Travel chaos, how are your employees coping


It’s a common story in the press these days about commuters facing train misery on their morning commute.  Twitter is awash with stories of cancelled trains into London leading to overcrowding and delays, this is even before the office working day has started.

The above coupled with recent analysis from TUC and the Action for Rail campaign, that fares have rocketed by 25% over the past six years, while average weekly earnings have only seen a 12% rise. In other words, the cost of travel is increasing at more than double the rate of wages.

So is this something that employers need to be concerned about? You might think that how your employees get to work is largely their own business, and out of your control. With the cost of getting into the office increasing at an alarming rate though, business owners may find themselves facing some serious issues.

If your employees commute from a distance, what would happen if they started to seek out opportunities closer to home?

Could they be forced to seek out a higher pay packet, to cover their costs?

train-chaos1And could the stress of the daily commute leave your workers feeling frazzled and demotivated?

When you scratch the surface, it’s easy to see how the issue could start to create real headaches in terms of how you manage your workforce.

It’s definitely worth thinking about how you could take a more proactive approach…

First of all, let’s consider for a second whether you actually need to have your employees in the office, every single day of the week. In some businesses, it’s a very obvious pre-requisite to your ability to offer a quality service to your customers and clients. In other companies though, a more flexible approach could bring about huge benefits.

If your employees can work from home, their travel costs may be cut. They’re also going to be spending less time in cramped train carriages, and this can have a positive impact on morale and productivity. Alternatively, letting your employees choose their start and finish time, within a designated window, could mean that they miss rush hour. Plenty of business owners have reservations about offering flexible working practices, but it could be time for you to bring your business up to date.

Some employers decide to take a different approach, and provide financial assistance to help with travel costs. You could add season tickets to your employee benefits, or cover a chunk of the yearly fee. Or you might offer an interest-free loan so your employees can afford to take advantage of the savings that often come with booking a chunk of travel in advance.

You might jump to the assumption that you can’t afford to fork out for extra expenses, but it’s sensible to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Can you afford to have your employees leaving your business because of escalating travel costs? It might be a balancing act, but it could be worth it.

If you would like to discuss any challenges or concerns that your business may have, pick up the phone and give us a call.

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How leaving work on time has changed my life… for the better!!

I’m going to take you back a few years; I’m working in London trying to forge myself a career in a very male dominated industry and I thought part of this was to be seen as completely dedicated, hardworking and for my sins, work all hours just to prove it!  I did ok, I felt like a trooper and it made me feel important… “I can’t possibly leave, I’ve got so much on”, but in reality it didn’t help my cause… my boss always left early so never saw it anyway!!!  That didn’t matter though, I thought others did and I didn’t really have any commitments outside work so what was the harm.

Well fast forward a few years and here I am, a working mum that DOES have commitments sage-info

Lessons I’ve learned on how I can do it all:

Lesson No.1 – I can get more done in a day

Seriously how much time did I waste, well, doing nothing obviously! It’s about good time management and being focused, I had to stop I’ll just make a quick coffee and then get started mentality and just crack on.  Did I really need to stop and chat with Sue in accounts about Saturday night viewing (ok well maybe I did, but I could have stuck to Strictly instead of moving on to X Factor too!) a quick hello would do just fine.  Once I was focused and generally more strict with myself about knuckling down, I found that by home time I had got everything done and actually felt much more productive than ever before.

Lesson No. 2 – Things can wait

As I said above, I had got everything done that I needed to and there are some things that really can wait until the morning. What I had done previously was action emails my boss had written in the subject, one for the morning, thinking oh I’ll just do it now quickly… or what would actually happen was I would half start it, then have to start over again in the morning anyway!! So if it says, not urgent or one for tomorrow, that is exactly what it is and it CAN wait… having a decent work-life balance can’t.

Lesson No.3 – No one will tell me to go home

If the boss is still working, they are not going to tell me to go home and for a number of reasons: a) they might not have noticed the time as they are working too b) they expect me to manage my own timekeeping and c) why would they if I am still working off the clock!?!?! But I needed to remember, I have been working harder and more efficiently because I have to leave on time, people are depending on me to be elsewhere!

The biggest part of this lesson is though… I never got brownie points for staying late, so I won’t get overlooked because I’m leaving when I should, especially as I am achieving more anyway!! My conscience is clear, my work is done and it is ok to leave, I do not need permission.

Lesson No. 4 – I have a life and it doesn’t start at 9.30pm!

Ok, I still have to do a different kind of work when I leave the office, but it involves doing it with the very people that I work for in the first place, my family!

Of course there are times I work a little late, there has to be, things do come up, but equally my boss understands that I can’t start a meeting at 5.00pm. There is always room to be a bit flexible but staying late is a rarity now and not the norm.  If I can work smart and leave happy, then anyone can!

