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Are we in for a Christmas of discontent
21 December 2016

This week strike action by union members at Southern Rail, the Post Office, and British Airways is taking its toll on travellers, commuters and the public generally with Christmas less than a week away. We look at the how this action might affect your organisation and what additional measures you could take to support your workforce during difficult travelling times.

Multiple strike action this week has led to chaos in the rail, postal and airport sectors. Commuters have had to endure journeys as long as 11 hours as a result of the strikes by Southern Rail this week. This disruption is likely to negatively affect both the organisation as well as its workforce but what steps could employers take to reduce the impact?

Flexibility

  • How easy is it for your employees to work from home? Do you provide them with the equipment which allows them to do so and can they still perform their duties based at home?  Is it reasonable for them to work from home?  Can you agree a temporary change to the employee’s place of work?
  • Do you allow your workforce to be more flexible with their working hours when they are experiencing significantly longer travel times?  Think about introducing core hours on a temporary basis so that employees could start and finish early or late.  Can you agree employees will call in to the office or video conference in?
  • Your employees may want to use holiday to take time off if they are unable to work from home or travel in. Think about what your policies say about delayed or failed travel, time off and notification procedures and how you can ease the pressure placed on your employees.
  • If employees feel that you are supporting them at stressful and difficult times they are more likely to feel valued and as a result be more productive.

Did you know that the average worker in Britain commutes 54 minutes each day? Research carried out by the Office for National Statistics has shown that commuting between an hour and an hour and a half has the most negative effect on personal well-being.  Lengthy or disrupted journeys may increase tiredness and also the likelihood of sickness so make sure you are prepared for this and act in line with your company procedures on managing absence.  It is worth thinking of the ways in which you can keep morale up among your workforce if you know they will be negatively impacted by strike action.

May we take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Date for your diary

Our 2017 Conference season begins on 23 February.  Our Conference theme for 2017 is “Building Better Teams”. Our first Conference will be looking at this in the context of “Winning the Productivity Battle”.  We are all working longer in terms of hours and years, we have time saving devices and have 21st Century practices but why does this not translate into better productivity and better team?  How can HR put processes in place and change the productivity mindset?  Places at our Reading Conference are limited so to reserve your place visit www.boyesturner.com/events  

To discuss how these rules may affect your organisation or help in implementation please contact the Employment Group on 0118 952 7284 or at [email protected].

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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