FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can an employee take annual leave whilst on long term sick leave?

Understandably an employee who is on long term sick leave and taking their annual holiday might make some employers raise their eyebrows, after all if they are well enough to take annual leave, why can’t they return to work?

Not quite, employees on long term sick leave are entitled to take annual leave and there are a multitude of reasons why an employee might be on long term sick leave from work and this does not impact their ability to use their accrued annual leave.

Some key points to consider:

  • Employees on sick leave continue to accrue holiday in line with the Working Time Directive.
  • If company policy is that holiday cannot be carried over into the following year, it is not lawful to enforce this onto employees on long term absence, they must be entitled to carry it over.
  • Even though employees are entitled to take annual leave, as an employer you are not able to force employees to take it whilst on sick leave nor are you able to tell them that if they don’t use it they will lose it on their return.

As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees so it is important to consider their rights in this situation.  Think about the reasons why they may be taking their annual leave, rather than presuming this is indicative of them being well enough to return to work.

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One key reason that employees might want to use some of their accrued leave during their absence is financial necessity. Whilst some employers are able to offer benefits to their employees such as Income Protection or Critical Illness, a large majority, particularly small to medium sized business, are not able to. For this reason and depending on the employer and the length of the absence, they may no longer be on company discretionary sick pay, but on statutory sick pay and beyond the 28 weeks of statutory sick pay, be living on no pay at all. Taking annual leave, which is paid at their usual salary rate, can be a financial necessity at a difficult time.

Other reasons for employees taking leave might be to reduce the amount they have in preparation of a return to work, or they may need to take annual leave for their own well being. Taking annual leave doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going abroad or taking a wild holiday!

As an employer, it can be beneficial for the employee to take some of their accruing annual leave whilst on long term sickness:

  • It can help improve the well being of the employee – financially and psychologically.
  • Allowing leave to be taken during extended periods of absence, will reduce the amount that they will be entitled to when they return to work, which would then therefore reduce them needing to take more time out of the business for holiday.
  • If the employee decided to leave the company, any accrued leave not taken would need to be paid out and depending on the length of the absence, this could be a substantial sum of monies to be paid at one time.
  • Remember, there is no real reason for refusing annual leave and doing so could potentially put an employer under breach of contract (for lack of trust and confidence), as they have no valid reason for declining leave, as they can not claim operational reasons.

Whilst we acknowledge that employers generally want to encourage employees to return to work, they should also support them to improve their well being.

One way to ensure clarity for all parties, is to have comprehensive annual leave and sickness policies, which need to be reviewed regularly to ensure legal compliance.

If you would like further HR advice on handling long term absence get in touch with HR Revolution:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Don’t forget about HR

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.

Employees forced to give up their holiday entitlement because of a last-minute crisis.

Disgruntled employees who are vocal about their negative experiences at work.

The list goes on and there’s no smoke without fire right?

Not always.

Employment legislation exists for a reason, and for the greater good. As an employer, you have a responsibility to make sure that you’re compliant and you’re implementing the best working practices to create an environment that’s fair and nurturing for your employees.

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However, mistakes can happen, 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, but which can put your entire business in jeopardy.

So at this stage, it is imperative what you do next and how you decide to put things right.

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

We’re not here to judge – we’re passionate about getting things right, and we understand the challenges that you’re facing. Get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Employers – how to reclaim Statutory Maternity (SMP)

One of the questions we are asked by clients on a fairly regular basis is if they can claim any money back from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for statutory maternity pay (SMP) and the answer is yes.

For many businesses the cost of employing someone who claims SMP can feel like a massive financial burden and administrative nightmare. Thankfully, it’s not, as depending on the size of your business you should be able to claim all, or certainly most, of this money back from HMRC.

Read below how to recover this expenditure from the government.

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What you can reclaim

As an employer, you can usually reclaim 92% of employees’ SMP, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Pay.

