Dave Burton of QBH Solutions, Dover, offers some HR advice to members.
A 4-DAY WORKING WEEK
There has been a lot of rumbling and talk about a 4-day working week in the last few months. It is often stated that in the UK we work way more than our European counterparts, with the TUC suggesting that over 3.3 million of us regularly work over 48 hours a week.
For those of us running our own businesses we would probably wish we got to work 48-hour weeks but what about our teams and the people we rely so heavily on?
There is a strong argument for a healthier work life balance and a 4-day working week would certainly help this. There are arguments clearly linking longer hours to increased stress, depression, physical health problems, including stroke and heart disease and breakdowns in relationships. This makes a lot of sense but who pays for the reduced hours, do we still pay people 5 days for working 4 or should we expect to reduce the hours paid in line with the hours worked?
The answer, as yet, is unknown but this isn’t going away so do have a think about how it might impact on your business and even if you decide that a 4 day working week is not appropriate (like a lot of people will), it would be prudent to consider ways to help your teams manage the work life balance better.
It might be that you have shorter hours, flexible working, unlimited leave, better remote working options, maybe even shut down servers so employees can’t check their emails! This is one solution being trialed by a German company. There are lots of things businesses can do to get ahead of any changes that may be coming.
A performance review, job chat or 1 to 1, is probably the best method of ensuring that your employees are doing what you think they should be doing and to monitor performance to any particular projects or tasks that have been set. It will allow you to identify any changes to the job role that may need to be incorporated or updated within the job description, making sure that it is up to date or alternatively it may highlight any tasks or duties that an employee is doing that you don’t want them to do anymore.
A 1:1 provides an opportunity to highlight any concerns to an employee, be it performance, attitude or behavior as well as being an opportunity for the employee to highlight any issues or concerns that they may have. As a business owner or as a manager knowing about and addressing these issues at the earliest possible stage stops them from becoming serious business critical issues, with all the associated costs and time and stress they take to resolve, often when it is too late.
The following are a few tips that you may find useful when sitting down for your first 1:1;
- Book the 1:1 in, let the employee know what it is for and give them ample time to prepare
- Hold the 1:1 where interruptions can be kept to a minimum, preferably somewhere private
- Always start with positive feedback
- Ask the employee how they think they are doing, what they are good at and where they think they need to improve.
- Address or challenge any performance, conduct or behavior issues, giving the employee a chance to respond or explain (issues or concerns you deem serious should always follow your disciplinary procedures!)
- Take notes and give a copy of the notes to the employee, recording any actions and timescales
- If you say you are going to do something do it and keep your employee up to date on progress