The New Working Week

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Some companies are contemplating the idea of the new working week, a four-day working week. A study has shown that implementing a four-day working week has improved productivity and lowered running costs while still paying employees a full salary.

Two thirds of businesses within the UK have already implemented a four-day working week for some if not all of their employees.

Research has estimated that businesses that have introduced a four-day working week would save a combined total of £104 billion pounds. Henley Business School estimated a combined saving totalling £92 billion for businesses offering a four-day week in 2019.

As well as increasing productivity and lowering costs employers have noticed that their employees were less stressed, happier and able to spend more time developing their skills.

Implementing a four-day working week has meant that businesses were able to attract more employees and retain the employees they already have.

Since the start of the pandemic many employees have been more aware of the hours they work and the importance of a good work life balance.

The majority of employees would prefer to work a four-day week if it meant they would still get paid a full salary. Many employees have been keen to adopt a more flexible working approach such as working from home or working shift patterns.

A trial of the four-day week was launched in the UK in January 2022 which involved at least 30 employers. This trial has spread the idea of a four-day working week further than expected.

The four-day working week has positives and negatives. An advantage of the whole of the UK adopting a four-day working week is that it would produce environmental benefits such as it could mean less commuting and potentially reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 127 million tonnes according to the environmental organisation platform London and the four-day week campaign.

For some businesses a four-day working week is not practical at this point in time while for others they might be thinking of how their business could trial or implement it. It’s uncertain whether the four-day working week will take off completely in the UK but it’s something that companies are considering as part of their plans for the future.

Management Skills; Are You In The Know?

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Manging a team consists of many skills, being able to adapt to managing different personalities can be a challenge. This article will highlight some of the management skills that are required for effective leadership.

Interpersonal skills

The basis of being a good manager and effective leader is all about building and maintaining successful relationships. In order to be a good leader, you need to earnt the respect of your team.

A big part of earning the respect of your team is getting to know them on a personal and professional level.

You need to demonstrate that you posses the managerial qualities of authority and being part of a team.

Communication and motivation

Effective communication including written, verbal and listening skills are essential. As a manager you are the line of communication between the employees and senior management. You will liaise with a variety of stakeholders in many different ways.

Establishing a relationship of trust with all stakeholders allows for effective communication, responsibility and the ability to able to influence decisions and discussions.

To keep the lines of communications open you need to be available and accessible to you team so that they can discuss any issues and concerns. Weekly team meetings and an open-door policy will enable you to achieve this.

Having a positive attitude goes a long way in creating a harmonious working environment. By actively engaging with your employees and recognising achievements will ensure that your team feels valued and appreciated.


Being proficient at being organised is essential for managers. You need to have the ability to manage your own work load, supervise your employees and oversea their workload whilst carry out other duties such as meetings, training and employee relation matters.

Delegating your workload can help to manage stress levels but also gives your team new responsibilities, trust and respect.

Planning ahead

As a manager you need to think of the bigger picture and focus on the tasks of the future as well as today’s tasks. Effective goal setting that are in line with the company’s overall goals and reviewing processes to maintain productivity and effectiveness will help with strategic plans for the future

Problem solving

Problem solving can be a daily occurrence for some managers. Being able to effectively solve problems and make quick and efficient decisions is vital.

It is important that as a manager you can look at the pros and cons of any decision. Creative thinking can allow you to find effective solutions that minimise the impact for you and your team and the business as a whole.


Managers play a role in supporting their employees, guiding them within their roles and preparing them for future roles. Managers should be enabling their team to develop and improve their skills and knowledge which will help individual employees and the business.

To find out how we can provide effective training and support for your managers contact us now on 07723088049.

HR Consultant, Do You Need Them? What Are The Benefits?

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At some point all businesses big or small will need the help and support of HR.  Whether that is an in-house HR department or an outsourced HR consultant. A human resource consultant or an in-house human resources department provide employment law advice and take care of your employees throughout the employee life cycle. In this article we explore the benefits of a HR consultant.

