To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace’

Practical Accountancy with Allchurch & Co

Now more than ever, small business owners will all realise that happy and motivated staff is crucial for the success of their business.

The past year has been full of uncertainty, and looking after your staff is vital, as after all, they are your most important assets.

We have listed below a few suggestions to ensure the workforce is kept happy.

Keep employees in the loop

With the ever-changing restrictions and government schemes for furlough, employees need to be kept up to date. Ensure you send out frequent communications so that members of staff are informed with the changing rules surrounding isolation and testing. This will ensure that the company policy towards time off is also clear and understood.

Consider flexible working and understand the commitments/preferences of staff and their future working patterns.

Despite all the negative impacts Covid has brought to the world, there has certainly been some positives to be taken from it. Many businesses have seen that working from home and changing working hours to fit around family life has actually seen staff productivity increase, so its proven to work. Even when the pandemic is over, giving your staff the opportunity to work earlier or finish later, for example, this would help them juggle the demands of managing their home lives (such as looking after children or supporting older family members) and completing their work tasks.

Understanding ‘working from home’ preferences

As well as the flexible working hours, the past year has seen a huge change in the way businesses have operated and working from home has been one of the big changes. In Wales, the message still remains ‘work from home where possible’ Many employees have enjoyed the perks that working from home has brought such as flexibility, reduced commute times, and less distraction from colleagues. As an employer ensure that all employees are happy with their work from home arrangements and have all they need to work efficiently and effectively. Some employees may not be as happy as others working from home, if they don’t have a nice home environment, live alone so lack social interactions, have a busy/noisy family, they may be desperate to get back to the office! Now restrictions have eased, take this opportunity to understand what will work best for everyone.

Promote a healthy work life balance

With some sort of normality resuming, it suddenly feels that life has become very busy! Many public facing businesses will also feel this, which by some employees may be quite overwhelming. Ensure that staff are having frequent breaks and are well rested, so they can give 100% when they are facing clients and customers. Whilst restrictions are relaxed, take the opportunity to organise some staff socials and staff wellbeing days.


Salary Sacrifice Schemes

Salary sacrifice schemes can be a cost- effective way to help employees. Employees give up pay and receive a benefit instead. Often these benefits may have more favourable tax treatment or may even be completely exempt from tax and national insurance (NI) if certain criteria are met.

Salary sacrifice has been around for some time. Common schemes cover:

– Buying extra annual leave

– Childcare vouchers

– Cycle to work

– Pension payments

– Training (such as an MBA)

Recreational Benefits

This is a well-known exemption for annual parties and functions. Employers can provide functions to a total cost of £150 per head (with certain criteria) without creating a tax liability. This exemption could generate a lot of good-will from staff if you use it to hold an annual function.

Trivial Benefits

Gifts you give to your employees are norm-ally exempt from tax and NI. However, this exemption only applies if the gift is deemed to be trivial. For a gift to be considered a trivial benefit, it must cost £50 or less, and not be part of the employees’ contract or a reward for performance. It must also not be a cash reward as HMRC will tax this as earnings (payroll tax).

Staff suggestion scheme

Something that many employers forget about, or don’t know about is a suggestion scheme, which can lead to your team delivering tangible savings for your business.

In order to implement a suggestion scheme HMRC’s approval is needed.

A creative approach to rewards can keep your people happy – however it should be remembered that a benefit is only a benefit if the employee actually wants it!

Saying thank you – it costs nothing but means a lot!

Finally making your staff feel valued and supported most of the time can be achieved with making them feel appreciated. Taking the time to say thank you can go a very long way in this fast-paced world we live in.

If you wish to use any of this information in this article, then please feel free to contact us to discuss further. The article is for information purposes only and cannot be relied upon without consent.

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