Should you be monitoring your employees who are remote working?

As a freelance HR consultant offering expert HR solutions to small to medium-sized businesses throughout Essex and Suffolk, I have seen one issue becoming more prevalent in the last few years. This is the rise of remote working, and how businesses can effectively and ethically monitor employees who are working from home. The huge increase in people working from home began with COVID-19, but although for the most part society has gone back to ‘normal’, remote working is definitely here to stay. To highlight the shift in upper management’s view of remote working, former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, informed employees that they could continue working from home “forever”. Although the official policy on this from Twitter may have changed since the recent acquisition of the company by Elon Musk! But it serves to show just how the perception of remote working has changed dramatically in just a few years.

Pros of remote working

Expert HR solutions, like the professional HR advice for small businesses offered by Blue Tree HR, should always look at every angle of issues like remote working, and offer advice accordingly. So let’s first look at the obvious pros of working from home. One of the main benefits of remote working is workers are no longer forced into stressful commutes, which have been proven to have a negative effect on a worker’s entire day. There is also the time saved in commuting, creating more personal time to spend with their family or friends, so when an employee starts their day they are fresher and more focused than if they had just finished a tedious commute. Remote working also offers flexibility in an employee’s working hours. They are not necessarily stuck to rigid breaks and lunch times, offering more freedom than if they were in the office. This all adds up to a more productive employee, which is the ultimate goal for businesses.

Cons of remote working 

As with most things in life that look great on paper, there is often a flip side to any coin (although not with my expert HR solutions!) Whilst there is a lot to be said about the benefits of remote working, you also need to consider the negatives. When employees work from home for a prolonged period, they lose the ability to interact with their coworkers in a face-to-face manner. This sense of isolation can be problematic for some. There is also the fact that it can be difficult for some to separate their home and work life, especially if they live in a busy household. It is easy to get distracted if there is a knock at the door, the phone rings, the family pet wants attention or the kids are running riot! And for a small majority of remote workers, working from home offers the chance to procrastinate at will, which clearly affects their overall work performance and productivity. It is this issue that has led many businesses to implement surveillance and monitoring techniques to ensure remote workers are actually working, and not binge-watching their favourite Netflix show!

This leads us to the topic of whether you should be monitoring employees who work from home, and if so, how?

Monitoring remote workers

When offering my expert HR solutions on topics such as monitoring remote workers, I will always tell my clients that legally, this is entirely at their discretion (so long as they make the employee aware that it is taking place). After all, if the worker was in the office then it would be entirely appropriate to ensure they are actually working and not spending hours of the company’s time scrolling through Facebook! There are some larger companies out there that employ spy software, known as “tattleware”. An example of this would be Sneek, which takes a picture every minute through an employee’s webcam and sends these to management. Whilst these types of software ensure a business’s management can keep constant tabs on remote workers, they do display a lack of trust in the employee, which in itself can be detrimental to their overall performance. My expert HR solutions for monitoring remote workers would suggest using this kind of software as a last resort for those employees whose work productivity significantly drops when working from home. In our opinion when offering my expert HR solutions, the best way to monitor employees working from home is ultimately through their performance. By setting targets and goals, and having regular catch-up meetings, (whether these are face-to-face or remotely), to discuss their work output, you should remove the need for more Orwellian methods. And should you feel that “tattleware” is the only option, ensure you are transparent about the reasons behind such a move.

Expert HR solutions

As shown above, my advice on expert HR solutions would be to give serious thought has to be given when considering monitoring remote workers. If you wish to discuss this further, as a freelance HR consultant I am always on hand for more bespoke advice. And if you have any other query that requires expert HR solutions, contact Blue Tree HR and I will be happy to help.

Four-Day Working Week – What it is and What to Expect

The four-day working week has gathered momentum recently. With countries such as Iceland and Japan successfully implementing this new way of working. The UK is also set to follow suit. The trial for the four-day working week in England is due to start in June 2022. Scotland will start the trial in 2023, and Wales will likely follow.