There are a number of areas that are covered by human resource departments and human resources consultants. To name a few;

  • Performance management
  • Absence management
  • Recruitment
  • Training and development
  • Compliant
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Health and safety
  • Policies and procedures
  • Strategy

All these different areas are important for the day to day running of a business. For businesses that do not have an in-house department you can outsource your HR needs and requirements to a human resources consultant. A HR consultant can provide advice when issues arise and take care of the day-to-day HR tasks helping your business to function efficiently. That all sounds great I hear you say but what are the benefits of a HR consultant?

An expert

A HR consultant provides expert advice and guidance on a whole range of issues and topics as well as being able to offer solutions to problems that have arisen, they can offer sound advice on areas that can be improved, that will have a positive effect on the business. HR consultants regularly maintain and develop their knowledge and expertise to provide the best service for their clients.


Human resource consultants will be able to provide strategic human capital development. This will align with the overall goals, objectives and vision of the company. Having a clear strategy regarding employees who help with achieving the overall goals of the business. For example, if you wanted to grow your business this has an effect that trickles down throughout the whole of the business. You may need to recruit more employees to handle the growth of the business. A HR consultant will advise and guide you on what you need for your business.


The minefield that is recruitment can be less complicated. A HR business consultant can help set out the job description, job advert, interview questions and what a good candidate should look like based on requirements of the role. The HR consultant can provide essential training to line managers on how to conduct interviews, right to work checks, reference checks and the all important on boarding processes for your new employees.


Without an inhouse HR department or a human resources consultant you can run the risk of not being compliant and not following the strict employment rules and regulations. A human resources consultant will provide peace of mind that you are fully compliant and adhere to the strict regulations now and in the future.

Urgent issues

Here at HR Office Ltd we know that urgent issues can appear out of nowhere and that they need to be handled effectively and efficiently. Having a HR consultant when you don’t have an in-house HR department ensures that issues are resolved promptly.

Performance Management

Having a comprehensive performance management plan will enable you to maximise the potential of your employees. Either your HR department or a HR consultant will aid you in how to put the plan together and how execute it.

Absence Management

Part of the HR function is to manage absences from holiday, maternity, paternity and sickness. Managing absences within a business can be a time-consuming process but a crucial process. Ensuring that there are enough employees to carry out the day-to-day task is vital for any business.

Training and Development

To maintain efficiencies and quality training is essential. Employees need to train continuously to maintain and develop their skills and knowledge. A HR consultant can help put training plans in place for future development needs. Training existing employees for potential future positions benefits the business in a number of ways.


It’s common in most businesses for the HR department to process the monthly payroll. Having an efficient process in place for the monthly payroll can make preparing the payroll easier. A human resources consultant can put processes in place to ensure the smooth monthly task.


Many businesses offer a wide range of employee benefits such as private health care, cycle to work schemes and discount platforms. Having benefits in place can add to a positive working environment. Determining what benefits would benefit your employees can be problematic. Conducting effective surveys can guide you in what benefits would be most suitable. A consultant can prepare surveys and give advice on which benefits would be best for your business.

Health and Safety

Many of the health and safety aspects are carried out by a HR department or a HR consultant. There are regulations that need to be adhered to within a business. The most prominent aspect of Health and safety regulations currently are those of COVID. Ensuring your business is equipped to ensure all employees and visitors are safe whilst at work is very important.

Policies and Procedures

There can be a number of policies and procedures that businesses have in place. These documents are put in place to ensure processes are followed for the efficient running of the business. The documents are rules and guidelines for employees and managers whilst at work. A human resources consultant can review existing documents as well as create the necessary documents needed.

There are many benefits to having a HR consultant for your business. If you are in need of a HR consultant for your business and would like to find out how we can help support your business with your human resources needs contact HR Office Ltd today.

Right To Work Checks, What’s New?

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As an employer you need to make sure that your employees have the legal right to work in the UK. When you employee someone you must carry out the correct right to work check.

The process for checking if someone has the right to work consists of the following.

  • Obtain the employees original identification documents
  • Check that the original documents are valid
  • Take a copy of the original documents, record the date that they were checked
  • Keep the copy of the original documents safe and in accordance with GDPR

Due to COVID the RTW checks have been allowed to be carried out in a different manner. You can receive the documents digitally and make the checks via video call. If someone is unable to provide their right to work documents then you can use the Home office Employer checking service The checking service may provide you with a positive verification notice which will provide proof of the right to work for 6 months.

