Did you know that rarely are we ever more than a couple of metres away from our mobile phones? I know that this is certainly the case for me! And if you’ve ever lost your phone, I bet you’ve experienced that genuine feeling of panic when you realise it’s one of your main connectors with friends, business, social interests, important photographs, even your banking.. everything digitally important to you is stored on that critical piece of technology.
And it’s not just our phones which play such a significant part in our lives – it’s anything and everything from our tablet to our eBook, and from our satnav to our digital tv. Life would be very different without any of these items which entertain us, help us do business, educate us and even help us get from A to B.
But of course as adults, we have ‘work-arounds’ should we lose our tech. We know we can visit a friend or pick up the landline to make a call, dig out a paperback or a newspaper to read, plot our route on an ‘old-fashioned’ map, entertain ourselves with a game of cards or classic board game… very few of us would say we could NOT manage without our digital helpers, but we readily acknowledge that they make our lives that bit much easier.
Children are, conversely, digital natives. The digital world is the ONLY world they know – a world of online education, entertainment and communication. So it’s not surprising to see various studies report that not having access to the internet can have as negative an impact on a child as having excessive access can...
But it is this total reliance on digital technology which consistently fuels concerns from parents and teachers about a wide range of issues, extending from disturbed sleep patterns, to academic struggle, poor family relationships, impaired social functioning, and emotional and psychiatric problems.
To manage the pros and cons of digital tech use, we’re sharing some of our top tips for trying to achieve a better balance – and note that they apply to adults as much as they do to children!
Just drop us a line for full details. We'd love to hear from you.
As everybody knows, January is a natural time to start thinking ahead and re-evaluating things both in your working and personal life... Is there something you've always wanted to do, but you haven't got around to it yet...?
If you work with children in any capacity, are you receiving the correct level of safeguarding training? This month we hear from our expert Michelle Nightingale, as she sets the record straight:
"It is important that all staff receive a minimum of Level 2 safeguarding children training if they have minimal access to children. Those staff with direct contact with children must receive annual Level 3 (face to face) safeguarding children training.
The updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (Dfe 2019) states that ‘All staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which is regularly updated. In addition, all staff should receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, and at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.’
Face to face training allows for contextual understanding of the issues, which staff maybe observing or involved in; it encourages peer support, reviews local escalation processes and highlights good practice and areas of challenge.
Senior Management Teams are also encouraged to attend such training, to ensure relevant information and awareness is cascaded across the organisation."
Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2
Independent School Inspectorate: https://www.isi.net/safeguarding/
Michelle has delivered some fantastic in-house training sessions for a range of schools, with excellent feedback. If this is something you need for 2020, get in touch!
Many of us are working in professions that demand a lot of resources from ourselves as staff members, as we prioritise those in our care. So, what about the wellbeing of staff - yourself included? We need to take this just as seriously, especially if we want to be effective in our work and if continued productivity is on the agenda.
Here at Olive Branch, valuing people and putting them first is always the uppermost priority. This principle of people-first is important across the board, especially if you want to create something sustainable.
One of our experts Peter Radford shares with us his suggestions for valuing every single person in your organisation:
What do you think? Please do share your thoughts!
If you'd like to explore the topic further, come along to our Transforming Staff Wellbeing event on the 22nd November (see events page).
World Mental Health Day will be here on Thursday 10th October 2019.
This is a wonderfully useful opportunity to raise and add to the wider discussion about mental health, whether that's in the workplace or in your personal life. In recent years mental health awareness has certainly been on the rise, however there is still plenty of stigma hanging about... I believe that we need to continue our efforts by regularly keeping mental health in our conversations as well as continually looking to improve specialist skills.
Much of the remaining stigma tends to be around mental health conditions which are lesser understood and also those that are more frightening, such as suicide. With suicide being the focus for WMHD 2019 there's lots that you can do and get involved in! Check out www.time-to-change.org.uk for loads of resources and more.
If you'd like any training for your workplace on suicide prevention, please do get in touch. We're here to help you make an impact and it would be our absolute privilege to work with you.
September is well known for being a month of new beginnings and that is certainly the case for me! Just a couple of weeks ago we welcomed a new arrival into our family... our first baby, a little boy who we've named Teddy.
With this monumental change many challenges have naturally arisen, however the overriding factor is most definitely beholding the miracle of new life and nothing brings it home quite like having a child of your own.
Over the coming months I look forward to sharing a little more of our new adventure with you. One major question that springs to mind... is it possible to run a business and look after a baby? I hope so! Although I don't intend to drop everything, my involvement will be in a much reduced capacity so that I can appreciate these precious early months. Much of Olive Branch's daily business will be in the capable hands of my trustworthy colleagues and I hope you have a warm experience should you communicate with them.
What's new on your horizon? As you take on new challenges or walk into a fresh season, I hope the positives outweigh the negatives! May you continue to grow as a person and make an impact as you go about your daily life...
Feel free to comment/ discuss! See you next time.
The Summertime blues might sound like a strange phrase but it's not unusual for many people to struggle. As summer approaches there's often a sense of excitement and anticipation! If you've been looking forward to the summer for a while, the reality can sometimes let you down. Here are a few common reasons why:
So what can you do to help yourself/ gain a much-needed boost...?
Many of the topics I blog about could be explored for hours, and therefore choosing which path to go down is always a challenge in itself... That is certainly the case with this one! A number of the courses we run merely touch on self-esteem however I want to highlight it this month because it directly correlates with emotional well being.
According to some studies, us Brits rank one of the lowest in self-esteem (especially relating to body image). I find that pretty concerning and one can only assume that therefore our emotional well being must be pretty low down too!
Now, there's not a lot we can do about the weather which is clearly a factor, but what other things influence our self-esteem and therefore well being? Here are a few:
Do you have a tendency to criticize yourself? If so, stop now - it does more damage than you may think! Become more aware of the language you use to talk about yourself, value yourself and make a conscious decision to pay yourself compliments... It's not a quick process to alter your self-concept but changing the way you talk about yourself will in time change the way you feel about yourself.
Peter Radford is an inspirational, motivational presenter whom we have the pleasure of working with. This month I'm delighted to share his article on finding purpose. His way of thinking really resonates with me... I hope you find it helpful too!
Many organisations have a purpose statement of some kind but for many it is little more than words on a website. The principle is very simple – in order to score you need to be clear what you’re aiming at! If you and the people you work with don’t have clarity about your purpose then the chances of achieving are greatly reduced. To use a sports analogy, you’re a bunch of people having a kick around in the park; you’re not a team. And you’re certainly not on track to win the league. This applies on an individual level as well as where teams are concerned.
Finding your purpose is not always easy but here are three pointers I’ve found helpful.
There is no such thing as a life free of hassle and stressful situations… even if you live on a remote island far from civilisation, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect that. Whether a colleague has annoyed you, there’s been a pest invasion, you’ve got noisy neighbours or family disagreements - nobody’s life is perfectly tranquil. Challenging scenarios will always exist and most of the time they are beyond control (at least to begin with!)
As we know Easter weekend falls during April this year, and it is ALSO stress awareness month. So I'd like to consider a few ideas for keeping stress at bay amid the chaos.
Make time to find your outlet and get anxieties and frustration out of your system. Perhaps that could involve any of these:
I'm Jemima, founder of Olive Branch Consultancy and passionate about delivering excellence with sensitivity and care.