January 14

The Great Resignation….how do you retain your staff in 2022?

In August 2021 the number of open job positions in the UK exceeded an unprecedented 1 million for the first time in the UK’s history. ‘The Great Resignation’ is making it harder for companies to recruit people and many existing employees are considering changing jobs and moving employers. Data from Microsoft published earlier in the year suggests that an estimated 40% of the global workforce is considering changing jobs in 2021-2022.

Why are so many people leaving?

Many workers are thought to be making the decision to leave based on how their employers treated them – or didn’t treat them ¬– during the pandemic. The pandemic has changed the way people work and how they view work. Reversing the tide is going to require managers who care, who engage and who give workers a sense of purpose. In other words, people are looking for roles with more progressive, supportive cultures than they may have experienced to date. There is now a greater emphasis on wellbeing and flexible working, among others.

The importance of ‘people first’ company cultures

The importance of company culture really can’t be overstated in the battle for recruitment and retention. If people are leaving an organisation because they are feeling unsupported or poorly treated, word will get round very quickly and a business will suffer reputationally, along with its ability to attract candidates and retain existing team members.

How to build a great company culture

There are plenty ways to build a great company culture as the business grows:

1. Establish your culture by defining your values

Your values will steer the way your people behave, treat one another and go about their day-to-day work. When a company is in its infancy, the culture that develops will be that of the founders. It’s often one that values a ‘can-do’ attitude. Your culture is a consequence of your values. So before you do anything else, you must establish your company values:

• what is the business’ purpose?
• what do I want the business to be known for?
• which characteristics do we value in our employees?

2. Communicate your values

Once you have agreed your values, you must communicate them to your employees. Only when this is done can they start to translate into company culture. Get your staff together for an afternoon and communicate your values in an engaging and inspiring way. Invite them to participate – this way they’ll be more likely to engage with your vision and contribute towards building your new culture.

Going forward, ensure projects and initiatives are underpinned by these culture-relevant values. And be certain to communicate them at every employee induction.

3. Hire for cultural “add” rather than culture “fit”

Hiring the right people is an important way of building a strong company culture. Which makes hiring for culture fit seem like a great idea. You ask candidates what they value in a company and gauge if they align with your culture or not.

But hiring on the basis of cultural fit can quickly create an environment where everyone thinks the same. Further, it also limits employee diversity which is bad news for company culture and business results.

Instead, hire for culture add. Ask what candidates can bring to your business that will move your culture in the right direction.

4. How does your culture define success?

The way a business defines, measures and rewards success says a lot about its culture. You will need to agree how you will measure company and individual performance. Think also about the way your definition of success reinforces your culture. Will you reward employees for hitting targets, or award them bonuses for passing certain levels of turnover? What about customer satisfaction or cost-reduction? Each type of measurement sends a message of its own and affects the way your culture develops.

5. Be transparent

Transparency helps improve trust and satisfaction for your employees. It’s also an important component of a strong culture. This also applies to communicating how employees’ work will help the organisation towards its mission and objectives (which can often get lost in day-to-day work.)

Don’t try to hide the low points – celebrate the highs and analyse the lows, consulting with staff about where things have gone wrong and what can be done to improve them in the future. Be transparent about your successes too; be sure to share any upturns in revenue, exciting achievements and business-growth.

6. Culture leads from the top

Leaders need to acknowledge that – like it or not – they set the cultural agenda and are responsible for curating how it builds in a company. It then needs to exist independently of the leaders. It’s also important for leaders to connect with their people emotionally. Gone are the days when managers keep their distance and focus on the metrics. People need to know that their leaders care about them and that they take rational decisions based on sound ethical principles.

7. Do what you say you’re going to do

Building a strong company culture is about practicing what you preach. Company values are only worth something when you put them into practice. If you say you’re a ‘people-first’ company, demonstrate this by investing in your people. Failing to deliver on your promises creates a distrustful and disloyal culture. Live up to your promises and you’ll be rewarded with a strong culture and a happy, engaged and motivated team.

Flexible working and recruitment

Allowing people to work from home and balance duties of care with their work lives means employers can recruit from a wider and more diverse pool of people than they did before the pandemic took hold. The result is that more employers are recruiting outside of their geographic area, with more people using technology to communicate and collaborate from wherever they live.

