How is the Coronavirus impacting UK Businesses?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

With the shocking media headlines, it’s not easy to understand what is happening to the world of business right now. Further, the way that it will impact individual companies and people will depend on multiple factors.

We may all be in this storm together, but we are certainly not in the same boat. How we navigate ourselves to the other side of this crisis will involve understanding our own specific set of circumstances.

Surveys can often shed more light on what is actually happening. During the crisis, I have become quite an expert at interpreting the painstaking research of others. My goal is to try and provide insight from which others can benefit.

With that said,  I would like to acknowledge Richmond Events and hopefully, if they see this, they will interpret it as a genuine endorsement of their work.


The main points to consider


Let’s start off with a short summary of where the sentiment is focused right now:

    1. The number one concern right now by far is the economy, with apprehension levels increasing all the time. There is a very real chance that this crisis can lead to a recession or depression. This would have far more devastating effects than the coronavirus itself.
    2. There is a far more serious concern for personal financial security, that has overtaken fears for our company’s future. In short, it’s dawning on the vast majority of us that this is going to impact all of us significantly. This moves well beyond the commercial impact on our employers.
    3. For those still working, communication with existing and prospective customers is very difficult.
    4. Over 80% of people expect remote working to change how they operate in the future. However, less than 20% feel that a permanent move to home working is actually viable long term.
    5. Improvements to home working technologies are seen as the most significant change as a result of the virus. But home working conditions still need to catch up and improve to enable more home working to remain long term.
    6. 70% of organisations have delivered operational improvements as a result of Covid-19.
    7. 51% of businesses have evolved or diversified their product offerings in the past few weeks.
    8. 39% of organisations have seen increased demand for one or more of their products and services.
    9. 42% of companies are considering alternative or actively seeking new suppliers.
    10. There are very mixed views on what actions the Government should take.


What are people most concerned about?


Unsurprisingly, the concerns surrounding the economic uncertainties facing our country far outweigh all others. This overall sentiment has grown substantially in the last month.

The most significant changes reported between April to May are:

People generally are now far more worried about the long-term prospects of our economy.

Serious concern around personal financial security has overtaken fears for organisations in the short-term. As more people realise the potential impact the crisis may have on an individual level.

Whereas the results for wellbeing haven’t changed significantly, there is a gentle shift in a positive direction. More people feeling ‘slightly’ rather than ‘very/quite’ concerned for the wellbeing of both themselves and their families.


Latest statistics


How do people rate their company’s response?


Overall, people feel that their organisations have responded well in providing adequate technology for home working. They also indicated that they and their colleagues are generally being looked after quite well. The overall perception is that the crisis has encouraged more good human behaviour than bad.

Conversely, external communication to both customers and non-customers has certainly been more difficult during the crisis.


coronavirus impacting uk business


Organisational Changes


Initial reports in April demonstrated a relatively bullish opinion around the loss of customers. However, this confidence appears to be waning with some companies now experiencing a significant loss of customers. The news of mass redundancies and job losses is increasing fears of how that will affect their own commercial relationships.

Around 40% of UK businesses either have already or plan to make salary reductions in the next 3 months. This reflects a significant shift in sentiment. The impact of Covid-19 is not going to be absorbed solely by a companies financial reports and government aid.


Latest statistics



Over 50% of people working full-time said that they were working even harder than they were pre-COVID. The other half estimate that they are working less.
Overall, meaningful economic productivity and output across the UK is significantly down. That’s hardly shocking since the government have effectively turned the economy down to a “simmer”.


What % of your typical working week do you believe you are now working?


coronavirus impacting uk business

Latest statistics


Government assistance 

CBILS may have been a great government PR exercise initially, but it has been an unmitigated disaster, failing to finance more than 5% of the companies that have applied to it.

The Job Retention (furlough) Scheme remains the key Government assistance measure that most organisations have plugged into. Deferred VAT and Income Tax payments have been welcomed, but along with lost revenues and additional differed rents and supplier payments, there is another financial time bomb being kicked down the road for many companies that will at some point come home to roost. (yes I know I managed to get 3 metaphors into that last sentence 😊)


Which of the government’s help measures will your company make use of?


coronavirus impacting uk business


Getting back to ‘normal’

Subjective opinions on this topic vary dramatically. Some credible economists are predicting significantly worse to come and decades of hardship and austerity. Others are more optimistic. What they all have in common is that they just do not know. Sure this is not the first ever pandemic, nor the deadliest but that’s missing the point here.

The point is that COVID-19 is a global crisis unprecedented in the modern economy. As such, all opinion is based on assumptions and models that are based in hypothesis, not precedent.

