New changes in law – ‘fit note’

Employees who are off sick for more than seven days are currently requested to supply a ‘fit note’ signed by their GP to confirm the reason that they are unfit for work.

However, new changes to the law take effect from the 1st July 2022 allowing employees to obtain a ‘fit note’ from a wider range of healthcare professionals to include pharmacists, nurses and occupational therapists.

It will still be necessary for all individuals to have an assessment carried out before obtaining a ‘fit note’. It is not possible to obtain ‘fit notes’ over the counter.

In April 2022, the law changed to allow a ‘fit note’ to be digitally signed in order to improve this system. These further changes will provide greater access freeing up GP’s.

This new procedure should be confirmed when updating company handbooks and/or policies for clarity.

Managing Stress

During our lives we will all experience varying degrees of stress, this a natural reaction to the everyday demands of life.

Small amounts of stress when faced with challenges can be good and motivate us to perform at our best. However, when you are faced with multiple challenges such as rising household bills, meeting deadlines and harassment at work you can find yourself pushed beyond the ability to cope.

Too much stress in our lives can cause us to experience fatigue, poor concentration, lack of motivation and irritability all of which lead to poor productivity.

So how can employers help their workforce to overcome too much stress?

In the first instance we should engage with an employee that is showing signs of stress and try and find out what the triggers are. It may be an overwhelming workload and help may be needed to prioritise tasks and deal with things in bite size chunks. When you feel overwhelmed tasks can seem impossible to complete, but with a little guidance we can learn to cope reducing the pressure we feel.

A work colleague once said something to me which I will always remember ‘I can only do what I can in the time I have’. He always remained calm and produced a good steady workflow.

Other triggers in the workplace could be down to conflict and dealing with this effectively and promptly will lead to a better working environment for everyone. These situations don’t go away unless dealt with head-on, they simply bubble away until they reach boiling point.

If you work with machinery stress can lead to poor judgement and mistakes leading to potential health and safety risks. Educating your workforce to look out for triggers of stress can maintain a safe workplace and raise the awareness.

We can’t fix every problem but with education, support and guidance we can reduce the pressure whilst in the workplace and improve the overall productivity.

A Manager’s role in development

A Manager’s role is made up of many components of leadership, not only are you expected to have a broad depth of knowledge and understanding of the company but the ability to encourage and mentor your teams.

Rather than jumping in and solving queries without question try and encourage the team to find solutions by prompting them to think things through for themselves i.e. ‘what have you tried?’

Empathising with your team and being compassionate to those struggling from time to time is a key part to gaining your employee’s trust and respect.

Always make it possible to have those private chats away from the rest of the team to allow an open conversation to take place no matter how busy you are and offer your support.

Encouraging your team to learn from each other by positively sharing successes and allowing open discussions to take place will broaden the skills held in the team and improve the overall culture. This frequent type of learning can be far more successful than ad hoc courses and will address any gaps in skills for future proofing.

However, when those difficult conversations arise don’t delay be quick and consistent in your approach.

Mental Health Awareness

We all feel a bit down occassionally and find our get up and go has gone. Getting closer to nature be it walking, running, gardening, playing sport or relaxing in the outdoors can help lift our spirits.

It is important that we all take time to get outside and take time to clear our minds and re-charge our batteries creating a positive calmness within.

So don’t let the rain put you off, help yourself to focus by getting closer to nature!

Positive Thinking

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi

In our daily life how you project yourself can have a great impact on those around you. In the workplace applying a more positive thought process can not only help you to create a better working environment, but help you build strong relationships with your clients as their confidence in you grows.

When faced with a new task think how you would re-act initially, for example:-

Negative: I’ve never done it before.

Positive: It’s an opportunity to learn something new.

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By training your thoughts positively your behaviour changes and the rest will follow.

Pandemic Fatigue

Enhancing motivation and innovative ideas in the workplace can be challenging after Christmas during the dark cold months’ that follow. With the added obstacle of lockdown restrictions more and more of us are starting to feel fatigued and finding it hard to pull ourselves out of this feeling.

It is important that during these times we engage with our staff on a regular basis and explore how they are feeling and how we can support them with their work. Many of us have turned to zoom for our 121 catch ups which has proved a useful tool during the pandemic, but have you stopped to think if this is the best vehicle for each individual.

Many families are now all home working together under one roof and having a quiet space to carry out a zoom meeting is not always easy. Home working and home schooling is adding great pressure to families alongside the everyday life challenges.

