Blue Tree HR Newsletter June 2024

Everything you need to know about menopause in the workplace

Experiencing menopause at work can be challenging for a number of reasons, and the physiological and psychological symptoms of menopause can vary greatly from person to person.
While menopause isn’t explicitly a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2020, a recent landmark employment tribunal case (Mrs M Lynskey v Direct Line Insurance) found that menopause symptoms can, in fact, be considered a disability if they have a long-term and substantial impact on a woman’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
A key takeaway from the case is that it may be possible to discriminate against employees experiencing menopause symptoms, by refusing to make reasonable adjustments and by penalising them for poor performance.
The ET ruled that the employer failed to make reasonable adjustments for Mrs Lynskey’s menopausal symptoms – namely: low mood, anxiety, mood swings, poor self-esteem and impact on memory and concentration – and that these symptoms were legally classed as a disability. This led to unfavourable treatment and her resignation.
Case Summary

  • The employee joined Direct Line in 2016 and had performed well for four years. However, in 2019, she began to experience menopausal symptoms, including poor concentration and memory issues and was also frequently tearful.
  • After initial support, in 2020 she was transferred to a lower paid role, rather than reasonable adjustments being made to her existing role. She struggled with the new job, including difficulty with accessing computer systems, experiencing ‘brain fog’ and struggling for words.
  • In 2021, she was told she would not receive a pay rise and her performance was criticised, wrongly attributed to low confidence.
  • Subsequently, she was placed on a formal performance-improvement and, although she had repeatedly mentioned her menopausal symptoms, her manager claimed there were no mitigating reasons for her performance.
  • She resigned the next year, claiming against Direct Line for unfavourable treatment and lack of reasonable adjustments.

Menopause Policy
Therefore, it is crucial to build an inclusive culture that encourages open discussion about the menopause, along with a supportive environment both in the office and when working at home. Having a menopause policy that educates, informs and helps people show understanding to their colleagues, without awkwardness or embarrassment, is a great place to start.
Our latest guide covers everything you need to know about these changes.
Get in touch for your FREE copy.

Easing the Work-Life load for Deliveroo drivers

Deliveroo has launched two exciting new initiatives to lend a helping hand to its rider community, free and flexible childcare hours and a new education and skills programme.
The partnership with childcare app Bubble offers 15 hours of free childcare to 1,000 riders, allowing them to work flexibly and effectively juggle caring responsibilities with busy schedules. Deliveroo is also teaming up with Lynx Educate to give riders and their families access to over 1,500 educational courses, including languages, data and business management, and sponsoring 100 riders to pursue higher qualification certificates.
These strategies form part of Deliveroo’s ongoing commitment to support rider growth, development and wellbeing, and deliver the kind of benefits that facilitate a good work-life balance. We hope this positive step inspires other leading market giants to consider the best ways to foster a supportive and inclusive environment for their workforce, ease the work-life burden and recognise the importance of career and skills advancement.

A pain in the neck (and back) for UK Workers

Did you know that, since 2019, the number of cases of neck and back problems causing economic inactivity in the UK has risen by an astonishing 28%?
As highlighted in a recent report by health and safety experts, Blue Trolley, back problems are causing rising economic inactivity across the UK due to long-term sickness. Worryingly, lower-paid employees are particularly vulnerable as they are taking longer periods of sick leave for back issues.
This raises serious concerns about the impact on both individuals and the economy, and shines a light on the need for employers to take preventative and urgent action.
Blue Trolley has provided some valuable guidance for employees and employers to prevent long-term back issues. This includes highlighting the risks associated with work through health and safety training and risk assessments, maintaining good posture and using the right equipment to safely handle heavy goods, taking regular breaks and having a healthy lifestyle. Early intervention and a proactive approach to workplace safety is crucial in mitigating the long-term consequences of back problems in the workforce.

Businesses are increasingly relying on contractors to guide them through the uncertainty of the current economic landscape. Recent findings from specialist recruiters, Robert Walters, reveal that 32% of employers intend to ramp up their hiring of contractors in 2024, attracted by the benefits of flexibility, specialist expertise and cost savings.
Although some challenges persist, the shift towards contracting shows that employers are taking a pragmatic approach to remain competitive and resilient in the face of rapid change.

How to celebrate Pride Month without corporate “rainbow washing”

Observed during the month of June, Pride Month is an annual celebration across the globe that celebrates the resilience, diversity and contributions shown by LGBTQ+ communities every day of the year. For employers, it’s an important event and sends a clear message that your organisation is an inclusive place to work where everyone feels valued and respected.
While Pride is notably marked with colourful outdoor parades and marches, displaying a rainbow flag or simply changing your logo could lead to accusations of “rainbow washing”.
This is a term to describe making superficial gestures without authentically showing commitment to LGBTQ+ rights and equality in practice. It can be seen as piggybacking an awareness month, which could lead to anger and disengagement, and it’s also harmful as it detracts from the true meaning of Pride – a protest against discrimination.
Here’s some suggestions for how to meaningfully celebrate Pride Month, avoid backlash and ensure that your efforts during this month can make a positive and lasting impact for your LGBTQ+ colleagues.

  1. Commit to year-round inclusion. Show a consistent approach by reviewing your policies, initiatives and company benefits to ensure they are fully inclusive.
  2. Get people involved. Creating, or elevating, your LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group can transform the experiences of LGBTQ+ people at work. An ERG can provide useful peer-to-peer support, raise awareness and ensure accountability.
  3. Educate and raise awareness. Consider hosting inclusion workshops with an external LGBTQ+ advocate/expert, or webinars and events that cover the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, to engage and inform people.
  4. Share stories and realities – Invite colleagues to share their stories and experiences that provide first-hand accounts from a range of LGBTQ+ voices. Allies can then help spread the word that diversity is celebrated by your business.
  5. Listen to your employees. Avoid falling into the trap of second-guessing what people want. Speaking to your employees – both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ – about what inclusion looks like in your business will help ensure your strategy is right and help get people on board with your vision.

If you feel you’ve fallen short, don’t worry! Use Pride Month as an opportunity to pledge your commitment to being a more inclusive workplace.
Adopting these strategies will demonstrate to your organisation that LGBTQ+ inclusion takes place not just during Pride month, but every day of the year.