Most scientists seem to agree that until there is an effective vaccine, the world cannot return to ‘normal’ and by then the world may have already changed for good.

The biggest challenge when it comes to getting back to normal is that what is perceived as good for the economy, may not be good for public health. This conflict has been the crux of governments policy. As the public order constraints are lifted, this problem gets transferred to the company and individual level. Naturally, this will be a hotbed for confusion and conflict.

What is very clear is that until we are all allowed back to work, the repair and recovery process for the wider economy will be constrained. Most believe that will not happen for another 3-6 months at least, according to this survey.


How long do you think it will be before the following areas return to pre-COVID-19 levels?


coronavirus impacting uk business

coronavirus impacting uk business


How are organisations responding to Covid-19?


Every sensible organisation is taking action to protect itself and to prepare for the eventual upturn.

Unsurprisingly, preserving cashflow is of greatest importance. However, many businesses are using this opportunity to diversify their offerings and are increasing their marketing activities.

The results about remote working adaptations aren’t hugely surprising because there has been little choice in this matter. However, it will be interesting to see the longer-term impact that homeworking will have on, amongst other things, employee wellbeing & mental health, commercial property and cybersecurity and of course genuine business productivity.


What steps is your business taking to mitigate the risks post-Coronavirus?


coronavirus impacting uk business


One important item missing from this part of the survey is the suspension or cancelling of existing commercial commitments. It is one thing to place a project on hold or even cancel it, but when that project had commenced already and stopping it constituted a legal breach, then the impact on the supply chain can be devastating. Companies in this predicament will have potentially made commitments to deliver on that project, in terms of materials and resources, but they themselves are also anticipating the revenues being generated by it, in order to meet their own obligations.

Speaking to business owners myself over the last few weeks it appears that most have experienced being involved in such scenarios, with added complexities of how to respond, because although they need the revenues, they also need to be sensitive to the long term client relationship.


What positive impact have you seen on your UK business operations?


coronavirus impacting uk business


Will remote working change the way organisations works in the future?

This might be another part of the survey, where employees and employers might have conflicting views. Some employees might feel the personal benefits, while employers will evaluate more against productivity levels.

What it does undoubtedly prove though, is that, for many companies, we can move to a remote working environment if and when we need to and when circumstances demand it, even if we don’t adopt this as a permanent way of working.

One fact we cannot ignore is that people’s homes are not suitably set up to accommodate long term home working. There is neither adequate space or the appropriate infrastructure for the vast majority, not to mention the current set of distractions.


Will remote working change the way that employees work in the future?


Employees perceptions and desires do not always marry with employers needs and requirements.

If average productivity levels are down when working from home (as they undoubtedly are in most cases), would that be suitably compensated by the reduction in office and rent costs?

Will employees WFH staff demand that the business contributes towards improving work from home conditions? Perhaps the way that people are remunerated would need to change so that it was more reflective of production levels? There are certainly more questions than answers on this one and each person and company will have their own opinions and views.

The lockdown has also highlighted many advantages and benefits of office life too, as much as it has opened up our eyes to the flexibility of home working.


Will remote working affect the way we operate in the future?


coronavirus impacting uk business


Opinions of the Government


The following results are self-explanatory, although I think that most sensible people agree that the government are always going to be on a hiding to nothing in these situations. How they handle the return to work process over the coming weeks is for me going to be their biggest challenge to date.


How well do you think the UK Government are handling the issue of the Coronavirus?


coronavirus impacting uk business


If you were in charge of the Government, what action would you take?


I think that we can anticipate sentiment towards opening up businesses to grow significantly over the coming weeks. Especially as employees realise the very genuine risk of long term unemployment for very large numbers of the population and that many years of austerity are the alternative.


Latest statistics


Your opinions of Boris


Boris might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, according to the opinion polls, most people think that he is doing an OK job in very challenging circumstances. However, getting the UK economy switched back on again surely now has to become the number one priority. In order to avoid an economic catastrophe.

This all needs to be done while maintaining and respecting the amazing work done by the NHS. So that we don’t undo their positive achievements. This must also be done in parallel with a sensible and cautious approach that considers and respects the Covid-19 related guidelines and protocols.


How has your support/opinion of Boris Johnson changed throughout the crisis?


coronavirus impacting uk business


Which countries’ leadership do you admire the most in the handling of this situation?


Latest statistics


What sectors of industry did the survey data come from?


Latest statistics



There is always a limit to what can be deduced from general surveys, but measuring the changes in these opinions over the weeks and months is an interesting barometer of sentiments in the broader business community.

