As part of a ground-breaking way of using augmented reality (AR) technology and 3D animation to help boost candidate engagement and raise awareness of careers with the AA.

The AABot Drop app and Where’s Bot Been? competition is part of an innovative experiential recruitment campaign developed by Craig Morgans, Director of Talent Acquisition, Emerging Talent & Employee Experience at the AA, in partnership with TMP Worldwide UK (a PeopleScout company).

There are two main elements to the campaign. Experiential shopping centre events and an online competition promoted at the events – and across social media. All activity drives users to the AA careers site. https://www.theaacareers.co.uk/social/wheresbotbeen/

But why use AR? Changing the way audiences connect with a brand, AR enables users to interact with digital content in the real world. It can be particularly effective when used in experiential marketing, allowing companies to create an authentic connection with audiences by delivering an interactive and memorable experience.

Now the AA are using it to raise employer brand awareness and deliver recruitment messages in an unexpected, immersive and engaging way – cutting through more traditional recruitment communications to engage a wider, passive audience and increase their potential talent pool.

A new way to bring the AA employer brand to life
The AA Chat Bot started life as an innovative way to engage people on the AA careers website, and now ‘Bot’ embodies the AA employer brand spirit of Ready for ANYTHING? in a series of animated AR adventures accessed through the AABot Drop app and trigger image postcards. The app also features interactive images of Bot, so he’s also ready to be placed just about anywhere app users decide to take him.

Sharing these images using #wheresbotbeen enters them into a competition for the chance to win a prize. It also helps to spread the word on social media about what a great, fun, family- friendly place it is to work. So, this is more than an engaging AR experience on the event days, it’s one that can be spread to a much wider audience, over a longer period of time.

Results so far
With a steady stream of visitors to the shopping centre space on Saturday 10th August, by Monday 12th traffic to the AA careers site had already increased by 869%. Twitter and Instagram engagement increased considerably on the event day too, with organic impressions, clicks and engagement rates more than double the AA’s average figures.

And, with continuing social media promotion, Bot’s adventures look set to help the AA meet both their recruitment and engagement targets.

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Two thirds of working Brits have experienced ‘guilty vacation syndrome’ – the nagging urge to cancel or delay vacation due to guilt, new research commissioned by Perkbox, Europe’s fastest growing employee experience platform, has found. Might this be the reason why burnout is on the rise?

The research, which surveyed 1,342 people, found that ‘guilty vacation syndrome’, which is most frequently felt by those that most need a holiday and despite this – feel like they shouldn’t take one, is reaching epidemic levels in the UK. To be exact, 67% of employed females and 59% of employed males have experienced it in the last year.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the figures get notably worse as employees take on more senior roles and are felt by a whopping 92% of C-suite level management. People managers follow shortly after with 77% at senior level and 71% at mid-management level. This is in contrast to 60% of those at intermediate positions and 57% at entry-level positions, although these figures are still alarmingly high.

When it comes to reasons for experiencing ‘guilty vacation syndrome’ – some of the key ones cited by those surveyed include – ‘useless co-workers’, ‘knowing you can do the job better than your co-workers’ and ‘taking holidays during a busy time for the business’ suggesting a potential link between guilty vacation syndrome and poor management. What’s more, it could be signaling a link between the rise of burnout and the increasing number of Brits taking on senior-level positions prematurely.

So what can managers do to help alleviate this syndrome sweeping across UK workplaces?

Firstly, 34% of employees agree that something as simple as creating a good handover and out of office so that people know what to do in their absence helps them feel calmer and as a result feel that they can properly switch off on vacation. Yet, one in five employees surveyed said their managers don’t lead by example, making it hard for those below them to follow.

Further solutions to reduce burnout include those which take place when actually on holiday such as removing email notifications from our phones to avoid temptation, something favoured by 27% of employees, or knowing how to delegate the long list of things left to do before leaving, preferred by 25% and very closely linked to the idea of creating a good handover.

