The past few weeks have been spent cranking up the radiators, reaching for our blankets and stepping outside in our boots and jumpers as the winter season approaches.

The cold weather brings with it many issues for employers; including travel disruption and enhanced sickness. How do you as an employer deal with these issues?

1.Travel Chaos
-Send a pre-emptive email reminding staff to factor a little extra time into their morning routines, whether that be to defrost the cars, walk slower to the bus stop on the ice, hunt for the kid’s hats. Winter means that it might take us a little longer to get around.
-Have a backup plan. Last year we saw some of the worst snow in history with several feet having fallen across the country. If there is an option for staff to work from home if they cannot travel, then you should start putting these processes in place and developing a policy to clearly explain the obligations and expectations during these times.
-If working from home is not an option, then staff should be made aware of whether they will be paid and their rights to use annual leave etc.
-If your employees have meetings with clients then they need to be aware of their obligations to reschedule or conduct via other means (video or telephone call)

2.Sickness
-Cold, coughs, flu, chest infections, tonsillitis, throat infections. Just a few of the usual winter sickness issues. Whilst nobody is denying that these issues can be genuine, it can still have a significant impact on a business.
-Some quick steps you can take are outlined below:
-Clarify the absence reporting process
-Confirm overtime availability with staff
-Complete return to work interviews with staff
-Be consistent with your approach.
-Remember that not all people react the same way to illness. Just because Susan from accounts comes in and suffers through her cold, doesn’t mean that Mark from finance can or should do the same.
-Be supportive and kind to your staff, although we have touched on physical illness, winter is also a very stressful time of the year for people and mental ill-health may come in to play too.

The points above are just a whistle-stop tour of the issues, robust policies underpin all that is above. If the policies are vague or lack clarity, then this can cause bigger problems later down the line. Call us today on 0141 345 2475 or email us directly at hr@newtonfirst.co.uk for a review of your winter management policies.

 

 

 

 

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