Any sense that this was an unexpected holiday has been superseded with boredom and frustration. Any novelty has worn off and people want to get back to the business of growing their bottom line vs their waistline.

There is still a long way to go for this story to play itself out. We are probably in the eye of the storm right now with the true damage still to be revealed.

On a positive note, there is a lot of good and kindness coming out of people during this crisis. We are learning new ways of operating during this massive work-from-home social experiment.

Cheering those that have risen to the challenge has extended way beyond the NHS.  It is truly inspiring to see the power of companies who have turned their production capabilities towards philanthropic endeavours. When the government turns the heat back up on the economy, these will be the ones to watch.

All storms eventually pass and in the wake of their destruction, painful lessons are learned and many things – not least our hands – are washed clean.

The majority of the data and graphs used in this article were sourced from a report initially produced by Richmond Events


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Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

How to Get Through Working Long Hours
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Working additional hours is a common practice among many employees nowadays. According to the data from the European statistics agency Eurostat, full-time employees in the UK work longer hours than full-time employees in other EU countries (except Greece and Austria). In fact, workers in the UK work 42.5 hours a week, on average, which is more than the European average (41.2 hours per week).

Before making the choice to work longer, be aware that this habit can have serious consequences on your physical and mental health. So, whenever you can, you should avoid staying late at the office.


Mental Health


If you really have to stay late, you should at least learn how to make it less stressful and more comfortable. This article will provide you with several tricks.

This blog post will help you to discover:

  1. Helpful tips when working extra hours,
  2. How overworking can cause burnout,
  3. The difference between workaholics and hard workers, and
  4. How overtime work affects your health.

Even if you’ve never worked more than your regular working hours, this could be your guide in case you have to work late sometimes.


Helpful tips when working additional hours

1.   Plan your day ahead

If you know that you’re going to have a busy day and you might stay longer at the office, plan your day ahead.

These are the steps you should take:

  • first, think about your priorities for that day,
  • then, write down your priorities in the form of a to-do list,
  • finally, decide how much time you will need for each priority and write it down.

Having all your significant tasks in one place will help you stay focused. Besides, you can add a checkmark next to the task you’ve just finished. This will keep you motivated to complete the full list.


2.   Take frequent breaks

Having breaks when working is always essential, especially when you’re supposed to work long hours. Try taking quick breaks every two hours. You can take a walk, call your friend or make another cup of coffee – it’s up to you.

Breaks help us regain our focus and make us more productive. Here’s how a psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, from the University of Illinois, explains that:

From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks, it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself.”

As he points out, these brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.


3.   Ask for help

Let’s say that you’ve been trying to solve a particular issue at work. You’ve worked extended hours for days and haven’t succeeded.

Whenever you’re exhausted, you need a fresh point of view. The best thing you can do is ask for help from your colleagues. But, before you seek for their advice, ask yourself whether you’ve exploited all simple solutions. If so, then you should consult with your colleagues.

In addition, you can write down the list of the best ideas you’ve come up with so far. Then, feel free to show the list to your colleagues and ask for their opinion. The chances are, maybe you’re on the right path to the solution, but just need a few tweaks.


4.   Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Keeping up a healthy lifestyle should always be your priority, but especially when working too much.

Be sure to follow these simple rules in order to stay healthy during long hours at the office:

  • Eat properly. Stay away from junk food and try not to skip any meals throughout the day. Be sure to keep healthy snacks handy, too.
  • Drink enough water. The Institute of Medicine advises 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women daily.
  • Get enough sleep. Whenever you can, try to sleep for at least 7 hours per night.
  • Try to find a type of exercise you’ll enjoy the most, be it going to the gym, running or hiking. Besides, be sure to stay active during office hours, too. This might include stretching, sitting on a stability ball, or taking stairs instead of an elevator.

By following these simple tips, you could avoid having serious consequences of overtime work.


Wellness & Mental Health


Consequences of working additional hours

Working beyond your capabilities not only makes you tired but can cause burnout and impact your health, too. We’ll cover these repercussions in the section below, as well as explain the true meaning of a workaholic.


What is burnout?

Burnout is the term we use to describe the feeling of exhaustion caused by overwork or stress. This term was invented by a German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, in 1974.

Overworking can sometimes cause career burnout. This condition is the subject of many kinds of research across the globe. In addition, the World Health Organization and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) have identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”.

There are many symptoms of burnout, such as chest pain, dizziness, lack of energy, as well as sleep deprivation. Burnout can even lead to depression.

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms due to putting in extra hours, it’s time to slow down. Try limiting your workdays to standard working hours.

Now, you might be wondering if too much work makes you a hard worker or a workaholic. Let’s take a close look at these two categories of employees, and learn what sets them apart.


