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Preparing for Freedom Day and managing a hybrid workforce

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As the UK counts down to the delayed ‘Freedom Day’ on 19th July 2021 many employers are concerned about what the workplace will look like after Covid-19 restrictions lift, with many anticipating hybrid working will become the new norm says Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director at Activ Absence.

A recent report from Envoy revealed that 70% of UK workers believe a hybrid model—involving the flexibility to choose when and where to work—would result in personal benefits, with 34% saying it would improve their mental health, and 41% stating it would benefit their work-life balance.

Other research from Instant Offices[i] found that nearly two-thirds (59%) of respondents wanted flexible hours to cope with the mental health impact of working remotely, and nearly half (45%) wanted a four-day week.

Firms such as Nationwide[ii] have said they will allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme, whereas Goldman Sachs told its bankers to be ready to return to the office in June, when the government was meant to lift legal limits on social contact in England[iii].

Adrian says, “There is a lot of uncertainty about what the workplace will look like once restrictions have ended and employees in theory could all return to the office. Hybrid working seems to be getting a lot of attention, especially since many employees recognise the benefits it can have.

“But some firms are also considering a four-day week, flexible working and even working from home permanently. With the Government also proposing legal changes preventing employers forcing staff back to the office unless they can prove it is essential – there are likely to be challenges ahead for employers.

“Employers need manage people’s different needs and expectations – some will be anxious about returning to the office, whereas others can’t wait, and ensure it’s business as usual no matter where an employee is working, with no dip in productivity.

“Keeping on top of where staff are working, monitoring who is in the office and who is at home and getting teams working effectively together will be more challenging than if everyone was in the office.  It will also potentially add a whole layer of administration to the daily lives of HR as it may fall to them to monitor this.

“Culturally there are major risks too. There is a danger that a company will become split between those in the office and those at home and if it isn’t managed carefully, resentments between colleagues could creep in.

“Companies will have to rethink how they communicate and bring teams together and how to maintain a sense of camaraderie, as well as other issues such as looking after employee health and wellbeing. Mental health is also a concern, with the pandemic exacerbating many issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.”

In June, there were calls on the UK government to give employees a legally binding ‘right to disconnect’, with some employees and trade union, Prospect calling for a ban on out-of-hours emails as the Covid-19 pandemic has already made work more stressful[iv].

Adrian adds, “Technology such as absence management technology gives employers a simple way to overcome many of these challenges. It gives complete visibility over the workforce, so managers know if employees are working at home, off sick or on holiday.

“It can also support mental health – enabling managers to spot patterns in sickness behaviour and ensure back to work interviews are done, which offer a confidential and safe place for people to discuss any issues. The software records annual leave too so if workers fail to take their allocated holidays they can be encouraged to do so, which helps their wellbeing.

“The software is cloud based so easily accessible and it can help employers facilitate hybrid or flexible working, a four-day week or even working at home permanently. As Freedom Day approaches, investing in this technology can ensure employers are prepared for what the new normal way of working may be post pandemic.”

For more information on absence management software visit www.activabsence.co.uk


[i] https://employeebenefits.co.uk/45-of-remote-workers-want-4-day-week/

[ii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56510574

[iii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56993886

[iv] https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/news/uk-workers-want-to-ban-out-of-hours-emails

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Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/preparing-for-freedom-day-and-managing-a-hybrid-workforce/

HRTech

Starting from scratch? An expert guide to starting a business with no savings

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There has been a significant upturn in the number of start-up business ventures since pandemic restrictions set in across the UK last year.  

A recent study from The University of Law Business School 1 found that 854,948 independent businesses have been set up since 23rd March 2020, a significant 43% increase compared to the same period a year before (594,957).  

Although some budding entrepreneurs are fortunate enough to be able to fund their projects with their own savings, some have no option but to start completely from scratch. With this in mind, experts at ULaw Business School have put together a guide to starting a business with no savings whatsoever.  

  1. Start small and simple 

There are a number of potential upfront costs when starting a business which can put you in the red before you even get going. Paying for things such as designs, premises and services are nice to have but not always necessary at the start, so simplifying your operation from the get-go is important.  

By conducting your business predominantly online, using services such as the Cloud to store your information, free tools such as Canva to build your brand identity, and free conferencing tools such as Skype or Zoom for any meetings and networking, you’ll be able to build a support base for your company at virtually no cost. This will allow you to scale up and put more complex structures in place moving forward. 

  • Build around what you already have 

If you have a set of skills or can provide a service people want, you can start to monetise with little to no financial investment. If you’re willing to put in your own time and effort, you can adapt an idea to work around the resources you already have.  

There are many services you can provide as a business that might align with your current hobbies, such as photography or writing and editing. There is always demand and you can use the equipment you already have to expand these into paid services. Promoting your service or products on social media is a useful and free way to get your name out there, build a reputation and start building a loyal customer base. 