Obtaining feedback – and acting on it

It is important to obtain feedback regularly to understand how employees are feeling about their roles and employers and to use this as the basis for a framework of changes and improvements that are needed. Asking employees for their thoughts on either an informal or more formal basis will suffice – if you don’t ask you will never know. The final step is to ensure that employers act on the feedback from these surveys and make the changes.

Exit interview, meet ‘stay interview’

A stay interview is essentially a conversation between an employer and employee about the latter’s experience of the company and views on their working lives. It provides insight which an employer can use to highlight areas for improvement which may otherwise be ground for an employee choosing to work elsewhere.

‘Stay’ interviews are obviously preferable to exit interviews and should be prioritised, especially for high performing employees whose departure would be the most damaging to a business.

In summary….

Following two difficult years, confidence is returning to various sectors yet many business leaders’ plans for recovery will be thwarted if their most talented people look elsewhere.

Employers must work harder than ever to attract the best candidates and retain existing talent. Focusing on building a strong culture can help businesses compete with larger competitors who may be able to offer larger salaries and a reputation for genuinely putting people first will also go a long way in the battle for recruitment and retention.

For assistance in conducting stay and exit interviews please get in touch: nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44(0)7917 878384.

January 6

Are all employees entitled to the extra bank holiday in June 2022 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee….?

What is changing?

The Spring Bank Holiday (normally due to take place on the last Monday in May) will be moved to Thursday 2 June. The additional Bank Holiday will then take place on Friday 3 June. We shall have two bank holidays back to back in 2022.

Are employees automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday?

This will depend on the wording of the employee’s contract of employment. It is important to note that employees do not have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday. Employers are advised to check the wording of their employment contracts and communicate with employees about whether or not they will be required to work on the additional bank holiday in line with the terms of the contract.

Below are the most commonly used phrases relating to bank holidays that are seen in employment contracts and what they mean in terms of the employee’s right to have paid time off work on 3 June 2022.

“20 days holiday per annum plus bank holidays”

Yes – employees will have a contractual entitlement to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday as the wording on holiday entitlement in the contract is unlimited. Therefore, there is a contractual entitlement to paid time off on all bank holidays – including extra ones.

“28 days holiday per annum”

Potentially – where the contract is silent on bank holidays, the employee has the ability to book using their 28-day holiday allowance any of the bank holidays, including the additional bank holiday. However, there is no increase in holiday entitlement as a result of the additional bank holiday and so they have no contractual entitlement to the 9 bank holidays in 2022.

“20 days holiday per annum plus 8 bank/public holidays”

Potentially – similar to above, the contract is silent on which bank holidays are included within the employee’s holiday entitlement and therefore an employee has the ability to book the additional bank holiday as paid time off in June 2022. This will, however, mean that the employee will not be entitled to one of the later bank holidays in the year. We would recommend this is clarified to the employee at the time of booking annual leave.

“20 days holiday per annum plus New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day”

No – where there is a list of bank holidays contained within the contract, the employee will only be entitled to receive paid time off on those bank holidays listed. Employees with such wording in their contract will be entitled to paid time off on 2 June 2022 as this is the date the bank holiday referred to as the “Spring Bank Holiday” has been moved too but not on 3 June 2022.

“20 days holiday per annum plus the usual bank/public holidays observed in England and Wales”

No – as the additional bank holiday is not usually observed in England and Wales, employees would not be entitled to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday.

“20 days holiday per annum plus the 8 bank/public holidays usually observed in England and Wales”

No – as above, the bank holidays which are included within holiday entitlement are listed and therefore there is no entitlement to the additional bank holiday.

Even where there is no contractual entitlement to take the additional bank holiday as paid time off, many employers, as a gesture of goodwill, will decide to allow their employees to take the additional bank holiday or if that is not possible for business reasons, to provide time off in lieu.

Previous approach to time off for additional bank holidays

We previously enjoyed an additional bank holiday in 2011 (to mark the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and 2012 (for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee). Therefore, when considering whether to allow employees paid time off for the additional bank holiday in 2022 we would recommend considering what has been done previously. To the extent employees have previously been offered paid time-off or time-off in lieu to mark an additional bank holiday, to adopt a different approach in respect of the 2022 additional bank holiday may cause a negative reaction from employees (in particular those with long enough service to have been working when this happened previously).

The importance of planning….

