FRIDAY FAQS – Can an employer ask about my mental health when applying for a new job?

Thanks to awareness days like Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day, the conversation surrounding mental health is getting louder. The stigma attached to talking about our mental health in the same way that we do for our physical health is being lifted and with that there is a growing acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay and to seek support.

The workplace is undeniably an environment that for many people can cause stress and anxiety. If you have a mental health issue then being in a pressured working environment, that may not be supportive of your mental health, can cause further damage to your health and overall well-being.

It’s therefore the role of employers to ensure they have fair practices in place with regards to their approach for identifying and supporting their teams with mental health issues, just as they do for physical health.

As an employee you should expect to be supported by your employer and provided with the necessary support for a mental health issue.

However, is it a concern for those seeking new employment that if they have an existing mental health issue, it may impact upon their likelihood of getting a job?

We want to help debunk some of these crucial questions and shed light on an area of HR that is vital for a happy and productive workplace.


1. Can I be asked about my mental health issue when I apply for a job? 

In short, no. It’s unlawful for an employer to ask a candidate if they have a history mental health issues during the application process.

If you are asked about your mental health, you are not obliged to answer this, however, if you do choose to disclose this information it is recommended that you do so honestly.

Asking candidates health questions before a job offer is made is unlawful and can be reported to the Equality Advice and Support Service.

If you are asked about your mental health during the application process and then don’t receive an offer, you may want to challenge this as it can be classed as discrimination on the grounds of disability.

2. Are there situations when an employer can ask about my mental health before making a job offer?

There are a few situations when an employer may need to ask about your health before a job offer is made, these can include:

  • To find out if you can take an assessment for a job.
  • To find out if you need reasonable adjustments to the application process.
  • To find out whether you will be able to do the requirements of the job, whilst they also consider any reasonable adjustments that may need to be made.
  • To find out if applications are coming from a diverse group of people.
  • To establish if you have the particular disability required for the job.
  • To assess you for national security purposes.

For example, a lawful question about your health and whether this affects your ability to do the job would be; if you were applying for a job erecting scaffolding and the employer asked questions at the application stage regarding disability, health and whether the applicant has a fear of heights.


3. What questions can I be asked about my mental health once I’ve been offered a job?

Once you receive a job offer then your new employer is lawfully able to ask you questions about your health.

If your new employer asks questions about your mental health and subsequently becomes concerned due to a mental health issue you may not be able to carry out your job, then it is the employer’s responsibility to seek further advice from your doctor or occupational health.

Should your new employer ask a question about your mental health and then withdraw the job offer without first consulting advice or conducting a further assessment or investigation, then this may be seen direct discrimination and therefore unlawful.

Mental Health is a really important HR issue in the workplace and If you need any help or advice on how to approach it, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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The UKs 10 most irritating office habits

In a recent UK survey, employees were asked to list what the most irritating habits of their co-workers were, while some of the findings might surprise you, are there any of them that you are guilty of?

In reverse order…

10. Wearing the same clothes – what does this say to your bosses? could you be giving the impression that you don’t care about your appearance?

9. Cooking smelly foods – be mindful of what you bring in to the office to microwave, fish and eggs not being the best choice for lunch!

8. Smelling of cigarettes – if you do smoke – why not pop a mint in after having a cigarette break.

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7. Talking loudly on the phone – you could take calls in a meeting room or corridor, or lower your voice if you need to stay at your desk.

6. Staying in the toilet too long – don’t be seen a time waster, only go to the loo when you really need too!

5. Interrupting when people are speaking – implement the ’10 second rule’, listen and wait before you speak.

4. Messy desks – keep your work area clutter-free – get a desk organiser, filing tray…anything that helps you get organised.

3. Not washing up – don’t expect somebody else to do it for you,  it should go without saying that you do your own washing up.

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2. Ignoring emails – this is unprofessional, if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of emails you receive, allocate a particular time each day to deal with your inbox instead of dipping in and out and not actually achieving anything.

1. Offensive body odour – top of the list and this is a difficult one to deal with, as you might not notice it yourself, but wearing clean clothes and showering daily will help.

Can you think of any other annoying habits that weren’t listed, we’d love to hear them, why not comment below?

If you need any HR advice or guidance, please get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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Does your company suffer from ‘Leavism’?

Ok, so what does ‘leavism’ actually mean?

It’s the latest term for defining employees who end up working, during non-paid work hours, annual leave or whilst off sick. According to new research from CIPD, 69% of employees have said that ‘leavism’ has happened in their workplace in the past year.

Unfortunately, it is an increasing issue for all types of companies and needs to be taken very seriously.  If you don’t combat low morale and increased stress levels among your employees eventually it will affect your productivity.

