Below are five of the biggest issues employers face with some tips on how to deal with them.
#1. Maximum office temperatures
The HSA’s Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2007 state, ‘during working hours, the temperature in rooms containing workstations is appropriate for human beings, having regard to the working methods being used and the physical demands placed on the employees’. While there is no specific maximum temperature, employers must evaluate what is considered ‘appropriate’, factoring elements such as the physicality of the work, whether particular uniforms must be work, etc.
#2. Unauthorised time off
I’ve written extensively about annual leave entitlements before. One big issue employers often report is when an employee decides to take their holiday, despite the fact that their request has been declined…or not authorised.
In such situations it is essential to remain calm and adhere to your company’s disciplinary guidelines. This means that the first step you should take is to conduct an impartial investigation to establish and understand the reasons for their absence.
More often than not it will be for a genuine reason. If, however, it is not then you may need to take disciplinary measures, which should be clearly stated in your staff handbook.
#3. Summer dress codes
With things heating up, the idea of wearing a three-piece suit can be the stuff of nightmares for a lot of employees. As such, many employers to adopt a more relaxed dress code during the summer months. However, employers need to be careful if they adopt a more relaxed attitude.
Depending on the role particular employees perform, they may not all be able to ‘dress down’ to the same extent. For example, those in customer facing roles may need to maintain a more professional image than those working in the company warehouse. Although any workers, where required, must continue to wear any protective wear associated with their role.
Employers must ensure that clear guidelines are still provided to staff, outlining what is deemed acceptable during the more relaxed months, for the department in which they work. This should be done objectively to avoid any feeling of discrimination from any element of the workforce.
#4. Competing summer holiday requests
As an employer, you are not obliged to agree to a worker’s request to take holiday at a particular time, unless the employment contract provides otherwise.
If competing requests for holiday are received from different workers, managers may prioritise requests, provided that they do this in a way which is fair and consistent. There are many different ways of doing this. For example, some businesses opt for operate a first-come, first-served system, while for others may opt for a seniority system.
Again, your staff handbook should include a holiday policy, which details the request procedure. This can help limit the likelihood of short notice on holiday requests, which often results in refusal and thus employee dissatisfaction.
#5. Keeping staff motivated
The summer months can be very disruptive for many businesses. The coming and going of staff, kids on holidays, clients on annual leave, not to mention the sunshine blasting through the window, can contribute to employees losing focus and productivity dropping.
Allocating responsibility to particular individuals and ensuring they recognise the important role they play in delivering your company’s product or service can help keep them on track. Additionally, promoting collaboration where employees have a sense of duty to one another can be very effective.
For more helpful HR tips and advice, CLICK HERE to sign up to our monthly newsletter.