It is important as we kick off 2022 that you alert all of your staff to this extra bank holiday, let them know whether they are going to benefit from it as part of their entitlement, or not, and adjust your holiday planners to take account of the fact that in 2022 there are 9 bank holidays instead of the ‘usual’ 8 days…

November 28

The office Christmas party – how to avoid an HR headache….!

For employers, Christmas parties provide a unique opportunity to strengthen teams, thank employees and relax. However, when one drink flows into another, an evening of cheer can quickly turn into a serious problem with far-reaching consequences, to the extent that employers can be potentially liable for their employees’ drunken actions.

What can employers do to avoid the legal hangover?

1. Planning ahead

Duty of care: an employer has a general duty of care towards its employees, as follows:

• ensuring colleagues behave well towards one another;
• ensuring the venue is accessible to all, including those with disabilities;
• ensuring people can get home safely.

Travelling home: it is important to remind staff not to drink and drive and details should be given on how people can get home after the event. Some companies arrange a minibus for transport, provide local taxi numbers and/or give details of the nearest public transport routes. It can be a good idea to make sure the party finishes before public transport stops for the day.

Non-discriminatory celebrations: employers should ensure that the celebrations are non-discriminatory in all respects. Food and drink options should take vegetarian and vegan requirements into account and non-alcoholic drinks should be provided. Employers should try to avoid clashes with other religious holiday dates such as Hanukkah and invites should include agency, fixed term and part time staff as well as those on family friendly leave.

2. Risk assessment

Having a thorough risk assessment in place for the venue is key to avoiding negligence claims. The risk assessment should include examining the venue for unstable surfaces and dangerous corners as well as having steps in place for any foreseeable injuries such as slips or falls. Obviously, it should also include an assessment with regard to those employees with disabilities.

3. Reminder of standards expected

Whether the party takes place in the office or not, it will be considered to be an extension of the workplace and employers can be vicariously liable for the events that unfold.

Therefore it is helpful, in advance of the Christmas party, to remind staff of exactly that and also remind them of the standard of behaviour that you are expecting and make it clear that excess alcohol consumption and inappropriate behaviour and unwanted sexual conduct may lead to disciplinary action being taken in the same way it would as if it took place during work hours.

In light of the #MeToo movement many employers issue a reminder of the types of behaviour which could amount to harassment in an effort to be seen to be taking “reasonable steps” to prevent incidents between colleagues.

It is also a prime opportunity to remind the workforce of all applicable company policies, relating to equal opportunities, discrimination, bullying and harassment, drug and alcohol misuse, social media and any other relevant policies.

4. Alternatives to the “traditional” party

Whilst the “dry” approach to a Christmas party may not be the best morale booster at this time of year, some companies are trying to limit alcohol consumption during the festive season by replacing the traditional parties with themed activities or team-building events. This type of approach may also be seen as more inclusive to the entire workforce, some of whom may not want their work-social event to focus on the consumption of alcohol.

5.Complaints

Where an incident occurs and a complaint is made, employers should deal with it fairly and swiftly, regardless of whether the incident occurred at a formal work event or an after-party. Investigations should be conducted professionally and thoroughly – a failure to do so could result in additional complaints.

Where an incident involves more than one employee, steps should be taken to ensure all those involved are given a fair opportunity to present their version of events and this principle should not be overlooked in situations where you are dealing with a complainant and an alleged perpetrator. Often the rights of the alleged perpetrators are put aside and there are knee-jerk reactions before the full facts are known.

Conclusions

The legal responsibilities associated with them may mean that Christmas parties seem like too much of a risk. However, the good news is that the horror stories tend to arise from quite particular and often quite extreme situations. With a few simple precautions, you can make sure that your Christmas party strikes the delicate balance between entertainment and professionalism.

November 1

Do you have an environmental policy in your staff handbook…?

As the UK hosts the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this week, many employers are considering their environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.

Research has found that whilst most companies feel that their employees have a key role in how they deliver their ESG strategies, very few had involved HR in delivery – meaning hardly any companies in the UK have an environmental policy which sets out their strategy and targets.

It is critical for HR to play a role in organisations’ environment/climate change agenda. From embedding environmental strategies, to designing measurable objectives and links to performance-based pay, HR is an area that can make or break the success of a company’s environmental strategy. Investors, employees and potential new hires are all looking at how companies are responding to the climate crisis.