  • Calculate your costs and stick to a budget 

If you’re starting a new business project with no savings to fall back on, it’s important to properly plan and outline your expected costs before you do anything else.  

Having a breakdown of your potential outgoings from day one will help you set a clear budget to ensure you don’t spend beyond initially modest means. Forecasting any potential spend each month will allow you to set a target of sales you’ll need as a minimum. Doing this weekly will ensure you can keep track of your progress, which you can start to build on, and increase your spend as your product or service starts to gain traction.    

  • Run it as a side project (initially) 

There is an element of risk when starting a new business, particularly if your base level of finance is zero. One way to easily minimise this risk is to keep hold of any full or part time job you have as a means of slowly funding the project. This will likely mean more working hours to balance both projects but could pay off in the long run. 

If you can keep any non-essential costs to a minimum to begin with, any money you do put into any project will help you expand and grow once that becomes necessary. Finally, be sure to seek advice or speak to an accountant to manage any tax implications that come with self-employment alongside full-time work. 

  • Explore government support 

You don’t always have to take a leap of faith financially when starting a business. If you have no notable funds to launch your venture, there’s an array of government support schemes to help you get things off the ground.  

The government’s Business Finance Support Finder can offer entrepreneurs different methods of financial aid, whether that’s a business grant or a flexible loan you can pay back in your own time. The options can be tailored to your own circumstances to ensure you get the right amount of support to help you. Make sure you have a solid business plan in place if this is something you choose to apply for, as it will most likely be an integral part of the application. 

Marco Mongiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor, The University of Law Business School, commented: “There is no doubt that more and more people are gaining the confidence to start out on their own, with the additional time at home due to pandemic restrictions inspiring Brits to get creative and try to monetise their skills. 

“However, whilst there are plenty of success stories of businesses born in lockdown, the challenges facing new start-ups are significant, particularly for those starting out on a modest or non-existent financial foundation. 

“In an increasingly digitised world, running a business remotely at very low cost is now more common than ever and we are confident these tips will help inspire entrepreneurs that may have been apprehensive about starting a business venture with no savings to fund it.” 

To find out more about The University of Law Business School, please visit: https://www.law.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/business/  ; 

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/starting-from-scratch-an-expert-guide-to-starting-a-business-with-no-savings/

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HRTech

30% of young workers in the UK want travel vaccinations included in their benefits packages

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Data from a recent study reveals that the UK’s company benefit schemes are ignoring younger employees, despite a huge majority placing great value on benefits. Just 16% of UK employees under 25 (Gen Z) feel that their current benefits package is suitable for them. This figure increases to 24% for aged 25-34.

The study was conducted by one of the UK’s leading wet wipe brands, Wet Ones, as part of the 2021 Employee Benefits, Health and Wellbeing Survey. It asked employees at 133 workplaces across the UK how their health and wellbeing needs and habits have changed, and whether updated benefits packages from their employers would help to support their wellbeing.

The ‘wants’ of Gen Z employees, who feel least satisfied with their benefits packages, are found to be evolving with shifting societal priorities faster than other age groups.

30% of under-25s in the UK want travel vaccinations included in their benefits packages, helping them to embrace their pent-up wanderlust as overseas travel gradually becomes easier

25% would like additional ‘health days’ holiday packages to support mental health

21% want greater flexibility on working hours, hoping that pandemic-enforced changes would lead to a working hours revolution

Many employee benefits schemes remain unchanged after the global shift to home working and a more flexible hybrid system. This has led to many company perks being unused and failing to encourage employee health, wellbeing, and productivity.

Have companies adapted to fit changing lifestyles?

The study reveals that companies are lagging behind lifestyle trends, with four out of five (81%) employees (of all ages) stating that their benefits packages are out of sync with their lifestyle.

When asked how their employers could support their physical, mental and personal wellbeing, these were the results:

70% feel the need for more flexible working hours

61% want private healthcare and dental care, and financial support with staying healthy (such as glasses, physio sessions or ergonomic office equipment)

53% would like additional ‘health days’ for personal wellbeing

How can companies better align to employee lifestyles?

To effectively support employee wellbeing, it is essential that companies realise how their employees’ lifestyles have permanently shifted. 

The way we exercise

Rather than ‘binge exercising’ at weekends, the UK workforce has enjoyed regular exercise throughout the working week since widespread working from home began. 84% say they are more physically active since moving the office to home.

