A report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 72% of carers in the UK are providing care in addition to full-time paid work.

In response to this enormous number, the Carers’ Leave Act was laid before Parliament at the latter end of 2023, and from April 6th 2024, it will officially go into effect. So, what does this mean for employers?

The new Carers’ Leave Act will most notably introduce an entitlement to one week’s unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities. These can be taken as full or half days, and this leave will be a day-one right – that is, employees will have the right to request this leave from their first day of employment.

For employees to request this flexible leave, they will need to offer advance notice that is at least twice the length of the time being requested as leave, plus one day (for example, if an employee requests two days off, they need to make this request at least five working days prior).

There will be a variety of factors and criterion that have to be considered in order for a worker to qualify for this leave (are they a primary carer? Who is the dependant? Does the dependant have a long-term care need?). The finer details of the Carers’ Leave Act can be found here for employers to review.

This new Act is being introduced in order to highlight the need for employers to begin supporting those employees who double as working carers. Previously, a working carer was expected to use other kinds of leave in order to care for a loved one who was in need of care, such as flexible working arrangements or annual leave, but now this Act provides the entitlement to specific leave dedicated to these caring needs.

Therefore, employers should be ensuring that, before April 6th, they are updating or creating new policies that reflect this new legislation. They should also be communicating to their teams how to go about requesting this leave and what criteria has to be met to be entitled to it. Employers may also decide whether or not they want to offer this leave as paid leave either in full or in part, or whether it will be a week of unpaid leave.

At OrgShakers, we have always been passionate about the support of unpaid carers in the workplace, as those employers who can successfully recognize and support these workers are going to be in the best position to optimize their productivity. If you would like to discuss how we can help support your business in creating working carers policies, please get in touch with us.

Working in a remote or hybrid setting has entered the mainstream for the world of work.  Navigating applications like Zoom and Teams has become routine, water cooler chats rely on DM, and family members or pets are a common sight while working. That said, there are still the occasional mishaps. For example:

A few years ago, a group of legal workers were discussing a civil procedure over video call when their colleague Ben rose from his seat to reveal that he was, in fact, stark naked. In a similar and more recent blunder, a Social Democratic councillor from Romania thought his camera was off and that he was muted when he took his laptop into the bathroom and began to shower…but he was sadly mistaken.

I found myself dealing with a similar instance not too long ago where an individual was in a team call, accidently switched his camera on, and revealed he was taking nude photographs of himself. While these instances may seem amusing and are sometimes laughed off, it does beg the question for employers: How do we respond? Is policy applicable? And if none exist, do we need to create one?

Since remote work was introduced on a mass scale in 2020, it has become much more normal for employees to dress comfortably and casually for work.

A poll from People Management confirms this, as it found more than half of respondents (56%) wore jogging bottoms or leggings while working remotely, and the average employee spends 46 days a year working in pajamas. 29% of employers surveyed, however, stated they had enforced a strict dress code in response to this change or would if they could.

Ideally, an organization’s dress code can be applied across a variety of work situations and locations. Companies that have embraced remote or hybrid work can mitigate risk and inappropriate behavior by ensuring their workforce policies make sense in multiple settings. Rather than having separate dress code policies for different workers, for example, an organization can have a single comprehensive policy that applies to different situations.

The way we dress to work has always had a big influence on personal brand, company brand, and productivity. It’s the old adage that dressing smartly makes you think and act smartly. Dress helps someone differentiate when they are in work mode and when they are not. Post-pandemic saw these lines blur; the home, which was typically a place for comfort, merged with the workplace. And while dress code expectations may have been clear for working in the office, have employers been clear in what the expectations are surrounding working from home?

When reviewing dress code policies for use in remote or hybrid settings, start by defining what a company deems acceptable as ‘working attire’ when working from home. Consider how ‘dressed’ a remote employee needs to be. If someone on a zoom call is clad in a shirt, tie and even blazer from the waist up, but wearing pyjama bottoms from the waist down, is this unprofessional?

It’s important for employers to partner with HR when determining employee dress expectations. Appropriate attire doesn’t necessarily mean forcing workers to wear business professional clothing at all times, as contextually this may not be beneficial for the desired result.

For example, if a team is brainstorming ideas, an imaginative and innovative process, some individuals will do their best creative thinking when they can dress (and feel) comfortable. In part this is because, psychologically, what we wear can have a huge effect on how we think. One study found that wearing a suit or smart attire made 52% of people feel more productive, 59% act more decisively, and 78% felt more authoritative. And yet, a different study at the University of Hertfordshire asked a group of people to wear a Superman T-shirt, and concluded they believed they were stronger as a result.

Context of the desired result is therefore key when it comes to creating policies around dress codes and video call etiquette. Having a set of standards on what is acceptable – and what is unacceptable – will help mitigate the blunders mentioned earlier. There also needs to be an element of flexibility incorporated into these standards based on the task at hand; creative tasks may require more comfort. After all, if wearing a Superman shirt makes you feel strong, being comfortable can make you feel comfortable, too – and this can encourage some of the best and most honest thinking.

It all comes down to being intentional with the dress code, which will help to ensure clarity around those blurred lines of remote working and home life, while also taking into account the fact that the way someone dresses can have a real effect on their work results.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your company create and optimize these policies, please get in touch with me at amanda@orgshakers.com

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, both personally and professionally. A global analysis of social media usage found that 74% of North America use social media, along with a whopping 84% of Western and Northern Europe.

It is therefore no secret that a company’s social media strategy can play a huge role in the success of their business. That’s why it is so important for employers to establish and implement a well-defined social media policy, as it will help to provide a clear framework for employees’ online behavior, protecting both the company’s reputation and the rights of its workforce. After all, 68% of consumers follow brands on social media to stay informed about products and services, so ensuring that your message is consistent across the board is imperative for strengthening the bottom line.

Here’s what every employer’s social media policy should cover:

  • Protect Brand Reputation – a brand’s image can be easily tarnished by an employee’s careless or inappropriate social media activities. Ensure that your social media policy establishes guidelines for employees on how to represent the company online, as this will allow for the content being shared to align with your brand values.
  • Legal Risks – there are numerous legal risks associated with social media, including harassment, discrimination, defamation, and intellectual property violations. Your policy needs to be clear and concise about what is considered unacceptable behavior and the consequences for said behavior in order to mitigate these risks.
  • Evolving Trends – your social media policy needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the constant changes and evolutions that take place in the world of social media. With new platforms and trends emerging all the time, it is important to keep this policy regularly updated and refreshed.
  • Professionalism – social media policies should reinforce the importance of maintaining a professional online presence, including clauses about avoiding hate speech, discriminatory language, or inappropriate content that can come across poorly.
  • Privacy Boundaries – privacy is a significant and legitimate concern in the digital era, so your policy must educate employees about respecting company and personal privacy. By establishing clear boundaries, you will mitigate the risk of confidential information being inadvertently shared or mishandled, therefore safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining trust amongst your team.

While a social media policy can at first glance seem restrictive, it can actually have positive effects on employee engagement. By providing guidelines for online interactions, employees can feel more confident in their social media usage knowing they are representing their employer in a good light, subsequently leading to increased job satisfaction and fostering employee loyalty.

Additionally, in times of crisis, a social media policy can be an invaluable tool. It can offer guidance on how to address and respond to negative situations (such as customer complaints or public relations challenges).

If you would like to discuss how we can help your company craft a strong and effective social media policy, please get in touch with us!

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