You can reclaim 103% if your business qualifies for Small Employers’ Relief.  You get this if you paid £45,000 or less in Class 1 National Insurance (ignoring any reductions like Employment Allowance in the last complete tax year before:

  • the ‘qualifying week’ – the 15th week (Sunday to Saturday) before the week of the due date
  • the ‘matching week’ – the week (Sunday to Saturday) your employee was told they’d been matched with a child by the adoption agency
  • the date on the official notification if your employee is adopting a child from another country

How to reclaim

Calculate how much you’ll get back by using your payroll software.  To reclaim the payments, include them in an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) to HMRC.

You can write to the PAYE Employer Office to ask for a repayment if you can’t set off the payments against the current year’s liabilities.  You can’t do this until the start of the next tax year.

National Insurance Contributions and Employers Office
HM Revenue and Customs
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If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Maternity process, please do get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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The worst excuses for absence…

Did any of your employees call in sick yesterday?

It was Monday after all, meaning a few employees may have overindulged on the sunny weekend, then perhaps feigned a summer cough or cold!! This is not unheard of, but there are some excuses which are so excessive and exaggerated that you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it.

Here are five of the worst excuses for absences that we have heard!!

1. My only pair of work trousers are in the wash.

2. I stayed out too late partying last night and haven’t had any sleep

3. I got arrested.

4. I’m too drunk to drive.

5. I have no way to get to work.

 

According to research Desk.co.uk, who asked 2,088 employees before the last Bank Holiday weekend if they would consider telling a few “white lies” to avoid a day at work.  Of those questioned 27% said they were hoping to sneak an extra day off!

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As an employer you are perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence; if an excuse seems too far fetched then ask for evidence if appropriate.  If you notice a pattern emerging then you should speak to the employee about their poor attendance and take proactive steps to action it.

The view of HR professionals, prevention is nearly always better than cure when dealing with sickness and absence.

Here are our tops tips to consider if you have a “sickie” culture in your business.

Offer working from home options – Maybe an employee has used a sick day to care for a child during the school holidays? If you offered the chance to work from home, employees could still get on with their job while keeping an eye on child, this also allows employees to avoid a hot, sweaty commute which might be putting them off coming in.

Offer ‘duvet days’ as a work benefit – This is a day an employee can take holiday without giving notice in advance.  This can help boost productivity, as employees feel respected and it helps to build trust as employees don’t have to pretend to be sick when they really just need a day off.  These are of course built into a company’s holiday allowance.

Reduce work stresses – Find out why people might want to take a day off from the office.  Are they overwhelmed with work? Is the office a comfortable place to get things done? If you can reduce the stress of working then chances are your employees won’t feel the need to escape once in a while.

If you would like any practical help or guidance on anything outlined above, please get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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5 steps to help manage difficult employees

A difficult employee in any business will reduce productivity, have a negative impact  and potentially upset other colleagues too. So the quicker you can resolve the problem, the better your business will do.

If you let things slide for too long and just don’t act, you will miss important opportunities, waste time and probably money, that you simply can’t regain.

Also remember employees will be looking to you, to see how you manage the situation. Action’s speak louder than words and your action’s send a message to every employee, however any lack of any action sends an even more powerful one.

Perhaps what seemed to be an impressive characteristic during the interview stage has proved to be negative as the months have gone by?  or maybe an experience in your employee’s personal life has changed their behaviour at work?

On the other hand, could a series of small difficulties be starting to mount and cause concern.

Below we have listed 5 tips to help when you’re managing difficult employees in the workplace.

Young business man thinking with colleagues at the back

1. Clear communication

Always give your employee the benefit of the doubt. They may not realise that they’re causing difficulties.

It’s also possible that they know things aren’t going well, but they’re struggling to improve the situation.

Be prepared to listen to their viewpoint. Take time to ask how they’re feeling and to find out what’s going on in their lives. Are they having trouble with their workload? Are there frictions between multiple employees? Is something outside the workplace having an impact on performance or behaviour?

Share the experience from your side, without being overly critical or apportioning blame on your employee. It’s important that they know what difficulties you’re facing as their manager, but accusations will not go down well.

