Have we lost the work-life balance?

Work-life balance, we talk about it all the time. It’s so important to make sure you have a balance between your work and home life – we’re big advocates of it here. The last year has turned everything upside down and we’ve been at home permanently, so it has made the topic even more important and more widely discussed. Is work-life balance even a ‘thing’ anymore or have we progressed into something more fluid?

There are many factors to be considered when addressing the work-life balance argument – for me, they all centre around technology. Technology has allowed us to change the once rigid working environment – with a set place of work and working hours – to be much more fluid and relaxed. This advancement allows for far greater flexibility, but can add extra challenges for keeping the structure in place between your work and social life.

Remote working

Remote working allows us to work from anywhere, not just in the office. At home, on a train, in another office, even abroad. In most cases, all you need is your laptop and phone and Wi-Fi connection and you’re away. This flexible working allows employees to work in different places, where they may feel happier, more productive or more creative. It means they are able to work while they travel to a social event or go away for some peace and quiet, without taking holiday. Allowing work and life to intertwine can lead to a much happier, healthier and more productive team.


Flexitime gives employees the freedom to choose their hours to fit around their other commitments outside of work. This blurs the lines, but in my opinion in a positive way – you can work around dropping off your kids, having a personal appointment or event meeting friends. You do not need to sacrifice your work or your personal commitments – you still do your hours and get your work done but can also do the things in your personal life that are important.


Mobile phones and laptops are great because you can take them easily wherever you go, to work remotely. But this often comes with its own problems – if you use the same laptop or phone for both personal use and for work, it can be difficult to switch off. Many phones have emails and Slack and other forms of communication for work connected to them, which allows totally switching off from work almost impossible! There are solutions though – whether it’s keeping a separate phone for work or turning off notifications for certain apps, you can still maintain healthy barriers. Turning your phone to ‘do not distrub’ mode at times also helps to switch off – whether it is to concentrate on a project for work or to do something personal, it’s good to have some quiet time to concentrate.

Blurred lines

All these technological factors blur the lines between your work life and your home life. But is it necessarily a bad thing? In my opinion, the freedom and flexibility businesses and employees now have, to work where and when they want, is brilliant. And, although the factors blur the lines so work can creep into your home life, it also means your home life can merge into work-life too – you are able to juggle other responsibilities around work, rather than following a strict 9-5 Monday – Friday in the office. Less need to sacrifice things, including our own health. Having said that, it is still really important to make sure you keep a balance and sometimes – press the off button!

If you need some practical tips to help you, here are 6 tips for a better work-life balance.

Carl Hinett is our Director & Executive Search Specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch carl@refind.co.uk.

Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up here.

All you need to know about AI, VR and tech in HR

Are we all going to be out of a job soon?

We have had a look at some of the hottest technology trends in HR which are continuously developing and driving improvement in the industry.

Technology in recruitment

As time goes on and technology improves, HR Toolbox explains that, “modern recruitment management systems are increasingly relied upon. Companies can no longer afford to employ outdated strategies to discover, engage and nurture top talent.”

Technology and software can massively help recruitment teams by completing the time-consuming work that can be automated. It can also help to be more targeted in their search, allowing them to find the best candidates, much quicker.

HR Toolbox goes on to say, “The process will be optimised from start to finish, allowing HR to refine and perfect their onboarding process with less variation. In addition to learning management systems that foster better team training and communication, more companies will consider what machine learning and artificial intelligence has to offer. Chatbots and similar technology may take on more low-level tasks like scheduling and providing basic information. This will free up HR professionals to spend more time on important relationship-building activities with candidates.”

AI as a partner, not a threat

This is a biggie – embracing AI as a partner, not looking at it as a threat to us – which seems to be a growing trend across many industries. HR Dive talks about the shift in only the last couple of years to general attitudes:

“As Waletzke monitored conversations about tech throughout the last two years, he observed a radical shift. ‘The overall temperature of conversations completely changed. 2017 was robots are going to steal our jobs … now there is starting to be this embrace of technology,’ he said. “We’re really looking at ways we can use AI or machine learning to automate the talent acquisition experience so we can dive deeply into the one-on-one relationships.”

