For some people working from home is a regular practice, but for most of us it’s a new way of working and presents new challenges – especially if you are with family who are now at home too.

Isla Galloway-Gaul, MD of Inspiration Office, says: “People are all at once discovering the benefits and frustrations of remote work. But you can take cues from great workplaces. You’ll get more done and feel better when your technology, space and the ways you need to work come together. Working from home should be no different.”

Here are some practical tips about how to improve the work from home experience.

Establish and stick to boundaries

It’s tempting to be “on” constantly when you work from home. Others find being home distracting and challenging to stay focused and productive. “Identifying boundaries can help you maintain a healthy and productive balance. Decide on your schedule each day and try to stick to it,” Galloway-Gaul advised.

Be transparent

If you are not at your computer, be sure to communicate that with your colleagues. Make your calendar visible to your team, update your status in any team/collaboration software you use or even leverage your out-of-office auto reply. Let your team know when you’re going to be away and when you’ll be back, especially when you work in different time zones.

Build belonging

Think about ways to keep relationships intact while working from home and practicing social distancing.
“Consider creating a group chat for social interactions – during stressful times, everybody loves a good meme. Schedule coffee with a colleague over video to catch up. Remote workers need more of these checkpoints than those who are in the office.”

Create consistent connections

It can be easy to slip into a siloed work experience when everyone is working on their own, especially during more socially isolating times. Institute a quick daily virtual team connect to keep work moving forward.

Provide a variety of tools

The tools available to distributed teams aren’t perfect. No one technology does it all. “Pick some consistent tools for instant messaging, video conferencing, sharing documents, file transfers, etc. to keep your team connected virtually while social distancing,” Galloway-Gaul noted.

Turn your camera on

Video should be the default setting for any remote collaboration. Seeing facial reactions and body language lets you “read the room,” plus people are less likely to interrupt or speak over one another. “To do it well, keep the computer at eye level — put it on a stand or further back so it isn’t looking up your nose. Look into the camera and use natural light, but avoid putting your back to a window or you’ll look like a silhouette.”

Hear and be heard

“Avoid rooms with lots of hard surfaces that echo – like a kitchen,” says Galloway-Gaul. “Choose rooms with rugs or other softer materials, like the living room.” Headphones provide a better experience than computer audio. Finally, if you’re late to an online meeting or not speaking, mute your audio to avoid disrupting the conversation.

Find focus

Not everyone has a home office, so think about establishing a territory that clearly signals “I’m at work.” Discuss protocol with other members of your household to signal when you’re “on at work,” even if you’re reading on the sofa. If you tend to be distracted by other household demands, find a way to create visual boundaries so you don’t see the dirty dishes. And, if acoustics are an issue and you can’t shut the door, headphones may be your new best friend.

Be aware of your posture

A risk of working from home is becoming more sedentary. Look for ways to vary your posture and the spots where you work throughout the day. “Sit, stand, perch, go for a walk — activating the body, activates the brain and can keep you from going stir crazy,” Galloway-Gaul add.

Particularly important: Most people slumped over their laptop and look down onto their screens when they have converted the dining room chair and table to an office. “We strongly suggest raising the laptop, even if on a couple of books, which allows the screen to be at the same level of your face. This is much better for your body, dramatically reducing strain on the back and neck.”

 

Source: eNCA

The Western Cape Health Department is appealing to the public to stop using gloves and masks. It warns these items have a risk of spreading coronavirus if not used properly.

The Head of the Western Cape Department of Health, Dr Beth Engelbrecht, says if a person is not ill and has not been in contact with infected persons they don’t need to wear masks and gloves.

“We saw that people are wearing masks and actually that could put them in more danger if they do.

If you wear a mask and you don’t need it then you fiddle with the mask all the time and you touch your face frequently and the face is the area where most of the infection gets through to the body so it puts you at risk,” said Dr Engelbrecht.

She said washing your hands with soap and water and ensuring you don’t touch your face is the best solution.

* This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.

 

How to survive working from home

By Elmarie Grant, head of Synthesis Academy

You have now been tasked with navigating a new world: working from home. This may sound great until you are charged with being the home-school teacher; your dog decides your new life purpose is playing fetch with him or her; you realise that your significant other is the loudest eater ever to have walked the earth; and you have to manage all forms of other new and unexpected interruptions – all while doing your job and keeping your customer happy!