When communicating, it’s important that you’re clear about exactly where the problem lies. Is their performance below the required standard, or is there a specific behaviour that’s becoming a concern? Work with your employee to find ways to improve the situation.

When you listen to a difficult employee, you can often turn things around. Equally as important, you might discover legitimate complaints that you can act on for the good of your business.

2. Always keep a written record

Written records benefit everyone.

If you need to take disciplinary action, it’s essential that you’ve got examples to back up your decision.

Write down any instances of difficult behaviour. Who was involved? What happened? What effect did it have?

You can use your records if you need to take formal steps, but should also be able to refer to them when speaking with the employee in question.

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3. Always refer to your handbooks and HR policies

Every workplace should have handbooks and policies that detail what’s expected of an employee, and it’s essential that everyone has access to these at all times. Storing them within your online HR software is the most effective way to reach every person in the workplace, and to keep everything up to date.

4. Know when to seek advice

Managing a difficult employee is a challenge. Their behaviour will almost certainly be having an impact on their colleagues, and the business as a whole.

Unless you’ve been through it before, it’s like that you will not know how to deal with a difficult worker. What are you allowed to do, and what might cause more trouble?  Even if you’ve been managing difficult employees in the workplace before, these specific concerns might be different.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice, whether that’s from another member of the management team or an external HR consultant.

5. Keep going

It’s all too easy to speak to a an employee, tell them that their behaviour isn’t acceptable and then forget to follow things up. Much like being a parent, threatening “I’m going to count to 10…” and having no plan for what happens afterwards.  After you’ve counted to 10, it’s vital that you make another move.

If you provide a warning and the behaviour continues and you don’t take further action, your initial conversation is wasted. You’ll probably need to start again further down the line or even worse, you send a message that you are inconsistent and that your threats are meaningless.

If you need help give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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How to manage maternity leave in a small business

When an employee announces their pregnancy, of course you’re all smiles, you congratulate them, you’re happy for them.

However, you’re now faced with issues surrounding maternity leave and businesses are expected to take this in their stride. The truth is, things are never that simple, especially for small businesses, maternity leave is a predominantly concerning challenge.

You risk losing a key employee for a significant amount of time. You can’t just replace them, because they’ll need to come back once they’ve comfortably settled into motherhood. You may need to pay them for not working for you, whilst paying someone else to do their job.

You might need to recruit someone new, invest in training and hope that they keep things on track. You need to keep everything running smoothly.

Something we would most definitely advise is to be supportive, having a flexible approach to employment can help ensure that talented, experienced and productive employees remain with your business after the birth of their child.

You’ve heard the term fail to plan etc, well it really does apply with maternity leave.

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The key to managing a positive maternity experience is effective planning and good communication throughout.  Things don’t always go to plan, of course things can change after the child is born; so start planning as soon as your employee tells you she is pregnant. Make sure all important information about their role is written down and ask them to help write a clear job description when looking for replacements.

Here are some essential facts to get you started and make sure that you are not breaking any employment laws:

Pregnant employees have four main legal rights:

  • Maternity leave
  • Maternity pay or maternity allowance
  • Paid time off for antenatal care
  • Protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal

Other maternity rights

Notice of pregnancy

Employees must tell their employer about the pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due. If this isn’t possible (for example, they didn’t know they were pregnant) the employer must be told as soon as possible. Employees must also tell the employer when they want to start their Statutory Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay.

Maternity Leave

Eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks’ statutory maternity leave (26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave). They don’t have to take the full 52 weeks’ but they must take 2 weeks leave after the baby is born (4 weeks if the work in a factory). This can begin, but not before, 11 weeks before the expected week of birth.

Pregnancy-related illnesses

Maternity leave and Statutory Maternity Pay will start automatically if the employee is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the baby is due, and this supersedes what has been previously agreed.