Chieu Cao, Co-founder at Perkbox says: “It’s clear that guilty vacation syndrome is not a fad, it’s something employees feel impacts them and is turning into a serious issue in today’s workplaces. It’s crucial to remember that holiday allowance is there for a reason, to switch off and recharge your batteries. Senior managers should lead by example on this, but to do so, they must be ready to be managers in the first place.

What’s important is to realise that moving into management is not about managing ‘things’. Management involves managing and leading people to do their best. That often means making a fundamental shift in the way you approach work, compared to when you’re acting as the ‘best’ employee. As a manager you have to make a conscious move from valuing and trusting your own technical contribution, to valuing the contribution of others: your team.”

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A record number of people in the UK are choosing to work longer, with over-50s fuelling 90% of employment growth in the past year 1. Aviva’s research reveals that while many UK workers are working longer out of necessity, a growing number of over-55s are also eager to progress their career, advance and improve their skills and even start their own business.

• A survey of 2,020 UK adults, conducted by Aviva in January 2019, found that nearly 1 in 5 (18%) workers aged 55-59 years are planning to move jobs to progress their career.
• The thought of moving jobs to progress career was found to be less appealing to workers aged 60 plus although nearly 1 in 10 survey respondents aged 60 to 64 said they are planning to do just that, with most of them within the next 12 months.
• Over 55s were also found to be eager to learn new skills and advance their existing skills; more than a third (37%) of workers aged 55-59 said they are planning to take advantage of training offered by their employer; one in five (19%) want to start/continue a course or qualification to improve their skills, independent of their current job and 14% are job shadowing in another team/departments to gain more skills and experience.
• The Aviva study suggests that the UK can expect the rise of “grey entrepreneurs” as 1 in 10 workers aged 55-59 said they are planning to launch their own business either as a side venture or main source of income.

Alistair McQueen, Savings and Retirement at Aviva, commented: “Our working lives are changing, fast. A record number of us are working deep into our later lives. Today, there are 1.33 million people working beyond the age of 65 – more than ever before.

“Many are choosing to work longer. Many others are having to work longer to fund longer life in retirement. Forward-thinking employers will respond to this changing world, and they will be rewarded for doing so, securing and retaining the best of this booming population. Aviva is investing in Mid-Life MOTs* to provide targeted support for its employees aged 45 and over. Aviva is committed to ensuring that age is no barrier to opportunity.”

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Leading job search engine, Adzuna, has analysed data from 10,000 CVs to reveal the average length of time employees stay in each job role before going elsewhere.

According to Adzuna’s data, it takes UK employees 28 months on average before they get the new job itch.

Top ten job roles employees stay in the longest:

Job roles Time stayed Average salary
Enterprise Architect 7 years and 6 months £80,669
Machine Operator 5 years and 8 months £23,576
Shift Manager 4 years and 4 months £27,999
Team Leader and Director 3 years and 9 months £21,396, £45,405
Coach 3 years and 7 months £36,118
Cashier and Shop Manager 3 years and 6 months £23,610, £25,253
Social Care Worker 3 years and 4 months £29,804
Cleaner Casual and Chief Executive Officer 3 years and 3 months £16,247, £42,673
Office Manager 3 years and 2 months £33,025
Chief Marketing Officer 3 years and 1 month £46,712

At the other end of the spectrum, the data also explored the roles employees are ditching the quickest.

Top ten job roles employees stay in for the least amount of time:

Job role Time stayed Average salary
Medical Sales Representative 11 months £37,339
Marketing Assistant 1 year and 1 month £28,255
Full Stack Developer 1 year and 2 months £55,575
Teaching Assistant, Social Worker and Researcher 1 year and 3 months £19,200, £43,335, £38,584
General Assistant and Construction Engineer 1 year and 4 months £23,767, £41,173
e-Commerce Business Analyst, Analyst, Waiter/Waitress, Ambassador, Customer Service 1 year and 5 months £50,770, £42,651, £23,324, £26,971, £20,524
Executive 1 year and 6 months £37,754
Test Engineer, Graphic Designer, Receptionist, Kitchen Porter, Tutor, Personal Assistant 1 year 7 months £42,348, £33,177, £22,757, £18,889, £49,581, £22,635
Secretary, Healthcare Assistant, Accountant, Accounting Assistant, Barperson, Web Developer, Sous Chef 1 year and 8 months £30,118, £27,068, £37,974, £28,896, £21,500, £44,512, £25,911
Customer Assistant, Sales Adviser, Research Associate, Programme Manager, Office Administrator 1 year and 9 months £23,130, £26,400, £38,538, £45,799, £23,623