Fear not. After extensive research, we have gathered the top tips to help you survive working from home:

  1. Set working hours
    Setting a schedule for yourself can be helpful in balancing work and life. Get up at your usual time, and be clear when your workday starts and ends. This way, you’ll feel more in control of your time and know when you can walk away without feeling guilty. It also gives you some flexibility to catch up with others – can you work for an hour or two before the kids wake up, or work another couple after they’ve gone to bed?
  2. Create a morning routine
    Deciding you’ll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pajama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.
  3. Keep a dedicated “office” space
    Creating a clear space that signals “this is where I work” can be helpful in separating work from fun. If your laptop is on the desk, it’s worktime, and if it is on the dining room table, you can allow yourself to check your social media or watch a movie. Keeping your space clean, neat and stocked with whatever supplies you need (power cables, additional screens etc) will also help you focus and be intentional about your activities. Use the same space everyday so this space is your office away from the office, providing you with a physical and psychological boundary.
  4. Set ground rules with the people in your space
    Having little ones or loved ones around can be very distracting when you are working. Setting ground rules about how and when they can interact with you (especially when you are at your “work desk”) can be helpful. It helps them understand when they can expect your full attention, and minimise interruptions. Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labour, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you’re home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.
  5. Schedule breaks
    Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your usual lunch break, or schedule time to walk away (and spend some time with your little ones). Regular breaks also help improve your productivity, manage your energy levels and reset your attention span.
  6. Be strict with social media
    It is natural to want to check what is happening on social media and to check the latest news but this can become all-consuming. Rather allocate time to do this as breaks in your day. Set an alarm if necessary to ensure you don’t fall down the rabbit hole and waste your day.
  7. Show up to meetings
    Instead of office meetings, you may be required to dial in or use other virtual means for meetings. Make sure you schedule these in the same way you would normal face-to-face meetings; they are a great way to check in with your team, measure your own progress and socialise a little. Raise any issues or risks, but also celebrate the small things. Don’t skip them!
  8. Look for training opportunities
    There are a variety of online, self-paced training resources available. Using your time working from home to learn a new skill set, hone an existing skill or reading more broadly about something you are interested in will not only keep you engaged and energised, but help you find new ways to add value.
  9. Over-communicate
    Working remotely requires everyone to be clear on what they are doing. Not seeing colleagues continuously makes it much harder to keep track of where they are and what activities they are completing. When you finish a project or important task, say so. If you are running behind or are facing a challenge, speak up. Over-communicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself.
  10. Create an end-of-day routine
    Like your morning routine that gets you ready for your remote workday, set a routine that lets you (and your loved ones) know that you are winding down. It will allow you to leave work at work (so to speak) and engage with your after-hours activities mindfully and meaningfully and relax.
  11. Be present and be positive
    Whether you are working, or taking a break and spending time with others, be present in that moment. The best way to focus and improve your productivity is to aim your attention to one thing at a time. Cultivating a positive mindset has many benefits – from making you happier and more productive, to spilling over into your relationships. Let’s face it, being cooped up with others can be challenging, and keeping a positive, open mind will help you overcome those small irritations.

By Aisha Abdool Karim & Joan van Dyk for Bhekisisa

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases can run hundreds of tests at the same time but ultimately the number of tests South Africa will be able to carry out for the new coronavirus depends on the machines, people and testing supplies available.

Seven South Africans have tested positive for the new coronavirus, dubbed SARS-CoV-2 by scientists. There’s still no reason to panic. But if you are feeling sick, here’s all the information you need to take the next steps.

Who should get tested?
The virus SARS-CoV-2 causes coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19. People with COVID-19 have symptoms including cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever — but these can also be signs of the flu.

You should only get tested if you have symptoms and have also done one of the following, says the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD):

  • Been in contact with someone who has COVID-19;
  • Have travelled to a country where you have a high risk of getting infected. The NICD currently lists the following countries as high risk: China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy and Iran but this list is updated regularly. For the most recent information, go here;
  • Have worked in or been to a healthcare facility treating people with COVID-19;
  • Have a severe case of pneumonia with an unknown cause.

What does testing involve?
A healthcare worker collects samples from, for instance, your nose, throat and lungs before sending them off for testing. They collect the samples in a few ways, explain the latest NICD guidelines. Patients could be asked to do a deep cough and spit phlegm into a container for testing. In other cases, a healthcare worker might wipe your nose, mouth, or the back of your throat with what looks like a giant earbud. The sample is then put into a tube and sent to the lab.

