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Assisting Employees With Anxiety

According to the NHS, 5% of people within the UK now suffer from some form of anxiety so it is now more important than ever for employers to learn how to address and support employees who are suffering from anxiety at work. This can be promoted throughout the organisation by developing a strategy which focusses on the long-term aspects of managing mental health in the workplace, whilst also promoting wellbeing throughout the organisation.

Whilst various developments have been made in terms of discussing and raising awareness of mental health in the workplace, there is still a long way to go before people truly feel comfortable in having open communication about mental health concerns. For this reason, it is imperative that managers take a proactive approach in building an open and honest culture surrounding health and wellbeing. This could be something as small as checking in with your employees to see how they are, showing that you are available and open to discussing any issues they may be facing.

Both management and employees will benefit from educating themselves in the issues surrounding anxiety including how to spot potential signs and how to approach someone who is experiencing anxiety. One possible way of doing so could include partnering with a local mental health charity and inviting their experts to come into the workplace to run workshops or hold talks about promoting positive mental health at work.

Stress often affects people in different ways and, for those suffering from anxiety, it may mean that they are more susceptible to feeling stressed, and it can be difficult for managers to balance the challenges of running a business and maintaining an awareness of employee wellbeing.

Making small adjustments within the workplace can help employees who are suffering from anxiety, such as splitting lunch breaks, to provide employees with the opportunity to take time out or considering flexible working. Additionally, anxiety sufferers may find it difficult to prioritise and manage their workloads, and so it may be helpful for managers to provide additional support when required. This could be achieved through regular one-to-one meetings to assess levels of work, or further assistance from another employee when required. Employers may also consider offering employees time out to attend counselling sessions when necessary.

Regardless of the approach you take, it is important to ensure that any measures put in place are constantly reviewed to identify any changes which may be required. Remember, employees suffering from anxiety or any other mental health condition are more than capable of being valuable contributors in the workplace and, by building an open culture surrounding mental health you are not only facilitating a more inclusive working environment, but are also aiding the retention of valuable employees.

HR Services Scotland supports World Mental Health Day.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.

For more information about the services that we provide at HR Services Scotland, please get in touch with us here.

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Employee Benefits

Scottish brewer Brewdog hit the headlines recently for introducing a very unusual staff benefit of “pawternity” leave one week’s paid leave for all workers who adopt a puppy or rescue dog. A review of their staff benefits demonstrates a huge investment into promoting the health and well-being of employers including education support fund, gym membership, paid sabbaticals linked to service length and life assurance with their published aim to be “the best company to work for, ever”.

Occupational psychologist Cheryl Isaacs says that having generous employee perks can be a good way for a company to help ensure that it has a contented workforce, and numerous studies have shown (perhaps unsurprisingly) that happy staff are more productive. With 45% of the UK population owning a pet and 90% of pet owners stating doing so increases their happiness perhaps businesses could learn from Brewdog’s approach.

One recent study into the issue by the University of Warwick found that employee happiness boosted productivity by 12%, while unhappy workers were 10% less productive. With the introduction of employee benefits or incentives it is paramount to remember that at times there is no one ‘best fit’ and by including employees in any decision making process the organisation can reap benefits for many years. Incentivising staff does not need to have considerable financial or time cost to a business and we can assist with lots of inexpensive, tailored ideas, focusing on the issues which you face.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.

For more information about the services that we provide at HR Services Scotland, please get in touch with us here.

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Dealing With Hot Weather In The Workplace

During spells of warm weather, it is important to remember the following points when considering acceptable working conditions for employees:

  1. There is no maximum workplace temperature which is acceptable for work

It is a common misconception that there is a maximum workplace temperature set by the law which, once reached in the summer, means that employees are entitled to be sent home from work but in reality Health and Safety Regulations simply require workplace temperatures to be “reasonable”.

This applies all year round but employers can be faced with issues when temperatures outside increase, resulting in warmer working conditions.

  1. What is a reasonable temperature and how can this be measured?

Whether or not temperature is deemed reasonable will depend on the type of work and the nature of the workplace (e.g. is the work manual labour taking place outside?), however undertaking a risk assessment will help assess these factors to determine a reasonable workplace temperature.

It can also be useful to speak to employees to gain a majority view of a comfortable working temperature, or what could be done to make working conditions more comfortable.

  1. Don’t just ignore staff grumbles

Unfortunately it is difficult to please everyone and so there will always be some members of staff who remain too hot or too cold regardless but, rather than ignoring their grumbles, steps can be taken to address these before they result in formal grievances. Easy, but effective, steps can include providing portable desk fans or moving employees away from air conditioning units where possible.