Below we’ve outlined a few red flags you should look out for:

Employees working out of hours

Answering urgent calls and messages is one thing. But if an employee is consistently working late at night or very early in the morning in order to finish work they couldn’t get done during working hours it clearly needs to be addressed.

Employees constantly checking emails

We can’t escape it, the world is connected these days, however, your employees may feel pressure to be available at all times, even while they’re away from work. They may think you expect them to read and answer emails 24/7, and see it as a sign of their commitment to your business.

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Employees too scared to book holidays

Research shows that 23% of UK workers struggle to book time off or take allocated annual leave because they are too anxious to leave their work in a fellow colleagues hands.

As an employer – what can you do?

If you start to see a trend in your business of your employees regularly working beyond their contracted hours and spending their annual leaving completing jobs, then you should strongly consider redistributing their workloads or hiring extra employees.

You should also make sure you aren’t promoting a culture of fear, where your employees are scared of what will happen if they don’t finish their work.

If you ignore these signs, you may think in the short term, you’re saving money because employees are completing work without getting paid for it! but at some point down the line you’ll need to weigh this against the cost of employee burnout, mental health issues and retention.

If you need any advice on any HR issue, big or small, then please get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Bullied by your Boss? What should you do?

Unfortunately these days, bullying does not get left in the school playground and for some it continues well into adulthood, making their lives miserable. Bullying is becoming more common within the workplace and while peer to peer bullying is bad enough, being bullied by your boss can be even worse!

It is of course important to distinguish between a manager being firm and disciplining if work needs to be improved (and they have the right to do this), or when it crosses the line into bullying. A bully seeks to control their target through humiliation, mistreatment, shaming, aggression, isolation and general unpleasant behaviour.

So what should you do?

Recognise what is happening. The first step in dealing with bullying, is to recognize it for what it is, to realise that you are not to blame and to protect yourself from harm. Ask yourself, are you given unreasonable tasks by your boss? Are you threatened? Are you insulted or criticised or ridiculed in front of colleagues? Are you yelled or sworn at? Are you constantly denied recognition for achievements? Are you made to feel excluded? These are all signs that you could be being bullied.


Document the situation. Make sure you keep a track of what is going on once you realise you could be being bullied. Document any incidents, so if the situation is ever dealt with formally, i.e. a grievance or disciplinary procedure, you have clear evidence to back you up. Keep it formal and factual rather than over emotional,  include dates, times, quotes, tone of voice, names of those involved including any witnesses present and how you felt at the time. Keep copies of any relevant documentation that could be used as evidence, i.e. email correspondence, performance review documents or text messages. Documenting is also good for your mental health, clearing things out of your head and making sense of it on paper.

Don’t isolate yourself. Bullies are experts in creating a feeling of self-doubt and making their targets feel alone – this increases vulnerability. So it is important not to cut yourself off, keep colleague relationships within the workplace as strong as possible to ensure you have a support network when dealing with this.

Don’t wait to ask for help! Talk to someone! This can be anyone, a friend, family member, colleague, a manager you trust or HR – talking about it will make you feel better! If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you can seek impartial advice elsewhere, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or ACAS. Make sure you research your rights, this will strengthen and increase your confidence when reaching out for support.


Make a complaint. If you feel comfortable enough, approach the person and tell them what they are doing is causing you upset – they may not be aware the effect their actions are having. This could be face to face or via email, but with either method, be firm but not aggressive, stay calm and stick to the facts.

Alternatively, you can raise a formal complaint against the person as a grievance, your employer should have a grievance procedure (generally available in the Employee handbook) which will outline the process of what you need to do. The result of the grievance could result in either a reconciliation between the parties involved, a recommendation for mediation and/or counselling to try and resolve the issue, or a decision to take disciplinary action against the bully. 

If you have any issues or concerns about bullying in the workplace but not sure where to begin then get in touch, HR Revolution are here to help; call us on: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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How to plan for the Summer holidays

The school summer holiday’s are nearly upon us, when all across the country, teachers are breathing a sigh of relief and getting ready to wind down.  However the opposite is true for working parents who will be worrying how they’ll balance childcare responsibilities for the next 6 weeks.

The bottom line here is clear. When the kids are off school, either due to organised breaks throughout the academic year, or because of other factors, it can have a big impact on business. As an employer, it definitely pays to take a proactive approach. Here, we share our advice and guidance for managing the associated challenges effectively.

Have a more flexible approach

Giving your employees more flexibility can help to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck. Consider whether you could offer your team members the opportunity to work from home, or slightly alter their hours during the summer holidays.

When most people think of flexible working, they think of arrangements like the above, and it’s true that these can really help. Don’t be scared to get a little more creative though and think outside of the box. Many businesses have successfully offered term-time only contracts for employees who are balancing their careers with caring responsibilities.