Currently a new employee form the EEA or Switzerland can prove their right to work with their passport, providing the expiry date is no less than 6 months. However, from 30th June 2021 under the regulations that have derived from Brexit this will not be a valid way of proving the right to work in the UK.

From 1st July a new start must either provide documentation that demonstrates that the either have pre settled or settle status or a visa that allows them to work and remain in the UK.

Although it is not a requirement to carry out an audit prior to the changes, you should remind your employees to apply for pre/ settled status via the EU settlement scheme. As an employer you can not force your employees to apply for pre settle or settled status. However communicating the processing of the EU settlement scheme and what it means if they do not register by 1st July is advised.

An employee can provide evidence of their pre settled or settled status by providing a share code that can be used via an online service to check that they have the right to work in the UK. To obtain settled status in the UK you must have lived in the UK for 5 years or more. Pre settled status is given to those that have lived in the UK for under 5 years.

You need to make sure that your employees have the right to work in the UK and how to carry out the checks in accordance with the new regulations.

For further information or advice visit or email

What Should You include In An Employee Handbook? – Simple Guide

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An employee handbook goes hand in hand with your policies and procedures and are often considered a necessary document for a business.

The basis behind an employee handbook or manual is to clearly outline the policies in which employees need to follow.

The handbook should be clear, concise and contain certain policies that are a requirement of law such as GDPR and Health and Safety.

An employee handbook is often used in tribunals to prove how reasonable an employer is, however, if you don’t follow it and keep it up to date, it can lead to the handbook being scrutinised in a tribunal.

A handbook can be part of the employment contract. This would mean that your employees would be bound by the Handbook, but this also works both ways, if an employer fails to follow the policies within the handbook it may leave you open to breach of contract and a possible constructive dismissal claim.

A non contractual handbook allows you to be able to make changes to policies without requiring employee consent. The employee handbook should clearly state if it is contractual or not.

A handbook should outline what an employee needs to know regarding booking annual leave, sickness, maternity, paternity, grievances, disciplinaries, time off in lieu, overtime and outline how the business expects its employees to behave. There are many more policies that can be found in the handbook. There are a few important areas that we would suggest are in the handbook.

  • Health and Safety – if you have more than five employees you have a statutory duty to create a written document of health and safety policies and inform your employees.
  • Diversity and equal opportunities – employers can be liable for discrimination against employees or potential employees, therefore it is important that employers have this clearly stated in their handbook.

You need to ensure your employees are aware of the different leave options such as maternity, paternity and adoption leave and what they are entitled to.

Employers need to make sure their policies are accessible to employees and that they are aware of them. All managers should have training on what is contained within the handbook and how to enforce the policies. As well as training sessions regular feedback should be sought from employees and managers.

It is important to make sure your handbook has the most recent GDPR changes. Any data protection policy that you had in place before GDPR came into force is out of date and should be updated as this could leave you open to a data breach.

Employee handbooks can be a useful tool for both employees and employers. Ensure handbooks are drafted correctly otherwise it could leave you exposed to legal action, which is why it is very important to get it right.

To find out more information on handbooks and how to draft them contact us at

How do I motivate my employees?

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We often get asked how do I motivate my employees? From time to time all employees and even managers lack motivation. The key to motivating your employees is by creating a good working environment that makes your employees feel passionate about going to work every day and wanting to work hard.

Motivating your employees does not need to challenging. You can easily put steps in place that will create better employee engagement.

Create a Friendly working environment

Creating a friendly work environment makes your employees feel welcomed and comfortable is key as employees spend most of their time at work. Working in a positive space will help create a positive mindset which will in turn motivate your employees.

Employee achievements

Everyone wants to have acknowledgement for a job well done. Recognising and celebrating employees’ achievements mean more to employees thank you might realise. Every employee wants to feel valued and respected and know that what they do contributes to the overall goals of the business.


Rewarding employees can increase motivation, positive reinforcement results in positive results. Rewards don’t necessarily need to be that of monetary rewards, it can be as simple as providing an extra day off and flexible working.


It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your employees. You need to give your employees an opportunity to openly express concerns and ideas as this will give employees a sense of being listened too. The concerns / ideas can also give an insight to the inner workings of the business. Employee’s value having a manager that is approachable and open which in turns leads to engaged employees.