The UK has become a nation of walkers: nearly three in five (56%) employees now walk more during the working week, instead of exclusively at weekends

Two in five (39%) feel their diet has improved, with people ditching takeaways and pre-packaged food in favour of healthy, home-cooked meals

A quarter (25%) of UK employees are participating in more wellness activities, such as gardening and engaging with nature

Changing exercise routines should cause companies to consider more flexible funding of equipment, instead of just offering a standard gym membership. While an increased focus on healthy diets could point towards more of an appetite for fruit and vegetable box deliveries, rather than a monthly takeaway. Wellness activities should also be incorporated to ensure both physical and mental health support is covered.

Gurinder Sagoo, HR Director for North Europe and Oceania at Wet Ones, says:

“We’re aware of the importance of ensuring people have the support and resources they need to lead both active and healthy lifestyles. The findings from this study show that an urgency to adapt employee wellbeing packages has emerged during the last year. 

“Significantly, they also demonstrate how essential it is for benefits packages to cater for everyone in the workplace, by taking into account each individual’s age, lifestyle and personal circumstances. An inclusive benefits package contributes to the whole team feeling supported in pursuing a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally. Therefore, it is crucial that companies digest these findings and take action to improve how they nurture employee wellbeing.”

Kris Ambler, Workforce Lead at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), says:

“Lockdown loneliness and digital fatigue are among the phrases that have entered our lexicon and many employees are contending with bereavement and grief, redundancy, restructuring and job insecurity. This means that employee benefit programmes will need to be more personalised; managers will have to be more intuitive when assessing the mental wellbeing of remote workers; and financial wellbeing support will need to play a larger role within the employee benefits and occupational health mix.

“Investing in employee benefit schemes makes good economic sense and demonstrates a genuine commitment to an employer’s duty of care to their staff. Support services, including counselling, can help to identify and address problems early. They can alleviate the psychological impact of negative work situations and keep employees working effectively and productively.”

Dawn Morris, HR Adviser at Cluer HR, says:

“The right workplace support can have a hugely positive impact on employee wellbeing and mental health and is fundamental to every employer’s reward and benefits programme. It will show understanding and appreciation of current and future employees, and help to build an engaged, supported and productive workforce. Having the right benefits package can also attract new talent to the business.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: http://hrnews.co.uk/30-of-young-workers-in-the-uk-want-travel-vaccinations-included-in-their-benefits-packages/

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Attention iPhone users: Soon it will be easier for you to switch to Android

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Apple has had a “Move to iOS” app in the Google Play store for years.

Finally, Google is planning a similar tool for those wanting to switch from iOS to Android.

Switching platforms is hard. It’s possible, but the deeper you are into an ecosystem, the harder it is to switch without that move costing you a lot of time, effort, money, and you can never fully replicate some features.

Currently, if you want to switch platforms, you first have to squirt all your iPhone data such as photos to Google Drive, and then download it all back to your new Android smartphone. It works, but you don’t get a seamless switch for things like apps.

This is about to change.

Must read: Why you need to urgently update all your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – NOW!

The eagle-eyed folks over at 9to5Google have spotted some changes to Google’s Data Restore Tool that mentions a “Switch to Android” app for iOS that transfers the data over a Wi-Fi connection between the two devices.

It’s worth bearing in mind that no switch is going to be perfect. Some apps are exclusive to certain platforms, and even where they are not, any paid apps will need to be repurchased for the new platform.

Switching from iOS to Android will also mean losing iMessage, which for many is an unacceptable loss.

Currently, there’s no “Switch to Android” app in the Apple App Store, but it might be worth keeping an eye out for it.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/attention-iphone-users-soon-it-will-be-easier-to-switch-to-android/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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HRTech

Attention iPhone users: Soon it will be easier for you to switch to Android

Published

on

Apple has had a “Move to iOS” app in the Google Play store for years.

Finally, Google is planning a similar tool for those wanting to switch from iOS to Android.

Switching platforms is hard. It’s possible, but the deeper you are into an ecosystem, the harder it is to switch without that move costing you a lot of time, effort, money, and you can never fully replicate some features.

Currently, if you want to switch platforms, you first have to squirt all your iPhone data such as photos to Google Drive, and then download it all back to your new Android smartphone. It works, but you don’t get a seamless switch for things like apps.

This is about to change.

Must read: Why you need to urgently update all your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – NOW!

The eagle-eyed folks over at 9to5Google have spotted some changes to Google’s Data Restore Tool that mentions a “Switch to Android” app for iOS that transfers the data over a Wi-Fi connection between the two devices.

It’s worth bearing in mind that no switch is going to be perfect. Some apps are exclusive to certain platforms, and even where they are not, any paid apps will need to be repurchased for the new platform.

Switching from iOS to Android will also mean losing iMessage, which for many is an unacceptable loss.

Currently, there’s no “Switch to Android” app in the Apple App Store, but it might be worth keeping an eye out for it.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/attention-iphone-users-soon-it-will-be-easier-to-switch-to-android/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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