Being stuck in the house all day facing a string of zoom meetings can be equally wearing.

Take the time to find out how you can engage in a positive way, maybe suggest that you put your coats on and ‘walk and talk’ whilst getting out of the house.

Managing teams is both challenging and rewarding if we take the right approach, we can see productive results within the workplace.

But who managers the managers? It is important to make time to take good care of ourselves and find ways of maintaining our wellbeing for the long term. By eating healthily, staying active and fulfilling our time creatively we can achieve a more balanced state of mind helping you to help others too.

Next Steps to Supporting your Business

With effect from the 1st November 2020 the new ‘Job Support Scheme’ will be launched by the government.

This scheme has been introduced to support employers with reduced income due to Covid-19 to retain their workforce for the next 3 months, pending further review.

Main features of scheme:-

  • Employees must work a minimum of 20% of their contracted hours
  • The employer will pay the full contractual pay for the hours worked plus 5% of unworked
  • The government will pay 62%

If you are unable to offer employees 20% of their contractual hours a business can introduce ‘private furlough’, this is a form of non-statutory lay-off, paid or unpaid. If your employees’ contract of employment does not enable a right to lay-off you will need to negotiate a new contract and get signed agreement of the changes.

Where a business is forced to shut due to Covid-19 restrictions (tier 3) a grant is available during this time. This grant pays two-thirds of the employees’ contractual salary, capped at £2,100 per month.

For those areas moving into Tier 2/3 greater support is now being made available.

However, employers should be careful to ensure any selection for the above is made fairly and does not discriminate in any way so as not to breach any contractual rights.

If you would like any advice implementing any of the above please contact me.

Balancing Life and Work

Adapting to challenges that every day life brings is key now more than ever. We need to be able to work flexibly, incorporating childcare, cover for colleagues and helping those that may fall ill over the coming winter.

With the provision in business for ‘good flexible working’ in place this will allow you to adapt quickly to changing circumstances with minimum disruption to your business.

Being able to adapt working hours and offer potential job share opportunities will enable a business to retain key staff.

It sounds easy, but often we find that managers are unsure how to put flexible working in place and how they can measure the work output, especially with remote working.

Here’s a few handy tips:-

  • Provide good communication – look at different ways that you are able to keep in touch, remember some employees may be working late at night!
  • Delegate work where possible
  • Set clear deadlines – working together as part of a team to achieve deadlines
  • Support – make sure you are offering the right level of support

By offering flexible working to your employees you will often find that they will be more driven to succeed and produce work in a timely fashion, often exceeding expectations.

If you need any further advise on flexible working best practise and/or home working checklist please get in touch. I offer a free no obligation consultation to all business owners to discuss exactly how I may be able to help you.

Preparing to Recruit

While many businesses are still trying to recover from the effects of lockdown, others offering online services have been thriving. This in turn has created many new job opportunities. job

With the use of many advertising tools available to us you’d think this would be a quick and easy process. However, without the relevant forms in place this can be a time consuming exercise.

In order to help business owners to prepare for recruitment I have compiled a suite of documents that will take you through the process, as follows:-

  • Job Description
  • Job Application Form
  • Invitation to Interview
  • Interview Rating Form
  • Pre-Interview Unsuccessful
  • Unsuccessful Interview
  • Offer Letter
  • Contract of Employment
  • Induction Checklist
  • Equipment Receipt

A good recruitment process speaks volumes for your business so get ahead of the game!

If you would like some help to put these documents together for you please contact me and I will be happy to bespoke these to fit your business needs.



Make Your HR Simple

The year to date has brought many challenges to both our lives at home and in business. These challenges have required us to re-act quickly to the way we do business and think about how we conduct ourselves in our evolving society.

For some the pressures have been simply too great and we are now starting to experience the losses businesses have been no longer able to endure. Unemployment has started to rise and will continue to do so over the forthcoming months.

As we ease ourselves further out of lockdown we are starting to see spikes around the world, reminding us that this pandemic has not gone away!

Having your own HR function is comforting to have during such times, but can be costly to a business, and yet it doesn’t need to be.

With businesses today going through such rapid change it can be challenging to keep up with the pace. I am able to offer a wide range of services either on an advisory or in-house basis working alongside your teams.

NJM HR Consulting can help support your company by offering you a professional HR service on hand when you need it.

My aim is to provide businesses with a professional service as and when required, at an affordable cost, without the need to sign up to long term contracts.


Please contact me if you could do with a helping hand and let me ‘Make your HR Simple’