We work closely with Acas to keep Bournemouth companies up to date on best practices in HR, Accounting and Finance, IT and office environments and the current cold snap is certainly cause for concern. Adverse weather conditions can lead to staff shortages as people struggle to get to work; people may also be in a rush to take annual leave; then there are the inevitable flu bugs.
Adverse weather What issues do you need to consider?
· Employees are not automatically entitled to pay if unable to get to work because of bad weather
· Have a clear policy – employees need to know what you expect from them in terms of getting to work
· Be flexible where possible – for example, could you and your employees agree to temporarily alter working hours to minimise disruptions?
· Use information technology to keep your business running. Can employees work from home?
· Plan ahead – misunderstandings often lead to conflict so be clear!
Winter colds and flu mean an increase in workers calling in sick. Employers should ensure employees know when they have to contact work on the first day of sickness and should routinely hold back to work interviews when staff return. · Employees should either fill in a self-certificate explaining their short-term sickness or they should get a Statement of Fitness for Work (also known as a doctor’s statement or ‘fit note’) if the illness lasts more than seven days. Acas’ managing attendance guidance can help.
Wellbeing in the workplace
Winter can sometimes exacerbate conditions such as stress and depression. Spotting and doing something about troubled employees is an important business skill. It’s rare for someone to voluntarily talk about a mental health problem.
Approaching a colleague who you feel may be suffering from a mental health issue is not easy. Try and arrange a moment to catch someone privately, and informally ask if they are feeling ok. Make sure your line managers know how to respond to signs of stress. They may need the right training to help them handle difficult conversations and raise awareness of health issues.