These findings suggest, it’s not all about salary when it comes to an employee’s length of service. While the role keeping staff the longest (Enterprise Architect) does have the highest salary, the second longest earns below the national average at £23,576.

Additionally, employees in the above national average salary roles such as e-Commerce Business Analyst (£50,770) are ditching their roles quickly (after one year and five months on average).

When it comes to how to retain staff, YouGov data shows there’s a natural desire for a good salary and benefits among UK employees, with over a third (35%) looking for a higher salary and one in five (19%) seeking benefits like healthcare, childcare and holiday allowances. Outside of benefits though, employed Brits are looking for a good work life balance (31%), variety in their projects (10%) and the ability to learn from their employers (17%).

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Sometimes life can get in the way and changes in circumstance can inevitably force people to move on quicker than expected, but this data gives job hunters a good outline of the roles that have the most longevity.

“In terms of what employers can do to create the best possible working environment for staff, it’s clear from what YouGov can show us that while monetary benefits can help, it’s opportunities for development and progression, as well as a good work/life balance that make people more inclined to stick around.”

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According to new research from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, the majority (56.7%) of professionals say that they enjoy their job, however the key drivers behind this vary massively between men and women.

In fact, the study, which surveyed over 2,000 UK professionals, reveals some stark differences between what brings women and men joy at work, including:

  1. Women feel more joy when they receive praise from their manager (34.1% vs 23.1% of men)
  2. Men feel more joy when they complete a task with no faults (55.1% vs 48.9% of women)
  3. Women feel more joy when they’re helping others (48.7% vs 37% of men)
  4. Men feel more joy when they’re given a leading role on a project (20.6% vs 16.6% of women)

Alongside this, the data reveals that only 11.4% of women say their job doesn’t bring them any joy, as opposed to 13% of men.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments:We spend most of our life at work, so if your employees don’t enjoy what they do or who they work with, they’ll never truly maximise their potential in your company or be happy in themselves.

“When it comes to engaging your employees and keeping them motivated, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that will work universally. So, make sure you do your best to understand the key drivers behind each employees’ happiness at work, as this is key to running a productive workplace.” 

When it comes to what brings men joy at work, our data suggests that they are more driven by leadership and personal achievements, with the following top five areas being key contributors to their happiness at work:

  1. Completing a task with no faults – 55.1%
  2. Feeling like you’re helping people – 37%
  3. Having your skills tested on a difficult task – 33.9%
  4. A compliment from a colleague – 24%
  5. Praise from their manager – 23.1%

On the other hand, the key wins that give women joy at work are centred more around praise and helping others. This includes completing a task with no faults (48.9%), helping others (48.7%), receiving praise from their manager (34.1%), a compliment from a colleague (25.4%) and having their skills tested (25.4%).

Biggins continues: “Understanding and knowing what motivates different individuals can also help with your hiring efforts. So, make sure you ask about this when interviewing candidates. This will make it easier to sell your company to them, while also ensuring you’re hiring like-minded people who are going to enjoy working in your organisation.”

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A survey conducted by power module manufacturer CMD found that 47.1% of people living in the capital would think twice about working for a business with visibly dated infrastructure.

The average national results were slightly lower, with 30.7% stating they would have similar reservations after attending an interview in a meeting room lacking modern features.

In London, young people aged 18–24 had the highest expectations, with 63.4% of this age range objecting to a behind-the-times meeting room.

Bruce Cantrill, marketing manager at CMD comments: “Many regional companies pay little regard to their meeting room set up, a factor that employees simply expect as standard.