It is essential that employers convert their organisation’s environmental strategy into an engaging ambition that colleagues choose to support. Companies can then measure how well they enable and motivate employees to contribute to the transition to net zero.

The benefits of an environmental policy

An environmental policy can provide significant benefits to your business, as follows:

• helping you to stay within the law
• keeping employees informed about their environmental roles and responsibilities
• improving cost control
• reducing incidents that result in liability
• conserving raw materials and energy
• improving your monitoring of environmental impacts
• improving the efficiency of your processes

The benefits are not restricted to internal operations. By demonstrating commitment to environmental management, you can develop positive relations with external stakeholders, such as investors, insurers, customers, suppliers, regulators and the local community. This in turn can lead to an improved corporate image and financial benefits, such as increased investment, customer sales and market share.

An environmental policy is an important addition to your staff handbook. Get in touch with GoodHR for a draft policy that you can tweak to suit your own organisation.

It’s important to bear in mind that these benefits are unlikely to be achieved simply by having an environmental policy in place. You will need to ensure the policy is integrated in to the business with workshops and training.

nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 7917878384

October 12

How to combat workplace stress

It’s normal to feel a little pressure at work. A certain amount is healthy and helps us to be more productive. But when the pressure becomes too much, you may begin to feel overwhelmed and stressed. This is when it becomes a problem.

Stress can affect anyone, in any workplace and at any time. But if it isn’t dealt with, it can have catastrophic effects on health, wellbeing and ultimately your productivity – and that of the business.

Why managing stress is important for business

Research by the Health & Safety Executive found that 12.8 million working days are lost to stress every year. Another survey revealed that 1 in 5 of us call in sick due to stress. The writing is on the wall: stress is damaging to business success.

The health risks of workplace stress

Stress is the human reaction to being overwhelmed or under threat. It’s a natural reflex and is part of what’s called the ‘fight or flight’ response. But when this becomes repetitive, it takes a big toll on our bodies. Risks include:

• a lowered immune system
• heart disease
• poor mental health
• high blood pressure
• digestive issues
• fertility problems

Symptoms of workplace stress

When stress hits, it makes itself known. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

• faster heartbeat than normal
• upset stomach
• headaches or dizziness
• tense or painful muscles
• difficulty concentrating
• finding it difficult to make decisions
• forgetting things
• worrying a lot
• being irritable
• change in appetite
• engaging in coping behaviours (e.g. drinking, smoking)

Ways to reduce stress at work

1. Talk about it

They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, and it’s not just a myth. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, call a friend or family member and talk about it.

Or if you feel comfortable enough talking to your line manager, put a 121 meeting in their diary to discuss how you’re feeling. Or call your HR/People person/team.

2. Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks from your work actually makes you more productive than if you power through your day. Try the following: 25 minutes of concentration followed by a 5-minute break and a 15-minute break every 2 hours. And by ‘break’, that means stepping away from your desk and disconnecting with your work completely.

3. Create a list

If you’ve got lots of ‘to-dos’ in your head, an easy way to take the pressure off is to write everything down. If you like to be organised, you could even colour-code each task in order of priority to get your workload in order. Remember to tick them off as you go for that sense of achievement.

4. Need help? Ask for it

You’re only human and you can only do so much. So, it’s important to identify when you’ve got too much on your plate and you begin to feel stressed. Your line manager is there to ensure your workload is manageable, so be sure to discuss it with them if it gets too much.

Remember to delegate to your team, too. What tasks are there on your to-do list that someone else could easily take on?

5. Break it down

A big project can easily seem daunting, and it’s easy to let it stress you out. Take some time to break your projects down into small, bitesize tasks. This will help you to approach the work in a different way and see it as doable, rather than challenging.

What are the different steps for the project? How long will each one take? What tasks will you set yourself and others in order to tick off each step?

6. Get moving

It’s a known fact that exercise gets endorphins flowing, helps boost your mood and looks after your mental health.

“Doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.”

If you’re feeling stressed, make sure you get your body moving. You may not feel like it at first, but pushing yourself to exercise will help you feel better in the long run.

7. Schedule some down-time

Make sure you plan in some ‘me-time’ where you can practice some self-care. The human body can only take on so much, so taking some time to rest and re-charge is essential for managing stress.

Something as simple as a short walk or break during your day can be beneficial. Just make sure you get a breather. Meditating works wonders too- we recommend the Headspace app for a few minutes of peace.