Can I request evidence from an employee requesting statutory carer’s leave?
Put simply, no! The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 prohibit employers from requiring an employee to provide evidence to support their request for carer’s leave. Employees do not need to provide proof of their dependents’ care requirements.
If an employee clocks in 10 minutes late, can I make a deduction from their pay?
If it is specifically agreed in the employment contract, you may be able to deduct pay for lateness. However, before any action is considered it’s important to be fair and reasonable; explore the reasons for the lateness with the individual first (i.e. a family emergency) and always follow your own policies.
Can I demote an employee as a result of a disciplinary?
Depending on the reason, a demotion could be an outcome and a reasonable alternative to dismissal, if a contract clause permits this. However, it’s crucial to follow both a fair disciplinary procedure and your company policies to the letter. Always consult with the individual, obtain their agreement and only consider demotion if it’s proportionate to the findings of a full investigation. If justified, a performance improvement may be a suitable option.


Mental Health Support For Employees

Years of under-investment and then the unprecedented shock of the Covid-19 pandemic have left many areas in the NHS struggling to keep up.

Patients are facing increased delays at almost every stage of their NHS treatment, as the health system struggles to find the resources to deal with the overwhelming demand for mental health.  

Seeking help for a mental health problem can be difficult, and you might sometimes face barriers to getting the treatment you need and deserve. Unfortunately, the number of people waiting for community mental health care has risen to 1.2 million, leaving many people stranded and facing frustrating delays in accessing healthcare services.

Woman sat at desk looking stressed out at work. She needs Bleu Tree HR Solutions HR service solutions to help take care of her mental health.

Talk to Your GP First

You’ll need to talk to your GP to use some mental health services. This is known as a GP referral. Your GP can also talk to you about your mental health and help introduce you to the right mental health service for your needs.

Getting hold of a referral and seeing a specialist may take weeks (if not months) depending on your location and surgery. We understand that for people struggling with serious mental health conditions, this timeline is not fit for purpose.

In-the-moment support for anxiety, stress and depression is indispensable in the same way that someone with a broken leg would need to be rushed to A&E in an emergency.

What other options are available?

Get help through your workplace

If your mental health problem is because of stress at work, your employer might be able to refer you to occupational health service through Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

An Assistance Programme is a workplace benefit that provides individuals with counselling and access to a range of health and wellbeing services to help overcome any personal or work-related challenges.

Health Assured offers a safe and confidential space for individuals to discuss their issues 24/7, 365 days a year. Our Assistance Programmes are designed to proactively tackle mental health issues head-on, reducing your absenteeism and staff turnover rates, and increasing productivity.

Get help through the private sector

Although it’s not an option for many people because of the financial cost, you might feel it’s the right choice for you to see a private nurse, doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist – either alongside NHS support or instead of it.

Some private companies may provide an online service where you can talk to a registered GP or therapist over video chat or ask questions via a text messaging service. There are a number of different organisations that can help you find a therapist such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

I've tried everything and I'm still struggling to get treatment

If you’ve already explored all the options your GP has offered, and you haven’t found the help you’re looking for yet, it can feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing works. Unfortunately finding the help you need can sometimes be difficult and can take time.

But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that you deserve support.

  1. Keep trying and don’t give up. If you’ve had bad experiences with the people and professionals you’ve spoken to so far, you could give them another chance – or try again with someone new.
  2. Develop coping techniques. Planning positive ways to look after yourself while you’re on waiting lists can help you cope.
  3. Talk to people who understand. Getting support and encouragement from people who’ve been in a similar situation can be valuable, even if they can’t change what you’re going through.
  4. Talk to Health Assured. We are here 24/7, 365 to provide compassionate support, whatever challenges you face.
Man sat at desk looking stressed out about work. He needs Blue Tree HR Solutions HR service solutions to take care of his mental health.

How we can help...

Blue Tree HR Solutions have partnered with Health Assured to make it easy for employers to provide an award-winning Employee Assistance Programme to their employees.

For More information follow the link

Partner (

If you have any questions about how an Employee Assistance Programme could benefit your team or any other employee-related query, please get in touch.

Email us on or call 01787 695084

HR Investigations

Watch our short video which outlines the process for workplace investigations.

If you need any support during a workplace investigation please get in touch.

Contact Us


Book a Call

How HR service solutions can help you prioritise mental health in the workplace

World Mental Health Day is on the 10th of October each year, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of mental health and well-being in our lives.

In the fast-paced world of business, where the demands can be relentless, maintaining the mental health of employees is key to maintaining a healthy workplace and workforce.

A workplace that has discarded care for the mental health of staff can breed a whole array of serious issues – some that could even result in the downfall of your company.

For SMEs, this challenge can be particularly daunting.

This is where Blue Tree HR Solutions can help. With our range of HR service solutions (from Ad Hoc HR, Retained HR and HR support for small businesses) we have everything needed to help you care for your employee’s mental health and ensure continued productivity.

Here’s why taking care of your staff’s mental health is essential to a successful business, and how our HR service solutions can help make this task easier.


What is World Mental Health Day and why is it important

World Mental Health Day is a global reminder that aims to raise awareness about mental health issues and promote open conversations surrounding mental well-being.

One of the most common causes of decreasing mental health in many people’s lives is working in a high-stress workplace. In fact, 1 in 6.8 people in the UK experience mental health problems in the workplace.

For businesses striving for growth and success, the well-being of their employees should always be at the forefront if they wish to achieve this. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to educate people on why mental health is important, and how we can better take care of ourselves, our friends, our staff and those around us.

Here’s how our HR service solutions can help.

Woman sat at desk looking stressed out at work. She needs Bleu Tree HR Solutions HR service solutions to help take care of her mental health.

What can neglected mental health support result in for SMEs?

SMEs face unique challenges when it comes to managing employee mental health. Limited resources and expertise often result in employees not receiving the appropriate support – which can in turn slowly eat away at the success of the company, without management realising.

The most obvious result of receiving little or no mental health support at work is a negative work environment. A negative work environment can lead to conflicts, reduced morale, and decreased collaboration among team members. This can even affect the reputation of the company.