Do workaholics enjoy working?

To find an answer to this question, we need to analyze the true meaning of the word workaholic.

The term “workaholic” represents someone with “an uncontrollable need to work incessantly.” This phrase was created by psychologist Wayne E. Oates in 1968.

The most common signs of workaholism are:

  • having an urge to work hard,
  • always thinking about work, and
  • the feeling of guilt when you’re not working.

Unlike workaholics, who always think about work, hard workers have their ways to disconnect from work.

Here are other differences between workaholics and hard workers:


Workaholic Hard worker
Physically obsessed with work Feels passionate about work
Constantly works late Rarely works late
Disregards family life Keeps the work-life balance
Loves being addicted to work Loves the work itself
Works in order to reduce anxiety and depression Works in order to accomplish own career goals
Bad team player Good team player
Experiences work burnout every day Manages to reduce work burnout
Doesn’t delegate Delegates successfully
Never says “no” Knows how to say “no”
Even when not at work, still thinks of work Appreciates having free time


These qualities are noted in the research “The Prevalence of Workaholism: A Survey Study in a Nationally Representative Sample of Norwegian Employees”.

As you can see from the table, being a workaholic means being at risk of burnout. On the contrary, hard workers can manage to reduce burnout.

When it comes to the average number of working hours, workaholics constantly stay late. On another note, hard workers rarely work late.

This study has shown us that workaholics love being addicted to work, while hard workers love the work itself. In conclusion, workaholics don’t truly enjoy working. The reason behind their long working hours is their addiction to work.

No matter if you’re a hard worker or a workaholic, be sure that putting in extra hours can have consequences on your health.


Can working extra hours affect your health?

Many studies have shown the correlation between overworking and its impact on your physical and mental health.

For instance, there is a study called Association Between Reported Long Working Hours and History of Stroke in the CONSTANCES Cohort. The purpose of this research was to examine whether long working hours (LWH) can cause a stroke. Among the participants, there were some who reported LWH and others who reported LWH for 10 years and more. According to their results, there is a connection between working overtime for 10 years or more and a stroke.

Besides the physical, working for too long can affect your mental health, too. The research published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, analyzed long work hours, weekend working and depressive symptoms in men and women. They surveyed 11 215 men and 12 188 women in employment or self-employment in the UK. Their results show that working 55 hours or more is associated with depression among women. Also, weekend working is linked to depressive symptoms for men.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that working overtime will make you ill if you stay late at the office only a few times a year. But, if burning the midnight oil eventually becomes your routine, you might truly experience some health issues.

As we already mentioned, avoid working late when you can. In case this is inevitable, our tips can help you stay healthy during extended hours at work.



Putting in long hours can cause career burnout and impact your health, too. That’s why it’s advisable to avoid staying late at work. In case you have to work late, learn how to make this time more convenient. Organizing your workday properly and adopting a healthy lifestyle will surely do the trick.


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Nikola Radojcin

Nikola Radojcin is a productivity researcher and writer at Clockify. When not petting the office dog, he makes sure to check out the latest time management techniques so his co-workers can utilize time in the best way possible.

Three changes to UK employment law that you need to know about
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

In the last 10 years, the UK has seen the first December General Election since the 1920s, watched countless hours of news coverage on the topic of Brexit and witnessed Larry the cat assume office as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. Yet the dawn of a new decade heralds some important changes and new additions to UK employment law that come into force in April 2020 including amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1998 and Employment Rights Act 1996.

Read on to find out what the law currently states, what changes will come into effect on Monday 6th April 2020 and what these changes will ultimately mean for UK businesses.


New employees’ right to a statement of particulars on their first day

(Amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996)


What is the law now?

At present, UK employment law states that an employer must give employees a written statement of employment particulars within the first two months of their employment (providing their employment lasts more than a month). This document, often contained within a contract of employment, outlines the basic terms and conditions of employment.

These can be delivered in instalments, as long as all particulars are delivered within two months of the start of employment.

At minimum, a principal statement of particulars must include:

  • the business’ name,
  • the employee’s name, job title or a description of work and start date,
  • if a previous job counts towards a period of continuous employment, the date the period started,
  • how much and how often an employee will get paid,
  • hours of work (and if employees will have to work Sundays, nights or overtime),
  • holiday entitlement(and if that includes public holidays),
  • where an employee will be working and whether they might have to relocate,
  • if an employee is expected to work in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is.

A further written statement must also contain information, where applicable, about:

  • how long a temporary job is expected to last,
  • the end date of a fixed-term contract,
  • notice periods,
  • collective agreements,
  • pensions,
  • who to go to with a grievance,
  • how to complain about how a grievance is handled,
  • how to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision.


