Category: Recent Blogs


Furlough Fallout: How To Reunite Your Team When They Return

One of the most unprecedented aspects of the current situation is the 9.1 million people who are currently furloughed, some since the 17th of March. For the vast majority they will never have experienced “time off” work like this.

There are by contrast those who have had to work all the harder during the past 4 months in reduced teams, working from home while also home schooling. Their experience will be night and day compared to that of their colleagues who are furloughed. It is therefore likely that this situation will have created a “them and us scenario” with possible resentments felt on both sides. Why was I furloughed and you weren’t? I’ve had to work longer, harder hours while you were sunning yourself…

How as an employer do you manage “them and us” furloughed situations and reunite your team?

At our next webinar on Tuesday 7th July from 12.30- 1 pm, Margery will be in discussion with Mark Blair, director at Effective Now how you can manage the ‘them and us’ situation in your own business and team. 

We will be discussing:

  • How to manage the ‘them and us’ scenario following furlough
  • How to reunite your team and get back to effective teamwork 
  • How understanding other people’s perspectives and experiences is key to effective teamwork

Effective Now is a people based consultancy who work with SME’s to make businesses more successful by making you and your team more effective. They work with companies who want to improve communication in their business, need to make significant changes and who want to achieve an effective working culture.

Mark’s background as an international rugby star playing for Ulster winning the European Cup, Edinburgh and Narbonne in France gives him some unique insights and experiences of effective teams and how you keep a team together even through the tough times.

Book Your Seat Now!


The Risks of Opening your Workplace and your Team Returning to Work

Bryan Mclelland of BSM Training & Consultancy joined us for our most recent webinar on 30th June 2020. With lockdown provisions continuing to ease across Scotland, many workplaces that shut down significant parts of their operations or potentially the entire operation are in the midst of planning to get up and running again.

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The Risks & Challenges of Opening Your Workplace and Your Team Returning to Work

Our Upcoming Webinar in Conjunction with BSM Training & Consultancy…

With the current Government rules and guidelines there are new health and safety requirements that businesses must have in place before returning to work. For many businesses the challenge of maintaining the 2 meter social distancing rule will be a significant challenge. Also the cleanliness of your workplace may have to be increased and hand sanitisation stations set up. If you have changed the physical space, your fire risk assessment may need to be reviewed. 

In addition to the health and safety challenges there will be many HR challenges. How will your furloughed team feel about coming back to work and possibly the workplace after 3-4 months, or longer, on furlough? How will you motivate them? How will you manage team members who have childcare issues with no holiday clubs being run or their children going back to school on significantly reduced hours? How will you manage the ‘them and us’ scenario between those who have worked through lock down and those who have been furloughed. 

Join Neil and Bryan Mclelland, Director of BSM Training & Consultancy, on Tuesday 30th June, 12.30pm – 1pm to discuss the risks and challenges of opening your office and managing your team. They will be offering solutions and guidance.

To be aware is to be prepared!

If you would like to send your questions, thoughts or experiences in advance of the webinar please email them to 

Book Now


The HR trends, challenges and learnings since lockdown

It was great to catch up yesterday with Ewan Dunlop, Partner Account Manager from BreatheHR, today on the HR trends and challenges that have surfaced during lockdown.  Software platforms were identified as key to our new norm, communication through Zoom and other platforms and BreatheHR being used to record and keep up to date with HR administration and going beyond holiday and sick absence management which will support communication, recognition and developing culture.  Ewan gave some great examples of using notifications, the kudos feature to congratulate colleagues and boost morale, and setting and recording objectives on the platform.  This is feasible because of the accessibility of the platform and the simplicity of use.  Managers will be able to use the reporting functions to track who is on furlough (or not); holiday management; changes to working patterns and ultimately to inform payroll especially as we move towards flexible furlough.

We recognised the challenges associated with creating confidence and trust in helping people to get back to work as this will represent different reactions and responses from staff.  Some eager to get back to work, others more reluctant because of health, caring or other concerns and some opposed to returning to the workplace.  The opportunity to create a Return to Work policy was discussed and encouraged as this would allow the business to create new norms; establish safe practices and allow concerns to surface and be addressed including all the things that you have not thought about or considered as important.  So collaboration and communication, involving others to develop the Return to Work policy and then to talk to staff individually is suggested as good practice.

In every set of circumstances there are positives and negatives and these are personal and unique to each individual.  However business owners and managers will need to find a way to address those concerns and find a way in which we can work together, live with the threat and presence of Covid 19 and stay safe and productive.  Many of us look forward to the friendship and camaraderie that work provides to our every day life and we all face the challenge of doing that at a distance, remotely and with tinges of undercurrents of the threats that the virus may still present.

However the new norm will feature software platforms and our increased use and understanding of the value of accessible and secure platforms in our working lives, including BreatheHR.

You can watch the full webinar here.


Good Conversations – Part 2

I was really looking forward to having a good conversation today.  Against the backdrop of so much angst and aggravation it felt good to give some positive and practical guidance about having one-to-one conversations that actually address matters and allow solutions to come to the surface. I think this is particularly important at time when so many employers will be having difficult conversations or facing challenging situations with team members.

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Employment Q&A Webinar

In our latest employment Q&A session we were once again joined by Marianne McJannett of TC Young, this time to discuss some of the key changes and challenges foreseen with the introduction of the new flexible furlough scheme.

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The HR trends, Challenges and Learnings Since Lockdown

In this next webinar we will be discussing the HR trends, challenges and learnings since lockdown and what we can learn from them as we go forwards. I’m delighted to be joined by Ewan Dunlop, Partner Account Manager from Breathe.

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Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support

We seem to be further down the difficult road to recovery (in more than one sense) from COVID-19. From a work and employment perspective, we have now entered the next phase: both the UK and Scottish Governments have published road maps applying to businesses and everyday life which details how restrictions will potentially be relaxed as time goes on. Indeed, some businesses have already moved towards bringing people back from furlough.

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Good Conversations – Part 2 Webinar

Lockdown continues and is set to be with us for some time bringing continued uncertainty for managers and employees.

There’s a growing realisation that people are struggling with heightened levels of stress and anxiety, yet as business leaders in these challenging circumstances, we still need to manage our businesses, make difficult decisions about staffing, make essential changes, manage employee performance and still keep people motivated.

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Employment Q&As

Following on from our webinar last week, our next webinar will be a Q&A session where we’ll be joined by Marianne McJannett of TC Young and Margery McBain on Thursday 11th June at 12.30 pm to discuss the latest developments on the Job Retention Scheme. We will be discussing employment law and the challenges the new flexible furlough scheme poses.

  • Should you keep someone on furlough even though there is likely to be no work for them to return to?
  • How the new furlough scheme affects holidays and sick pay
  • Redundancy
  • The consequences of the track and trace scheme

If you’d like to learn more or want the opportunity to ask questions, register now.