Women In Health Care

5 Small Workplace Gestures That Make A Big Difference

Over the last several weeks, we have talked about many workplace gestures, the workplace in general and some do and donts that will make your work life enjoyable if not bearable. While it is advisable to be friends with your co-workers whenever possible, it is also recommended to try and seek and maintain peace with everyone at your workplace just to make sure everyone is either in your corner or inclined to take your side if the need arises. Hate it or love it, workplace divisions are counterproductive, add fuel to the office politics fire, affect other coworkers not involved in the divisions and make the workplace environment tense and hostile. This then adversely affects the work all workers are collectively doing which might also affect the organization as a whole. 

According to Psychology Today, human beings, we tend to remember small kind gestures:

We are designed to detect, remember, and respond to the small acts of gratefulness, appreciation, and acknowledgment in our daily encounters with others.

While it might be impossible to befriend everyone or even be cordial with every last person at your workplace, these small gestures are powerful enough to make sure there are more people at your workplace who will remain cordial with you and make your life at the workplace bearable and or happy.

  1. Earnestly express gratitude by saying thank you when someone helps you out at work
  2. Whenever possible surprise a coworker by inviting them to lunch or bringing them food or a small gift or present especially of something they actually like.
  3. Listen earnestly when they are telling you something about their work or even something personal because sometimes all they want or need is not advice but a good listener.
  4. Offer honest compliments to coworkers whenever you feel compelled to.
  5. Ask about their life outside the workplace and when asked in return share something interesting.

FAQ- Monkeypox

A few weeks ago the world woke up to more bad news, that an individual had tested positive for something called monkeypox, an orthopoxvirus that is in the family of smallpox. Since the world is still battling the CIVID-19 pandemic, it was only natural that some people would panic and speculate that this virus could be novel and lead to yet another pandemic.

We have tried to answer these frequently asked questions about monkey pox, hoping they will help you understand this outbreak and its properties.

Is Monkeypox similar to Smallpox? According to the World Health Organisation, Monkey pox is part of the Poxviridae family which includes smallpox, cowpox, horsepox, and camelpox which are all part of the same genus. However, it is milder than smallpox.

Can Smallpox vaccines and drugs be used to treat monkeypox? WHO has speculated that the vaccines and drugs used to eradicate and treat smallpox can offer some form of protection against monkeypox, but no affirmative stance has been taken by the organisation in relation to the treatment and eradication of the outbreak so far.

Who is at risk of contracting and becoming severely ill from monkeypox? Immunosuppressed people and young children are at risk of getting severely sick from monkeypox.

What is the Monkeypox estimated fatality rate? Currently, the fatality rate is estimated to be between 1 and 10%.

What are the symptoms of Monkeypox? The American CDC has said, it starts with Fever, Headache, Muscle aches, and Backache and these will follow, Swollen lymph nodes, Chills, and Exhaustion. Then they will develop a rash which usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. The incubation period of the virus is between one and three days and it can take up to 4 weeks for a person to recover.

Is monkeypox only found in homosexual men? While the majority of the cases detected so far have been detected on homosexual and bisexual men, however, anyone is at risk of getting monkey pox according to the CDC. The CDC also warned the LGBTQ community that they have a greater chance of exposure right now.

Is Monkeypox contagious? Monkeypox can spread in one of the following ways, through intimate contact during sex when someone has an active rash, through large respiratory droplets like saliva and mucus etc, through direct contact with bodily fluids or through contact with contaminated clothes or bedsheets.

How can I prevent myself from contacting monkeypox? Pre and post-exposure vaccination using smallpox vaccines, isolation and reporting any suspected cases immediately.

Check out some of our answers to some frequently asked questions on other subjects.

Women In Health Care

How A Healthy Workplace Environment Affects Your Bottomline

“if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together” is certainly something you were not expecting to read about in a healthy workplace etiquette series right? Well, the past 2 series have explained how to avoid office politics, and how not to offend your co-workers. All those blogs were building the foundation for today’s blog. Why must there be a healthy environment for your to work in, and how it may affect your bottom line.