What will change on 6th April 2020?

Amendments to UK employment law that come into force in April state that employees have “the right to a written statement of particulars of employment when an individual begins employment (a day one right)” (, 2018).

Employers will also have to include further information on the statement of particulars when an employee joins a business.

These include:

  • Terms and conditions relating to hours of work including normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work and whether or not working hours/days may be variable (and if so, how they may vary or how the variation will be determined),
  • any other paid leave,
  • any other benefits (childcare vouchers, health insurance, health cash plans, food, accommodation etc where applicable),
  • details of any probationary period (including its conditions and duration),
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any training that the employee is required to complete and any mandatory training costs not covered by the employer.

Furthermore, existing employees can, on or after 6th April 2020, request an updated statement of particulars from their employer. This must be delivered to the employee no later than one month after the request has been made.

This amendment to the Employment Rights Act states that a statement of particulars can no longer be delivered in instalments, but must be provided to all employees from day one of starting work and as one single document.


Candidate Behaviour


What does it mean for your business?

In short, you need to be better prepared when welcoming new employees to your business. Review your existing contracts and make the necessary changes to accommodate these changes. Make sure your business’ contract of employment covers off all of the required information for a statement of particulars and update it as necessary for any new employees.

This should ensure clearer lines of communication between HR in preparing a contract and/or statement of particulars and the manager conducting interviews and negotiations with candidates. The job being offered should be documented in its entirety and all of the necessary information required for a statement of particulars should be clear and agreed between HR, the hiring manager/head of department and the new starter ahead of their first day.

While the changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 don’t state that you have to provide all existing employees with an updated statement of particulars – be prepared for an existing employee to request one on or after 6th April 2020 (and at any time up to three months after the end of their employment).


Calculation of holiday pay for variable workers

(Amendments to regulation 16 of the Working Time Regulations 1998)


What is the law now?

As it stands, all employees are entitled to paid annual leave and they must be paid the same amount when on holiday as they would receive when they’re at work – regardless of their working pattern.

Holiday pay can be calculated based on the days or hours worked per week, annual hours, compressed hours or shifts.

If an employee’s working hours don’t vary (i.e. they work 9 am – 5:30 pm, 5 days per week), their holiday pay should be calculated using their usual pay rate.

For example, Jack works from 9 am to 5:30 pm every day, Monday to Friday. If he takes seven days of annual leave in January, he will be paid the same amount as if he has worked a typical week.

However (and this is where it gets a little complicated), if an employee doesn’t have fixed or regular hours or their pay isn’t always the same, their holiday pay is calculated based on the average number of hours worked, at their average pay in the previous 12 weeks. 12 weeks being the current holiday reference period under the current iteration of the Working Time Regulations.

For example, Jill has worked an average of 23 hours per week over the last 12 weeks and has been paid an average of £10.50 per hour for her work. As such, she would be entitled to £241.50 per week as holiday pay (£10.50 per hour x 23 hours).


What will change on 6th April 2020?

The amendments being made to the Working Time Regulations 1998 that come into force in April will make changes to the holiday reference period which is currently 12 weeks.

The holiday reference period used to calculate holiday pay for variable workers is being increased to 52 weeks (for employees that have been in your employment for more than 52 weeks).

Thus, to calculate the holiday pay for an employee on variable hours or pay, you will need to work out the average hours worked and average pay from the previous 52 weeks.

If you have employees on variable hours or pay that have been in your employment for less than 52 weeks, the holiday reference period will be the number of weeks for which they have been employed. Again, you would need to calculate the average number of hours worked and that average pay for the period of time they have been employed.

As with current employment law, any weeks an employee hasn’t worked or received pay for should be excluded from your calculations.


What does it mean for your business?

These changes to the methods in which holiday pay is calculated should greatly benefit employees on variable hours. The change in reference period should help even out any peaks and troughs in pay for employees, particularly those in seasonal roles.

What it does mean for your business, however, is that you must ensure that your records of the hours worked and pay received by these employees are correct as any incorrect records will directly impact an employee’s pay. Online clocking in systems or timesheets can be helpful to track the exact hours worked by each employee, where details of hours worked and any variable pay entitlement can be logged. This information is then securely stored online and is easily accessible whenever employees make annual leave requests.


Parental bereavement leave

(Addition to the Employment Rights Act 1996)


What is the law now?