What is the Four-Day Working Week?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the four-day working week. There is concern from employees that they will need to compress their shifts, meaning they end up working longer hours. Employers are understandably concerned about the potential implications on productivity levels. The four-day working week means that employees work four days a week instead of five. The terms don’t change. They are paid the same salary and pension contributions but work reduced hours. The focus is on productivity rather than the number of hours spent working.

Benefits of Four-Day Working Week

We often hear people saying that they ‘never stop working, they ‘work 70 hours a week’ or similar. In our society, overworking seems to be a badge of honour. If someone tells us they only work 1 or 2 days a week, we naturally think of them as lazy or unmotivated. Of course, this probably isn’t the case, but, as a society, we have been programmed into thinking this way. Working hard means working over 40 hours a week while working less is simply slacking off. There is nothing to say that working longer hours means you are being any more productive than someone who works less, and in fact, there are many benefits to operating a four-hour week. Although the trial is yet to commence in the UK, we can gain some insights from studies on the new way of working in Iceland.

Higher Productivity

According to the report, the four-day working week resulted in the same or higher productivity. Employees working five days a week are more likely to be distracted throughout the working day by personal issues. Whereas, with the new way of working, they can take care of any personal tasks on their day off, making it easier to focus and concentrate on their work.

Improved Wellbeing

Another positive outcome of the four-day working week was improved wellbeing, including less stress and burnout and a better work-life balance. Fewer hours at work equates to more time at home and enjoying family life.

How to Cope with Four-Day Working Week

For a business, especially an SME, the prospect of a four-day working week being implemented may seem overwhelming. It may be that you are already struggling to get through your workload, which adds another layer of challenges. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you manage your employees and your workload, should the four-day working week come to fruition in the UK.

Reduce Distractions

Many distractions can corrode time, and by reducing these, you can also help employees manage their workloads more efficiently. For instance, you might consider reducing the number or length of meetings or switching phones onto voicemail at set times throughout the day. Distractions waste time and reduce productivity.

Manage Expectations

If you are worried about the implications of the four-day working week on your clients, be open and honest with them. Advise them of the hours your employees will be working and when they can expect to be able to contact you. Open and honest communication is always the best way of working.


The average person may only be productive for three hours a day. Ultimately, most employees spend a significant amount of time on pointless tasks, such as eating, social media, texting, or taking breaks. The idea of anyone working 8 hours a day and being productive for this period is an illusion. Instead of focusing on the number of hours employees work, use a project-based working method. Assign tasks to your employees that you expect each day, and in this way, the number of hours they work won’t matter.

If you want to discuss the implications of the four-day working well or think of implementing this before it comes into force and needs some expert HR advice and guidance or HR support for business, you can contact Blue Tree HR Solutions at and 07516 335 419.

Common Employer Headaches at Christmas and How to Manage These

Christmas is a time when we all look forward to some much-needed rest and recuperation, as well as the inevitable overindulgence. For employers, Christmas can bring a lot of additional headaches that aren’t usually present throughout the year. These are some of the most common Christmas issues in the workplace faced by employers, and how you can avoid them.

Holiday Clashes

It is common for the festive period to be the most problematic time of the year in terms of holidays. Most people want to be off work during the Christmas holidays, and this might be an issue if your business doesn’t stop. For instance, if you are in the retail sector. You can try to compromise with your employees or offer holidays on a ‘first come first served’ basis. If all else fails, it might be better to put the names in a hat and select that way, so you can deal with Christmas issues in the workplace efficiently.

Festive Hangovers

Socialising is much more prevalent throughout December, with people catching up with each other and getting into the festive spirit. This means more hangovers for employees to suffer, and for employers to deal with the fallout. It is a good idea to communicate with your employees and advise them to take holidays the next day if they plan on a big night out. That way you can plan ahead, instead of leaving yourself short-staffed if they call in sick.

Low Productivity

Productivity levels are often at an all-time low in the lead up to Christmas, as people start to kick back and look forward to their breaks. However, the world of work must go on and this ‘relaxed’ attitude can cause Christmas issues in the workplace for employers. A good way to combat this is to offer incentives. For instance, early finishes in the lead up to Christmas when targets are achieved. That way, employees will be more motivated, and will get extra time to relax but will still be doing the necessary work.