One African slang proverb can be loosely translated to mean “Ambulance Drivers must always make sure to go to a patient with one thought in mind, to do their jobs”. This means when you go to work, you must, try and mind your own business, do your job and go back home. While it encourages us to carry out our mandates without minding things that do not concern us, because we have obligations to meet, we have to make sure we are working in an environment that is good for us. The problem is we work with others, we do not operate in a bubble, we need others to go far and we cannot dictate how situations turn out. According to Career Contessa, your workplace environment is toxic when:

  • there is poor communication
  • there is too much office politics
  • there is no forward movement or when there is stifled growth
  • it constantly leaves you with a burnout
  • there is no work-life balance
  • there is high staff turnover

While we can all ignore the toxicity of our work environments because we have obligations we have to meet, truth is that toxicity will affect our bottom line. Our productivity and efficiency are stifled by toxic work environments. This will in turn lead to a lack of motivation and poor employee morale. This will therefore impact production which will cascade into the organisation taking a financial or reputation knock which affects many people on many levels.

In short, a healthy workplace environment ensures that everything at an organisation is flowing smoothly like clockwork, continuously serving the purpose it was established for. An unhealthy environment is bad for the organisation and many people downstream. Management and the entire workforce must try and make sure the workplace is conducive for everyone by constantly consulting and communicating with relevant people because an unhealthy environment is bad for everyone’s bottom line.

District Nurses 1939

We Are Grateful, Morden Day Tech Has Enabled Us Immensely

This photo was taken in the US in 1939. It shows a bunch of district nurses and their bicycles. These healthcare workers would use these bicyles to fulfil their mandate to their patients. Cars and other transportation modes were still in their infancy or unheard of in some parts of the world. Fast forward to 2022, 83 years later, the world is even dicing with the idea of delivering medicine in some remote parts of the globe using drones. As workers in the healthcare industry, we have often marvelled and we will forever be grateful for modern medicine and how it has made our jobs easier, in some instances joyous and in most cases fulfilling.

We however have to pay homage to other players who have invented tools that make our lives in some if not most ways easy-going, helping us to cater and care for the community we swore to serve. Today, we thank the bike makers from 1939, and the helicopter and plane markers from the 20th century as we thank the automobile industry for giving us more tools to carry our fiduciary duty with ease. Imagine cycling to work every day (not because you want to but you have to) given our schedules and our routines, how were we going to cope as healthcare workers, I wonder!!!!

Photo Credits: Jerripedia

work-life balance

Workplace Etiquette Part 2: 3 Reasons Why You Should Probably Keep Your Work And Personal Life Separate

In this second article in the workplace etiquette series, we will list the reasons why you should try and keep your work life and your personal life separate. As previous;y mentioned in last week’s article it is commendable to at least interact and if comfortable socialise with coworkers. It is also commendable to find and whenever possible maintain a balance between your work and personal life. Some people work the entire week and weekend and dedicate little time to resting and unwinding. While it is imperative especially when projects, companies and businesses are still in their infancy, to dedicate more time to your work, sometimes it becomes addictive till one cannot separate their work from their personal life.

The major problem with burning the candle on both ends even when one is working on something that is in its formative stage is:

  • You will compromise the quality of your work sometimes because hate it or love it, the mind does not work too well if subjected to too much pressure.
  • You will have a hard time concentrating on some things and you will be easily distracted
  • You might not be that productive
  • Your energy will not be at the optimum level

So sometimes it’s better for you to leave your workplace and not carry your work home or work 7 days a week, or never take a day off the entire year because,

  1. Too much work will eventually take a toll on your body and you might achieve professional success but you might not be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour because you are not physically fit to run around like you used to.
  2. Working too hard and not taking enough rest does not necessarily translate to increased productivity and efficiency. If we all knew that in some cases, we need to work smarter and not harder, or in most cases working more and more doesn’t increase productivity because sometimes we increase our chances of a burnout which will set us back a few steps.
  3. You will probably miss out on special moments at home or you will be absent when special occurrences do occur. There are people that were not there when special eventualities happened. When their children were born, or graduated or took their first steps. When their family member passed away, when their family member got married etc. Yes, technology can help us now to catch up with these special occasions, however, lost time can never be regained and being there virtually will never substitute being there physically.