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National Work-Life Week


I’m sure you’ll all agree that we could all do with a better work-life balance and I was interested to find out that at the beginning of Oct it was National Work-Life Week, an initiative set up as an opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on well-being at work and work-life balance.

I think it is fair to say that the UK workforce does tend to glorify working long hours, the very thing that has been linked with stress and anxiety in the workplace, therefore not something an employer should encourage, given the problems managing sickness and absence.

So here are a few tips that employers could implement to help redress the balance.

More hours do not equal a better quality of work

There will obviously be exceptions to the rule, but, generally speaking, if an employee has to work late are they really working at their best during their normal working hours? It is usually because they aren’t that they feel the need to overcompensate. If you encourage them to leave on time you inspire them to be more disciplined at work and motivate them to be more productive throughout the day so that they can leave at the same time as every one else.

No success is worth it if it starts causing ill healthwork-life-balance

There won’t be an employer around that thinks it’s ok to work people into the ground. Let your employees know that you expect a lot from them because you want to challenge them and allow them to contribute to the success of the business in every way that they can. However, emphasise the need for them to be living a healthy lifestyle whilst they are also striving to achieve their dreams.

Work is never worth neglecting family and friends for

A great job may seem like the highest of priorities at a particular moment in time. However, it won’t be the boss standing beside them when things aren’t going quite as they’d like, it will be their family and friends. So they need to make sure that they allow themselves some downtime to spend with their loved ones. We are not robots, its good to be reminded of it from time to time.

So hopefully at 5.30pm today, you will be shutting down your computer and getting ready to go home, surely there are always better places to be.

Is your desk job killing you… 10 tips for physical activity in the workplace


We’ve been talking a lot lately about health and well-being in the office, so when we came across this blog from System Concepts, we just had to share it!

Did you know that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can increase your risk of premature death by up to 60%, (worryingly, it is estimated that lack of physical activity is responsible for 5 million deaths globally, each year) as recent research published in the Lancet highlighted.

The research is based on a review of more than 1 million people from 16 different studies, and should be required reading for everyone involved in employee well-being and organisational health and safety.

It shows that increased time sitting is a major risk factor for morbidity (predominantly heart disease and cancer) as well as premature mortality.   In the research, mortality rates among those who sat for at least eight hours a day and managed less than five minutes’ activity were 9.9%. This compares with a mortality rate of 6.2% among those who spent just as long seated, but who managed around 60 minutes’ of activity per day.

Researchers concluded thatworkplace-morale 60-75 minutes of medium intensity physical activity per day seems to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time.

So if you have a desk job and can’t avoid long periods of sitting each day, here are 10 tips for physical activity at work that will help you to stay safe.

  1. Use your commute to do some extra walking. Park several roads away, or get off the bus a few stops early.
  2. Use the stairs instead of the lift.
  3. Go to speak to a colleague in person rather than emailing or phoning them.
  4. Suggest holding meetings with colleagues during a walk inside or outside the building.
  5. Exercise during your breaks, e.g. visit the gym at lunchtime or take a quick walk during your morning/afternoon coffee break.
  6. Plan your day to break up long spells of working on your computer with tasks requiring movement, e.g. printing, filing etc.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Sipping water thought the day will mean more trips to the bathroom.
  8. Go the extra distance when possible: get your coffee/water on another floor (use the stairs) or use the toilets that are the farthest from your desk.
  9. Stand while talking on the telephone, and do a few stretches.
  10. Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach often-used files or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.

Thanks to System Concepts for this great blog, just what we wanted to say!

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Fri fun… 10 things NEVER to do or say in an interview


On my way into work this morning, I noticed a big festive recruitment drive by Tesco – there is no getting away from it now Christmas is coming! Talking of Tesco, here are a few festive facts from them which amazed me –  did you know they will sell 170,000 turkeys, 140,000 jars of cranberry sauce and over 400,000 packs of Brussels sprouts!  So safe to say they will be recruiting a lot of people over this period, so I thought it would be fun to have a list of 10 things never to say or do in an interview, just in case you fancy getting a seasonal job…. not based on personal experience I might add…

Seriously these things do happen and I’m sure they make the decision not to employ a very easy one!!!

  1. Don’t ever answer a call or text in an interview, make sure your phone is switched off and in your bag.
  2. Never swear in an interview, you must remain professional at all times.
  3. Ask for a lift home after the interview.
  4. Smell your armpits on the way into the interview, or indeed during or after.
  5. interview-infographicTell the interviewer you were fired for beating up your last boss!! not sure this reflects too well on your character.
  6. When one applicant was offered food before the interview he declined, saying that he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  7. A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person,” not a “numbers person.”
  8. Applicant took out a hair brush and brushed her hair mid-interview.
  9. Being late.  I think its safe to say your interviewer will not be impressed, whatever excuse you may come up with, punctuality is key.
  10. Ask what is the annual leave and sickness policy is, this will set alarm bells ringing for the interviewer.