Those struggling with mental health will often experience a sense of dread when it comes to going to work. This means there is a higher chance that staff will miss work days due to mental health, anxiety and depression. While this situation is terrible for the affected employees, it also has a ripple effect on their colleagues and the company as a whole. It places an additional burden on other team members as they will often pick up the extra workload – which can feel unfair.

Not receiving proper support can also result in increased levels of employee burnout and stress, which can significantly impact productivity and efficiency. Down the line, this will lead to higher employee turnover rates, as overworked and stressed employees seek new job opportunities.

The above issues all contribute towards your company paying out more money than it should be. From hiring and training new employees and spending precious time resolving conflicts to employees not working as effectively due to a negative work environment, or missing days to not working at all, not prioritising employee mental health will cost you more than you can ever imagine.

For those who are struggling to provide the right mental health support, this thought can be terrifying. However, some people can help – like us!

For SMEs who don’t have the resources to provide an in-house HR department, Blue Tree HR Solutions is here to bridge the gap with our bespoke HR service solutions, and help you manage your employee’s well-being!


Ad hoc HR

Our Ad Hoc HR services are designed to provide businesses with flexible and on-demand HR support. Blue Tree HR Solutions recognises that SMEs may not require full-time HR personnel, but they still need assistance with HR-related tasks and employee concerns.

Here’s how our Ad Hoc HR service solutions can help your business provide better mental health support:

HR advice for small businesses: In times of crisis or when employees are facing mental health challenges, having a reliable HR partner to turn to can make a significant difference. Blue Tree HR Solutions offers immediate support and advice to help management identify, address and resolve issues, helping to reduce stress and anxiety among employees.

Conflict resolution: Workplace conflicts can take a toll on all employees’ mental health. Our Ad Hoc HR means our team is on hand to offer support and advice to assist in resolving conflicts and fostering a healthier work environment.


Retained HR

Our Retained HR service solutions mean we can provide expert HR to SMEs who require ongoing support, ensuring HR needs are consistently met.

Here’s how our Retained HR can help you provide support to your employees:

Policy development: Blue Tree HR Solutions can assist in creating and updating documents and contracts that can support mental well-being in the workplace. This could be by amending policies and procedures to make sure they promote a positive workplace culture – such as anti-discrimination policies and accommodations for employees with mental health conditions.
This could also be by updating contracts of employment to implement flexible work arrangements.

Expert HR software: When you choose our Retained HR service solutions, you gain access to BreatheHR. This incredible HR software simplifies employee engagement, progress and tracking, making it a breeze.

With BreatheHR, you can easily connect with your employees daily, and they can connect with you.

It offers a discreet way for employees to request one-to-ones and request extra training if they are feeling overwhelmed. The programme gives management the option of leaving kudos to staff members, thanking them for their hard work, while also having the option to offer advice and suggestions to help make their working day easier.

It also provides a clear timeline of employee sick leave, allowing you to proactively address any patterns of missed workdays. This is something that could otherwise slip under the radar without the help of BreatheHR.

Choose BreatheHR today!

Regular check-ins: Our Retained HR service solutions include regular check-ins with our clients. This means you’ll be able to voice any concerns and problems your SME is having, and we’ll provide expert advice and HR support for small businesses.  

Man sat at desk looking stressed out about work. He needs Blue Tree HR Solutions HR service solutions to take care of his mental health.

HR support for small businesses

Here are some more steps you can take to begin implementing mental health support in your workplace:

Open communication: Promoting open communication between staff and leadership is essential for a positive workplace. When employees feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and truthfully to their superiors, they become more inclined to voice concerns that may be affecting their mental health.

This proactive approach allows businesses to tackle potential issues before they escalate into major problems.

Provide access to resources: Supply staff with available mental health resources, including crisis hotlines, professional counselling services, and community support groups. These resources serve as a lifeline for individuals who may be dealing with various mental health challenges.

By offering guidance and access to these valuable services, management can empower employees to seek help and build a workforce that prioritises mental health.

Reduce workloads: Ensuring that workloads are not only manageable but also well-balanced is key to preventing excessive stress among employees.

By actively monitoring workloads and spreading them out where possible, management can create a positive workforce who can perform at their best without sacrificing their well-being.

Promote a work-life balance: Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by setting boundaries will drastically help employee well-being. By disconnecting from work during non-working hours, employees can properly relax, reset and come back to work refreshed.

Actively discourage working overtime, or taking work calls outside of work hours. Encourage employees to leave work at work!

Of course, Blue Tree HR Solutions will be able to offer advice and HR support for small businesses to help you implement the above strategies into your workplace culture! Contact us today to learn more about our HR support for small businesses or HR service solutions.

Choose Blue Tree HR Solutions for bespoke HR service solutions

With World Mental Health Day on the way, it’s time to prioritise the mental well-being of your employees.

With the help of expert HR service solutions provider Blue Tree HR Solutions, all SMEs can provide the mental health support their staff deserve, and in turn, invest in the future success of their company.

Whether you need Ad Hoc HR, Retained HR, HR support for small businesses or bespoke HR service solutions, our team can help. Get in contact today, or take a look on our website at our range of services!

Happy World Mental Health Day!

Celebrating HR professionals on Human Resource Professional Day

September the 26th 2023 is Human Resource Professional Day!

The day is designed to pay tribute to all those in the HR industry, working behind the scenes to keep businesses running.

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions – supplier of the best HR services for small businesses in Essex – we know first-hand just how important having access to HR can be for your company. We understand the work that goes into delivering professional and trustworthy HR services for small businesses, and the difference high-quality HR can make for your company.

This is why Blue Tree HR Solutions works so hard to be able to provide our customers with only the best HR solutions for small businesses possible. From Ad Hoc HR, Retained HR, HR services and solutions and everything in between, we are proud to offer the best HR services for small businesses in Essex.

We have seen the positive impact HR can have on a company – and know why it is so important to celebrate those working hard to BE that positive impact.


The importance of celebrating Human Resource Professional Day

HR professionals are just one of the driving forces behind many successful organisations. Their mission is to support you, your employees and your company by providing HR solutions that keep your office working smoothly.

Whether your company has an in-house HR department, or you outsource your HR needs, your HR contact will no doubt be working hard to make sure your company has what it needs to achieve its goals and targets of success – so it’s important to take a day to give thanks to these hardworking experts for all they do.