Testing of samples takes 24 hours, people can expect results after 48 hours. This applies to tests conducted at both the NICD laboratory and the private Lancet Laboratories.

According to the NICD guidelines, if someone tests positive, this will be confirmed with another test. If that diagnostic comes back negative, then the test will be repeated to verify the result. This kind of repeat testing means it can take up to 48 hours to definitely detect a case of COVID-19.

If a person initially tests negative, then follow-up diagnostics are only done if the person begins to show symptoms or if the samples were of poor quality.

How does the test work?
After lab technicians have the sample, they’ll test it with a quantitative polymerase chain reaction machine, which looks a lot like a photocopier. It kind of acts like one too, De Oliveira says. The machine creates thousands of copies of the virus’ genes if it’s present in the patient sample. The results will show both whether the sample is infected with SARS-CoV-2 and how much of it is present, he says.

These machines are widely available in South Africa and the NICD says they can test hundreds of samples at a time.

If the result is positive for the virus, scientists move on to a second machine – a DNA sequencer, which unravels the whole genetic code of the virus’s DNA — this is the first step in helping scientists track the spread of the virus both locally and globally.

For instance, researchers can plug the virus’ genetic map into a free, web-based programme designed by international teams from Belgium, Brazil and South Africa’s KRISP unit at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. KRISP is a gene sequencing research organisation based at the university.

The software allows scientists to compare it with a database of similar samples from 10 types of coronavirus including the SARS-CoV-2.

Tulio De Oliveira is a bioinformatician from KRISP who led the development of the tool.

“It has three uses,” he explains “to quickly and accurately characterize new coronavirus genomes, to understand the source of the outbreak, and to identify mutations of the virus.”

The NICD is watching the changes in the virus carefully, says spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh.

Monitoring how a virus changes can help researchers develop treatments or vaccines for the newest coronavirus, De Oliveira says.

“So far, SARS-CoV-2 is spreading very fast [globally], but it hasn’t changed that much.”

He explains: “The small changes that have occurred have not made any difference on how the virus behaves, or how easily it spreads.

Where should you go for a test?
If you think you might have contracted the virus, you should call the NICD helpline on 0800 029 999. They will advise you where the closest public or private facility is for you to go for a test and how to access the facility.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?
Anyone who tests positive will be put in isolation at one of the hospitals designated to respond to the outbreak. You’ll remain there until tests show you no longer have the virus.

The NICD will then trace people who have been in close contact with the confirmed case. Anyone who could have come in contact with the patient in the week before they began to feel sick will be self-quarantined at home for 14 days. This group includes everyone from family to health workers who may have seen them. The NICD will closely monitor them for any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

How much does it cost, and what does medical aid cover?
Public sector testing is completely free. But as of 9 March, Lancet Laboratories announced that it would also be processing COVID-19 tests from private doctors for R1 400 — how much of this cost you will have to cover yourself depends on your medical aid scheme.

Discovery Health Medical Scheme will cover the costs of a test if you are found to be positive, if the result is negative, then you will pay for the diagnostic with medical savings.

The Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS), which covers more 70 000 South Africans, announced it would also pay for tests and treatments for the virus.

“We encourage medical schemes to provide comprehensive cover for all confirmed cases, in the interest of public health,” head of the Council for Medical Schemes Sipho Kabane said in a statement.

Kabane advised that people test at government laboratories.

To attract the best and the brightest, many companies are creating an “anti-office” — a Silicon Valley inspired, more relaxed environment that looks more like a trendy coffee shop or the foyer of a boutique hotel.

But many of these inspiring workspaces are sitting puzzlingly empty, despite contrasting strongly with the more formal, conventional offices favoured in the past.

Isla Galloway-Gaul, MD of Inspiration Office, says: “Despite significant investments to create inspiring workplaces that will attract talent, especially Millennials, many of these more casual and fun workspaces sit empty, while others are in constant use.

“The question is why do people choose one space over another? And is there a right formula for creating these spaces? Given the time and investment it takes, it’s really important for businesses to get it right the first time.”

Galloway-Gaul notes that most of the time, the primary driver for creating shared spaces is simply aesthetics with not enough thought given to the varied ways in which people actually work.