I have to say, numbers 3 and 4 are my personal favourites and actually made me laugh out loud picturing it happening!

Remember, the job market is very competitive these days, so don’t ruin your prospects with an ill-chosen comment.

Download our free first impressions guide and be prepared.

First impressions guide

First impressions guide

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Be prepared – 5 killer interview questions and why you should ask them…


Here at HR Revolution we are no strangers to conducting a few interviews, some on behalf of our clients for various different roles and some internally for us, but whoever it is, one thing I’m sure of is that the person sitting across the table in an interview is more nervous than we are!!

So, we want to help you, the interviewee to calm your nerves and be confident, and the biggest part of that is being prepared. Your potential employer, will pick up very quickly whether you have come prepared by asking lots of questions about the company like, “so tell me what you know about us?” or “what did you think of our website?” or maybe, “who do you think our biggest competitors are?” and of course they would, they want to know that you are genuinely interested in working for them. This leads me nicely on to one of the most important question they will ask you… “Have you got any questions for me?”…

This one question will really show whether or not you really want to be part of their team, so please do not answer like this… “no I think you’ve already answered all my questions” or even worse just sit there like a bowl of jelly spluttering out the odd “err” and “um” followed by “nope, all good”!! What are you thinking!!! The interviewer has just seen how unprepared you are, and no matter how good your experience, you just don’t cut the mustard! So, let us help you. infographic-job-interview

Stand out from the crowd and ask questions that show you’ve prepared. To get you started, HR Revolution have compiled 5 questions that we would liked to be asked:

  1. How would a member of your team describe working here?
    How the interviewer answers gives a good insight into the company culture and working practices, it should fill you with enthusiasm, if not you have to question if this really is the right role for you.
  2. If I’m successful what will my first month look like?
    Shows that you are keen to get off to a great start in reaching your objectives and helps you determine how the good the onboarding process is.
  3. What makes someone successful in your team?
    This will give you a good idea of what your new employer is expecting of you in your new roll and it should be a good indicator of how they would like to see you perform and what you should be concentrating on.
  4. Can you explain how performance will be measured for this role?
    Shows that you understand and accept that you will have responsibilities that you will be accountable for and that you want to succeed.
  5. What do you like most about working for this company?
    Helps you get a better insight into what it’s like to work at the company. If the interviewer can’t answer this straight away, then maybe warning bells should sound.  They should love a question like this, as it will give them a chance to talk about themselves on a personal level and why they love their employer! After all you don’t you want to work with people that love what they do!!

Good luck, this is your chance to demonstrate you have given the company and role real thought and hopefully leave the interview with a great impression of yourself as the right candidate for the job.

Why not go that extra step and make sure you are fully prepared, download our free first impressions guide here.

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Need HR help, it’s time to admit you’re only human


When many of us think about companies that have made big HR mistakes, we’re quick to jump to the assumption that it’s all the fault of greedy bosses who are more interested in lining their own pockets than doing the right thing by their loyal employees.

Mistakes with administrative processes that result in employees receiving their wages far later than expected? Obviously a ploy so the business can keep hold of their cash for as long as possible and make some interest from your hard earned cash!

Employees forced to give up their holiday entitlement because of a last-minute crisis? Probably a crafty trick concocted to make sure that staff are worked to the bone.

Disgruntled staff who are vocal about their negative experiences at work? Well, there’s no smoke without fire.

We’ve all seen the stories in the press, often sensationalised for the purpose of selling more newspapers, and we’ve made our own judgements about the moral standing of those in charge. Sometimes as in life, it isn’t  black and white.ilovehr-250px

However, let’s not get too cynical.   This is the reason that legislation exists and as an employer, you have a responsibility to make sure that you’re compliant, that you’re implementing best practices, an employee handbook (download below) would be a good place to start, in making sure that you’re doing everything you can to create an environment that’s fair and nurturing for your employees.

However,  mistakes can and will happen, we are human after all, and even the most dedicated and ethical employers can find themselves facing extremely difficult circumstances.

When your business is growing fast, and you have a million and one things to balance, you can take your eye off the ball. You can overlook important details and you can find yourself facing circumstances that you never imagined, which can put your entire business in jeopardy.

The thing is though, what really matters is what you do next, and how you decide to put things right.

If you are worried there could be an HR nightmare on the horizon, then we want to help. We can assess your current circumstances, and help you to create an action plan that gets things back on track as quickly as possible, with the least amount of fuss.

At HR Revolution we’re just passionate about getting things right, and we understand the challenges that you’re facing. Give us a call today and see how we can help.

Employee Handbook

Employee Handbook

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