VR meets HR

Virtual reality is emerging as the hottest trend in the HR tech market – and it’s not a not passing fad. Virtual reality (VR) is a 3D computer-created world that allows you to experience and interact with things that aren’t there. It could prove to be revolutionary for the HR and recruitment world.

A blog from Sympa gives a great example: “A well-known example of the successful use of VR technology is The British Army, who already uses VR to overcome its recruitment challenges. It recently created four VR experiences based on combat training, adventure training, tank training and parachute training. These were then posted on YouTube 360 as a part of their recruitment strategy. The results were excellent, with an increase in applications of 65% in the first month the campaign ran and an increase of 41% in the second month.”

VR can be used in many interview processes, to allow candidates to prove their skill level and in training to give real-life on-the-job training.

What are the hot trends you’re jumping on? To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.

London HR tech scene

In this edition of In:site, we speak to Philip Alexander, CEO and Co-Founder of Mentorial. Philip started his career with the UN, and then as a Strategy Consultant in Accenture’s Human Capital practice. He then left corporate life to be Head of Talent, Strategy and Operations at a leading Venture Capital backed healthcare technology company. Last year he set up his own company, Mentorial, an innovative Career Development Platform to help HR work as well for staff as it does for companies.

He curates a weekly Global Startup Digest on HR and Employee Experience and very much has his finger on the pulse of London’s HR tech scene and today he highlights five other companies to look out for.

London’s hottest HR tech companies:

London has a thriving scene for world-class HR technology companies.

Below are five startups helping companies of all sizes with their biggest challenges:


Bob sorts the people management for businesses who love their staff. It’s a new platform that brings together HR administration (including leave & absence management, automatic reporting, task workflows, etc.) with benefits management and employee engagement. Although that’s a lot to fit into one tool, they’ve worked hard to create a simple and attractive user interface. They want to be HR software that people actually like using.

Some of the key features that makes Bob different is the Club view – allowing HRs and employees to see information about the people within the company (like hobbies) as dynamic visual columns – and their digital benefits store using the existing data in the platform to help find and administer staff benefits in an easy way. This is particularly helpful when it comes to pension’s auto-enrolment.

Having launched in June, they already have 500+ businesses who have registered with them and are getting positive feedback on the basis of time-saving and usability – on both the HR and employees’ sides. Bob also has an exciting product roadmap, not least of which is to change the way that employees engage with their workplace benefits.


CultureAmp is working with some of fastest growing and innovative companies, from Slack to Adobe, to use real data and validated insights on their people. They work with over 500 companies across the world to survey their staff on engagement, onboarding, exits, pulse surveys, or specialised surveys backed up by world-class organisational psychology insights. Culture Amp takes running an employee survey and combines it with a great user experience and powerful analytics.

They have recently launched a performance review tool which collects feedback from managers and their employees to help individuals, teams and managers better figure out where they can improve. Employee Effectiveness aims to ask questions the way people would say them in real life. It also doesn’t use ratings and scores.


Onfido is a rapidly expanding company which uses machine learning technology to perform background checks. Candidates enter basic information through a website and this enables them to perform basic background checks in seconds, followed by more rigorous checks as needed.

They are able to integrate Onfido with corporate HR systems through their API to create a seamless experience for users and companies. They are able to use their technology to learn more about fraud patterns to identify quickly when people are trying to hide their backgrounds in more sophisticated ways.

Their mission is to build a “trust engine” that can be used to verify employees across any business scenario, from people creating funding pages on JustGiving, to accelerating the hiring of contractors.

Move Guides

Move Guides is based out of London and San Francisco, and is a market leader in talent mobility software. Their cloud solution acts as a one-stop-shop for companies, employees and vendors, from shipping, immigration and more. This enables HR departments to help staff move geography more easily, with a better employee experience.

Not only is it easier for companies and staff, but they claim to reduce total costs by up to 10% against traditional relocation management companies.


Lystable is platform that allows companies to easily manage their contingent labour, from onboarding to payment. It has gained significant traction in the market, with customers including The Economist, Google, ASOS and AirBnB, and over 20,000 freelancers and vendors on the platform.

With the rapid increase in freelancers working in large organisations, Lystable is built for the on-demand economy. On this one platform, companies can onboard contractors, conduct background screens, assign them to projects, record feedback and invoice.

They have attracted funding from Peter Thiel among others, and are expanding their presence in London as well as San Francisco.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.