Maternity Pay

Eligible employees can claim up to 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay (90% of their average weekly earnings before tax for the first six weeks, then 33 weeks at £138.18 per week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower).

employment law changes

Some employers may offer more generous leave and pay conditions and this should be included in the employees contract terms or Employee Handbook. Employers pay SMP to the employee, and businesses whose total annual National Insurance contributions are less than £45,000 can claim all of it back plus 3%. This is deducted from tax payable to HM Revenue & Customs.

Whilst on leave

Staying in touch is extremely important and there are 10 statutory KIT (keeping in touch) days available, which are a great way to make an employee still feels part of your business.  They are paid for coming in, without it affecting their SMP and can be used for training, actual work or even business social events and are a great way of easing their journey back to work. These days however, are not mandatory and an employee should not be made to feel that they must use them.

Return to work advice

A phased return to work at the end of maternity leave is probably a very good idea, as the reality is there will have been significant changes for them in their new role as a parent and probably your business since they’ve been away.

There are lots of other things to think about with the maternity process and we have only covered a few basics for you; there are health and safety issues to think about, as well as eligibility for SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) and what documents you need to send and receive to name a few.

There are so many aspects of employment rights in respect of maternity leave and pay, flexible working requests, holiday entitlement, pension contributions, whether the employee keeps the mobile phone or company car, keeping in touch days etc, it is definitely worth considering professional help to make sure you have everything covered and compliant and HR Revolution can help you do just that.

If you would like to discuss further or get any advice please do get in touch: call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Employment tribunal cases rise after fee abolished

The Ministry of Justice has just released its latest round of data on tribunals, since fees were scrapped last summer.

The number of single claims has almost doubled since fees were found unlawful, with receipts, disposals and caseload outstanding increasing by 90%, 21% and 66% respectively in the three months to December 2017, compared with the same quarter in 2016.

Multiple employment tribunal claims received have increased by 467% – mainly due to a surplus of holiday pay cases that were presented in 2017 but not the year before.

Some 8,173 single claims were filed with the tribunal system over the three months to December 31st, a 16% increase compared to the previous quarter and the highest level seen since the third quarter of 2013.  The total number of cases, both single and multiple claims, rose 32% compared with the previous three month period.

Just under 3,000 single claims per month has become the new normal, the sharp rise seems more dramatic when compared to a relatively low number before fees were abolished.

Of the total claims accepted during the quarter, almost a quarter (22%) were for unlawful deduction of wages, around 13% were equal pay claims, 7.5% breach of contract and 3% sex discrimination.

The stats also show that from the launch of the fee refund scheme in October 2017 to 31 December 2017, 4,800 applications for refunds were received and 3,400 payments made, with a total value of £2.8m.

This upward trend is likely to continue for the next 12 months, but claim numbers would be unlikely to exceed the levels they did prior to fees being introduced.  This is primarily because of the Acas early conciliation scheme, which was introduced at the same time as the fee regime and remains in place.  This makes it mandatory to explore conciliation before lodging a claim and there is no doubt that this has reduced the number of claims making it through.

Employers will be increasingly wary of a claim being brought when handling HR issues.  As always, prevention is better than cure and having a robust set of employment policies in place and training on key areas such as sickness absence and equality will go some way towards mitigating the risks.  Remember, small issues can escalate to big and costly issues very quickly.

If you would like any practical advice or guidance please get in touch and see how we can help: call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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A version of this article first appeared on hrmagazine.co.uk

Why wellbeing should be part of your HR strategy

We are hearing more and more about the need for wellbeing in the workplace, but what does it really mean? Surely, wellbeing means healthy eating, keeping fit and that is something as individuals we are responsible for ourselves.  Why should employers pay out for wellbeing benefits or consider it as part of an HR strategy? Shouldn’t it be the individual’s responsibility?

Well the short answer is, YES we should all, as individuals, want to keep fit, have a good diet and ensure we get a balance between work and life so that we remain happy and healthy in our lives generally; but there is an element of responsibility that employers should be taking to ensure that they promote a healthy way of working and living, which in turn promotes a positive workplace, healthy bodies, healthy minds and ultimately more engaged employees.