How can an HR professional help you?

HR professionals play a crucial role in helping organisations thrive by managing various aspects of the company’s operations.

From making sure your company complies with employment law at all times, taking care of employees to create a happy workforce, handling difficult situations such as dismissals and grievances and providing support to managers, HR professionals provide a backbone for your company.

Contact us to learn more about the HR services for small businesses we can offer. 

image of Blue Tree HR Solutions HR experts smiling by a tree, reading to offer HR services for small businesses

What can Blue Tree HR Solutions offer you?

If you need to outsource your HR needs, or your in-house HR department needs some extra support, Blue Tree HR Solutions can help. We can offer the best HR services for small businesses in Essex!

Our Ad Hoc HR

One size certainly doesn’t fit all when it comes to HR support. Unlike large companies, SMEs often experience fluctuating HR needs – making the maintenance of an in-house HR department quite a challenge.

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions – suppliers of the best HR support for small businesses – our Ad Hoc HR allows us to offer tailored solutions, as and when you need them.

When you choose our HR services for small businesses, you will gain invaluable HR flexibility – so that you can access our help and advice, precisely when you need it.

However straightforward or complex the HR matter, our Ad Hoc HR service is here to help at your convenience.

Take a look at our Ad Hoc HR to provide your business with the bespoke support it deserves.

Our Retained HR

With our Retained HR package, you receive ongoing and uninterrupted support for all your HR requirements.

Unlike our Ad Hoc HR package, which allows you to flexibly dip in and out depending on when you need our services, our Retained HR provides continuous support that becomes part of your day-to-day operations.

Our dedicated team work to understand your workplace dynamics and get to know your workforce on a personal level so that we can provide you with bespoke support and expert advice.

Take a look at our Retained HR package.

If you’re an SME looking for HR support for small businesses, outsourcing to Blue Tree HR Solutions could be the answer. Contact us today to learn more.


What else can the best HR support for small businesses offer?

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions – supplier of the best HR services for small businesses Essex can offer – we can offer more, beyond our packages.

We can provide help with creating customised contracts of employment, policies and procedures, and other documentation that complies with current employment law. Crafting contracts and documents that align precisely with your business’s unique needs and goals is crucial to creating the legally compliant foundation for your employer-employee relationships.

We are experts at assisting and supporting your management through challenging situations like redundancies, disciplinaries and grievance procedures. Our experienced HR professionals can guide you through the entire process, ensuring compliance with HR laws and regulations while maintaining empathy and professionalism for all parties involved.

We also offer advice on alternative options, such as adjusting staff hours or roles, to minimise the impact on employees and retain valuable talent whenever possible.

Our goal is to help you navigate all challenges faced in the workplace smoothly so that you can create a culture of positivity and productivity while upholding the highest standards of behaviour and performance.

Contact us to learn more about how the best HR services for small businesses can diffuse your HR-related matters.


Choose Blue Tree HR Solutions for the best HR services for small businesses in Essex!

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions – offering the best HR support for small businesses – we understand that every company is unique, and so their HR solutions should be too. Our services are designed to empower SMEs and help them succeed.

If you think our HR services could help you and your company, get in contact with us.

Happy Human Resource Professional Day!

What is Breathe HR?

Managing your own HR can feel like a mammoth task for many small businesses. Juggling administrative HR duties while nurturing employee growth can be tricky. Fortunately, Breathe HR is here to make it all straightforward!

Offering vital HR support for small businesses across the UK, Breathe HR is a game-changer for SMEs wanting to free up time while still delivering high-quality HR admin and support.

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions – supplier of the best HR support Essex can offer – we are proud to be Breathe HR Gold Partners. This helpful software allows us to provide our clients an easy and effective online HR administrative tool that can help them keep track of their employee information and day-to-day admin.


So, what is Breathe HR?

Breathe HR is a multi-award-winning cloud-based HR system that automates and tracks tedious and time-consuming tasks such as holiday allowances, absences, and training. This exceptional HR software not only streamlines these processes, but also guarantees the safekeeping of all documents and data, ensuring swift and hassle-free access whenever needed for you and your employees. Breathe HR is simple, secure and reliable – and is currently trusted by over 13,000 SMEs!

Breathe HR isn’t just your HR management system; it’s also your strategic business partner who’s going to help your small business flourish.

By easing the weight of employee admin, it can free up precious time that can now go towards team growth, development and business success!

To find out more about the best retained HR and adhoc HR support Essex can offer, visit the Blue Tree HR Solutions page!

Image of Breathe HR dashboard


What can Breathe HR offer you?

Managing your HR data doesn’t have to be a chore. Breathe HR is the perfect solution to make people-management a breeze by bringing it all together into one secure place.

From logging sickness and tracking leave to updating documents, here are just some of the benefits Breathe HR can offer you!


Sickness & absence

It’s almost guaranteed that at some point in employment, your employees will take time off work due to sickness. However, it’s not as easy to guarantee that you’ll spot a trend of absence when one does appear, due to the million other tasks that require your attention.

Occasional sick days are normal – however, trends of absence could be affecting your business growth. Not only do they cost your business money, but they put extra stress on your other employees and affect company culture and morale if not handled accordingly.

With Breathe HR, spotting patterns of employee sickness is easy. Because the dashboard offers a sickness and absence log, you can make sure absent days are being communicated, approved and accounted for. This makes sure you are always in the know about your employee’s habits and well-being.

If you need to address an employee’s absence issue but are unsure where to start, Blue Tree HR Solutions are here to help. We can ensure you approach the situation correctly and in line with current employment law, and ensure employees and management are all aware of their rights. For the best retained HR and adhoc HR support for small businesses, contact Blue Tree today!


Keep documents safe, secure and up-to-date

For small businesses operating in a fast-paced environment, paperwork can quickly accumulate and get lost over time.

It’s time to say goodbye to inefficient filing cabinets – Breathe HR provides a secure digital cloud for all your important paperwork. From employee documents, policies, procedures and training templates, make sure your data stays organised and easily accessible. Choose Breathe HR’s ISO27001-accredited software, guaranteeing your data is protected while staying GDPR-compliant.