Employers may also have a legal obligation to make workplace adjustments where a disabled employee has a medical condition which makes them more sensitive to extreme hot or cold temperatures, to reduce the effects of warmer workplace environments.

  1. Relaxing the dress code can have a positive effect

Most companies have a dress code in place but, whilst business dress is a popular option during the working week, wearing suits or formal clothing can be extremely uncomfortable over the summer months, especially in warmer workplaces or during the daily commute.

Having a summer dress code, or informing employees that the normal dress code is relaxed, will help everyone feel more comfortable in the office, however it is important to have some additional rules in place to ensure employees remain professional.

  1. Recognise the heat

It’s easy for employees to feel less engaged when it’s nice weather outside and they have to be at work, which can lead to increased sickness absence, as they wish to enjoy the hot weather while it lasts.

If employers can take steps to show that they value and appreciate their staff during hot weather, this will help employees to remain productive and motivated, while also reducing absenteeism. Some examples could include providing ice lollies, cold drinks or summer snacks to members of staff. Additionally, early finish incentives, providing certain targets are met, will also help to raise productivity as staff wish to make the most of their longer evenings.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.

For more information about the services that we provide at HR Services Scotland, please get in touch with us here.

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World Wellbeing Week

As we celebrate World Wellbeing Week this blog looks at methods which companies can adopt to support the employees who work for them.

  1. Consider offering genuinely flexible working

Changes in the law in June 2014 meant that staff could apply for flexible working even if they didn’t have children or acted as someone’s carer. Now, any employee who has 26 weeks’ Continue reading

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Tips on Surviving the Heatwave

How can employees regulate their temperatures in hot conditions?

In a working environment it is always better to be subjected to cooler surroundings so that the body can expend its energy on cognitive processes instead of correcting the temperature state of the body.

To defeat the heat and keep teams ‘brain fit’, it helps to ensure they have the right resources on hand to keep cool, such as:

  • Keeping the water dispensers topped up – drinking at least four to six glasses a day keeps our brains hydrated which affects overall brain health
  • Ensure blinds are on the  Continue reading
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Workplace morale and employee retention

It is important for small businesses, especially when on a tight budget, to know the cost of replacing staff. According to small business accountant, Accounts and Legal, the average employee costs UK SMEs £11,000 to replace, from initial job specification crafting to onboard training and loss of production.

For businesses to prosper in today’s economy, it is vital to find and retain the best employees. Top talent is especially hard to find when competing against larger companies with bigger budgets for salary and benefits. This article will look at ways that businesses can improve workplace morale and Continue reading

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Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace


For many people, work is such a major part of our lives. It is where we spend much of our time, where we get our income and often where we make our friends, and having a fulfilling job can be good for your mental health and general wellbeing.

This is why it is so important to address mental health at work for those with existing issues, for those at risk, and for the workforce as a whole, as a toxic work environment can be corrosive to our mental health as well as having a negative impact on productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

While absence levels are currently at their lowest, mental health is currently the most common cause of long term absence and so it is important that employers adopt a more proactive approach in ensuring line managers feel equipped to provide the support their employees need, as well as finding value Continue reading

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Raising Tribunal Penalties

The government’s ‘Good work plan’, published in December 2018, made a commitment to increase the penalties for employers that repeatedly breach their employment law obligations. Employment Tribunals now have the power to impose a £5,000 ‘aggravated breach’ penalty on employers losing cases, and from 6th April 2019, the maximum limit on these penalties has risen to £20,000.
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Conflict Management


Max Lucado, US author and minister, once said “conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional”. And, workplace teams are certainly no exception.  This makes conflict
management critical, whether avoiding arguments, disputes, lasting conflict or ultimately, litigation.

Many of the calls we take on a daily basis centre around conflict within the workplace, teamwork in business expects the co-operation of individuals who may have their own personal agendas, interests, needs and preferences for ways of working. For business owners and line managers, this means there’s often the nightmare possibility that conflict will blow up, consume people’s energy and sink team performance, often affecting not only those involved in the conflict but the people around them.
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Wellbeing at Work


Over the course of the past few years, it has become apparent that working life has evolved from being traditionally office based with fixed working hours, to something much more flexible.

There are now many aspects of working life, such as remote working, which should be considered, which have also paved the way for other factors, such as continuing with remote working while on leave (leaveism) or even continuing to attend work while ill (presenteeism) which must be accounted for in order for employers to assist their employees in achieving a clear work-life balance.
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