We all want to work in a fun, vibrant and positive working environment and with the right supporting management styles this can easily be achieved and doesn’t have to cost your business a fortune.

Stress is one of the leading causes of long-term absence in the workplace and costs businesses thousands each year. So why not try to combat some of the stress of the day to day working life by adding some healthy and energy building ‘downtime’.

As an employer, providing support for your employees (which also includes your line managers) is really important and it helps keep everyone moving forward in a healthy and productive way and by improving you and your team’s wellbeing you will see some serious benefits to your business!

To help combat workload pressure, we’ve put together a list of ideas, which include some very simple and FREE wellbeing benefits:

Mental Wellbeing

  1. Offer spaces in your office to take time out – a kitchen or sofa area – Office space comes at a premium, so if this isn’t possible then allow your employees time out and/or regular breaks to relax.
  2. Be available and have your line manager trained and available for employees to talk to.
  3. Provide an employee assistance programme – which can be set up and run internally or is often included with private medical or general health assurance packages. These programmes give employees a help line to call for employment, financial or medical queries and very often include counselling. This will help them, but also allow them to do this confidentially with a trained counsellor.
  4. Provide healthy eating options in the office; fruit and herbal teas such as mint, green or camomile alongside your normal caffeinated drinks (tea and coffee) will help encourage your employees to be healthy inside and calm the mind.
  5. Have water freely available.
  6. Build a no blame culture that gets to the bottom of problems and finds a positive way forward rather than pointing the finger and raising anxiety levels. This will help employees identify areas where they have made mistakes and allow their line manager to work with them to rectify it and put in place measures that mean it won’t happen again.
  7. Ensure all your employees have proper job descriptions and are aware of what their role is and the KPI’s or targets that they will be measured against. It’s never nice if you aren’t shown what to do and if they aren’t aware of what’s expected, how can you expect them to achieve anything. By being open and upfront you will lower anxiety/stress levels and ensure the team are all pulling in the same direction.

Physical Wellbeing

  1. Allow your managers the ability to be open and acknowledge health problems. Employees must feel confident in approaching HR to discuss the issues affecting their performance at work.  If they are able to ask for help without being penalised you will have a much healthier environment and you will be able to deal with the problems head on.
  2. Offer Flexible working. Flexible or remote working is a straightforward way to improve wellbeing. Surveys have shown that employees would happily take a pay cut and work part-time to spend time with their families but some employees aren’t aware it’s an option, so if it is, let them know. You are more likely to lose talented employees due to lack of remote working or flexibility in hours.
  3. Have a sickness policy that allows employees to take sick days and doesn’t force them to come into the office when they are unwell. Remote working can help with this if they are able to work but would prefer to be recouping at home at the same time. It will save them spreading germs and cut down the time they feel unwell as they have time to rest away from the office.
  4. Create a wellness programme to support employees when they are unwell but also help boost them when they are well and working hard. Including a wellness programme when hiring is a very positive thing and is often the deciding factor when accepting a new job.
  5. It is predicted that one third of UK adults will be obese by 2025. By including a physical wellbeing programme you are helping to lessen that ratio. Joining programmes that help with physical wellbeing not only helps employees health, it supports positive mental wellness and builds team support as employees will feel more included in the community within the business. It also helps retention as they are working with like-minded people and enjoy the comradery.
  6. Your Physical wellbeing programme can include; discounted gym access, onsite fitness courses, personal training sessions, mindfulness and yoga classes, stress management and nutritional classes. Adoption of healthier working should allow for regular breaks from screens, 5 minute stress-busting walks, downtime and break out areas in the office.

Let technology take the strain

Build in technology to help organise, simplify and support workloads.

  • HRIS: In the HR industry we recommend using a good HRIS portal (HR Revolution partner with breatheHR a fully web-based HR admin solution, read more about breatheHR here) to help track and log everything linked with your employees including holidays, absence and training along with employee documentation. All in one place with easy access for line managers and employees.
  • Hiring Software: If you are hiring on a regular basis sign up to some of the recruitment portals that offer free process platforms, websites such as Indeed or Reed offer free advertising, tracking and response platforms to help co-ordinate everything and take the pressure off.