Having important documents all in one place also makes keeping everything up-to-date easier and faster. When tweaks are needed for company policies, procedures, or rules, it’s easy to navigate to your files, make a quick edit, and have your employees review the updates from their portal.

For employees needing to edit their records, the employee self-service software empowers them to handle updating their information. From address changes to phone number updates, employees can manage their own data without the hassle of bothering you with paper trails. This not only improves your employee experience, but saves valuable time that can be focused on your business.

Need help with making sure your company documents are up to scratch? Blue Tree HR Solutions – with the best HR support Essex can give – are the experts you need. From creating bespoke contracts of employment that align with employment law to offering policies and procedures advice and so much more, check out why you need to be on our retained HR client package!

Image of man looking at laptop, using Breathe HR


Performance reviews made simple

Regular performance reviews are essential for employee growth and business success – however, SMEs can sometimes struggle to find the time to track progress and provide feedback.

Breathe HR makes performance reviews simple. By enabling managers to set goals, follow along with employee progress, and provide valuable feedback in a systematic manner, managers can help employees grow, improve and develop their skills without donating time from other projects.

Breathe HR gives small businesses the power to implement continuous improvement with ease. From retained HR packages to adhoc HR packages, and all the best HR support for small businesses , contact our team today!


Breathe HR – The software you need

Breathe HR doesn’t stop there. From managing training, crafting rotas, tracking applicants, online learning, managing expenses, streamlining reports, improving communication and managing daily tasks to booking holidays with ease, there is SO much more Breathe HR can do for you.

Because Breathe HR is a powerhouse of capabilities, it also comes with a range of awesome advantages.

On average, Breathe HR rescues SMEs from dedicating 5 hours per week to HR admin tasks. Instead, these hours are being dedicated towards steering businesses towards success.

Breathe HR also trims costs – saving its users an average of £177 per week and sparing 11 sheets of paper daily.

With so many huge pros bundled into one little software, choosing Breathe HR couldn’t be easier.


Need HR support for small businesses? Choose Blue Tree HR Solutions – supplier of the best HR support Essex can offer!

Time is a valuable asset that should be invested wisely. With the best HR support Essex can offer, our team can help you free up your time so that you can create the business of your dreams.

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions, we take pride in our commitment to delivering top-notch, personalised HR services. We understand that every company is different and therefore can create a bespoke approach to your own unique needs, challenges, and aspirations.

Whether you seek the adaptability of our ad hoc HR services, the continuous support from our retained HR package, or need HR consultancy tailored for your business, our expert team will be your guide through the world of HR.

When you choose Blue Tree HR Solutions, you are laying the foundation for your business to thrive. When you choose Breathe HR through Blue Tree HR Solutions, you are also freeing up invaluable time and resources.

Reach out to the Blue Tree HR Solutions team today and let’s see how our retained HR and adhoc HR support for small businesses can help you!

Dealing with employee complaints the right way

The best HR solutions company Essex can offer is here to help you deal with employee complaints effectively. 

Dealing with workplace complaints is delicate business, and has to be acted upon effectively and professionally. Resolving issues correctly will help managers maintain a positive work environment, and ensure legal compliance.

As an expert HR solutions company, Blue Tree HR Solutions is here to help you with our experienced HR support for small businesses, which will manage your employee’s complaints and behaviour the correct way.

Employee complaints - Why are you receiving them?

A positive, organised and managed work environment should not cause employees to complain. If your employees are having issues, either with other members of staff or the workplace itself, this could be a sign that your company is not as happy and healthy as you might think.

Employee complaints can be valuable opportunities to identify and rectify issues within your company. If dealt with professionally and fairly, you can begin to build your dream workforce culture of trust, respect, resolution, and above all, happy employees.

Employee complaints will range from something very minor to something serious, and it is up to management to decide how to deal with the situation appropriately.

Without an HR department, knowing how to deal with complaints can be tricky. One wrong move can have dire consequences. To ensure the well-being and protection of all parties involved – including yourself, the employee filing the complaint, the company and any individuals impacted by the complaint – it is crucial to deal with complaints professionally.

As an experienced HR solutions company, the Blue Tree HR Solutions company team is here to help with expert HR support for small businesses. Take a look at our ad-hoc HR and retained HR services!

How do I know how to handle a complaint?

The key thing to remember about employee complaints is that no matter how big or small, they should all be resolved – leaving none to be swept under the carpet. Even minor complaints can snowball into something larger if left unattended – which could land your company in trouble, lose you employees, or leave you with a hefty claim.

A grievance is a complaint that has been given to you in a formal, written manner with the idea that management takes action following the statutory procedure. Complaints that have been expressed to you informally can be labelled as a complaint or dissatisfaction.

Employee grievances require to be handled in a set procedural manner that follows current employment law to protect everybody involved. Not following these procedures will land you in hot bother.

Grievances can be costly, stressful, and time-consuming. The idea is to help your staff resolve all issues before they reach the grievance stage.

If you have had an employee complain to you, informally, take the time to chat with them, figure out how they are feeling, and how you can help them resolve their issue effectively without processing to the grievance stage.

If you’ve had an employee complaint, and you’re unsure of the best way to handle and resolve the issue, contact the best expert HR solutions company in Essex, Blue Tree HR Solutions. Our expert advice and HR support for small businesses can help guide and advise you throughout. Take a look at our ad-hoc HR and retained HR services for more.

Staff laughing with eachother while they work - taken care of by the best HR solutions company Blue Tree HR Solutions

Dealing with a grievance

If an employee complaint has reached the grievance stage, a set statutory process will take place, which will involve a robust investigation and an outcome meeting, and could lead to further disciplinary action.

This process can be intimidating and stressful. Especially when one wrong move could lead to the downfall of your company.

Expert HR solutions company, Blue Tree HR Solutions, is here to help. Our team of specialists can offer HR support for small businesses that will help your management through the entire process, guaranteeing all processes and procedures are adhered to and current employment law is followed. We can help with providing letters and documents to all of those involved, as well as performing our own independent investigation and presenting our findings to best advise you on the next steps.

With the Blue Tree HR Solutions company team by your side, you can relax knowing you are not alone. With every step you take, we can provide feedback, making sure you navigate the complex procedure with ease and reach the best possible outcome for all those involved.