Friendly competition

A competitive environment that encourages some friendly competition between employees can create motivated and engaged employees as well as creating a sense of achievement.

Competition can be healthy if carried out in the correct manner. When it is carried successfully it can lead to employee participation and team work resulting in a good working relationship.

Goal setting

Everyone should be working towards the overall goal and vision of the business. Managers should be setting goals for employees that corelates to the business goals. Having goals that employees can work towards leads to recognition, reward and career progression will drive employees to work harder.


Having a clear progression plan for your employees will help to motivate your employees and keep them engaged and lead to better retention. Giving your employees opportunities to learn and develop will benefit your organisation and your employees.

By providing the necessary training for your employees that is required to help build their careers will benefit the organisation through more knowledgeable and better skilled employees.

Lead by example

Your employees look to you to demonstrate what a good leader is. Setting a good tone for your employees will motivate and aspire your employees to work harder and keep them engaged. Good leadership has a positive effect on your employee’s productivity, work ethic and mental health. Strong positive leadership creates a positive work culture and an environment that nourish and grows your employees.

Be creative

Encourage your employees to be creative and to develop ideas that can be shared across the organisation. There are many ways your employees can get involved and be creative such as social events and creating blogs.

In summary there are many ways you can motivate your employees. Here we have outlined just a few ways in which you can motivate and engage your employees. It’s important to remember that you need to find what works for your business. If your employees are happy at work then they will be more productive. Remember your employees are your best assets and therefore its worth making sure they are motivated.  

Would you like further advice about how you can motivate your employees?

Contact us today to arrange a free, no obligations call at or call us on 07723088049.

How To Plan A Good Induction

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Induction, what’s that?

Before your new employee starts it’s important to plan out a robust induction for them which will help, support and train them in their new role. Planning out their first week won’t only help them to settle into their new role and the company, but will also help you as their manager.

I have seen it before when a new employee starts, they are shown around the office, taken to their desk and then either the manager is scrambling around to find them things to do or they are just left to get on with it.

By this time the manager is feeling stressed at trying to train a new employee and the employee is wondering what type of company they are working for. It doesn’t need to be this way. Here are some simple tips to help give your new employees the right impression.

What to teach them first?

On their first day it’s best of to start simple, but with a warm welcome. Giving them a warm welcome reinforces that they have made the right choice in accepting the role. Give them a tour of the office and the usual meet and greet.

It can be really useful to give employees a seating plan of the office which includes their colleague’s names. There’s nothing worse than wanting to ask someone a question but you can’t remember their name.

Now your new employee knows the basics of the office onto the computer systems.  Before the new employee starts test out their logins to make sure they work. Having IT issues on the first day can cause chaos. Once you know all the logins work, set time aside to train the new employee on the systems.

The Job description

To establish what a new employee needs to be trained on the job description is the place to start. Go through the job description and detail what they will need to know in order to carry out each task. From there you can start to plan out their induction detailing how much time you will allocate for each section, who will be training them and what the outcome is of each training session. Part of the training should also allow for self-studies, time to reflect on the training by going through their notes or material that has been provided and to practice what they have learnt.


During the employees first six months it’s important to have regular feedback and review sessions so that the progress of the new employee can be evaluated. This will ensure both you and the new employee know if they are reaching their targets.

Who’s my buddy?

Assigning a work buddy to your new employee can really help the new employee to settle in. It gives them someone from day one that they can go to for help and support or to have lunch with.

Making sure your employee fills welcome and that you know what you are doing goes a long way in ensuring your new employee will not leave during their probation period. It can cost a fair amount to get your new employee so make sure you continue to invest in them to keep them.  

For further information or advice visit or email

How To Have Difficult Conversations

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Unfortunately, difficult conversations arise and knowing how to handle them appropriately is the key to managing them successfully.

Whether the conversation relates to performance, conduct, personal hygiene or letting an employee know that they won’t be getting a pay rise its important to have these conversations.

Preparing for these conversations can make them more manageable. Its important to follow these guidelines;

Plan the conversation
Outline the points you want to discuss and the outcome you want to reach before the meeting. Having a plan will help you to stay on topic, raise the issues and address them.