Different Cultures

Employers often forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas, or they celebrate it at different times. Jews and Muslims for instance, do not celebrate Christmas but have their own celebration, Eid and Hanukkah. When you have different cultures in your organisation, you should learn what they celebrate and when. Employees often feel that they must take part in Christmas related events, even though it may not be part of their beliefs. Always take this into consideration or it could lead to Christmas issues in the workplace.

Christmas Parties

When alcohol is flowing and colleagues get together, things can often get out of hand. If you’re organising a Christmas party, make sure you inform your employees of your expectations. HR can be extremely busy with complaints and allegations following from Christmas parties. Loose lips sink ships as they say! Always ensure you make it known to employees that you still expect them to act professionally and to be a good representative for the company.

Travel Changes

The Christmas period often leads to changes in public transport, which can be disruptive to your business, if you have employees based in the office. You may want to consider allowing​ employees to work from home where possible in the lead up to Christmas or at least have a plan b in place, if employees are struggling to get to work. Car shares or taxis are alternative options.

Covid Concerns

Although we do not hasten to mention Covid, as we are all sick and tired of hearing about it, we can’t ignore it. Covid can cause staff to isolate and can lead to shortages. You may even have employees that don’t feel comfortable coming to work. The virus is unpredictable, so it is difficult to prepare but you may want to consider having a temporary recruitment agency on hand, in case you need staff at the last minute. Always do your best to protect your employees and to make the office as safe as possible for them, otherwise, you could end up with more than Christmas issues in the workplace!

If you are having issues with employees in the run-up to Christmas, or you’d like to share any other concerns or have any other issues requiring expert HR advice and guidance, you can contact us , and we will be happy to offer advice and assistance

employees to work from home where possible in the lead up to Christmas or at least to have a plan b in place, if employees are struggling to get to work. Car shares or taxis are alternative options. Covid Concerns Although we do not hasten to mention Covid, as we are all sick and tired of hearing about it, we can’t ignore it. Covid can cause staff to isolate and can lead to shortages. You may even have employees that don’t feel comfortable to come to work. The virus is unpredictable, so it is difficult to prepare but you may want to consider having a temporary recruitment agency on hand, incase you need staff at the last minute. Always do your best to protect your employees and to make the office as safe as possible for them. If you are having issues with employees in the run up to Christmas, or you’d like to share any other concerns, you can contact us , and we will be happy to offer advice and assistance.

How to Measure Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity, in a nutshell, is what makes groups of people different. There are many ways we differentiate from each other but generally speaking, it can be divided into key categories, including sex, race, age, religious beliefs, disabilities, nationality, sexuality, etc. Diversity is important in a workplace, as people with different experiences bring together different points of view and experiences. When we come together with people from other backgrounds, we can learn more about the world and even change our perception of things. For a business, diversity brings fresh ideas to the table and it can help improve business prospects. For instance, if you have employees that speak a variety of languages, you have the potential to open up your business to a more global audience.

Diversity and Inclusion in Action

Some of the most diverse Fortune 500 companies , include Microsoft, Nike, Visa, and Gap. Statistics have revealed that 39.7% of the board of Microsoft consists of racial and ethnic minorities. The workforce is made up of 49.8% racial or ethnic majorities. Diversity and inclusion can be difficult to achieve, especially for SMEs. However, there are ways to achieve diversity, even in a small organisation. Simply offering flexible working, for example, can help you attract people that have childcare responsibilities, mental or physical health problems, and depending on the working hours, even students.

Measuring Diversity

It is one thing to take steps to improve diversity in the workplace, but how do you measure it and ensure you are on track with achieving your diversity goals? It’s all about data when it comes to understanding diversity. Analysing data on the age groups, race, sex of your new hires will help you to get a picture of where you are and what you want to achieve. You should also measure retention, as if you have high employee turnover and you’re losing a particular age group quickly, for example, it is time to find out why. It is also important to incorporate employee feedback into your plan for measuring diversity. You can create and issue employee surveys, for example, to find out how employees feel about working in your organisation, and whether they feel like they belong in the company. It will give you an understanding of how diversity and inclusion are within your organisation.