“However, the volume of companies based in London and subsequent competition for clients and new recruits means that companies there have to pay more attention to the finer details. As a result, it’s little surprise that Londoners expect a higher standard, particularly younger employees who may have only experienced top-end design and technology.”

Welsh respondents were the second most deterred by dated meeting rooms; here, 35–44-year-olds expressed the most concern. Interviewees in Northern Ireland and Scotland are the least likely to be put off by a meeting room’s design and technology—only 16.8% and 18% of respondents, respectively. 

Advancements in workplace technology are allowing companies to create a good impression for potential employees, without involving a huge overhaul. Wireless phone charging hubs let visitors charge on the go, and boardroom tables fitted with integral power modules to support a range of charging options, media applications and international sockets, enable instant connectivity.

Bruce concludes: “Small adaptations can make a huge difference to the impression a company makes to visitors. Searching for the right chargers and leads to facilitate presentations can be time-consuming, not to mention appear unprofessional.

“Being able to instantly plug in any device will help create a seamless meeting and the customer or potential employee will instantly feel as though the company has considered their needs from the very start.”

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OUT OF TOUCH parents are trying to steer their children away from pursuing lucrative 21st century careers, because they don’t understand the opportunities, a study shows.

Three quarters of East Midlands mums and dads believe that conventional academic subjects such as Maths and English taught at school and beyond, are more valuable than creative and new technology subjects.

Ahead of A-Level results day, new research has revealed that despite the creative industries being one of the fastest growing sectors, with an estimated 2 million jobs available, there is still a sentiment from parents that they wouldn’t be happy if their child chose to pursue a creative career. Parents would appear to have overlooked the opportunities available within expanding fields such as game development, visual effects, art, music and social media, according to a poll of 1,000 parents of under 18 year olds, commissioned by Escape Studios.

When asked which degrees would be most valuable from a lifelong career perspective – parents identified as their top three choices – Business/Accounting (14%), Computing (12%) and Engineering (12%). The arts ranked second to last at 4%. These findings showcase the importance of educating parents in the growth of the creative sector, as the future workforce will help to build our growing creative industries, which as of 2018 contributes £101.5 billion to the economy.

Due to parents’ lack of understanding of the career options available within the creative industries, over a third (36%) said they would try to influence the degree their teenager chooses to study at university.

Parents stated that they would be happier if their children opted for career paths such as training to become a Scientist (32%), a Accountant (22%) or an Engineer (24%), while the most disliked future career paths were identified as Social Media Influencer (38%), Bloggers (38%) and Gamers (30%). Only 4% of parents wanted their child to pursue being a Coder or Animator, even though the creative industries can offer many lucrative job opportunities. Forecasts predict the UK could create up to 1 million new jobs in the sector by 2030.

East Midlands Parents believe that the most important subjects for their children to study in school are Maths (66%), English (60%) and Computing (60%). Crafts and Music each received less than 20%.

Parents need more support when it comes to understanding the opportunities available within the creative industries. The classical boundaries between industries are also rapidly becoming blurred, due to advancements in technology; as a result, there is a need for digital skills in more conventional roles too. Indeed, recruiters within the creative industries are sourcing talent from varied backgrounds, such as science, art and engineering.

The East Midlands parents participating in the poll acknowledged that allowing their children to play video games offered some benefits, including the development of their problem-solving skills (48%), logic skills (40%) and communication skills (18%).

Director of Escape Studios, Dr. Ian Palmer, comments on these abilities, ‘Skills such as problem-solving, decision making, risk-taking, and communication can all be used in jobs across the creative industries. Alongside storytelling and imagination. Children that adopt to technology at an early age learn skills that offer them a better chance of getting a job in the digital sectors. We know there is a wealth of opportunity in terms of roles that are also future-proof. It’s predicted that 87% of creative jobs are resistant to automation, creating a very resilient creative workforce.”