8. Maintain a work-life balance

When you’ve got a lot on your plate at work, it can be easy to work that extra hour in the evenings or check your emails at the weekends. This is an easy – but dangerous – habit to fall into. Apparently 50% of the UK workforce regularly work through their breaks and outside of their working hours.

Establishing the line between your work and personal life is crucial for minimising stress and preventing burnout. You will find you are more productive if you stick to your contracted hours.

If you need further assistance please contact nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

September 28

How to boost your office culture post-COVID

Whilst many employers may see the return to office working as an opportunity to recapture the previous culture of their organisation, the majority of employers will now be facing a new way of working from hybrid office and home working to some employees moving to fully remote roles, which brings with it different challenges that can impact morale and cause disruption within your teams.

There are many benefits to being able to bring employees together again in person, but this should be seen as an opportunity for companies to adapt and build on their values and culture, as well as improving employee well-being and enhancing team spirit.

Be transparent

If your office has reopened or you’re about to reopen, use this time to re-share your office policy or circulate your new policy if you have adapted it to reflect the new ways of working. This allows your staff to feel prepared when they walk back into the office.

Honesty remains the best policy. Set the tone with your people as to how you would like your company to be run going forward. Whether you want an office presence every day from a portion of your employees or are happy for different departments to work out their own office/homeworking schedule, communicate this to your staff so they feel they can make decisions that feel right for them.

Lead by example

You may want to urge your senior management to have a presence in the office. If your people see a blend of staff from all tiers heading into physical workspaces it may encourage them to venture in themselves. If they feel it is one rule for them and another for management, they may be reluctant to return to the office.

Take into account whether the environment works

If you’re adopting flexible working with staff working both from your premises and from home, consider the layout of your office. Prior to the pandemic, set desks spaces will likely have worked but if you’re moving to a hybrid situation then a hot desk policy may suit the adaptable nature. If staff are on the whole coming in more for meetings, consider break out spaces that allow for teamwork, strategizing and the throwing around of ideas.

Consider new team dynamics

There may have been changes affecting the dynamics of your team during the pandemic, for example, new starters who joined the business remotely, missing colleagues if there have been redundancies, role changes that have happened whilst everyone has been working from home, as well as new flexible working arrangements or hybrid working models. Think through the best way for your team(s) to work together and communicate this to them either virtually or in person, ensuring collaboration between new and existing staff.

Be aware of office politics

Old HR issues which have been avoided at home could re-surface as employees venture back into workspaces. For example, working from home may have allowed some individuals to leave office politics behind and they may be concerned about whether the previous conflict might be re-established when they return.

Open dialogue for staff to air any concerns they have about returning to the office, so you are fully aware of and can prepare for any issues or stumbling blocks.

Consider your management style

Employees may have become used to working more autonomously, with many thriving under a more relaxed management style during the pandemic. They may not respond well to being managed more closely again. If your staff have been delivering for you while working from home, trust that they will continue to do so. You can have regular check-ins, either in person or via video call, to see how they’re performing and check in on their mental health.
That said, new starters who have joined your company while you’ve been operating remotely, or you have recruited since your premises re-opened, may prefer a more hands-on approach to get to grips with how working in your office operates.

Gather staff feedback

Actively asking your staff for their thoughts may lead to them feeling more engaged, which in turn boosts morale and performance, helping you to reach your business goals.

Employee engagement platforms are a great way to do this, as they allow you to gain anonymous feedback and provide you with an insight into how your employees are really feeling. This then gives you a starting point as to whether there are any issues that need to be addressed.

If you need further assistance please contact nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

July 25

Can employers ask employees if they have had a COVID-19 vaccination?

An employer that intends to ask employees if they have been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) must be clear about its reasons for doing so. To comply with its data protection obligations, it must ensure that it has a legal basis for processing such information and that it complies with the conditions for processing special category data (relating to employees’ health) under the UK GDPR.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published guidance for organisations on when collecting vaccination data can be justified. Depending on its reasons for asking about vaccination status, an employer may be able to rely on its legitimate interests and compliance with employment rights and obligations as the basis for processing such data.

However, in a nutshell, your reason for checking or recording people’s COVID status must be clear, necessary and transparent. If you cannot specify a use for this information and are recording it on a ‘just in case’ basis, or if you can achieve your goal without collecting this data, you are unlikely to be able to justify collecting it.