While there is no current law relating to parental bereavement in particular, under current UK employment law, most employees have a statutory right to a ‘reasonable’ period of unpaid time off to deal with unforeseen matters or emergency situations that involve a dependent. This includes time off to arrange or attend a funeral. A dependent can be a spouse or civil partner, child, parent or someone who depends on you for care or help during an emergency.

Also known as compassionate or bereavement leave, some employers may have policies in place that offer a defined number of days that will be paid during such difficult times, but this is entirely at the employer’s discretion.


What will change on 6th April 2020?

Monday 6th April 2020 will see an addition to the Employment Rights Act 1996 called Parental Bereavement Leave come into force.

This additional legislation entitles parents up to two weeks’ paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy as a day one right.

Bereaved parents must take their leave before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death. Parents can choose to take this as one block of two weeks’ paid leave or two blocks of one week, as long as the leave is taken with 56 days of the loss of their child.

In the case of losing multiple children, parents will be entitled to paid leave for each child.


What does it mean for your business?

While changes to the law surrounding parental bereavement are imminent, making sure you have the right support in place in your business should not be an afterthought. Both managers and colleagues should be able to support an employee going through a bereavement of any kind.

While it is not mandatory to have a compassionate or bereavement leave policy nor do you have to pay employees during a period of time off for any situation or emergency involving a dependent; most employers do pay for a certain number of days off for dependents each year.

However, the Parental Bereavement Leave Act will make paid leave for parents that experience the loss of a child or a stillbirth a legal right.

While the new legislation will provide a solid foundation for businesses in devising a policy that supports bereaved parents, it is still the bare, legal minimum that must be provided. Be sure that your bereavement policies support employee wellbeing. Remember, it’s not a ‘one size fits all process’, we all deal with grief differently and you need to make sure your employees are reassured and supported in both the immediate aftermath and after they have returned to work to help bring them back to their full potential.

If you’re readying your business for these changes to employment law due on 6th April, an all-in-one HR software solution can help. From comprehensive onboarding workflows that ensure statements of particulars are prepared in good time to tracking hours worked with an integrated clock-in system; Natural HR can do this and so much more.

Please note: while we here at Natural HR work with HR professionals every day, we are not lawyers. This post is a high-level summary of government changes to employment law coming into force later this year and should not replace sound legal advice available from professional solicitors or employment lawyers. 

Article originally published by Natural HR


Smart Recruit Online offers a multi-award-winning talent acquisition software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable cloud-based platform integrated with multiple screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can do for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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How Payroll Cards Are Changing The Company Culture
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Hiring experts constantly look for ways to build and preserve company culture and ensure that each and every employee feels cherished and respected in their work environment. Sometimes, the potential to enhance employee retention comes from your company benefits and team-building efforts. The perks you offer to each employee, and access to vacation days will contribute to making them feel more valued. At other times, however, that same potential hides in the least likely of places. This includes your payroll department and procedures – which includes so much more than simply their salary or their bonuses.

It encompasses everything from the way in which you handle taxes, ensure timely payments, utilise compensation for incentivising better performance and rewarding successful employees, all the way to how transparent you are with your payroll in general. Here are a few ways in which you can expect payroll to grow and empower company culture when used properly.

workplace culture

Inspiring confidence and trust

Nobody likes to wait. You don’t want your employees to feel the disquiet of anticipating their salary and then receive it a week later. If anything, you should aim to exceed your employees’ expectations. This is another segment of your business where you can show them how reputable and trustworthy your company is. 

Your employees’ salary is one of the main symbols of success, but also of financial security, and if your business fails to live up to those security standards, chances are you’ll drive your employees away, into the arms of an employer who pays them in time, and in full – every time, no excuses. 

Preserving your company’s reputation

A vital segment of building your company culture includes how your business is perceived based on your financial track record. Are you famous for always working with reputable vendors? Paying your taxes in full? Even using some of your profits to contribute to certain causes?

Managing your finances like a business is a multifaceted process. It allows your employees, but also the public, get a sense of what your brand stands for – and it should stand for integrity above all else. When you protect your reputation in such a way, you’re bound to inspire your employees to be your brand ambassadors. They are much more likely to stay loyal and recommend your business when you stick to your promises.

Ensuring simplicity and convenience

Your employees already experience plenty of stress in their daily lives, and you don’t want to add to it. If anything, you want to make sure that their compensation is a source of joy in every possible sense. This includes the way in which they are able to collect, use, and rely on their salary. In recent years, more companies are transitioning to modernised payroll systems that utilise automation as well as personalization.

For example, one of the benefits of the payroll card is that your employees can now avoid long waiting times and additional fees when they need access to their salary. It is a simple, yet effective way to make this process all the more convenient. This single decision shows that your business puts your employee first when choosing the most efficient, cost-effective solutions for their payroll processes. Taking out all the hassle from this process allows your employees to build stronger bonds with your brand.