Well other writers on the subject of workplace etiquette, suggest how one can start the process of separating one’s work from their personal life. According to Forbes in order to separate your life from your work, you have to do the following :

  • Set boundaries – always set boundaries when trying to establish the work-life balance and never cross them or waiver from them.
  • Take a stand – stand your ground when the requests to work extra become too frequent and start encroaching onto your private life frequently
  • Find and offer solutions – if the problem persists, you should try and find a solution that will make life for your coworkers easy.

Workplace Etiquette

Workplace Etiquette Part 1: Tips On How Not To Step On Coworkers’ Toes Unknowingly

When I think of workplace etiquette I think of the time a coworker unknowingly insulted me by insinuating that I was unmarried because I was not “marriage material” a lady told me one day. In some African communities, some people view other people as marriage worthy and some as not. The lady in question is a free spirit and the coworker was trying to explain that in Africa, some communities are not as tolerant to free spirits and would not want free spirit daughters in law in their families. The coworker unknowingly offended this young lady she didn’t want to interact with him and she said she avoided him at all costs. Some of us, just like the marriage material free information sharing coworker have insulted or said something uncomfortable to our coworkers and they did not say anything but they were uncomfortable or offended nonetheless.

While it is commendable to at least interact and if comfortable socialise with coworkers, it is also recommended to try and not cross lines. While some lines are crossed unintentionally or unknowingly the following tips will help you stay in line when interacting with coworkers.

  1. Never ask them how much they are making – even if you are best friends, best buddies, even if your intentions are not motivated by competition and or jealousy, whatever angle you will ask this from, it will not come out right or professional.
  2. Never tell a coworker that you thought they were not going to get that promotion or project. Whether you are saying this because of management bias or office politics or you mean it as a compliment(if that’s possible) you are probably adding fuel to the fire and they might not tell you so because they don’t want to appear hurt or bothered but deep down you might have added 10 to a hundred.
  3. If possible, stay away from talking about a coworker’s physical fitness. Suggestions that a co-worker should join the gym, eat this or that to get on top of a situation, nomatter how noble or life-saving your suggestion might be, it might just offend them. Let them lead the conversation if your find yourself stuck in it.
  4. Never make suggestions on what coworkers should do with their children. Socilitated advice or not, kids are a sensitive topic to most parents, even if they are leading the conversation complaining about their children, truth is, they can only hear their own negative comments about their children, if it comes from someone else, it becomes an issue.
  5. Do not add fuel to the office politics fire. We cant talk about workplace etiquette without talking about office politics. As suggested in the previous article, its always a good idea to not fuel the office politics fire and this includes spreading rumours, making comments on ongoing feuds in the workplace etc, By doing this you are not stepping on any toes even the toes of those you don’t like because we all need each other one way or the other.
Women In Health Care

3 Things To Do To Avoid Office Politics At Your Workplace

Many of us have at some point in our careers found ourselves in some awkward situations at work I’m sure. Some of the situations are or were so deep-rooted some lost their jobs or were overlooked when it was promotion time because of office politics. An American Executive, Chris Chancey. speaking to the Business News Daily defines office politics as:

Workplace politics are the manifestation of power dynamics among co-workers. People leverage these power dynamics to further their own interests or that of a group they are affiliated with. Such behavior is inevitable, given that human beings are naturally political and will do whatever it takes to protect their own interests.