Be direct but not blunt
When discussing a difficult issue, you need to be direct, rather than skirting around the issue. Dragging out the conversation will only add to the tension and can lead to conversation not taking place at all. It may seem unkind to be direct but once the issue has been outlined you can then start to look for solutions. When you outline the issue be specific and keep it simple, use examples if you can to highlight when the issue has occurred.

Be empathic
Remember that the employee is probably feeling a whole host of emotions once they have been told about the issue so by empathic and show that you understand how the employee must be feeling. Allow them some time to take in the information and to process it.

Offer solutions and discuss potential solutions
Be sure to come to the meeting prepared with potential solutions to the issues. There’s nothing worse than identifying an issue but not having a plan on how to resolve it. Allow the employee to comment on potential solutions and also to offer solutions to the issues.

Set SMART objectives
Setting SMART objectives allows both parties to measure the progress of the objective. For example, if the conversation was regarding telling an employee they would not receive a pay increase, due to poor performance, set SMART objectives for them to improve on their performance. SMART objectives should be;
• Specific
• Measurable
• Assignable
• Realistic
• Time related
• Be specific

Remember having difficult conversations is not easy, but being prepared will aid the conversation.

For further information or advice visit or email


Interview Questions, What To Ask

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We often get asked what questions should I ask in an interview. The interview process is very important for all companies as you have a short amount of time to decide if the candidate is right for the position. Making sure you hire the right candidate can be a minefield, however asking the rights questions can make all the difference.

So where to start?

The best place to start is with the job description. The candidate needs to have the skills and experience that will match the job description to be able to perform the role.

Look at the must haves on the job description and then look at what questions you could ask the candidate that would demonstrate these.

Think about asking open questions as these allow for the candidate to give examples of when they have demonstrated a certain skill.

For example;
• Can you give me an example of a time when you had a lot of deadlines and how did you manage your time to meet them?
• Can you give me an example of a time when you were under pressure?
• Can you give me an example of a time when you didn’t meet your deadline and what you did to overcome this?
• Can you give me an example of when you have gone above and beyond your role?
• Can you give me an example of when something didn’t go right and what did you learn from it?

These types of questions will give you more insight into how they handle pressure, their time, how they prioritise their tasks and how they overcome obstacles and failure.

The recruitment process needs to be fair for all the candidates. Preparing the questions ahead of the interview ensures all the candidates are asked the same questions.

You as the interviewer should do the least amount of talking as you want to spend the time listening and evaluating the candidate to see if they will be a good match for the position.

Don’t, ask questions about their age, marital status, whether they have children or plan to have children or other personal questions. The point of the interview is to determine whether the candidate is a good match for the role and not about them as a person.

Once you have set out your questions the next thing to do is to make sure everything is ready for the interview. I’m not just referring to inviting the candidates but asking the candidates do they need any reasonable adjustments for the interview. The interview process is about making the candidate as comfortable as possible and also showing them what a good company you are to work for.

If you ask questions based on the job description and tailor them to ask for examples to demonstrate the skills and knowledge for the role then you will easily see which candidate is right for the position.

For further information or advice visit or email

Candidate Offer Letter Template

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We get asked on a fairly regular basis for help with what to put in an offer letter to a candidate who has been successful in a recruitment process. So we’ve decided to put a template on our site to provide easy access to it whenever it’s needed. Feel free to use it as you need.

Company Address


Candidate’s address
Candidate’s Names


We are pleased to confirm that we would like to offer you the position of _.
This position is_______
(office based or home based). Your manager who you will report directly to is _ (name and position within the company).
This offer letter is subject to the conditions of _____
(references, background check, drug test, signed confidentiality statement, proof of employment eligibility).

The position is _ (hours per week and days per week. Weekend work, shifts) with an hourly or annual salary of _. (Are there any bonuses or commission that would be paid)
The company offers the following benefits as part of your employment package, (pension, private health care, extra holiday after years served, expenses paid, car allowance, buy holiday scheme etc).
This job offer expires on

Please could you read and sign this offer letter in a formal acceptance of accepting the position and the conditions that apply as part of the offer.
We are very much looking forward to you joining the company.

Yours Sincerely

(Name and signature)