I love the new year and the idea of a fresh start but this January I needed a bit of a push. The holiday seemed to go forever, and I started to get used to my spot on the couch and not knowing what day it was.
Hopefully everyone had a relaxing Christmas and New Year, and what better way to start a new year than to post a blog! There has already been quite an interesting development at the start of the year with an employment tribunal ruling that ethical veganism is a ‘philosophical belief’ and thus is protected by the Equality Act under “religion or belief”.
Where has it all gone? Rapidly screeching towards the end of year 14 for Gravitate HR! I would never have thought that we would still be doing what we are doing in 2020! But we are not doing what we were doing in 2006 – by the end of 2006, there was me and one other employee, working out of a basement office, having a drink in Kay’s Bar on Xmas Eve, celebrating that we had work to come back to in January 2007 and I had to work out how to prepare a set of year end accounts.
Approaching the end of our third full calendar year and over 3.5 years since we opened our Glasgow office, so felt it was a good time to provide an update or two in what has been a busy and exciting year for Gravitate HR.
On Tuesday 22nd October we held our first ever Falkirk seminar at the Falkirk Business Hub. Marianne McJannett from TC Young provided us with a comprehensive Employment Law update which took us through current employment legislation and gave us an overview of things to come.
Whilst the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the extension of Article 50 until 31st October 2019 can make workforce planning difficult, employers should use this time judiciously. Organisations cannot only undertake contingency planning, but begin discussing EU Settlement applications with employees who are EU Nationals. By doing so, this will give your business and your employees the best chance at successfully navigating through Brexit and beyond.
Should Your Organisation have a More Flexible Approach to Working Hours?
Most offices will work the standard 9-5 business hours which is considered the norm but with employees looking for a better work life balance, is there not another way?
Not all organisations stick to a 9-5 working day but they have a more relaxed, open-minded approach to how many hours their employees work every week.
Tech firm Kisi have released a report on Cities for the Best Work-Life Balance 2019 (See full report here) and the top 5 are:
The top 5 overworked cities are:
So how do we compare in Scotland?
Scotland’s overall performance in work-life balance and flexible working is below par compared with other UK nations and regions, according to the CIPD Scotland practice briefing.
Despite being the most widespread and desired flexible working option around the UK, access to flexitime (the ability to choose starting and finishing times) in Scotland is second lowest after Wales (29% have used the option compared with 34% in the UK as a whole).
Flexible working is seen as more career limiting, with only 10% saying it had a positive impact compared with a 16% national average.
Workers have more difficulty taking time off to deal with family matters than elsewhere in the UK (26% in Scotland found it difficult compared with 22% across the UK).
A marketing company in Glasgow, Pursuit Marketing, that switched 120 people to four days in late 2016 claims it has been instrumental in a 30% increase in productivity.
While this has had a lot of positive effects, there have also been some negative ones too – Some companies have found that shortening their working week has seen a rise in workplace stress due to the pressure and demand of work intensifying, resulting in an unpleasant working environment.
So maybe you can’t commit to switching to a 4-day week, what else can you do to ensure employees have a good work life balance?
Offer additional annual leave allowance above the statutory minimum entitlement.
Have a flexible working policy which is actively promoted.
Allow flexi-time and homeworking.
Consider introducing wellness days.
Promote a culture of ‘working smarter, not harder’.
Train managers to spot signs of stress and a poor work-life balance.
Allow staff to attend counselling and support services during working hours as they would for other medical appointments.
Encourage activities that promote good mental health, for example lunchtime exercise or relaxation classes.
The advice and guidance of Gravitate HR can help to facilitate this flexible approach in your organisation, and you can contact a member of our team for a further discussion.
The concept of a ‘disguised employee’ continues to be a source of discussion in all kinds of circles: accounting and taxation; HR and employment law; and indeed politics (when Brexit takes a backseat for just one second!). ‘Disguised employees’ is a term used by HMRC to define workers who are supplying a service to a client on a business-to-business basis, most commonly in the form of a limited company, when they are effectively operating as an employee of that company. The tax avoidance associated with this led to the introduction of IR35.
The Gravitate HR Glasgow team joined the Edinburgh team last week to take part in a DiSC evaluation session with Gravitate’s very own Gillian Steele who is a qualified DiSC Practitioner.
DiSC evaluation provides insight into the different personality types and preferred communication styles that the people in your team possess. This can be a useful tool for; team building, employee communication, conflict management, motivation, employee engagement, productivity and career development.