It is likely to be easier to justify collecting such information in certain workplaces, for example in a health or care setting where coronavirus presents a specific risk.

If you do collect this personal data, you must ensure that it is kept securely and that it is shared only with the specific people who need to access it. It must be kept for no longer than necessary. An employer could consider keeping anonymised records, if its aim is to monitor levels of vaccination across the workforce, rather than recording whether specified individuals have been vaccinated.

The employer must provide employees with information about how and why their vaccination data is being processed. This could be an update to an existing privacy notice or could be provided as a separate document.

Employers should be aware that an attempt to impose a mandatory vaccination policy would risk a number of legal claims and employee relations issues.

nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

July 25

A new hybrid way of working post COVID…..some top tips…..

For employers that are moving to the hybrid working model, ground rules need to be set for employees who are operating under this new way of working. Below are some tips on how any policy should be structured and what it should contain…..

1. Introduce the concept of hybrid working

Employers can begin their policy by explaining that hybrid working, which is sometimes referred to as “blended working”, is a form of flexible working that allows employees to split their time between attending the workplace and working remotely (typically from home).

The policy can also highlight the benefits of hybrid working for both the employer and workforce. These benefits include:

• helping the workforce to become more agile in the new working environment created by the coronavirus pandemic

• enhancing the employer’s commitment to supporting a positive work-life balance.
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2. Define who is eligible for hybrid working

It is important for the policy to set out who is eligible for hybrid working, for example by making it clear which roles are suitable for this way of working.

The employer may have concluded that hybrid working is not suitable for some roles, such as certain sales roles where face-to-face contact and the personal touch are essential. The policy can make this clear and explain the rationale.

The clearer the employer is on which roles are suitable for hybrid working, the less likely it is that there will be disputes with employees over whether they can move to hybrid working.
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3. Set out expectations on attending work vs working remotely

The policy should set out clearly the number of days per week employees are generally expected to spend attending the workplace compared with working remotely. For example, it could be that the employer is aiming for a 50/50 split between attending work and working remotely.

However, the policy should also build in a degree of flexibility, with the ratio for each employee ultimately depending on:

• individual circumstances

• the nature of the role

• what is happening within the role and team at any particular time

• the employer’s operational needs, including the space it has available at work locations.

Given the degree of flexibility that hybrid working arrangements provide for employees, the policy can emphasise that the employer expects the workforce to be flexible. This could include requiring staff to attend work in particular circumstances, for example for in-person training and for meetings that their line manager has determined are best conducted in person.
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4. Describe the working arrangements for workplace attendance

The policy can set out what arrangements employees can expect when they are attending work, particularly around:

• working patterns, with an emphasis on employees’ working hours (for example if the employee is expected to stick rigidly to regular hours or if flexible start/finish times are allowed)

• workspaces, including an explanation of any hotdesking arrangements.

It is essential that the policy sets out any safe-working measures that are in place, which could include spacing out workstations, compulsory mask-wearing in certain areas, and regular cleaning schedules.
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5. Provide guidance on remote working

The policy can provide guidelines on what is expected of employees while they are working remotely. This section of the policy can cover:

• working patterns and maintaining a work-life balance

• sickness absence reporting when working remotely

• technology and equipment provided to assist with remote working

• maintenance of a safe and healthy remote working environment

• data protection, including the practice of good computer security.

This section of the policy can also flag up any financial assistance available, which could include allowances to help employees to pay for internet costs at home, the costs of any additional equipment, and the costs of travelling for days on which they are attending the workplace.
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6. Retain the right to request flexible working

Employers need to find a way for their hybrid working model to sit alongside the traditional right to request flexible working. This section could explain:

• what other types of flexible working are available

• that these types of flexible working remain available for employees to request

• what to do if the employee is not eligible for hybrid working but would like to request it.

The employer can stress that it still operates a separate policy on statutory flexible working requests alongside its hybrid working policy.

nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

June 30

URGENT – Midnight tonight deadline for EU workers

Tens of thousands of EU citizens living and working in the UK will be issued with a formal 28 day notice if they have failed to apply for post-Brexit settled status by midnight tonight, 30 June 2021.

Any EU citizen who has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by midnight will be classed as an illegal immigrant and could face removal from the UK. Organisations employing EU citizens without settled status, or without claims being processed, could also face severe penalties for using illegal labour, despite having made statutory right to work checks in line with Home Office rules.

