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HR Consultant – What should I do about family bereavement?

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Family bereavement in the workplace is a tricky and delicate matter for obvious reasons.

Surprisingly, there is no law in the UK which states we have the right to have time off when a loved one passes away. So that is where we, as a HR consultant firm step in. We can give you guidance on how to deal with your employee who is going through a family bereavement.

This video will go through the certain aspects you should consider when your employee is going through a family bereavement. Any time an employee is given time off during a family death, paid or not, it is completely at the employer’s discretion.

Our advice to you would be to take this matter on a case by case basis. Not everyone grieves in the same way, some employees may need the time at home whereas others may prefer to keep busy and dive back into work.

We would suggest taking the time to listen to your staff and talk with them to discuss what they want and how they are feeling. You must then go on to decide what the best course of action is. However, we would say that there is no point forcing an employee into work when they are not going to be focused on what they were doing. Unfocused employees can often do more damage than good.

You must consider consistency when you decide to give an employee say two weeks paid leave for a bereavement you must ensure that you are fair and consistent to other employees who want it.

Could you benefit from our HR consultant advice?  Here at JMann Associates, we offer expert HR services that save you time and money and keep you safe and protected. Want to know more? Get in touch today.


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Hr advice

HR Advice – What to do if someone is off sick

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Employee sickness, it happens all of the time. Sometimes it’s for a day or two and sometimes it can be a lot longer.

A very important element of what we do and how we give HR advice is going through the correct procedure to follow when someone is off sick. This is because when somebody is off sick it can often be very disruptive to your business. There are various different paths you can take when dealing with employee absence. These paths can depend on several things such as, whether or not the absence is short-term or long-term.

This video will mainly focus on short-term absence. We will explain what you can do so that you and your member of staff are covered and everyone knows what to expect when they return back to work. We also explain the kind of employee absence that you need to watch out for, the kind of absence we often refer to as ‘red day people’.

When giving HR advice on employee absence one of the first things we would ask you is, what does your procedure/policy or contract say? This is important because you need to be making sure that your employee knows what to do. They need to know what the procedure actually is when they are off sick.

When your employee is off sick, we always recommend that you do a return to work interview with them. You should do this no matter how long they were off sick whether it was a day or 100 days. You can sit down with your employee and ask them some questions and assess whether or not they are fit to come back to work.

Could you benefit from our HR advice?  Here at JMann Associates, we offer expert HR services that save you time and money and keep you safe and protected. Want to know more? Get in touch today.


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What is mindfulness and why should you introduce it at work?

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What is mindfulness?

Put simply, mindfulness is meditation. It’s an ancient Buddhist practice which is about paying attention in a particular way, in the present moment, on purpose and non-judgmentally.

Now, before you think that all sounds a bit ‘woo woo’, let me explain more. Mindfulness is not a religion and it’s not about sitting cross legged on the floor. It’s about learning to train your mind, accepting and acknowledging your feelings and bringing awareness to the present moment.

Today the majority of people lead very busy lives at work and home and spend most of their lives on autopilot. When you go home you may find it difficult to switch off from work, especially with the amount of technology around meaning you are always connected, which makes it very difficult to relax and unwind.

You’re always thinking about the huge list of things still to be done. You’re so busy ‘doing’ it’s not possible to take time to enjoy the now, this moment. You’re always worrying about the past or the future and missing your time in the present.

One of this consequence for this busy life is your work life balance suffers and so does your health. You may experience a feeling of overwhelm, stress or depression. This then affects your work and home life. You may make mistakes, become unproductive, over react to issues and have difficulty with relationships.

Practising mindfulness will not make all your issues go away but will enable you to make choices, and learn skills that will help slow you down so you can enjoy life. It allows you to focus your attention and have choices over how you react to situations. It can provide you with an opportunity to prevent things spiralling out of control.

When you meditate you can use your breath as an anchor which starts the calming process. You’ll soon find that your heart rate slows down, you become more relaxed, blood pressure falls and tension is released. While you are concentrating on your breathing it’s not possible to think of anything else.

Numerous clinical trials have shown the positive effect mindfulness has on the brain including wellbeing and happiness.

Mindfulness creates a sense of control over your conscious thoughts, attitude and behaviours. Any activity at any time can be completed using mindfulness.

Four benefits of mindfulness in the workplace

Increases productivity, the ability to focus and concentrate

Mindfulness helps you to think and respond more creatively and improve your productivity. It can make you feel more energetic, give you the ability to see a broader perspective and become a better listener.

Reduced stress, anxiety and depression

The Health and Safety Executive also reported that one in five employees feel very or extremely stressed at work, and that in 2017/18, 15.4 million working days were lost due to work related stress or depression. This is up by nearly 2.5 million in the previous year.

Practising mindfulness meditation on a daily basis reduces your stress levels and provides techniques to help you cope and see things differently, which can be especially beneficial in the workplace.

Mindfulness in the workplace benefits work-life balance

Supports a healthier work life balance

By paying attention to how things are and not judging things in any way can help you respond more effectively in all areas of your life.

Transport for London introduced a mindfulness training programme and employees reported improvements in their relationships, happiness at work, sleep patterns and their ability to relax.

Regular meditation can also boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and provide you with a positive outlook on life.

Increases engagement in the workplace

Mindfulness helps to create a positive culture at work. Absence levels are reduced and employee retention improves. Job satisfaction increases and productivity is higher.

Ways to introduce mindfulness at work

A number of well-known companies have introduced mindfulness courses into the workplace including Google, Apple and Starbucks.

  • Organise an in house training course. These are typically eight-week programmes.
  • Offer an online mindfulness course.
  • Set up a quiet area or room, depending on the space available, where employees can take short breaks or time out to practice mindfulness meditation.
  • Offer a discounted subscription to a mindfulness app, such as Headspace.
  • Hold mindful meetings.
  • Get up and take a meditation break. This will help you return to your work energised and more focused.
  • Take mindful walks.
  • Encourage employees to practice meditation at work and home.

Not sure if mindfulness is right for you? Give it a try – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


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