For more information about our HR support for small businesses, ad-hoc HR, and retained HR or if you just have questions for us, get in touch here!

How can I avoid employee complaints getting to this stage?

There are a few steps you can take to make sure complaints are dealt with in the best possible way and minimise the chances of these needing to turn into grievances.

Because Blue Tree HR Solutions company is an experienced HR solutions company, we have all the best strategic ways to respond to employee complaints.


Respond quickly

Responding quickly to employee complaints is crucial. Not only does it demonstrate care for employee well-being and satisfaction, but addressing issues early can stop problems from further escalating. Quick responses also help you maintain positive relationships and team dynamics, showing you are always there for your employees.

By addressing complaints fast and not leaving them to stew, your company has more chances at reaching a conflict resolution.

Timely responses are also important when dealing with grievances. If your management cannot handle dealing with complaints in a fast manner, they may struggle with proper grievances procedure that requires a response within a set period of time. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to offer your management more training.



When an employee comes to you with a complaint, it is crucial to listen and try to understand their perspective.

Complaints can be about many things, from discrimination to unprofessional behaviour by colleagues or managers. Asking open-ended questions to gather detailed information about what happened, how, when, with whom, and why it is being raised as a complaint is essential to helping you find the best outcome.

Focus on facts and evidence, not opinions, while taking notes to demonstrate that you are taking their concerns seriously. After listening, inquire about the employee’s desired resolution or ideal outcome, showing that you value their input.

Listening is the best way to encourage open communication, a supportive environment and trust – the three things you will need to effectively deal with a complaint without them escalating into a grievance.

Staff sitting at table conducting a complaint investigation with help from the best HR solutions company Blue Tree HR Solutions

How can I reduce complaints? Pro-active HR!

Implementing proactive HR strategies is the key to creating the workplace environment of every manager’s dreams, and helps to minimise grievances and complaints overall.

Pro-active HR can help catch and address issues early on, sometimes before they even become issues. Blue Tree HR Solutions is an expert HR solutions company for a reason – Here are all our best pieces of advice for implementing proactive HR strategies in your workplace!


Clear policies and procedures

Develop and communicate clear policies and procedures that outline expectations for employee behaviour and performance. Ensure that employees have access to these policies and understand their rights and responsibilities.

This provides consistency and clarity for all staff, as well as comfort and protection that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.


Open communication

Open communication in your workplace is so important. If employees don’t feel they can effectively communicate, they may bottle up issues until they explode.

Checking in with your employees regularly allows staff to offer feedback, bring up any concerns, and build trust and relationships. Create an environment that values and empowers its employees, and watch the increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall success!


Training and development

Making sure management is trained sufficiently in conflict resolutions, diversity and inclusion, and effective communication is a good way to ensure issues can be spotted before they are brought to the attention of management in the form of a complaint.

Offering more in-depth training to management is a good way to reduce complaints.

How can expert HR solutions company Blue Tree HR Solutions help you?

To polish up your proactive approach, deal with complaints effectively and navigate through the grievances process correctly, you’ll need Blue Tree HR Solutions expert HR support for small businesses. Our range of packages is designed to help you with what you require most.

Our ad-hoc HR and retained HR packages give you the option to choose the perfect package for your company.

Our ad-hoc HR provides your company with access to our HR services as needed, offering flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Whether it’s assistance with a one-off contract or a complicated grievance case, you can rely on our ad-hoc HR for help when you need it most.

Our retained HR package offers ongoing support – just as if you had your HR department. This service allows our team to become part of your team so that we can truly understand the culture of your company, and offer strategic guidance and advice where needed. Our retained HR will help you implement a proactive HR approach.

Both our ad-hoc HR and retained HR packages help by offering expert HR support for small businesses.

Our specialised team is equipped with extensive knowledge and experience, meaning we can offer advice, guidance and HR support for small businesses, through processes that could otherwise prove challenging and stressful. We understand the complexities involved in addressing workplace complaints and aim to help you find a resolution, protect employee rights, and create a positive work environment.

For HR support for small businesses, choose expert HR solutions company Blue Tree HR Solutions and together, we can create a thriving workplace where success and employee well-being go hand in hand.

Managing stress in the workplace with Blue Tree HR Solutions

Stress is a common issue in today’s fast-paced work environment, and it can have serious consequences for employees and businesses, both short-term and long-term.

High levels of stress can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and increased staff turnover rates – to name a few.

Managing workplace stress is highly important and can cost your business if not dealt with strategically. Blue Tree HR Solutions – offering custom HR Solutions – is here to help you understand why stress management is essential if you wish to run a healthy business with loyal staff, and help you devise a plan to achieve this.

Let’s eliminate workplace stress once and for all with our expert HR solutions…

stressed worker who need Blue Tree HR Solutions custom HR solutions

Why is stress management so important?

The Workplace Health Report revealed that 76% of professionals in the UK are currently experiencing moderate to high-stress levels at work. When employees are stressed by their workspace, many issues can arise – most commonly, mental health issues.

1 in 6.8 people in the UK experience mental health problems due to their workplace – which can result in missed workdays. Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK are attributed to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression – proving that when stress management is not present in the workplace, employees and your business will suffer the consequences.

High levels of stress can also contribute to decreased productivity, low morale, can leave staff feeling dissatisfied, and have a negative impact on your company’s culture – which can result in higher staff turnover rates.

Replacing employees is a costly and time-consuming process. When employees leave, businesses must spend time and money recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. Retaining loyal employees is crucial for any business. One of the most effective ways to retain employees is to prioritise stress management.

Businesses also have a legal and ethical obligation to ensure their employees’ health and safety. If stress levels in the workplace are high, and your company has not addressed the issue, you may be liable for any resulting health problems – which could mean a big lawsuit and payout!

Stress management is key to a healthy, well-run business with happy staff. Our custom HR solutions can help you steer clear of creating a stressful work environment.

How can custom HR solutions and expert HR solutions combat stress in the workplace?

If you are having a hard time creating and implementing strategies to reduce and prevent workplace stress, Blue Tree HR Solutions’ custom HR solutions can help. Our team can provide valuable advice on which steps to take to get started.