Be prepared for an influx of holiday requests

At this time of year, many of us are tempted by the prospect of booking a last-minute getaway. We all like a bit of sun and sand, but when your employees are planning a mass exodus, the situation can turn into a major headache. Remember that giving priority to employees with children could be discriminatory.HR passion - outsourced hr - hr revolutionIf you feel like you’re struggling to manage holiday requests, it might be time to implement a more robust system, take a look at breatheHR which can help you organise stress free employee holiday management. It can ensure that your processes are fair and equal, and that you’re fully prepared for the challenges that the summer period can bring.

Take the time to plan

Many workplaces experience a bit of a lull during the summer months. Employees are away on holiday, they’re thinking about spending time with the kids, and you might find yourself slipping into the trap of letting the time just pass you by. Instead of going down this route, take the opportunity to get your leadership team together and focus on where you’re going.

What are your priorities for the second half of the year? What challenges do you need to overcome? Are there any opportunities that exist that you aren’t tapping into? A little planning can go a long way.

If the summer season is beginning to cause HR headaches in your business, get in touch with HR Revolution and let us help you get things back on the right track and stop any minor issues escalating into something more serious.

Why not get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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How to really switch off from work when you go on holiday…

Holiday season is well and truly underway, time to take off from work to relax and recuperate, however, for many, booking annual leave can cause stress and anxiety.  However, holidays are vitally important as they help us to stay balanced, healthy and stop us drowning in work related stress.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us will spend some point of our holidays worrying about work, checking emails and picking up bits of work when we should be relaxing, pretty pointless really.

Fear not we have some solutions, so read on to find out some helpful hints on how to switch off from work and come back refreshed and revitalised, you’ll then be ready to cope with whatever work has to throw at you!!!

Try not to leave anything half done it’ll only make you stress while you’re away, finish off any loose ends and leave a handover document if you’re not able to get everything done.

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Tell people that you won’t be checking emails then set up an out of office email, how long you’ll be away, and who people should contact if they need anything urgently.

Get some perspective, you are not indispensable while you are away, other colleagues will cover for you, in much the same way you would cover for them this does not mean they will get your job!  If they were better than you, they would already have it and going away for 1 or 2 weeks is not going to change this…

Switch off your work phone, I know it’s tempting, but don’t message your work wife for all the office drama that you may/may not be missing while you’re away. Technology is such a massive part of our lives today, that we are constantly distracted, you don’t need to know any work goings on, wait until you get back!

Do nothing, give yourelf permission to completely switch off, a recent study published in the Psychological Science journal suggests that sitting back doing nothing can boost your skills, productivity and commitment, allowing you to re-focus and reduce stress…

I for one will be practicing the above when I go on my annual holiday in a few weeks time, I’m going to switch off, kick back and enjoy my holiday guilt free!!!

If you need and HR advice or guidance give HR Revolution a call and see how we could help: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger


5 things employers should do to support employee wellbeing

Wellbeing is climbing up the corporate agenda and more businesses are implementing measures that encourage employees to bring their best selves to work.

There are plenty of benefits that companies can use to prioritize health, however, when it comes to mental health, it’s a different story.

According to research from CV-Library over three quarters (77.8%) of UK workers agree that not enough is being done to support mental health at work. In fact, almost half (46.1%) have considered resigning from a job due to lack of support. The survey of 1,100 UK workers, also found that 42.9% said that aspects of their job can cause them to feel anxious or depressed. Worse still, they have no one to turn to. 60.2% of Brits confessed that they would be too embarrassed to disclose information about the state of their mental health to their employer.

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Yet, with 15% of people at work having symptoms of a mental health condition, the stigma around opening a dialogue about mental health is making the matter worse.

A Government review in association with Mind, found that around 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year.

From this survey it’s sad to learn that workers aren’t feeling supported by their employers when it comes to their mental health and it’s clear more needs to be done to tackle this. Also with almost half respondents confessing that they’ve thought about quitting a job due to lack of support, employers need to know how to address these issues.

So how can employers help? 83.6% of professionals believe that employers should offer mental health days for employees, with 78% agreeing that they’d be more likely to work for a company that did.

The majority 88.4% also said that they believe that employers should be given training to help them understand mental health and how to help employees who may be suffering.

Honesty and communication jointly contribute towards a great company culture and the wellbeing of employees needs to play a part in this. Employers need to create an environment where employees feel they can approach their boss if they’re struggling or take some time out when they need to recharge their batteries.

The respondents also listed the top 5 things their bosses can do for them to prevent poor mental health below:

  1. Promote a healthy work-life balance
  2. Create an environment where mental health is not stigmatised
  3. Refer employees to a counselling service
  4. Talk more openly about mental health
  5. Have an internal counselling service for employees

Food for thought indeed.

