplace
There’s no denying that working from home makes it harder to communicate effectively and establish genuine relationships with colleagues.
When our screens are constantly freezing over and our lagging microphones lead to awkward interruptions, it can be difficult to feel truly connected to those we’re working with.
Especially for new starters and graduates, there’s no replacement for human interaction. It’s crucial that young, entry level staff get the support and training they need in a new role.
Larger, corporate firms in particular need to provide effective orientation and mentorship to their employees.
According to research by the Harvard Business Review, both our personal and professional networks have dwindled by close to 16% in the aftermath of the pandemic.
If companies want to cultivate a true community amongst their employees, in-person facetime is indispensable.
Less distractions, more convenience
True – the prospect of getting up every morning and dragging our feet to the office can seem a little bleak. But we’d be lying if we said that the office didn’t serve a crucial purpose.
In order to work efficiently and productively, we need a stable environment dedicated to hard work and focus.
The power of a stimulating work environment is undeniable.
In the office, we have far fewer distractions than within the four walls of our homes. In-person work also makes it easier to draw a line between work and home. It establishes a much-needed boundary to separate our personal lives from our careers.
Long-term stress and lack of motivation are far more common when working from home, a fact that we explored in our blog post on burnout.
Convenience-wise, working in an office ensures that you’ll never be left in the lurch when you need a particular resource.
In an office, everything you need for work is at your disposal. That book you need for research purposes? That tool your next task requires? Chances are, these are all no more than a few paces away from your desk.
For the sake of fairness
It’s also been argued that it’s fairer to have an in-person work policy.
Working from home can be very comfortable…for some. Given that you have a roomy, peaceful setup in your five-bed terraced house with a garden and your own personal office, that is.
But for those without a designated workspace at home, remote working is a little less appealing.
Returning employees to the office full-time ensures a universal policy across the board. One that doesn’t put employees who may have challenging home situations at a disadvantage.
Staying put and working from home
For smaller businesses in particular, there’s a lot of appeal to the prospect of working solely from home. So, what are the benefits of remote working?
One of the obvious benefits of working exclusively from home is the slashing of office rental costs.
The process is already underway for many companies across the world. According to a survey by RSM conducted in January of this year, three-quarters of UK-based mid-sized businesses are considering or have already begun reducing their physical office space.
Looking at one example in particular, Capita have set out with the goal of closing a quarter of their offices by the end of this year in a bid to cut spending.
Fairness and freedom
When discussing the benefits of in-person work, we mentioned the fairness of a policy that insisted on employees returning to work in the office. There is a counterargument to this, however.
Some claim that working from home is in some ways more beneficial to disadvantaged employees.
Remote working means that employees can avoid spending money on the daily commute into the office. It also benefits disabled employees, as well as those with young children who perhaps cannot afford to juggle office work with childcare.
Working from home unlocks a whole new level of freedom for workers.
Working an office-based job, we sometimes run the risk of clocking in at 9am, scrolling on our phones whilst sat at our desks and then leaving the office promptly at 5pm, thoroughly convinced that we’ve had a productive day.
Remote working ensures that companies measure outcomes and results over the number of hours spent chained to our office desks.
The freedom that working from home permits us is unprecedented.
What would’ve been unheard of ten years ago is suddenly very much within the realm of possibility. This is due to rapid advances in technology.
Instead of travelling across the country (or the globe) for the sake of a business meeting or event, you can log on to a Teams call with colleagues based in India or Sweden, from the comfort of your flat in London.
Going hybrid: the best of both worlds?
Both office and remote working have their fair share of pros and cons. Is a hybrid approach the future of work?
Whilst it’s easy to fall into the trap of presuming that hybrid working is the perfect compromise, it’s definitely not the fix-all solution you’d perhaps expect it to be.
A number of companies have adopted the approach of designating certain days of the week to in-person work, often using these days for projects that require more collaborative efforts, whilst setting aside other days for remote working, where employees can get their teeth into more independent tasks that don’t require an office environment.
Sounds great in theory, right?
The flaws in the hybrid working model
The reality is that hybrid working is not one-size-fits-all.
For one thing, it’s extremely industry-dependant. Whilst hybrid working is possible for businesses providing a service, such as recruitment, consulting, financial and law firms, it makes little sense to those working in the hospitality and retail sectors, for example.
A more mixed / hybrid approach to work also runs the risk of causing inequality.
It could cause diversity problems, as many employees with mobility issues, children to look after, or further distances to travel would be less inclined to go into the office. Meanwhile, young working professionals living centrally, in close proximity to the office, would likely commute more often, in a bid to make themselves more visible to their superiors and earn promotion.