Here are the first steps you could take to begin implementing stress management in your office:

Workplace stress surveys
Workplace stress surveys can help you get to the root cause of the stress in your workplace. Identifying what’s causing your staff stress will allow you to implement appropriate solutions to fix them – which our custom HR solutions can then help with.

Stress management programs
Stress management programs that include activities such as mindfulness exercises, employee assistance programs, and stress management training can help stop workplace stress before it arises. These programs are a great proactive way to make sure your employees feel taken care of in their careers.

Open communication
Encouraging open communication between employees and management is vital to a functional workplace. When employees feel they can communicate openly and honestly with those above them, they are more likely to raise concerns about workplace stress. This can help businesses address issues before they become significant problems.

Flexible arrangements
Having an unbalanced work-life balance is a major cause of workplace stress. Offering flexible work arrangements such as job sharing, working from home and flextime can help employees feel they are not spending too much time at work, and missing out on life with their loved ones.

Allowing your staff to be more flexible with how they work can help employees manage their work-life balance better and overall reduce stress. Blue Tree HR Solutions’ custom HR solutions can advise you on how to best introduce this to your company strategically.

Providing Employee Support
Support should be given to your staff no matter what – this can include access to mental health services, counselling, and other resources. However, it can be difficult to know if you are providing enough or even the correct support. With extensive knowledge in HR, our expert HR solutions can advise you on providing the right services.

manager and staff worker in open conversation - Blue Tree HR Solutions custom HR solutions

Our custom HR solutions and expert HR solutions can help you eliminate workplace stress

High-stress levels in the workplace can have a detrimental effect on both employees and your business. Choose Blue Tree HR Solutions’ expert HR solutions to help navigate how to best deal with workplace stress.

Help your business create a healthier and happier work environment. Contact our friendly team today to experience the benefits of our custom HR solutions for yourself!

Take action against workplace bullying: How can management prevent and intervene?

How can expert HR advice for businesses help you?

Workplace bullying is a serious issue that seems to be on the incline in recent years.

The devastating consequences can affect not only the employees involved but the company as a whole. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your workplace is free from bullying and harassment of any kind.

How do you manage your employees to ensure workplace bullying does not occur, and what are the best courses of action to put an end to already present bullying?

Blue Tree HR Solutions offer expert HR advice for businesses, so we understand the difficult issues management is often faced with. Here’s why taking action against workplace bullying is so important, and how prevention and intervention can be approached.


What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying can take many forms. The most common include verbal abuse, intimidation, exclusion, and physical aggression. This type of harassment can create a toxic work environment and often harms the mental health of the employees involved.

According to a study from 2022, 47% of UK workers have observed bullying at work, and one in ten has been the victim of it. How can management make sure their workplace stays clear of becoming a number on these shocking statistics?

office worker crying after workplace bullying


How can it affect your business success?

As well as affecting employees, workplace bullying can have a huge impact on your company’s success. Harassment can lead to decreased productivity, low morale, high turnover rates, and a bad reputation – which can cost you money.

Building a safe workplace that fosters employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity can be key to making money, not losing it. Expert HR advice for businesses like yours can help you take proactive steps to promote a culture of respect and inclusivity – ultimately contributing to the success and growth of your company!



If you’re struggling to create and implement policies and procedures to prevent workplace bullying, expert HR advice for businesses is critical.

Here are the first steps to take to ensure bullying in your workplace is never an issue:

Communication – Encouraging open communication between employees and management, where employees feel safe speaking up, is key to guaranteeing witnesses or victims feel they can get help.

Zero-tolerance policy – Management should be making it clear to all employees that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace and that these actions can be job-losing. Make sure this is in the employee handbooks, included in training sessions, and that regular reminders are sent out.

Recognition and reporting – All employees should be able to recognise bullying and know the procedures for reporting it. To ensure this, managers should provide training to make sure employees can recognise the signs immediately.

By seeking expert HR advice for businesses you can ensure any policies, procedures and training you introduce are legally compliant and that your employees feel supported throughout the process.

Blue Tree HR Solutions believe in the power of proactive HR. Prevention is always better than reaction, as this means the problem was addressed before it even arose. For more advice and help in implementing pro-active HR, contact Blue Tree HR Solutions and find out why our expert HR advice for businesses is trusted by companies of all sizes and industries.



Unfortunately, prevention policies won’t stop workplace bullying in its tracks completely. There is always a small chance that harassment is still occurring, or will occur in the future.

If you, as a manager, witness workplace bullying or you are made aware of a situation, it is your responsibility to intervene and take immediate action.

Your actions are detrimental to the outcome of the problem. If workplace bullying is not dealt with correctly, it can lead to increased and intensified bullying, low morale, high turnover, and even lawsuits.

Here’s how you can begin to address the situation:

Investigate – It’s highly important to conduct a thorough investigation, collect all evidence possible, and gather statements from all those involved.

Support – Providing support to the victim is crucial for their well-being and recovery. However severe the harassment was, dealing with the trauma of being bullied can be difficult.

Managers should be able to create a safe space where victims can express their concerns and experiences, have their feelings validated, and receive resources – such as mental health resources or employee assistance programs – to help them cope and recover.

Take action – Taking disciplinary action against the suspect will not only set an example to other employees but will make sure the bullying does not continue.

Action against the individual may be verbal or written warnings, suspension, demotion, or even termination of employment. The disciplinary action should be scaled to the severity of the incident.

Implement – Taking further steps to prevent future incidents of bullying in the workplace occurring, as well as putting in safety measures for the victim, can help restore faith in your management and the company.

Follow up – Make sure to check in with the victim and perpetrator once resolved. This is to make sure the victim is getting the support they need, and the individual understands the consequences of their actions.

Office worker getting help from manager after he used Blue Tree HR Solution's HR advice for businesses


You are not alone – expert HR advice for businesses can help

Navigating workplace bullying and harassment can be complex and difficult – and it’s so important to get every last detail right in these sensitive scenarios. Blue Tree HR Solutions can help you every step of the way. From helping with disciplinary action and making sure the consequence is compliant with your company’s policies, providing the correct support for the victim, to support for your other employees and even yourself during these tense situations – our expert HR advice for businesses can help you provide the best management you can.