Do you have any issues surrounding employee wellbeing? why not give HR Revolution a call and see how we could help: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger

A version of this article first appeared on HR Grapevine

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.


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: or visit where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger





Tips for less workplace stress

Following on our theme of Stress Awareness Month, it probably comes as no surprise that research often finds that work is the most stressful factor in peoples lives and this can be caused by a number of things, such as poor management, an excessive workload or being set unrealistic targets.

Stress-related absences are one of the biggest costs to businesses every year, so most could really benefit from taking a closer look at the way they manage their people, especially how they cope in stressful situations.

Below we have put together a few tips that business owners/managers can do to improve the way they manage their employees ensuring they are not the cause of any unnecessary stress and frustration.


Taking time to listen to your employees is imperative as it not only makes them feel valued, it can have a massive impact on their performance and productivity. An employee might be trying to tell you how a different approach to a task could be more efficient or cost effective or they may have a creative idea that could help you solve a long-standing problem. It can also alert you to an employee who may be struggling with a personal issue or heavy workload and who needs more support.  Taking the time to listen is invaluable and ensures you really take in what your employees may (or may not!) be telling you.


Be available

As as a business owner/manager, supporting your employees is part of the day job – and this can only be done effectively if you are available and approachable. Make sure your employees know it’s alright for them to ask questions or seek advice if they’re unsure about something. Also if you are often out or in meetings, let them know your movements so they can plan the best time to catch you. A couple of minutes spent answering a quick question not only gives them reassurance that they are doing the right thing, but will save trouble further down the line if they were headed in the wrong direction.

Be trustworthy

Make sure that your team knows they can trust you and have your support even if things don’t go to plan. If people are afraid they will be unfairly blamed for anything that goes wrong, they will be constantly operating in a state of anxiety and won’t do a good job. Equally, make sure credit is given where it’s due and that you acknowledge the work of your team when things go right. Don’t make promises to people if you’re not sure you will be able to deliver, if you operate with honesty and integrity your employees will do the same.


Be open and direct

Uncertainty is the cause of much of the stress and anxiety in many businesses and if you don’t let your employees know what is happening they will speculate, gossip and often wind themselves up into a frenzy over a rumour which is completely unfounded.  If there are changes on the horizon, tell employees what you know – or if you don’t know, let them know when you expect to know more. Open and honest feedback on performance is also vital, employees will want to know how they are doing and if they need to be doing anything differently. Don’t just wait for the performance review to come around, if you give people feedback on an ongoing basis they will be clear about what their priorities are, secure in the knowledge they are approaching tasks in the right way and that you will support them in any areas where they may need further development.

Show empathy

Even though you are in charge of a team and you need to make sure they get the right results that doesn’t mean you can’t show kindness and sympathy where appropriate – show your human side! Many business owners/managers are uncomfortable displaying any kind of ‘emotion’ in the workplace and shy away from difficult or personal conversations with employees. However, stepping outside of your professional role and communicating with people on a personal level will help you build a much more motivated and engaged team. Remember be as flexible as possible when people are dealing with difficult personal issues – and if someone’s performance is not up to scratch, make sure you look a bit more deeply into what may be behind the issue.

If you need any further help or guidance about how to deal with stress in the workplace, give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger



Tips for creating a positive workplace

We all know that the environment you work in has a big impact on how you feel, so it’s probably no surprise that as adults we spend over two thirds of our life at work!! a very sobering thought indeed…

So it is really important for employers to create a positive, healthy workplace, where employees have mutual respect, feel valued and appreciated as these things all strongly contribute to creating happy employees.

Listed below are ways to help achieve this:

Acknowledge accomplishments

It is a proven fact that employees respond to praise and appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work, because it reinforces their work is valued.  When employees feel like this, their satisfaction and productivity rises and they are motivated to keep up or improve their good work.  Doesn’t everyone appreciate a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good, I know I definitely do!

Positive Communication

Make sure you communicate, as we know feedback whether good or bad is fundamental in the workplace.  You need to discuss regularly with employees what they have accomplished and what is going well in their job, helping them to feel connected and part of a team. Delivering feedback ensures your team strengths are being highlighted and made good use of, and of course gives employees direction on what they can improve on.

Celebrate employees

Look for ways to celebrate with your team whether it’s an employee birthday or recognising a milestone or achieving a goal. Honoring wins and milestones improves morale by encouraging the person recognised and showing team members that important events are noticed and praised.

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Reward good work

As an employer you may not always be able to reward by means of a pay-rise, but there are alternative ways to reward your employees, implementing exciting incentives that give the employee something tangible to work towards, such as a competition to win a gift card – which are low cost and give the employee the choice of what they want.

If you need any help or guidance about creating a positive workplace, give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

HR Blogger