“People need more than a beautiful sofa and a coffee table. They come to the office to work. Organisations therefore need to turn their focus toward reducing what’s unnecessary and getting back to facilitating a focus on work,” she says.

Many shared spaces are designed primarily for social interactions and provide limited options for performance work.

“Unable to find the right space for doing heads down work, it’s not unusual, for example, to find people doing focus work in large spaces designed for collaboration or trying to collaborate in areas designed for respite,” Galloway-Gaul notes.

“It’s fine and even appealing to make the workspace look like a designer home, but businesses need to use every square meter of office space in a meaningful way, so these spaces can also be productive and help people perform.”

The key is to provide people with a mix of diverse spaces that support different work modes and styles. The lack of these may be why employees of large corporations are only moderately satisfied with the shared spaces their organisations provide them.

A study by Steelcase confirmed that employees prefer to work in a range of spaces, rather than a single setting.

In an effort to support a healthier and more productive workforce, employers increasing spend on well-intentioned wellness programmes such as onsite gyms and standing desks.

But Linda Trim, director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, said while employees do like the extra facilities, “they want the basics first” – which is something companies tend to forget.

“Employees want better air quality, access to natural light, and the ability to personalise their workspace more than anything else. It makes sense: these factors are the biggest influencers of employee performance, happiness and wellbeing.

“We are increasingly asked to consult to CEOs of South African businesses on how to improve poor workspaces which prevent people and companies from progressing. For them it’s become a pressing need to have people-first workspaces.”

A high-quality workplace can reduce absenteeism up to four days a year. This can have a major impact on the bottom line. Employees who are satisfied with their work environments are 16% more productive, 18% more likely to stay, and 30% more attracted to their company over competitors.

Here are three steps you can take to improve your work environments and the wellbeing of your employees:

    • Stop spending on barely used office perks. “A good rule of thumb is to never assume that you know what your employees want — but instead, find ways to ask them,” Trim advised. They might then put less emphasis on office perks that only a minority of employees will take advantage of (like an onsite gym), and more on changes in the workplace environment that impact all employees like air quality and access to light. Interestingly, we find that many employees want a view of the outdoors.
    • Personalise when possible. We’ve all gotten used to personalising our outside-of-work lives. We watch the shows we want to watch and listen to the music we like to hear. “Employees are beginning to expect these same privileges in the workplace,” Trim noted. “Specifically, employees want to personalise workplace temperature, overhead and desk lighting and noise levels.”
      Research by global acoustics company St Gobain, which Giant Leap partnered with for a recent installation, showed that good acoustics could mean a 15% reduction in cognitive stress for office workers working in an open plan office. American technology company Cisco manages the acoustic levels in their space by creating a floor plan without assigned seating that includes neighbourhoods of workspaces designed specifically for employees collaborating in person, remotely, or those who choose to work alone.
      Others companies like US biotech company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals allow employees to control natural light streaming in through their office windows with a cell phone app. “The same strategy applies to light or temperature. You can position employees who want a higher temperature and more light around the edge of your floor plan, and those who like it quieter and cooler in the core,” Trim said.
    • Create a holistic view of workplace wellness. Workplace wellness includes physical wellness, emotional wellness, and environmental wellness.All three need consideration:
  1. Emotional wellness – give employees access to natural light , and quiet rooms where they can comfortably focus on their work.
  2. Physical wellness – provide people with healthy food options, and ergonomically designed work stations.
  3. Environmental wellness – make sure your workspaces have adequate air quality, light, temperature, and proper acoustics.

Faced with the prospect of a lengthy commute on a sweltering day, either jammed into a packed taxi or a never-ending queue at the traffic lights, plenty of us have dreamed about that ultimate career goal: working from home. Design the day to fit your other commitments, get a few things done around the house, and pop out for lunch with a friend – surely this is the answer to the quest for the perfect work/life balance?

Well, yes and no. Little or no social interaction, an endless list of distractions, and no motivation to ditch the pyjamas for something a little more… professionals are the other side of the coin. OK, the dishes might be done and the bathroom sparkles like a showroom – but what about those missed deadlines? What may sound idyllic on paper can prove disastrous in reality.
The disadvantages of working from home doesn’t stop there. Of course, the pitter-patter of tiny feet can be a joy, especially after you’re done for the day. But when you’re trying to prepare a presentation with one hand and break up warring siblings with another, things can look a little different. In New Zealand last year, demand for coworking spaces actually increased during the school holidays as practical parents sought refuge in an environment better geared to productivity. A survey of 15,000 people in 80 countries found that 68% South Africans cited family members as a barrier to getting things done.