With many businesses already experiencing acute staffing shortages due to the pandemic, it is important for employers to encourage any staff who wish to continue working in the UK and have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme to do so.

Employers who rely on migrant workers, or plan to use them in future, are encouraged to register to become an official Home Office sponsor because businesses and organisations in the UK must be registered sponsor licence holders to employ migrants under the skilled worker route.

It is essential for employers to encourage any staff who wish to continue working in the UK and have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme to do so. Today…..

nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

June 25

How to watch the Euros at work – and not fall out with your boss!

This summer people are gearing up for a festival of non-stop sport. Following the 2020 European Football Championships, we then have the Tokyo Olympics. Naturally, a lot of the coverage will be televised during the working day, so what does that mean for employees in the UK? Should they be allowed to watch it, will they, and do they have any worker’s rights?

Officeology, the UK’s leading workplace solutions company, has created a comprehensive guide for companies regarding watching the Euros at the workplace. In this article, they’ve explored whether people in the UK will be watching Euro 2020 during their working day and how employees can support their staff, win or lose…

Will people be watching Euro 2020 during their working day?

We’ve surveyed more than 1500 members of the British public to find out whether they’d be watching the Euros at any point during their workday.

Almost 1 in 4 (24%) of us said they will watch the Euros while at work. While the majority is happy not to tune in, it’s important for employers up and down the country to recognise how keen footy fans are to watch some of Europe’s best players in action.

With England playing Germany in their last 16 knockout match at 5pm on Tuesday the 29th of June, it’s likely that even more will finish their day early and tune in!

The Euros is a great way for employees to unwind during the working day. Especially when working from home it’s super important that people can escape their laptops for a while, and what better way than cheering your team on!

How can employers make the most of Euro 2020?

1. Allowing your employees to watch Euros will boost morale

Boosting and maintaining a great team morale should be at the forefront of any employer’s mind at the moment. The last 14 months have been hard on almost everyone at some point, so what better way to uplift certain employees by letting them relax for a few hours in the day to cheer their team on!

If people are coming into the office why not put the matches on the big screens or encourage football fans in your business to watch the games together!

2. Encourage accountability by introducing flexible working hours during the tournament

One way your team can watch the football, yet ensure that they are still fully responsible for their work, is by implementing flexible working. Introducing flexible working hours means employees will view their responsibilities from a project-based perspective rather than from a day-to-day, or a ‘time’ point of view.

When approaching work from a project-based stance, individual accountability will increase as employees become increasingly aware of what needs to be achieved, rather than how long they should be working.

By encouraging accountability, not only will your staff get to enjoy the football, but it should improve their time management and scheduling skills. You may also see less holiday requests as people don’t need to take one or two days off to watch their teams play!

3. Don’t forget, some people will still do work!

While it’s guaranteed that there will be some sports fans on your team, it’s also inevitable that some people will prefer to just crack on with their work! Those that want to watch may be in the minority – or some people will still work whilst they watch the football as there are admin tasks that don’t require much too much thought – it’s about prioritising and time management!

4. Euro 2020 is a great chance to promote inclusivity and celebrate multiculturalism.

Is there a better way to celebrate than international sporting events? Every company in the UK is likely to have an employee with a significant link to one or more countries participating in the tournament. Euro 2020 is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate culture, with offices even hosting social events when two of the team’s nationalities are playing against one another. People bring in food, drink and have a chance to show their passion for their country – a true celebration of culture!

Do workers have any rights to watch the Euros?

In short, no…but you can ask your boss for time off! It depends on several factors, such as your company policy, as well as your own workload and your relationship with your manager. One possibility is to book a day’s holiday and make a full day of it – however, you may want to reserve it for another time!

What happens if you pull a sickie?

It may seem a little coincidental if you have a sick day at the same time as your country’s knockout Euros match! If your boss knows you well they will probably latch onto your thinking and we’d certainly advise against faking being ill.

Am I legally allowed to watch it at work?

Before you start streaming the game at your desk, it’s best to have a look at your contract or ask your manager whether it’s ok – some internet networks may start slowing down if you stream and it’ll be obvious who the guilty culprit is! If you’re working in the office then some businesses will happily put it on the TV, so no need to sneakily stream!

nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or +44(0)7917 878384

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