Making employees feel appreciated

If working for your brand means being valued and appreciated, you can rest assured that more employees will be eager to stay with your business for longer, and oftentimes recommend your brand as an employer to people they know and trust. Your payroll is the key ingredient in providing this sense of value and appreciation to your employees. When they always receive their salaries on time, and they always get the bonuses they worked so hard for, they will indeed know that their work is noticed and rewarded.

Ensuring optimal, if not competitive compensation, delivering it efficiently, and respecting your employees’ needs in the process all contribute to your team’s desire to stay true to your business. Keep in mind that such high levels of fairness enable companies to build a culture where people thrive and gladly put their best foot forward for each task. 

Payroll may seem like yet another monotonous process that boils down to numbers and stamps. However, when found in the hands of the right HR expert, payroll becomes another empowering tool for your entire company structure, a way to build your reputation, and a key to employee satisfaction. Use it to help your company culture evolve and let it mimic all the values that your business stands for – it will inspire people to stay true to your business and bring other valuable assets to your doorstep. 

Written by Lauren N. Wiseman.


Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

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Lauren N Wiseman

Lauren is a regular SRO Blog and Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto - Kindness, always.

4 strategies to get the best talent for your small business
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Did you know that unemployment rates in the UK are now at their lowest since the 1970s? This is obviously great news for the economy but presents a big challenge when it comes to hiring the best talent for your company. With the job market now being candidate-driven, finding the right people for your organisation can be harder than ever before.

We all know how important it is to have the best people working for you. With a talented and motivated team on board, your business stands the best chance of being successful. In that sense, employees are your most valuable asset, and care must be taken to recruit and retain them just as much as generating sales or managing finances.

So, are you doing all of the following?


Review your HR approach

A new recruitment drive is all very well but before you start thinking about hiring new employees, are you sure you’re doing everything you can for your internal staff retention and development? There’s little point hiring new people if they won’t stay with the business long enough for you to reap the benefits.

Business Coach and Online Educator Rob da Costa suggests the following talent retention incentives in one of his recent blog posts:

  • A focus on education
  • Salary increases based on merit
  • Flexible working conditions
  • Attractive benefits package
  • Pointing out future possibilities
  • Promoting from within
  • Investing in quality managers

Take a look at your team and ask yourself how happy and engaged your workforce is. Are you training them, promoting them, rewarding them appropriately? Do you have a positive company culture? In a job seekers’ market, it’s not just job seekers who are being harder to please. Your existing staff may consider changing jobs if they feel more valued elsewhere.


Invest in your company culture

Company culture is a big and growing topic that you cannot afford to neglect. It’s a magic formula that goes like this: Get your business model and your internal culture right and you’ll be surprised just how quickly word gets around that your company is the place to be.

When your candidates, employees, customers and the public interact with your business, what’s their experience? The way your company is perceived hinges on its internal culture and how this is managed. Everything follows from here – from team engagement and productivity to employee happiness, staff retention, and business success.

Identifying and developing your company’s brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be done. Here are four things you should be doing:

  • Build authentic and meaningful recognition and reward into your company culture to meet your employees’ needs to be recognised for their efforts and achievements, and drive performance, staff retention and employee engagement.
  • Build strong teams that collaborate eagerly, communicate openly, trust each other’s views and are motivated to engage in best performance. Team building shouldn’t be a one-off activity, day-to-day reinforcement may be needed to create a collaborative work culture.
  • Build a flexible work environment, allowing and trusting your staff to choose when, where and how they work. This freedom coupled with personal accountability strengthens your work culture by encouraging happier, higher-performing teams.
  • Create a caring culture that genuinely looks after its employees and goes beyond the norm. X, Y, Z generations want to know that you will look after their best interests and care for them, especially in their hour of need. Employees now prefer healthy food and access to help and advice over a beer fridge or pool table.


Company culture


Recruit with precision and focus

If there are no internal candidates you can promote to the vacancy, outside recruitment is going to be your next step. Start with a clear job description and be focused on what exactly you are looking for in the right candidate, and what you are going to offer.

The customary ‘spray and pray’ efforts of yesteryear will no longer cut it in a job market where candidates can afford to be choosy. With so many other companies competing for the highest calibre candidates, your job advert needs to stand out for all the right reasons.

In order to reach the right people, you need to know where to find them. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, are an excellent place to start engaging with potential candidates. There are plenty of specialist organisations and software tools to help you with this. You could also partner with a recruitment consultant who will have the time and resources to dig deep into the job market on your behalf.


