For Employees

Coronavirus: Do I have to return to the workplace?
Coronavirus: Do I have to return to the workplace?

The start of this month sees the biggest relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions since the lockdown was imposed three months ago.

Shops, restaurants, museums, hairdressers and pubs are all being allowed to reopen in one form or another meaning tens of thousands of us are being asked to go back to our workplace for the first time in more than 100 days.

For many of us, this will be an anxious time.

We have got used to isolating and the thought of mingling with people again certainly whilst the virus is still at large in the population can be worrying.

But we all have rights which will help protect us in the workplace or even if we can continue to work from home and help keep us safe from the threat of Covid.

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The hidden cost of coronavirus for working women
The hidden cost of coronavirus for working women

We like to think that we live in a hugely civilised, modern society.

But when something happens which upsets our way of life such as coronavirus - it doesnt take long for some old stereotypes to emerge.

With lots of us forced to work from home, the kids being unable to go to school, and a state of national emergency reducing us to lockdown, youd have thought that wed have all pulled together to share the burden of domestic chores and home educating.

But if you look at the latest figures, Im afraid they paint an entirely different story.

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that in mixed-sex households where both partners work, its the women who have been picking up the extra burden of housework and looking after the kids during lockdown.

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Coronavirus  why employees need support over mental health
Coronavirus why employees need support over mental health

There has never been a more important time for employers to look after their staff.

As we start to think about a return to work, all employers will need to recognise they owe a duty of care to their workforce with regards to the impact of this unprecedented situation.

And mental health will be a key issue as people come to terms with a changed world, face all-too natural anxieties about mixing with people again as we start to return to work and adapt to the uncertainties which are certain to exist for many months to come.

Existing mental health issues, particularly anxieties are likely to be exaggerated during this situation. The worry, stress and uncertainty caused by living through an international crisis should not be underestimated and will test the coping strategies of a good many people.

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Homeworking
Homeworking

I suspect that if somebody had told us this time last year that most of us would be working from home by now, wed have given them a bit of an old-fashioned look.

And I daresay for many of us the thought of not having to go to the office, factory or workplace for our jobs would have seemed rather appealing.

Now that its happened, of course, things are somewhat different.

Partly, that's because we are not just working from home, we are in a state of lockdown at the same time. We cant go out, cant meet our friends, cant get to the gym or the shops or do any of the hundreds of things we do in more normal times to keep balance, perspective and context in our lives.

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Fighting back against the bullies
Fighting back against the bullies

Fighting back against the bullies

You cannot help but have noticed that the issue of workplace bullying has risen to the top of the agenda in recent weeks.

When Sir Philip Rutnam resigned his post as the top civil servant in the Home Office he spoke of a vicious and orchestrated campaign against him and also made a number of allegations about Home Secretary Priti Patels management style.

We cant know the specific facts of the case, but if nothing else it illustrates that bullying can have an impact on anyone at work, regardless of the seniority of their position.

So, what should you do if you think you have been the victim of bullying?

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What IR35 will mean to you
What IR35 will mean to you

If you are a freelancer or contractor working almost exclusively for one company, theres a significant change on its way which could affect you.
New tax regulations called IR35 come into force on April 6 and could change the way you are regarded by the Inland Revenue.
Up until now, self-employed contractors have been responsible for sorting out their own tax and National Insurance payments.
That has brought some benefits as well as the annual headache of completing a tax return and making sure it gets to HMRC in time to avoid any penalties which is why the taxman now wants to ensure everybody is employed on the same basis.

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