Despite this, three out of five East Midlands parents (60%) think that smartphones shouldn’t be allowed in school, as a tool for learning. However, 68% admit that allowing their children to use technology from an early age, is beneficial for their development.

The top 5 jobs that East Midlands parents would ideally like their children to pursue, are:

  1. Scientist (32%)
  2. Engineer (24%)
  3. Architect (22%)
  4. Lawyer (18%)
  5. Animator (14%)

The top 5 jobs that East Midlands parents ideally don’t want their children to pursue, are:

  1. Social media influencer (38%)
  2. Blogger (38%)
  3. Gamer (30%)
  4. Stockbroker (12%)
  5. Movie Producer (8%)

Dr. Ian Palmer, Director of Escape Studios adds;The creative industries continue to grow at a substantial rate; despite this, not enough parents are aware of the opportunities available to their children within this sector. At Escape Studios, we offer courses in Game Art, Animation, Visual Effects, and Motion Graphics.

“We have a wealth of alumni who have gone on to have successful careers working on everything from Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Guardians of The Galaxy: Vol 2, and the Oscar winning film, The Jungle Book. This is a rapidly growing industry that’s ready to welcome talent from all backgrounds and with a wealth of skill sets.”

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Over half (58%) of Brits wish they had invested in their future and retirement at an earlier age, according to new research by savings and mortgage provider Nottingham Building Society, known as The Nottingham.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults looked at the biggest saving priorities for the nation, and what age we wish we had started investing in different aspects of our lives, from health and careers to money management. A retirement fund was ranked as the biggest saving priority, despite only 29% of respondents admitting to actively saving towards their future.

The top ten most important saving priorities for Brits are:

  1. Retirement fund
  2. ‘Rainy day’ fund
  3. House deposit or increasing equity
  4. Holiday fund
  5. Funds to partake in my hobbies / outside of work activities
  6. Debt repayments
  7. New car
  8. Children’s saving account
  9. Children’s education
  10. Wedding fund

Debt repayments didn’t make the top five saving priorities for the nation, however, of the respondents who are currently saving, paying off or planning to pay off their debt, this saving was ranked second in importance, indicating that those who are currently in debt are prioritising this over saving for other factors such as a house deposit (ranked fourth in importance), or a new car (ranked seventh).

However, when it comes to what Brits are actually saving for, the most common goal was a ‘rainy day’ fund, with over a third (34%) of Brits currently saving towards this. Interestingly, more than double are saving towards a holiday (29%) than a house deposit (13%), despite a house deposit being ranked as a higher priority overall.

When it comes to the ages the nation wish they had started investing in different aspects of our lives, Brits found that they wished they had invested towards their retirement at age 31, when on average they actually began investing at 39 – almost a decade later. On average, UK adults begin saving towards a ‘rainy day’ fund at 34, despite wishing they had started at 28.

Jenna McKenzie-Day, Senior Savings Manager at The Nottingham, said: “Our research found that on average, homeowners wish they had begun planning to buy their first home three years earlier than they started, with a similar picture being painted for those saving for their future. Interestingly, it found that Brits wish they had started their retirement fund a staggering eight years before they actually began saving.

“Whether you are saving for your first home or starting your retirement plans, products such as the LISA, which is available for those looking to plan for their future, offer a 25% government backed bonus on annual savings up to £4,000, those extra eight years of savings could have increased their future savings by a potential £8,000 – making it the perfect product to start your saving journey.”

To find out more about the Nottingham’s LISA, visit: https://www.thenottingham.com/lifetime-isa/ 

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New SME research1 conducted by iwoca, one of Europe’s largest business lenders, suggests that not being paid was the biggest business sacrifice for UK SME owners (37 percent), with nearly half of female entrepreneurs (46 percent) making this sacrifice.

iwoca’s inaugural Small Business Insights survey shows that more women may have sacrificed pay than men when starting a company, with nearly half of all female business owners in this study saying they sacrificed their income, opposed to just 34 percent of their male counterparts. The results also show that exactly a quarter (25 percent) of all respondents had to sacrifice time spent with family or a partner, however more men sacrificed time with family (28 percent) than women (18 percent).

