First aid in the workplace – what you need to know…

People can suffer injuries or be taken ill at any time – and this could be staff or your customers. It doesn’t matter if injury or illness is work or environment related, you should offer immediate attention – and call an ambulance if necessary. You should make arrangements to ensure this happens – it can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones…
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Cash Flow for Small Businesses

Cash flow is critical for a small business because it needs money to pay suppliers, employees and overheads such as rent and utilities. Firms must ensure they have sufficient working capital for these day-to-day operations and often this is tied up in monies owed to the business by customers who have bought goods or services on credit…

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Filling the Interim Communications Gap

Organisations may not need full-time communication professionals! This sounds a strange statement to make having operated in this area for all my working life and establishing Highbank Communications three years ago. So, let me expand…
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High growth using technology…

It’s a good feeling when your business grows. But growth can also lead to unforeseen problems. Effective use of technology is the foundation of many successful business growth strategies. Yet finding and implementing the appropriate technology solutions can often be a challenge…
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What employers need to know about enforcing a dress code at work…

Recent high profile legal cases about dress codes at work have left some employers unsure about what they can and can’t ask their employees to wear in the workplace. In this blog, we give you the information you need to help you navigate this potential landmine.

1. What are the benefits of a dress code?

There are many legitimate reasons why you might want to consider imposing a dress code on your employees, ranging from health and safety (e.g. requiring hair to be tied back or covered in a kitchen) to helping you to communicate your corporate image.
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2. Am I allowed to impose a dress code?

You are allowed to enforce a dress code in the workplace to ensure that employees are dressed appropriately so long as it doesn’t unlawfully discriminate against anyone. This means that it must not unfairly affect an employee unless you can show that the requirement is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

3. What do I need to consider when developing a dress code?

Though corporate image may be important to you when devising your dress code, the health, safety and comfort of your staff is paramount. You must also take into consideration any potential religious and ethnic sensitivities.
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4. Can I have different dress code requirements for men and women?

You can have different requirements for men and women, providing that those differences are not to the detriment of one gender. It is not discriminatory, for example, to require men to wear a tie providing that women are required to meet a comparable standard of smartness.

5. Must I have different dress code requirements for different religions?

The requirements of your dress code must relate to the job and be reasonable in nature. If you ban an item of religious dress, you must be able to justify your reasoning by demonstrating that the restriction is connected to a real business or safety requirement.
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6. How should I communicate my dress code policy?

Dress codes should be written down in a policy and communicated to all staff so that they understand what standards are expected of them. As with all employment policies, you should review your dress code regularly, including revisiting whether its objectives are still relevant. Include within your policy the circumstances in which adjustments can be made, for example, for disabled employees.

Generally, the more flexibility that you can allow into your dress code while still achieving your objectives, the less likely it is that any problems with it will arise.

7. What are the penalties for employers whose dress code falls foul of the law?

Employees who feel that the dress code unfairly discriminates against them may decide to bring a claim against you. Where that employee succeeds at a Tribunal, financial compensation may be awarded largely on the basis of injury to feelings; if the employee has been dismissed or resigned and succeeds in a claim for constructive unfair dismissal, any award could include an element for loss of earnings too.

For more information, see ACAS Guidance on Dress Codes or contact Simon Morgan at The HR Department on simon.morgan@hrdept.co.uk.

Tis the season of change!

We are approaching a season of change…The evenings are getting darker, supermarket shelves are clearing of kids’ black trousers and filling up with tubs of Heroes and Quality Street!
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The seasons change with the inevitable and relentless march of time, but when it comes to making changes in our business it’s easy to put them off to a later date because we don’t think of them as ‘business critical’ today!

Our business software is a key example. We know that if we change our software we could improve our productivity and create time through efficiency gains – yet we postpone doing anything about it by kidding ourselves we don’t have enough time! Over the years business accounting software has changed massively and with so many new software solutions being introduced into the market, and so much functionality now available, how do we even know what software our business really needs and if we are missing out?

So where do you start?
At o-a-sys we recommend taking the time to evaluate your exiting business process fully. Your business may well have changed significantly over the years and by creating a list of requirements that your new software solution must have and a list of nice to have’s, it’s a great way to create a potential shortlist of software providers with whom to meet and request a demo!
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Creating a nice to have list helps you find functionality that you may not be aware is available and how to search for it. By providing check lists to companies, they can save you time by saying yes or no to functionality you require before scheduling a demo.

Demos can then be based on your requirements so you get a feel for how the software will fit into your business rather than your business fitting in with the software. Don’t forget to ask questions about the implementation process. Find out if the system can be phased into the business so that departments can get use to the switch over. Find out how and when your employees will be trained to use the software and the support options available once the system is in place.
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The decision can then be based on the number of requirements fulfilled, how user friendly the system is and the relationship developed with the provider.

Changing software is a long-term commitment for any business so you need to be comfortable phoning for support and knowing you will receive high standards.

If you are thinking of changing your software then give the o-a-sys team a call on 01233 812050 and we can discuss your list of requirements and see if we have a solution that is right for your business not just your industry!

Christmas is coming and January’s staff morale will be flat!

Do you love Christmas? Or do you groan when it gets mentioned (particularly if it’s still Summer)? However you feel about it, Christmas is an opportunity to build morale in your team. The festive party is a great method of bringing people together in a more relaxed atmosphere than the shop floor. Add professional photography and you can extend those highs well into the Winter season, getting over the ‘January Blues’ and shortening the time until the weather brightens and the next holiday break.
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How Do We Manage Health and Safety Risks in the Workplace?

It’s a question often asked of health and safety consultants, and it begins with the risk assessment. Conducting a health and safety risk assessment is a requirement of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 as amended in 2003 and 2006. More than that, it is an opportunity to improve and strengthen your business.
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