Achieving Diversity

If you measure diversity in the workplace and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading, it may be time to make some changes. Some ways to improve diversity in the workplace, include targeted recruitment at specific groups of people. For example, if you want to attract younger age groups, you might want to use social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok, or you may want to advertise in Universities. Targeted recruitment can be hugely beneficial for improving workplace diversity. Alternating your interview panel can also help improve diversity. It is natural to ​gravitate toward people that are similar to yourself, and by changing your interviewers, you can help improve the diversity in your hiring decisions.

If you would like to discuss diversity in the workplace or have any other questions regarding HR support for business, you can contact us for an initial chat at or 07516 335419 .

gravitate towards people that are similar to yourself, and by changing your interviewers, you can help improve the diversity in your hiring decisions. If you would like to discuss diversity in the workplace, you can contact us for an initial chat at or 07516 335419 .

How to Deal with Employee Ghosting

What is employee ghosting? Well, ghosting is mostly associated with the dating world. Quite simply, it involves one party falling off the face of the planet. Failing to respond to phone calls, text messages, etc – simply doing a disappearing act. Ghosting is not confined to the dating world, in fact, it can happen in all walks of life. A friend could suddenly stop responding to messages without any known reason or you may even find that some recruiters decide to stop responding to you. It also happens in the workplace. An employee might fail to turn up to work and might quit without providing any notice of their intentions or they may not even show up on their first day. 

Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

Employee Ghosting in the Modern World

The main reason people ghost is that they want to avoid having an awkward conversation. In the dating world, they want to avoid the ‘it’s not you, it’s me conversation’ and in the workplace, they don’t want to have to explain why they want to resign or why they don’t want to come in in the first place. Ghosting is becoming more prominent due to low unemployment rates and the wealth of job opportunities there are. Back in the day, people had limited job offers, so they would never dream of ‘ghosting’ an employer. The nature of employment references has also changed. These days, employers don’t have any obligation to provide a detailed reference. Therefore, employees don’t need a good reference, they just need dates of employment. In short, they can leave under a cloud, and won’t really be affected.

How to Prevent Employee Ghosting

It takes around 27.5 days and £3,000 to recruit a new employee so it is worth keeping hold of your good workers. There are various steps you can take to avoid employee ghosting. If an employee ghosts you, there is a lack of respect, or they feel intimidated and uncomfortable to speak to you. It is, therefore, important that you build good relationships with your employees. This includes undertaking regular performance reviews, checking in with them during one-to-one meetings, and asking for feedback. In this way, you can deal with any potential issues before the employee decides to do a disappearing act.

If you find that candidates are not even attending for the first day, you should look at reviewing your onboarding process. Are you reaching out to them prior to them starting? Are you ensuring they are happy with the information they are received and comfortable about the arrangements? If not, you may find that candidates are feeling anxious and deciding not to turn up, while avoiding any uncomfortable conversations by ghosting you.

Employee ghosting is never comfortable for either party, so no one is really doing it lightly. They are doing it because there are aspects, they don’t feel happy with, and they don’t feel comfortable communicating these. They would rather ignore their phone for a few weeks than just speaking about their issues. Therefore, it is so important to ask for regular feedback and check in on your employees before they start and on an ongoing basis.

If you are looking for advice on employee relations and helping avoid ‘ghosting’ employees, or have any other question relating to HR advice and guidance then you can contact us at or by calling 01787 695084

5 Key Reasons Your Employees Are Resigning

Although it is not always possible to hold onto staff, as they may just want to move on, there are many other reasons why employees resign. If you are finding it difficult to retain your staff, and your retention levels are particularly low compared to your competitors, there are often reasons behind it. These are some of the key reasons your employees are resigning.

They Don’t Feel Valued

One of the main reasons an individual will choose to leave is that they don’t feel valued. We all want to feel valued, whether that be in the workplace or within our external relationships, and this is something you need to consider. Most employees don’t expect you to buy them a gift every time they do something right, but a bit of praise when they do a good job will go a long way to helping retain them. Don’t just leave them to get on with the job and forget about them, check in with them every so often and ask how they are and let them know what they mean to your business. Don’t undermine your employees or belittle them, as they will find another employer that will value them. 