A good example of office politics is when a group of workers form a hostile alliance against their co-workers in a workplace. What are the dangers of office politics and why management should work hard to thwart office politics in an organisation? Because workplace politics

  • Can be divisive
  • Can be disruptive
  • Can create a hostile or tense environment
  • Might damage employee morale
  • Might lead to outcomes like lawsuits or financial ramifications

Is it possible to avoid office politics?, well in the Southern African nation of Zimbabwe, a common phrase is often heard especially among Twimbos (Zimbabweans on Twitter) and it says “Even if you don’t do politics, politics will still do you” This simply means even if you try by all means to avoid Zimbabwean politics, some decisions made in politics will still affect or frustrate you. Are Twimbos right? Yes. sometimes even if you voluntarily stay away from office politics, office politics will still yank you out from whatever place you are hiding and affect you and how you want your work-life to be.

So is it possible to avoid office politics, well I so wish to say no, because some manifestations of these power dynamics are beyond your control, but the truth is, it’s possible to avoid workplace politics. In case you are dying to create a safe impenetrable bubble around you at your workplace free of workplace politics, consider doing these three things.

  1. Do not take sides. In some situations, you might be prompted to side with your friends, the underdog or even the side you feel is right. Bear in mind even if you are backing the right side, it might end up being detrimental so the safest bet is to stay away completely.
  2. Openly and effectively communicate. Communication is one of the biggest causes of workplace politics. We have all heard, that it is better to over-communicate at times. By over-communicating, you are making your views, ideas, and side known. Everyone will know where you stand on the issues at hand. This will lead to others knowing and granting feedback better and keeping the lines of communication open.
  3. Do not fuel the fire. When I say do not take sides, it also means do not add fuel to the fire from outside. Taking any part in the power dynamics at play, spreading rumours, commenting on something and doing something that will contribute negatively to the hostile camps at the workplace will not be good for you at any level in office politics.
Digital Eye Strain

5 Tips To Combat Technology Induced Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain aside, we cannot deny the obvious, technology has made our lives better on too many levels. How technology revolutionised our communication from the era of communicating through the one handset landline often in the dining room where every family member would hear part of your conversation to a personal smartphone remains the greatest advantage of technology.

To a factory or production line worker who was working in a dangerous environment, you cannot convince them that a robotic machine taking their job is a bad thing. I don’t think anyone will have much success in trying to convince an old woman deep in an African village who occasionally sees her American based grandchildren on a video call that a network booster stationed next to her home might cause health problems.

I would like to speculate and say it is difficult to explain to your generation Z child how a music jukebox operated without looking like someone trying to explain the benefits of eating pork to a person who abstains from eating it for religious reasons. The truth of the matter is, technology has made our lives so easy and enjoyable it is difficult to imagine life before the internet.

However, technology has its drawbacks too, chief among them, it has brought eye strains because of more screen exposure otherwise known as digital eye strains that were minimal in the past decade or two. We have also been bombarded with too much information because of technology one has to be cautious when consuming information on the internet. That and many other drawbacks we cant list today are just a tip of how technology is interfering with the life we are living.

Over the past few years, people have increased their screen time significantly according to the University Of Leeds’s Rafe Clayton and Carmen Clayton’s report on UK Screen Use 2022, 50% of adults in the Uk spend a whopping 11 hours a day looking at different screens. Over time, this is known to cause eye strains of many forms which include but are not limited to blurry vision, dry eyes, double vision, eye discomfort, and eye fatigue just to mention a few.

In case you are concerned about your screen time exposure and you either want to stay ahead of a looming eye strain or like the rest of us, you are already suffering from one form of digital eye strain, follow these 5 tips to combat the problem.

  1. Whenever possible ensure there is ambient light wherever you are going through your phone, laptop or watching TV. Avoid using these gadgets in the dark as this strains the eyes.
  2. Activate automatic brightness on your smartphone so that it automatically adjusts to the ambient light around you.
  3. Avoid spending too much time in front of your gadgets. Curate your schedule in such a way that you will only use them when necessary
  4. Make use of colour filters, and anti-glare apps and tools available for your gadgets.
  5. if possible, take an occasional 30 minutes break from your gadget to rest your eyes before you resume using it.