Loneliness is another problem. The staggering rate at which technology has expanded has made our lives much easier: we can order dinner, something to read and a taxi with the tap of an app. But email and messaging platforms like Slack and WhatsApp, though extremely efficient forms of communication, have removed the need for any real interaction – and this can feel particularly acute for someone spending the day at home alone. Loneliness has become so serious, in fact, that in 2018 the UK became the first country in the world to appoint a minister for loneliness. What might at first sound wishy-washy is brought into sharp relief by this piece of evidence in a Harvard Business Review article, which found that loneliness is “associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

At the same time, the office environment has its own distractions. Beware the colleague with a fervent belief in endless meetings as the solution to all problems: not only do meetings often take up a significant chunk of time in a typical eight-hour workday, but they also introduce more issues than they solve if they’re not handled with military precision and a ruthless eye on the clock. Then there’s the danger of being side-tracked by someone else’s project, as they ask you to come over and look at something “just for a minute” that quickly turns into another precious hour lost to a non-core task.

So, how to crack the remote employment conundrum? Coworking solutions like Spaces may well have found the sweet spot between the advantages and disadvantages of working from home. Firstly, being surrounded by like-minded individuals creates a buzzy atmosphere that puts paid to any feelings of loneliness – but because your fellow members are more often acquaintances than colleagues, the opportunities for downing tools and discussing last night’s TV are greatly reduced compared to the office. And that sense of quietly competitive camaraderie can be a great motivating factor when 4pm rolls around and your first impulse is to put off writing that long email until tomorrow morning.

That said, it’s all about balance – after all, burnout can also be a big problem in the world of work in the 21st -century. Traditional office culture is partly to blame but home based workers aren’t immune either. Who hasn’t ended up putting in more hours at the kitchen table to prove to the boss that they really are working even though they’re at home? And when the laptop’s left open while you’re preparing dinner, it can be all too easy to carry on with various bits and pieces in between chopping the vegetables. At SPACES, networking events like mindfulness talks and yoga classes act as gentle reminders that a good work/life balance is what will make us most successful in the end.

Another article in the Harvard Business Review found that people thrive in coworking spaces for a number of reasons. The sense of community, the ability to be yourself rather than adopt a “work persona”, and the empowerment that comes with being able to plan the working day according to your schedule, all play their part in developing the meaning and purpose that we all need to feel fulfilled at work. Even better, there are none of those working-from-home distractions that can so easily swallow up half our time if we let them, and no loss of productivity that comes with office life.

When working from home doesn’t cut it for you, there’s always another option. Our coworking memberships provide access to workspaces all around the globe, without the distractions.

Approximately 15% to 20% of people are neurodivergent, a collection of conditions that includes autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.

Linda Trim, director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, says: “Heightened awareness of neurodiversity is leading to a range of more inclusive policies and procedures in the office space the world over.

“Organisations are increasingly making physical and cultural adaptations to create physical work environments that support the full range of employees from neurotypical to neurodivergent.

“Employers are beginning to recognise that, in addition to simply being the right thing to do, accommodating neurodiverse people can provide a significant competitive advantage. Neurodivergent employees often tend to have exceptional capacity for creative problem solving and greater attention to detail.

Creating work spaces that accommodate everyone’s needs can seem overwhelming.

“We recommended several design interventions, from improving acoustics and lighting to introducing access to nature. But one simple, often neglected element employers might want to think about when considering the environment they provide to employees is the colour of the walls.”

Instead of using paint as a decorative or branding element, Trim suggested thinking about its emotional and psychological effect on neurodivergent staff. She cautions against using bright colours and bold artwork in rooms meant for focused work.

“Loud colours can actually be oppressive for workers who tend to get overwhelmed easily.”

A 2016 study in Frontiers in Psychology indicated that yellow is the most fatiguing and most sensory-loaded colour. Researchers said a yellow room can be punishing for people with autism spectrum disorder whose sensitivity to sensory stimulation is already enhanced.

Trim also notes the common corporate decorator instinct of painting surfaces to match a company’s brand colours.