Office workers would be disproportionately favoured for career progression. To many, hybrid working does not cultivate the positive company culture that comes with working exclusively from the office. It instead creates an unequal playing field that counteracts the freedom and fairness of purely remote working, too.
Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of GitLab, labelled hybrid working ‘the worst of both worlds’.
Then what’s the solution?
Hybrid working is sure to become the norm in sectors where it’s possible to implement. However, the extent to which this will be the case remains to be seen.
One thing’s for sure: gone are the days of purely office-bound work. The pandemic and advances in technology have fundamentally changed the landscape of work forever.
We’re not quite sure what that will look like. But we’re thoroughly convinced that the world of work will never be the same again.
How to avoid burnout in the workplace
December 2, 2021
With the festive season rapidly approaching, it’s not unusual for our motivation at work to dwindle, leaving the door open to burnout.
I mean, we get it. Picture this: it’s an icy Friday afternoon in the depths of winter. The last place we want to be is at our office desks, bracing ourselves for the cold commute home in the bleak 5pm darkness. Especially when we can already hear the streets abuzz with the chatter of pub-goers.
It’s important to note that ‘burnout’ is far more than feeling stressed every now and then. More long-term, burnout is often a symptom of an unhappy work environment.
Common causes of burnout are an excessive workload, a lack of enjoyment with the work you’re doing or feeling dissatisfied with your organisation and its values.
But how do we overcome the burnout that inevitably, for some, returns like clockwork at the end of every calendar year?
Instead of spending the rest of the month glancing longingly at our watches and yearning for the end of the day, let’s dive into some of the best ways to avoid losing motivation in the workplace during the festive period.
Create time for self-care and establish a work-life balance
Obvious as it may sound, a great way of overcoming burnout is by striking the perfect balance between your career and personal life.
To many of us, our career is a major priority. This means it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of self-care.
Especially now, during the festive period, we should be making time for ourselves. It’s completely fine to soak up the Christmas cheer and not get bogged down in an endless work cycle.
Important as it is to stay on top of your workload, sometimes there’s nothing more beneficial than self-care.
Being a dedicated employee is all well and good. But working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week is simply not conducive to a positive work experience.
As a knock-on effect of COVID-19, establishing a clear work-life balance has proven more complicated. Due to the pandemic, many of us are still working from the comfort of our homes.
In such circumstances, it can be extremely tempting to snuggle up in bed with a cup of coffee in your favourite mug and refuse to make the dreaded pilgrimage to your desk (trust me, we know the struggle).
However, it’s been scientifically proven that working from bed is basically like committing the cardinal sin of productivity. As deceptively dreamy as it may sound, working from bed allows your work to invade a space dedicated to unwinding.
According to an Indeed survey, 52% of participants experienced burnout over the past year, which is a 9% rise on a survey conducted pre-Covid, and 67% of respondents are convinced that this increase is a consequence of the pandemic. If you’re still working from home, it’s crucial to draw a line in the sand between work and down-time.
Focus on planning ahead and prioritising your tasks
Stay on top of your workload and steer clear of burnout at the end of the year is by managing your time and energy effectively.
Whether it be through to-do lists, scheduling tools or prioritisation techniques, focussing on planning ahead can take a heavy weight off your shoulders.
Balance end-of-year planning with holiday celebrations, mapping out your quarterly workload for the New Year and leaving work with a sense of control whilst still making it in time for the Christmas party down your local.
If you’re feeling buried under an avalanche of work, the best way of overcoming this is by planning, establishing clear goals for the remainder of the year (and the New Year), paving the way for mental clarity and a newfound sense of motivation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There’s no shame in admitting that you’re struggling with work and asking for support in particularly challenging times.
Whether that means approaching a colleague and asking for a helping hand with a project you’re working on or asking for support from your boss, the payoff will be well worth it in the long run.
If you’re having issues prioritising the tasks allocated to you on a daily basis and are feeling weighed down with responsibility, asking for help will not only benefit your mental health, it will improve your productivity in the long-run by enabling higher quality work efforts.
Consider changing jobs
If all else fails, it could be time to consider finding a new work environment. Your burnout is probably due to more than a simple case of the December blues.
If you find yourself in a hostile work environment that fails to serve your personal and professional needs despite your efforts to improve the situation, you might need to use more drastic measures to get out of your career slump.
Whether your job is leaving you feeling unfulfilled and uninspired, making excessive demands on you, or no longer aligning with your personal values, it could be time to consider a new opportunity.
With the New Year approaching, is there any better time to start afresh and reignite your passion for work?