Ensure a positive candidate experience

Once you have shortlisted your best candidates for an interview, follow through with a carefully prepared and organised meeting. It’s amazing how many companies invest time and effort into recruiting candidates, yet blow their chances on the day. A good candidate will know if they’re being fobbed off with an ad hoc interview.

A negative candidate experience is unlikely to lead to the result you are seeking. Worse still, a disappointed candidate may share his experience on online platforms. Poor feedback may discourage others from joining your company and negatively impact on your brand.

According to recent figures, a positive experience will make the job candidate about 1/3 more likely to accept your job offer. You are selling your company, so you should put your best people in front of the candidates that you want to impress. Confident, ambitious job seekers will have plenty of other opportunities on the table, so do your best to woo them.


Written By Annie Button


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.


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Annie Button

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.

The Power of Hypnotherapy
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The Power Of Hypnotherapy by Amanda Coles.

Hello! My name is Amanda Coles and I spent over 20 years working in Corporate HR before retraining as an NLP Hypnotherapist and Life/Business Coach. But I have a confession to make, and it took me years to confront it. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I suffered with anxiety, stress and panic attacks brought on by numerous personal issues and too much stress at work.

In 2013 my GP wanted to give me anti-depressants. They are commonly dispensed by GP’s who struggle in a short 10 minute window to get to the root cause of problems. In fact, they are so common that 1 in 6 adults between the ages of 18-64 are currently on anti depressants, and according to the latest study by the Mental Health Foundation 23% of all absences in the workplace are mental health related and it is the leading cause of absence in the UK. Having worked in HR I have seen for myself the rise in mental health problems.


A Better Alternative

I decided to investigate alternative and complementary therapies rather than take anti-depressants. Waiting times on the NHS for CBT were up to 2 years and so in desperation, I turned to hypnotherapy.

It was so successful I decided to retrain as an NLP Hypnotherapist and Life/Business Coach. I now combine my HR background with my experience as a Coach and Hypnotherapist and I work with companies to implement mental wellness strategies and individuals who want to re-engineer their lives for greater success.

What is hypnotherapy? One of the questions I am always asked by potential clients is will you make me cluck like a chicken? My answer is always the same – only if you want me to.  As far as I’m concerned it’s unlikely to be a solution to your problem.

Hypnotherapy is not something you need to believe in for it to work and more than you have to believe in gravity to fall off a building. So is it all just suggestion and placebo? No. It is scientifically proven that the process of hypnosis causes specific physiological, neurological and physical changes in your body and brain.

It is not something I do TO you, it is a collaborative process and you simply need to give yourself permission to heal yourself and through my unique blend of therapy, motivate you to a successful outcome.


Does it Work?

So how effective is hypnotherapy?? A study conducted by American Health Magazine found that only 38% of patients recovered after 600 sessions of psychoanalysis. In behavioural therapy, it took 22 sessions for 72% of patients to recover but after just 6 sessions of hypnotherapy, 93% of patients recovered.

We all know that mental health problems are on the rise. The pressure of stress found at work, within relationships, through comparison with others and within a drive to “succeed” can affect everybody, no matter what your background is.

The reality is however that hypnotherapy helps to treat more than just anxiety and stress. It has been scientifically proven to have many other uses, and that’s because nearly everyone can benefit from learning how to relax, how to think positively and use their imagination to rehearse the positive changes they would like.


Mental Health in the Workplace

The estimated cost of mental ill-health to UK employers each year is between £33 billion and £42 billion.

Organisations suffer the consequences of poor mental health. A CIPD study highlighted the impact that mental ill-health has on companies and found that:

– 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
– 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
– 80% find it difficult to concentrate
– 62% take longer to do tasks
– 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

As an employer, you can help manage and prevent stress by improving conditions for staff at work. But you also have a role in making adjustments and helping someone manage a mental health problem at work as mental health is covered as a disability within the Equality Act of 2010.




So what can you do practically?

By constructing and implementing mental wellness strategies within your workplace you can reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, increase engagement and staff retention – all proven ways to increase profits.

So in summary, hypnotherapy is not the woo-woo, voodoo magic it is so often portrayed in the media, rather it is a safe, effective, fast and drug-free method for improving your health and happiness – who wouldn’t want some of that?

Amanda Coles

Amanda Coles is a CNHC Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP & Meridian Practitioner & Life Coach.


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will transform your recruitment strategy.

To book a demo with us and learn more about what our technology can do for your business, click here.

Book a demo


Amanda Coles

Amanda Coles is a CNHC Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP & Meridian Practitioner & Life Coach.

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