The findings form part of iwoca’s new customer survey which looks at the biggest sacrifices made by SME owners. The study also analyses what business owners would change if they had a choice and reveals the best things about starting a business.

Sharon McGillion is the founder of Pressie Pouch, a company selling self-sealing gift wrap pouches, “You have to do without if you’re working with a limited budget, as most entrepreneurs or start-ups are doing. You put any extra funds back into your business in order to launch a product, with no expensive holidays or extravagant spending allowed. I have a teenage son and he’s my main priority; if he wants he gets, and I do without. I keep him posted every day on developments in the business, and we’ve had to sacrifice luxuries to make it work.

Sharon continues, “I battled on despite the tough financial challenge, because I believed in myself and I believed in my product. Recently, I shipped my first consignment to the USA as we are soon to be listed on Amazon. The American market is presenting many opportunities now. As a result of my work with US partners, I am now a product scout for consumer goods, sourcing products that potentially could be sold in the USA, Canada and beyond – all because I just did not give up.” 

Colin Goldstein, Commercial Growth Director at iwoca: added: “We all expect to make sacrifices when starting a company. Whether it’s spending less time with loved ones, reduced work-life balance or taking fewer holidays, you’d struggle to find a business owner who hasn’t had to forgo something in the early days.”

What would business owners change if they could? Almost two in every five (37 percent) wished they’d made better use of credit facilities to help their business grow. Late payments, which often lead to cash-flow problems, remains one of the key pain-points that small businesses would like to change (23 percent). However, far more male business owners (25 percent) saw this as a major issue, opposed to just 16 percent of female business owners.

Marketing and PR remains one of the most creative ways to grow the profile of a small business, however SME owners did not feel as if they had the necessary tools at their disposal. Having better tools to promote their business was the third most popular option, with 13 percent citing it as something they’d like to change.

Would you do it all again? An overwhelming 90 percent of small business owners would do it all again, even after knowing what they now know about starting a business. This leaves one in ten saying that they would choose not to start a business and pursue a different path instead.

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The unemployment rate in the UK is currently at its lowest since the 1970s, with only 3.8% of people currently out of work. If you’re a business owner trying to attract top talent, you may have your work cut out for you.

In a candidate’s market, where the most experienced and best-qualified individuals can cherry-pick who they work for, how can you make your company stand out? What makes a great candidate accept one job offer over another? It’s certainly not all about salary.

A recent study by The Independent found that half of the employees polled would leave their current position for a post with more perks. When it comes to attracting the best person for the job, you need to give careful consideration to the whole employment package on offer. It’s the people who make a business successful, so it’s well worth putting the effort in to come up with some work perks employees actually want. A good package of benefits will help you to recruit the best talent and to retain your best workers.

1. Flexible Working 


Flexible working allows employees to manage their work in a way that meets their needs. This could mean allowing flexible start and end times, for example, to enable a parent to manage their childcare commitments, or permitting working from home to accommodate a health condition, disability or other needs.

All employees in the UK have the legal right to request flexible working, but employers are not obliged to agree to it. According to a recent study by Fractl, 88% of people would consider the availability of flexible hours when choosing between job offers. This perk was second only to better healthcare insurance. Research by Flexjobs reveals that flexible working is the most important consideration for parents, even ahead of salary.

If your company offers flexible working, you will likely increase the pool of talent from which you can recruit. This perk could edge out a competitor if a talented candidate has two offers on the table.

With advances in technology such as virtual receptionists and advanced business phone systems, which allow you to divert calls to any device or location while retaining high levels of professionalism, it’s relatively easy and cost-effective to make arrangements like remote working entirely feasible. It could even boost the productivity of your workers. And if you’re struggling to find the right team members, creating a remote working policy will allow you to expand your search globally.

2. Private Health and Dental Care


While we are blessed in the UK with the National Health Service (NHS), many employees would be attracted by an offer of funded or subsidised private healthcare. The benefits of private healthcare include shorter waiting lists for appointments, better facilities, private hospital rooms, a choice of doctor or surgeon and more.