They Want Better Compensation

The feeling of value also includes compensation and if you are paying below the market rate, you can’t expect employees not to be enticed by better offers. It is only natural to want to earn more money, and employers need to keep track of what their competitors are paying. If you can’t afford to pay the same as competitors, then consider other incentives, such as flexible working, performance-related bonuses, etc.

The Environment is Negative 

Most people spend over 13 years of their lifetime at work. This is quite staggering and when you think about it, it makes sense that people want to spend this time in a place they enjoy. If there is negative energy in your workplace, it won’t entice people to stay. It is quite simple to understand your culture. When you look around, are people smiling and chatting, or does everyone have their heads down? Are people constantly complaining about aspects of the company/job? What are your productivity levels like? If you analyse these, you will get a good feel for whether you have a positive or negative environment.

Communication is Poor

How often does management check in with their employees? Are employees asked for their feedback? Do you update employees with changes in the business? When communication is poor, it can lead to employees feeling that they are not respected, and they may even consider leaving. Make sure you are communicating regularly with your employees. Management should always provide support to their team.

Lack of Opportunities

Most employees want to have the option of progressing within the company and if you are not offering this, they may look elsewhere. It is important to have a clear plan in place for employees to grow within the business, as if not, they are likely to look for other opportunities if they are not challenged.

If you would like to discuss employee retention and how you can improve this, you can contact us by email at or by calling 01787 695084 for an initial discussion.

How to Make the Most of One-to-One Meetings

Managers will often try to avoid one-to-one meetings, as they may not know exactly what they should be asking in them, or they might be concerned about bringing up a difficult topic. One-to-ones are important, as they help ensure your employees feel valued, and they also allow you the opportunity to raise any concerns before they become unmanageable. For example, if an employee’s productivity has fallen, you can ask them about it during a one-to-one, rather than waiting until it gets to the point where you can no longer employ them. They may be having difficulties at home, and simply by checking in, it can get to the heart of the issue and allow you to make constructive changes to help support them.

One-to-ones should be regular, and you should make the most of the opportunity to speak to your employees. These are some ways to make the most of the meetings.

The Human Touch

When you are having a one-to-one, don’t just dive in headfirst to discuss work-related issues or updates, make sure you show the human touch, by checking in with how they are. It is particularly important during current times when people have just recovered from the aftermath of the pandemic or are still going through it. Ask how they are, how their family are, and what they’ve been doing outside of work. Employees want to feel valued and that their employer cares about them as an individual, and not just as a number. One-to-ones should take place at least once a month, and they can be informal and relaxed. Employees are more likely to enjoy the meetings and feel more relaxed to open up about their feelings, if the meeting is informal.

Set Objectives

A one-to-one meeting should have some objectives. At the start of the meeting, you can explain what these are to the employee. For instance, you want to discuss updates in the office, address concerns, and set goals for the month ahead. It is important to have a breakdown so that employees understand what to expect.

Address Concerns

If you have any concerns about the employee’s performance/attitude etc, this is the time to raise them. A difficult conversation is not pleasant for anyone, but this is why one-to-ones are important, as you can deal with the concerns before they get out of hand. For instance, if an employee’s productivity has dipped, you might want to ask if there’s any reason for it, whether external or internal to the company, and what you can do to help. You should never come down hard on employees during a one-to-one, this won’t help anyone. Always go into it with a focus on what you can do to improve the concern.

Discuss Achievements

If, for instance, an employee’s productivity has dipped, but they are producing quality work and are having a good impact on their colleagues – say it! You should always leave the employee with some positive feedback, even if there are other concerns. Everyone has their good points in the workplace, you wouldn’t have hired them in the first place if they didn’t, and these should be a part of the one-to-one, especially if you need to discuss problems too.

Set Goals

Each one-to-one meeting should finish with some goal setting for the next one-to-one. What do you want them to improve on and what are your expectations? What does the employee need in terms of guidance, support, and training? Make sure this is covered at the end of the meeting.

If you want some advice on undertaking one-to-one’s, you can contact us for an initial chat, either by email at or by calling 01787 695084

5 Ways to Avoid Employee Burnout

In the UK, 38.8 million working days were lost due to work-related and workplace injury over 2019/2020.