How To Prepare For The Secure English Language Test (SELT) If You Are Planning On Moving To The UK

Over the last few weeks, we have taken the time to explain many things to those planning to move to the UK. Guided by Google and personal questions we have discovered that many are asking how to prepare and nail their Secure English Language Test (SELT) to prove their proficiency in English, a requirement by the UK government for some people intending to move to the UK.

As alluded to above, you will need to pass the SELTs if you want to move to the UK, if your degree or diploma was not awarded in English or if you cannot prove that the qualification was awarded in English. You will also need to take the test if you are moving to the UK without a degree or diploma, or if your qualification is not related to what you shall be doing in the UK. For example, if you have a degree in Education, but you are moving to the UK as a care worker, you will need to show the UK government that you can read, write and communicate in English.

In case you are wondering how to prepare for your Secure English Language Test, be ye guided by these 5 tips.

  1. Bear in mind you need to build real-life skills because you will need to constantly communicate in English. Do not take the test just to pass but to be proficient in communicating in English as well.
  2. Practice, practice practice. Take advantage of the internet and download and or buy material from approved institutions, colleges and universities offering SELT and use the tests to practice for the exam.
  3. Make British TV your favourite. By doing this you will get to know more about the British accent, how they pronounce some words and how the British naturally and effectively communicate. This way you are learning more about how the people you will spend the most time with speak English.
  4. Test your listening skills, listen to British podcasts etc and check if you are able to clearly hear and follow conversations conducted in British English. This will prepare you to listen follow and easily take instructions in British English.
  5. Keep your skills sharp by reading newspapers, blogs, books, having applications that challenge you on your phone and learning a new word every day till the day you take the test.

7 Steps To Follow When Applying For A Health And Care Worker VISA To The UK

Over the last few weeks, we have shed light on the Health and Care Worker VISA to the UK and other sponsorship programs to get a permit to work in the UK. This has been influenced by the searches we see on Google of people looking for that particular information and or information related to that. While we have been able to answer a few questions about how one can go about the whole VISA application process, we have not shed light on these 7 steps one can follow when applying for a Health and Care Work VISA.

In case you don’t know where to begin, how to do it and or you are not liquid enough to pay an agent to guide you through the application process here is what you can do:

  1. Find out if your occupation falls under the list of occupations eligible for the VISA
  2. If you are eligible for the VISA start working on your knowledge of English as you will need to prove that you can write, understand, read and or communicate in English. If your qualifications like degree or Diploma was conducted in English you might need a letter from your school explaining that. If not, you will need to take an English proficiency test, the Secure English Language Test can be taken through any of the following providers Pearson PSI Services (UK) Ltd IELTS SELT Consortium LanguageCert
  3. If you have your knowledge of English conformation, apply for a job in the UK. This might include you going on social media groups that have people who hire people, it will also include you searching for recruitment agencies in the UK sending them your CV and any other document they might require.
  4. Once you have managed to secure a job, you should know if your employer is sponsoring your other expenses like accommodation if need be, flight tickets and or the Immigration Health Surcharge. You should obtain a sponsorship certificate from an approved employer to apply for a job in the UK.
  5. Find out the application fee payable for the visa and how you will pay the fees from your local banks, calculate the rates from your local currency to the pound carefully to make sure you will not have a shortfall at a critical time.
  6. Once you have the secure English Language Test (if you need one), your application fee, and a certificate of sponsorship then you can apply online for a Health and Care worker VISA on the UK government website. Please note, you will be asked to provide a valid passport, your job’s occupation code and other details regarding your employer. All those questions will be answered through your sponsorship certificate.
  7. Keep these documents handy because you may be asked to provide them, a police clearance certificate, bank statements proving that you have enough funds to take care of yourself in the UK. In some instances, your sponsor can support you on this, proof of the relationship you have with the people applying with you, and a tuberculosis test.