We would encourage all employees to start utilising the health and wellbeing provided by their employers, this includes line managers and owners, who are notorious for not taking time out for themselves, if they burn out, who will steer the ship forward then?

If you need any further advice or guidance to come up with ideas that you feel will work within your environment give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

As you’ve seen from the lists above these ideas don’t have to cost anything, but they will add huge value to the general wellbeing of your team and ultimately the business.

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Can stress ever help an employee perform better?

As we all know stress, in all its forms, can be life changing. In the workplace, multiple measures are taken by HR professionals to attempt to eradicate, or least cut down, on factors which encourage employee stress. And for good reason.

A recent report from workforce consulting firm, Life Meets Work found that stress from leaders causes ripples throughout their company – negatively impacting on everything from employee engagement to the bottom line.

“Companies often focus on fixing individual employees to help them be less stressed and therefore more engaged. Yet, our study found that employee engagement was better predicted by the leader’s ability to manage stress than the employee’s current stress level,” explained Kenneth Matos, psychologist and Vice President of Research for Life Meets Work. “A leader’s inability to manage stress ripples through the entire company in a negative way.”

Does this then suggest that all stress is negative stress?

A report from the University of California found that short periods of stress can actually help stimulate cell growth, which in turn results in new brain cells.  After monitoring rats, which were placed in stressful situations, researchers found that a few weeks later their alertness, learning and memory had improved.

However, this doesn’t mean HR will be promoting stress in the office – rather monitoring how stress affects different employees in different ways. A study from Leadership IQ, titled ‘Does Your Job Require High or Low Emotional Intelligence?’, found that just over half (51%) of employees admit that they always or frequently have to ‘act’ or ‘put on a show’ with their emotions at work. This in turn can lead to anxiety, or at the very least dismay.

As for dealing with workplace stress, Dr Christian Jessen, Doctor and TV Presenter of ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, revealed how the pressure of presenteeism is affecting our mental health as well as our work-life balance.

“The fact that we don’t really know how to do nothing is something I find rather sad,” he says. “We always feel like we should be doing something – we feel guilty about sitting and watching television; we feel guilty about reading a book for an hour; we think that we need to be emptying the dishwasher or putting another wash on.

“But, we need to get over that guilt if we want to fully encompass all arms of our health. Eastern medicine has been doing this for a long time, whilst in the West, we’ve been ignoring it – and look who is suffering more.”

What do you think? is all stress is negative? or does it have a part to play in a productive work environment, let HR Revolution know your thoughts and comment below.

If you need any further advice on managing stress in the workplace please get in touch, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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A version of this article first appeared in HR Grapevine

Blue Monday may not be real, but Mental Health issues in your business will be

Ok so if you’re reading this, then you made it through the most depressing day of the year. ‘Blue Monday’ the time when the festivities are well and truly over, we’re back into our daily routine and there feels like there’s not a great deal to look forward to.

It’s also right in the middle of a period when employee absences are likely to be high and this is a challenge that a lot of businesses HR Revolution work with face every year. January is a long month and employees may not be able to face coming into work especially when you add financial woes into the mix. 

Mental health issues often create a pattern of short-term sickness absence, and sufferers often find it easier to face disciplinary action for faking a sickie than to admit they have a mental health issue because of the stigma attached.  Not only does being in trouble make them feel even worse, it also prevents them from getting the support they could get if their managers were aware of the problem.

Whatever your views, mental health isn’t something that can be solely tackled from the top down. Business owners and line managers need to take responsibility and recognise that they play a role in the well-being of their employees.

So whilst you breathe a sigh of relief that the most depressing day of the year is now behind us, it might not be time to look forward to the summer months just yet. Take the time to think about how you can ensure that your employees are happy, productive, and enjoying good mental health.

It has business benefits sure… But it’s also simply the right thing to do.

If you need any further advice or want to chat confidentially about an employee that might need assistance get in touch, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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