If you keep an eye on your employees, you will be able to recognise the tell-tale signs of employee burnout.  If your top performer is suddenly less productive, this could be a sign that they are close to burnout. If an employee seems overly stressed or negative, these are other signs that there may be some issues brewing. 

It is important to recognise and deal with employee burnout as otherwise, you may end up with a high employee turnover, but if you take some initial steps to deal with it, you can avoid it altogether. It is vital that employers take care of their employees, and this includes ensuring they are not overdoing it, both physically and mentally. These are some key ways to avoid employee burnout.

Regular Communication

One of the most effective ways to avoid employee burnout is through regular communication. When you check in with your employees regularly, you will get a good understanding of how they are feeling, and whether they have any concerns you need to know about. Regular communication does not need to be in-depth; a quick check-in call is all that is needed to ensure your employees are feeling good. If you can identify pressures they may be facing, it can help prevent burnout.

Realistic Goals

High expectations are good, but they should also be realistic. Make sure you are regularly revising your goals and make sure your employees are not struggling to achieve these. Your goals should not be based on an individual working for 8 hours straight, they should consider breaks, and the inevitable distractions of day-to-day working life. There is no point in setting goals that will be to the detriment of the wellbeing of your employees, as this is counterproductive.

Encourage Balance

Employees must work and rest, and this means taking regular breaks away from their screens. A good employer will actively encourage regular breaks and will also help promote a healthy life. For instance, offering gym memberships and encouraging daily walks. Balance is important and you should never allow your employees to continue to work excessively long hours or to miss their breaks. This is a poor way of working and can result in burnout.

Incorporate Fun

All work and no play – leads to burnout! Employees should not be treated like robots; they should have some level of fun incorporated into their working week. For instance, free lunch on a Friday, after-work drinks, or a quiz night. These fun activities help employees to destress and reduces the likelihood of burnout. Employee recognition is also important and you can incorporate some fun activities into this.

Track Holidays

You should also make sure your employees are taking their holidays, and not carrying them over to the next year. Holidays are there for a reason, they are there for rest and rejuvenation, and it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure their employees are taking holidays. Some people will work relentlessly and if you don’t keep track, there could be burnout ahead!

If you would like to discuss mental health in the workplace, you can contact us for an initial chat, either by email at or by calling 01787 695084

Performance Management and Why it is Important

The prospect of performance management is often dreaded by employees. Performance management, when done correctly, can be vital in running a successful business. It allows you to understand how your employees perform in various aspects of their roles and whether these are in line with the company goals. It is not there to make employees feel bad or to interrupt their working day, it is in fact, a tool used to help them identify strengths and weaknesses, some of which they may not even be aware of. When done well, it can make employees feel rejuvenated. There are various types of performance management, including appraisals and check-ins. The one you opt for depends on what is best for your business objectives and whether you want these to be formal or informal. You may even want to use a couple of different options.

Performance management is important for any business, and these are some reasons why they are worth consideration.

Identify Training Needs

It can be difficult to determine exactly where the strengths of your team lie, and where they might need some training, without consistent reviews. Whether formal or informal, a performance review gives you the opportunity to discuss the aspirations of your employees and identify areas of training that might be useful to them. Performance reviews can also help with succession planning as you can plan for future vacancies, and where your current employees might be able to slot in. It is vital that you continue to grow your business, and performance management can help with this.

Increase Retention

You could have an employee who is on the brink of leaving, and without regular reviews, you may not even be aware of this. Performance reviews can increase retention as you can understand how your employees feel and whether you need to do anything to enhance their enjoyment of their role. For instance, they may feel that the role has become stagnant, and you could consider promoting them if you really want to keep hold of them. Hiring new employees takes a lot of time, resources, and money. If you find a good employee, it is worth doing everything you can to hold onto them.

Greater Freedom

There are two extremes in the workplace that can turn employees off and force them to consider leaving. If they feel that they are being micro-managed, this can be off-putting for someone that likes to work autonomously. On the other hand, if there is no input whatsoever, this can leave them feeling isolated, and devalued. The step in between this is performance management. If you have regular feedback meetings with employees, even just a quick catch-up every month and a more formal annual performance review, you can basically leave your employees alone to do their job. This is the best of both worlds, as you can keep track of how your employees are doing, without getting in their space and preventing them from doing their job.