Looking for expert HR advice for businesses? Choose Blue Tree HR Solutions

Workplace bullying can have a detrimental impact on both employees and the overall success of your business.

Management should have a clear strategy for preventing and tackling bullying to protect employees and the business. Our expert HR advice for businesses like yours could be instrumental in creating a safe workplace culture.

Stand up to workplace bullying. Contact Blue Tree HR Solutions for expert HR advice for businesses – let’s create a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported. We offer both retained HR and ad hoc HR packages that are ideal if you are seeking HR advice for small businesses.

Should dogs be allowed in the office?

Are dogs in the office a good or bad idea?

The British public adores their dogs, so it’s no surprise that we are seeing more people bringing dogs in the office as the years go on. Taking your dog or dogs in the office seems like a no-brainer for dog lovers. They lower anxiety levels, boost morale and encourage you to take a walk outside.

Whilst bringing your dog or dogs in the office can bring benefits to some, there are also some downsides.

Blue Tree HR Solutions – who offer expert HR support for small businesses – is here to break down the pros and cons of a pet-friendly office and encourage you to ‘paws for thought’ before deciding to allow your dog or dogs in the office.

hr support for small businesses with Blue Tree HR Solutions

We’ll start with the bad news first –

Dogs aren’t for everybody

Whilst it hurts to highlight this, some people simply aren’t dog lovers. What is a gorgeous, fluffy baby with paws for some could be seen as a stinky, hairy, and slobbery mutt to others. Unfortunately, this could mean that a dog in the office could negatively impact the non-dog lovers’ day, ending in them being irritated and less productive.

Some individuals may also have a condition called cynophobia. This is a real and intense fear of dogs, commonly bought on by a bad experience with dogs in childhood. This could result in this individual becoming increasingly stressed out and afraid if in an enclosed space with a dog they do not know or trust. It is in your best interest to protect your staff and not create situations where they feel fear.

Others have allergies! Pet allergies affect 1 in 10 people in the UK. If you’re in a big office, the chances are, somebody is likely allergic. In this case, your worker’s health is at risk and pets should be kept at home.


Is it fair to everybody?

Dogs in the office can sometimes cause inequality and resentment between staff members.

Dogs are hard work and require attention when brought into the office. This means staff who opt to bring their pets into the office will ultimately spend time feeding, watering, walking, and giving attention to their fur babies. There is a very real possibility that these individuals end up doing less work than those without extra canine responsibility, creating inequality and jealousy in the workplace.


Does the dog want to be there?

Welcoming a dog into the office should only be done if it’s in the pet’s best interests.

If your dog is stressed, scared, or worried when in the office, they do not feel comfortable being there and most likely only feels relaxed in its own home. Bringing this dog into the office is not fair on the pooch. A constantly stressed dog can cause health issues to itself down the line, and negatively affect your worker’s day.


While it may seem that the cons of welcoming dogs into the office are very prominent, it’s important to assess or address all of these issues before even considering opening your doors to some four-legged friends. If the correct policies and procedures are addressed and put into place, it’s possible to create a working environment where dogs in the office bring more positives than negatives.

By addressing all of the above issues professionally and correctly, you can begin to create a pet-friendly office suitable for dogs.

There are various ways to begin identifying issues, assessing these, and overcoming them. Blue Tree HR Solutions – offering the best HR services Essex has seen – recommends starting by asking all workers their thoughts and concerns on allowing dogs into the office. This is the best way to present the idea to staff, and start addressing any problems should there be any.

Blue Tree HR Solutions offers quality expert HR solutions to help our clients overcome any problems they will be facing. One of the best approaches to workplace issues is to take a proactive approach to fix a problem before it develops. This is a great way to avoid the problem of staff resentment and inequality in the office due to pets.

Setting up policies from the start where dog owners agree to spend only their free time – breaks and lunches – attending to their dog’s needs will remove the feeling of these individuals doing less work. This makes sure these workers are still maintaining the same level of work as non-dog owners, avoiding the problem of resentment arising altogether. Setting these standards early is the best course of action when making sure your office is pet-friendly.

If you’re worried about setting up policies and procedures, you feel you don’t know enough about the matter or you simply don’t have the time, Blue Tree HR Solutions is here to help. We specialise in HR support for small businesses and believe we can provide some of the best HR services Essex offers.

hr support for small businesses with Blue Tree HR Solutions

Blue Tree HR Solutions is here with expert HR solutions and HR support for small businesses

Some policies to start considering to create a pet-friendly environment for all may look something like this –

  • All dogs should be well-trained.
  • They might need to be tested or trialled to see how they act in an office environment.
  • There should be some dog-free areas for workers.
  • Health and safety hazards should be considered before allowing pets into the workplace.

The health and well-being of your staff come before anything, especially dogs. When you choose Blue Tree HR Solutions for your HR needs, we can help create and implement these policies. This will give you peace of mind that you are covered and protected, giving you the tools to safely convert your office into a dog-friendly space with confidence and start reaping the rewards that office dogs bring!


Dogs are good for mental health

Studies have shown that dogs reduce stress, calm anxiety, and decrease depression.
Those whose mood is uplifted by dogs feel better at work and in everyday life, which is highly important. A better mental state and increased mood also increased work productivity and quality. The positive effect dogs have on low-mood employees also affects those surrounding them. A good atmosphere from everybody in the office has a ripple effect on other staff members, overall boosting productivity and quality of work from everybody!

Dogs build relationships

Dogs are experts at getting people to mingle and talk. If you’ve got an office where teamwork is not a strong element, dogs can fix this.
The perfect hound can help build relationships between staff members and increase social interaction in the office and a workplace that gets along is a more productive one! Teamwork is highly important in most professions, and there’s nothing like a dog to bring people together.

There’s a reason to stay

Unsurprisingly, dogs make going to work every day a little more bearable.

Studies have shown that pet-friendly workplaces have decreased absences and increased employee retention compared to those without an office dog. The Brits just can’t help but fall for those puppy eyes!

Get in touch for expert HR support for small businesses

Whether you need help with policies and procedures, need advice on the best course of action to take, or just want a friendly chat, Blue Tree HR Solutions is here to help with the best HR services Essex has to offer.

Give Blue Tree a call now to see how our expert HR Solutions and HR support for small businesses can help you.