Dental care is also much in demand from employees. Although dentists offer services on the NHS, many employed people have to pay for dental work, which can be extremely expensive. The average cost of a root canal procedure performed by an NHS dentist is £204, while a basic checkup, which can be over in minutes, currently costs £22.70. It’s not surprising that many people would be interested in working for an employer who would cover these costs!

A study by Hibob, which helps businesses set up employee benefits, found that 41% of people would like to see private medical insurance included in their employee benefits, while 40% were keen to see dental care added, too.

3. A Healthy Pension Contribution


Few people want to work forever, so a generous employer contribution to a pension scheme will always catch the eye of job seekers. A report from The People’s Pension showed that 83% of employees highly value their workplace pension and that 69% of job seekers actively look for the pension on offer when choosing jobs to apply for and accept.

Few people can afford to rely on the state pension, which is capped at £129.20 per week.

If you have a great pension scheme, make sure you let candidates know about it. According to The People’s Pension Plan report, 46% of employers do not promote their pension offer and 57% do not think it has any impact on recruitment.

4. Generous Annual Leave and Paid Sabbaticals


Who doesn’t want more paid holiday time? From extra annual leave days for length of service to paid sabbaticals, more paid leave ranks highly on the employee perks wishlist. According to a study by Metropolitan Life, 72% of HR professionals surveyed listed “unlimited paid time off” as the top new benefit employers should be offering.

Regarding leave allowances, some companies have hit the headlines for all the right reasons in recent years. Visualsoft offers unlimited holiday time; Airbnb gives employees $2,000 (£1,413) to go travelling and ARM Holdings allows employees to take a four-week sabbatical for every four years of service.

A growing number of companies are offering employees unlimited holiday. This may seem radical, but research shows that employees who are granted the freedom to manage their own leave take fewer days off than those on a traditional fixed allowance.

If you want to build a team of professionals who will take your business to the next level, it’s time to give serious thought to the employee benefits package on offer. Candidates are looking for more than a job offer and a salary.

Some perks will always be a hit with employees, such as flexible working and generous pension schemes, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Companies are getting inventive with the perks they offer, and if you want to compete for the best talent, you need to, too. Healthy, happy employees who feel valued and trusted are much more likely to remain loyal to your company and strive for success. Everyone wins.

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Early morning starts and late evenings spent in front of a computer and smart phone screen have become the norm for today’s busy office worker.

All that time in front of a bright screen coupled with air conditioning, heating and bright room lighting can have a negative impact on your eyes. In fact, extensive use of computers can lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS), where eyes become dry, tired and even strained.

While not causing any permanent damage, common symptoms of CVS (including eye fatigue, physical tiredness, eye twitching and red eyes) can cause a lot of discomfort and irritation in the short term. In addition, use of digital screens often limits the amount of time that we blink, therefore denying our eyes the hydration they need to stay moist and healthy.

Dry eye syndrome is when our eyes have become dried out, as a result of tear ducts no longer producing adequate natural tears that our eyes need.

Here are some tips on how to avoid CVS and dry eye syndrome and keep your eyes in mint condition from the start of the day to the very end.

Blink regularly

When you’re deeply focused on a task, you tend to blink less, even if you don’t realise it. If you’re not blinking enough, your eyes are not receiving regular hydration and moisture from your tears.

As a result, your eyes will begin to feel dry and irritated. Get into the habit of deliberately blinking more often. Don’t worry if you look odd suddenly bursting into 100 blinks a minute, your eyes will thank you for it. I always follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.

Watch the brightness of your computer screen

It’s a good idea to check the brightness of your computer screen. If it’s set to the highest setting, turn it down slightly and see if it makes any difference to how your eyes feel. An incredibly bright screen can be very harsh on the eyes so you can minimise glare by dusting your computer monitor and investing in an anti-reflection cover.

Also take note of the lighting around your computer. Try to create equal brightness in your workspace so there’s no shadowy areas or glare from lamps.

