HR bits & bytes (August) – taking the headache out of managing employees.

What should we be thinking about in terms of the future of hybrid working?

As working from home is a non-contractual discretionary aspect which does not form part of the actual contract, you are able to decide what suits the business and your teams and then clearly communicate this out, but to start consider the following points to help you decide.

This is an opportune time to strengthen your contracts and supporting documentation for the future.  As a starting point, consider what you want your business to look like and take the opportunity to future proof the business in respect of what you want your business to look like going forward, and then work your contracts and supporting working practices around this

Considerations for flexible working requests should be fair and reasonable, and yes you are obliged to consider all requests after 6 months service and in light of the last 18 months. If you’re having trouble deciding legitimately, if a role is able to continue in a working from home format, try asking these questions when deciding the future of a role.

  • Is it a suitable role that can be done from home and or the office?
  • How will the time be split and what is reasonable for what you want, or need to achieve as a business?
  • Do any other parties need to be included in the conversation i.e. colleagues or departments in terms of collaboration or project deliverables.  There’s little point in agreeing it can continue 100% of the time, if you require collaboration and attendance of key people at a weekly meeting.
  • What percentage of the role can be undertaken away from the office/work location?
  • Just because they have been doing it, isn’t reason enough to make it a permanent move. What’s right for your business?
  • Are you intending to, or will you need to make hybrid working a change to terms and conditions of employment?
  • How will you monitor output and performance, as well as sickness and absence, don’t wait until someone challenges this before you decide, ensure this is clear and communicated early.

Look out for our Shedtalk sessions in October when we’ll be discussing how to manage and monitor productivity in a hybrid world.

“Can I reduce salary costs for those who are now working from home? “ – Salary reductions for those working from home.

Speaking to a number of our clients, we know that a number are still looking to reduce costs and reserve cash right now, many are still thinking of other ways to conserve much needed cash, so it makes sense that a question we have been asked has been around reducing salary in exchange for flexibility, the “can I reduce salary costs for those who are now working from home”,  In short, we wouldn’t advise this route for 2 reasons:

  • It’s not as simple as just changing it, pay and conditions are a contractual obligation between you and the employee, you do need consent to change anything relating to pay and conditions, this requires time and planning to ensure you have shown due process.
  • Any pay issues are likely to become contentious, way up employee engagement v’s potential leavers!

So, are there any alternatives?

Yes, you could go for a pay freeze or limit some of the non-contractual pay, such as bonuses and other rewards. 

Our advice would be to consider any changes against the backdrop of engagement and retention, at a time when recruitment and retention will wax and wane, retention of key employees will be huge, any decisions you make should be from a more longer-term viewpoint.

If you would like some help or advice on changing any of your employment paperwork or what options you can take, then please get in touch.

Other discussions this month – The Big Resignation

You may or may not be aware of a current conversation the Big Resignation, It’s an interesting topic and if only some of these predictions are to be believed,  then it’s time for all of us to start giving some consideration to our future engagement and retention plans.

We’ve been working with clients on 2 key areas over the last few months in terms of

  • Re engaging teams that have been separated during Covid, as well as
  • Reviewing and re communicating the Company vision and roadmaps

We’ll be sharing some of the stories and learns with you over the next few months, if you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help to re invigorate and reengage your teams, to increase productivity, please get in touch

Finally, a few quick reminders.

Updated rules on self isolation for employees and employers from 16th August 2021.  Self-isolation removed for double-jabbed close contacts from 16 August

Remember the 1st July marked the change in how you Employ EU citizens in the UK, there has been a further update with businesses calling on the government to continue with the on line checks after September but we are awaiting further details on this at present, in the meantime

Employers will need to check the right to work in the UK for all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. You can do this online, using a share code which the individual should have obtained via the Government website here, along with the individual’s date of birth.

Where employees do not comply

Where you employed one of these citizens before 31 December 2020 and they haven’t obtained a share code by 30 June 2021 then it is not yet clear what action you will need to take. Further guidance is awaited from the Government.

Useful link – View a job applicant’s right to work details

If you need assistance with managing right to work checks for your employees please get in touch


  • With over 20 years' experience in structuring and growing businesses and teams from inception, through periods of growth and change and finally structuring them ready for sale, Karen and her team have helped dozens of business owners and leaders manage growth and change within their business by concentrating on the human side of running and managing a business. An experienced Organisational Coach and HR Consultant, Karen has extensive experience in working with growth SMEs and a proven background in delivery and development of employees against business goals, her specialism is in working with small and medium size companies, delivering operational, people-based solutions that are commercially focused and enable growth of the business. Karen also works as a Non-Executive Director and Trustee and is a trained Predictive Index (PI) Analyst.

Rowan Consulting

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