Morale Boost

The performance review should not be used as a tool just to identify areas of weakness, it should also be used to encourage employees and praise them for what they’re good at. Everyone likes a bit of praise, and this can be a good morale boost.

You could take inspiration from Nationwide, which is one of the most engaged companies in the world. Their ethos is to put people before profits. If you put your people first, your profits will follow.

As Nationwide Vice President, Edward Wagner said, “Most people go into business to make money, we went into business to serve people and ended up making more money than the guys who were out to make it in the first place.”

They have 26,000 associates and $270 billion in assets, so they must be doing something right! 

Putting your people first is vital and encouraging them via performance reviews is just one way to do it.

If you would like to discuss getting a performance management system in place or you want a review of your current processes, contact us today at or phone 01787 695084.

Key Challenges with Hybrid Working and How to Address These

Since the pandemic, employers have had to adapt to a new way of working, with most office workers being home-based. As things slowly start to return to some form of normality, there is the question of how employers should help their employees adapt. Many employers are now adopting a form of hybrid working, which is a form of flexible working. They are allowing employees to work between the office and their home. How the working pattern is divided is decided by the employer or between both parties.

Hybrid working is not without its challenges, as you would expect. For many, it’s an entirely new way of working, and it can raise some issues and concerns. These are some of the challenges with hybrid working and how you can address these.

Ensuring Inclusion

Employees mustn’t feel that they are excluded. For instance, if you have a specific day for meetings or go out for lunch one day a week and not all employees are based in the office on that day, it can lead to a feeling of exclusion. If you are holding meetings, make sure employees are involved, even if virtually. If you go out for lunch, make sure you do this at times when everyone is in the office or spread it out to cover the days those employees are in the office. These may seem like unnecessary steps, but they can make a big difference to how employees feel. This way of thinking should be applied across the board, to everything you do in the workplace.

Managing Employees

The inability to manage employees is one of the main concerns for businesses. How do you know they are working, and how can you monitor them from afar? The key to managing employees successfully with hybrid working is to ensure you check-in and communicate with them. It is also worth moving to a task-driven way of operating, rather than worrying too much about whether employees are working the required hours. The truth is that they probably won’t be, as there are many more distractions when working remotely. However, rather than trying to micro-manage them, give them a list of tasks you expect them to complete each day – making sure this is feasible while allowing them to take regular breaks. Communicate with your employees regularly, ensuring they are doing well. Monitor them without being overbearing. Use the time when they are in the office wisely. It can be a key time to do your one-to-one’s.

Sharing Ideas

There is nothing like sitting in an office and sharing ideas with colleagues, but this isn’t always possible with hybrid working. Setting up a message system, such as Slack or Teams, can be a good way to help encourage employees to share their ideas. Ask for regular feedback during office and online meetings. Employees are less likely to express their ideas, so you might need to encourage them a little.

Supporting Mental Health

Working from home can have detrimental effects on mental health. When you don’t see people every day, it can be difficult to know when they are going through hard times. Therefore, supporting them with their mental health can be challenging. The best way to approach this is to ensure you check in with your employees regularly, without becoming overbearing. Make sure they have someone in the workplace they can speak to and ensure you have a messaging service set up for colleagues to chat together. 

Maintaining Productivity

There is the worry that employees will be less productive with hybrid working, but as mentioned earlier, one way to ensure this is by giving them tasks, rather than monitoring the hours they work. It seems that productivity might not be as much of an issue as some may think. According to a report by Cardiff University and Southampton University, 41% of respondents felt they were getting the same amount of work done as they did when working in the office, and 29% said they had been more productive. The report stated that 30% had seen their productivity fall, with 3 out of 10 stating this was down to a lack of work, rather than outside influences.

If you would like to learn more about hybrid working and how to ensure your employees adapt to this way of working, we would be happy to offer some HR advice. Contact us at or 07516 335419 for an initial discussion.