Take a break

I know it can be difficult to take a moment to yourself in a busy office with reports to write and deadlines looming, but a 5-10-minute coffee break can work wonders. Give both yourself and your eyes a rest from your computer screen so you’re not too burnt out by the end of the day.

Aside from that, simply just looking away from your computer screen for a minute or so every now and again can give your eyes a much-needed break.

When you do get back to your desk from your break, you must make sure that you’re not too close or too far from the screen. Your overall workstation set-up plays a role in your eye health.

So being too close or far will cause eye strain. I recommend positioning monitors at least 50cm from eyes with the centre of the screen about 10-15 degrees below the eyes. That way, the light won’t be so intense and you won’t be craning your neck.

Wear the right contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses and you’re suffering from dry eyes, then you may want to opt for a silicone hydrogel lens. Dailies Total 1 is a daily disposable silicone hydrogel lens that offers a high level of hydration, clarity and comfort, as well as 16 hours of wearing time.

This makes them perfect for long days in front of the computer screen and late nights finishing off reports. But of course, if you plan to make changes to your lenses, then it’s important to consult your eye care practitioner first so that they can check your eye health and recommend the best contact lenses for you.

Stock your office desk with some handy supplies

There are a few products that you may want to keep close to you to help fight tired and dry eyes throughout the day. Comfi Drops is a premium eye drop designed to provide long-lasting relief from dry eyes. They contain the highest concentration of sodium hyaluronate (HA), which replicates your natural tears and moisturises your eyes by improving the way that tears are held onto the surface.

If you’re on the move, then Blink Intensive Tears Vials eye drops for dry eyes are ideal. They are small pocket-sized vials that contain enough drops to rehydrate and awaken your eyes. Its formula also works to reduce blurred vision.

If you find using eye drops troublesome, there are some alternative options you can use for your eyes instead. Biotrue Daily Eyelid Wipes are preservative and detergent-free and come in a packet of 20 handy disposable wipes. Blink Refreshing Hydrating Eye Mist also offers quick and effective relief from dry eyes and is a refreshing alternative for people who don’t like using drops.

Don’t forget H20

As a last note, make sure you drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration, which, aside from making your eyes feel dry, will also make you feel drained overall.

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Ever felt annoyed by a candidate during an interview? If so, you’re not alone! In fact, 79.3% of employers admit to feeling infuriated by a candidate’s actions when conducting an interview. That’s according to the latest research from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board.

What’s more, the study, which surveyed over 300 UK employers, found that just 9.7% of employers have then gone on to hire the candidate in question.

Alongside this, when asked what annoys them the most 68.5% of employers agree that lying in an interview is the worst mistake a candidate can make. This is closely followed by turning up late (65.3%), and being arrogant (45.1%). The full top ten list of interview blunders includes:

  1. Lying- 68.5%
  2. Turning up late – 65.3%
  3. Being arrogant – 45.1%
  4. Not being hygienic – 29.6%
  5. Boasting about other interviews/offers – 17.8%
  6. Avoiding eye contact – 16.9%
  7. Turning up under-dressed – 15.5%
  8. Being sarcastic – 14.6%
  9. Being too shy – 4.7%
  10. Not shaking the interviewer’s hand – 4.7%

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments: “The cost of making a bad hire can have a hugely negative effect on your business, especially for start-ups and organisations with thin profit margins. And that’s why it’s so important to filter and find the very best candidates throughout your interview process.

“Understandably, interview etiquette is important and should play a major part in evaluating a candidate. Of course, it’s only natural for a candidate to feel nervous or be a little rusty, but this doesn’t excuse taboos such as lying or turning up late without a justifiable excuse. If either of these happen during an interview, this should without doubt be a major red flag.

“Interestingly, our latest job market data revealed that employers have hiked up pay dramatically to entice candidates who aren’t interested in applying for jobs right now. If this is the case for your company, make sure you keep an eye out for these interview blunders before offering a bumper salary to a new hire who could turn out to be a bad one!”

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