“Colours that work on logos don’t necessarily work in environments. For example, painting walls electric orange, once a very popular branding colour, can make someone agitated or even hungry.”

Trim notes that overstimulated environments are typical of tech headquarters in places like Silicon Valley. “They want you to be there for long hours but they’ve been proven to stress people out. If you’re absolutely compelled to use company colours in interiors, introduce it in small doses, like desk accessories or pillows.”

This doesn’t mean offices have to paint everything in white.

As a general guideline, light greens and blues are the most welcoming colours for workers with sensory issues. Some neurodivergent workers actually need more stimulus too.

“People who are neurodivergent often need areas where they can get their energy out; game rooms aren’t not just fun social spaces. Those are absolutely critical for people who have excess energy. These are areas where companies can safely introduce brightly coloured walls.”

10 survival tips for stressed SMEs

Source: Fin24

As over-indebted consumers reduce their spending, entrepreneurs are facing increasingly challenging circumstances.

A whopping 90% of entrepreneurs surveyed in a new report said that business was tough, with several saying they were taking pay cuts just to survive.

The Retail Capital Roll with the Punches report surveyed over 700 entrepreneurs.

According to the report, SMEs must work smart and make changes if need be, because it is not “business as usual”.

Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig has 10 tips for entrepreneurs wanting to move “from panic to profit”.

1. Speed up cash flow

Speed up your inflows by having arrangements with bigger clients. If you have corporates or bigger companies on your book, ask for preferential payment terms and try to convince them to support you as an SME, as it is really their responsibility to assist.

2. Protect cash flow

If you can, reduce expenses and look at your overheads. Don’t get caught in the trap of a few consecutive months of overspending which could become the norm.

3. Build a data bank

This is a valuable asset for you, as it opens up new channels of funding. One of the biggest constraints for SMEs is funding.

If funders have data that is reliable and gives a track record of how the company operates – trading patterns, turnover levels, card vs. cash – this information can be leveraged to gain access to funding.

4. Know your funders

It is up to you to position your business in a way that speaks to the funders’ requirements. Importantly, there are also different funders for different stages of the business’ life cycle.

5. Community

Get involved with an entrepreneurial community that is on the same journey as you, but not necessarily at the same level. Find one that exposes you to more mature businesses from whom you can learn.

6. Change direction

If you have a bad business model or it isn’t working, change direction. There is no straight curve, and it’s important that business owners understand that.

7. Re-evaluate

A tough market provides the opportunity to re-evaluate what matters to you as a business owner and your clients. You need to understand what’s most important to ensure that what you are offering stays relevant.

8. Embrace digital

More and more people are buying online and doing comparisons, so the more you embrace the opportunities that these online channels present, the better. There are plenty of tools available online – you just need to do some digging.

9. Attitude

Having a positive attitude is essential. See the opportunity among the challenges and look for those gaps. You also need perspective when you face the challenge of rising costs, tighter margins and lower demand.

It can all be seen as an existential threat and you might want to put your head in the sand. Or you can process it and take it up as a challenge.

10. Be nice

People will do business with you if you’re a nice person, grateful and forgiving.

Source: LabourNet

According to the promulgation of the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance- and the Basic Conditions of Employment Acts during 2019, parents are now entitled to take ten (10) days Parental Leave per annum.

Payment for the aforementioned leave can be claimed from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Such payment will be determined by the Department of Labour. Employers are therefore not legally obliged to pay employees for time off due to Parental Leave. The payment for Parental Leave is therefore similar to that of unpaid Maternity Leave as regulated by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Parental Leave will apply to all employees who do not qualify for maternity leave. These employees will be entitled to ten (10) days unpaid Parental Leave when their child is born or when an adoption order is granted.

In cases of adoption of a child under the age of two (2) years, the adoptive parent will be entitled to ten (10) weeks of Adoptive Leave (two months and two weeks). Where there are two (2) adoptive parents, the one will be entitled to ten (10) weeks Adoptive Leave and the other will be entitled to ten (10) days Parental Leave.

In the event of a surrogacy agreement, the one parent will be entitled to ten (10) weeks Commissioning Parental Leave whilst the other will qualify for ten (10) days Parental Leave.

Employers are advised to amend their leave policies and/or clauses in their contracts of employment dealing with leave to include the aforementioned. Failure to do so will not revoke the entitlement to parental leave but will automatically incorporate it into the contract by virtue of the amendment to legislation.

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