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I predict a riot


Don’t you just love a good argument. The coming together of two differing opinions, expertly dissected by passionate individuals… Okay, more like petty name calling escalating from an inane action.

A poll of 2,000 British workers conducted by E.ON found the top 10 causes of arguments in the office to be:

1. Temperature

2. Eating smelly food around co-workers

3. Loudness of phone calls, music and/or TV

4. Untidiness when using other people's desks

5. Rounds for tea making 

6. Bad time keeping

7. Stealing food from the fridge

8. Holding meetings/group conversations when others are trying to work

9. The blinds/lighting

10. Booking out shared spaces

While these reasons all seem relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, leaving them to fester could result in increased tension in the office that could spill out into the rest of the team. That’s why we’ve put together a few suggestions on how to reduce the tension and get the office working in perfect harmony.

Remain calm

Sounds simple enough but when faced with employees arguing and disrupting the office it’s easy to lose your patience. Sometimes it’s best to remove one or both individuals from the situation and allow them to cool down. Arguments are highly emotive and things are often said in anger that are instantly regrettable. Manage the situation first and then get to the root of the problem.

Give both sides your ear

The evidence seems crystal clear. Worker A started the argument and Worker B retaliated, open and shut case. Or is it?

It’s easy to think you have all the answers, but have you asked the right questions? Take the time to listen to both sides of the story and then take appropriate action. Failure to do so could result in lingering animosity.

Set out your stall early

The top 10 list features many causes that could have been easily solved by the companies involved setting out their stalls in a clear and concise manner. For example, ban employees from eating smelly foods in the office, formalise being mindful of others when using the phone, create a centralised booking system for using shared spaces and structured etiquette for temperature, lighting and time keeping. If you leave employees to create their own rules in the office, you’ll soon be managing a sequel to lord of the flies.

Allow people a chance to air their grievances

Don’t bury your head in the ground and assume that everything is rosy. Allow people to express their opinions in a safe environment. Be open to disagreements; if handled correctly, disagreements are a great catalyst for change. Encourage people to have opinions and provide constructive criticism, you never know what could come out of it.

Above all else remember that your average workplace is a melting pot of different cultures, religions, beliefs and personalities. If you manage it right, you could create something truly incredible, get it wrong and you’ll be another stat on a survey.

Image: credit Getty Images

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The Opsium guide to writing a gender pay gap report


With gender pay gap reporting now officially in place, companies will have to publish their reports on gender pay disparity within their organisation no later than 4 April 2018.

For many businesses, the process of preparing a gender pay gap report will be alien. That’s why we’ve put together some clear steps on how to produce a report that covers all the relevant touch points.

Start with a clear and concise introduction

Begin by explaining your requirements for producing a gender pay gap report. Explain that legislation requires you to produce an annual report of any gender pay gap, specifying the period covered.

For example, the private and voluntary sectors with 250 or more employees in England, Scotland and Wales will need to produce a “snapshot” date report of 5 April 2017, and annually on that date.

The public sector “snapshot” date is the 31st March.


There are six key metrics required by the legislation which must be reported on. These are:

  • the difference in the mean pay of full-pay men and women, expressed as a percentage;
  • the difference in the median pay of full-pay men and women, expressed as a percentage;
  • the difference in mean bonus pay of men and women, expressed as a percentage;
  • the difference in median bonus pay of men and women, expressed as a percentage;
  • the proportion of men and women who received bonus pay; and
  • the proportion of full-pay men and women in each of four quartile pay bands.

You must also confirm that the figures have been reached using the mechanisms set out in the gender pay gap legislation.

Provide relevant narrative

Before we start, there is no legal obligation for you to publish a narrative explanation of a gender pay gap within your company. However, adding some context to the data could prevent any PR nightmares.

It may be that your gender pay gap is wide due to your organisation’s struggle to recruit women, or as a result of some women taking breaks in their career which may have stunted their progression.

These are perfectly reasonable explanations, which help to provide context to figures, without which they could look deceivingly one sided.

Compare, and contrast

It may be that you operate in a sector which is known for struggling to recruit women, such as science and technology. In that case why not compare your business against other organisations in your sector?

Don’t feel like making an example of other companies? You could always compare your results against the national average (using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings figures), which is currently around 18 per cent.

The benefit of comparing your figures against those of others can greatly affect your narrative. For example, if your gap is only 11 per cent, you are operating 7 per cent over the national average. If your gap is wider than the national average you have the ability to use it is a barometer for growth going forward.

Constantly improving

If the figures aren’t what you expected, say so. Make it clear that you are disappointed by what you’ve learnt and that going forward you are going to address the gap.

The implementation of the legislation isn’t a witch hunt, it’s an opportunity for employers to recognise where they are falling short in their responsibilities to gender pay equality and make a difference.

Committing to a review policy for bonus payments is one example of your organisation beginning to take positive action. Another is to look at gender diversity in your business and implementing initiatives to improve it.

Senior sign off

For private and voluntary sector organisations, the report must conclude with a written statement confirming the information contained within is accurate and it must be signed by a senior figure within the organisation such as a director, or the CEO if you want to add extra weight.

This may seem like added bureaucracy but it shows that a senior figure within your business has been made aware of any gender pay gaps and is motivated to make positive changes toward closing the gap.

For more information about the gender pay gap, or how to create your own report call us today on 0161 603 2156.

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What’s in it for me?


A new survey reveals that 70 per cent of British employees admit that job incentives motivate them.

It’s no surprise that perks are attractive for many job seekers, with Google recently confirming that 92 per cent of its employees would recommend them to a friend, and it’s not surprising when you hear about some of the perks. Free gourmet food, massages, on-site hair stylists, nap pods, childcare and doctors available for check-ups.

While some would accuse Google of promoting the magpie employee, the truth is that employers are finding it more difficult to attract and retain the best calibre of staff. Through the generous benefits and perks provided by Google, they are able to attract, and keep, the highest calibre candidates.

Survey me

Reboot Online marketing conducted a survey of more than 1,200 marketing professionals in regard to the benefits they receive at work, and if they could choose, what their top three benefits would be:

•    Of those surveyed, 66 per cent stated their company offered some form of benefit / incentives.

•    70 per cent of employees believe that benefits / incentives make a difference to their workplace motivation
     and job retention.

•    25 per cent would take one job over another based on the quality of benefits / incentives offered.

The most popular benefit amongst employees was training (60 per cent), followed by flexible hours (58 per cent) and more holiday allowance (55 per cent).

Some of the more unconventional incentives offered included:

•    Allowance of time off for volunteering (3 per cent)

•    On-site healthcare (4 per cent)

•    Staff holidays (15 per cent)

•    Adrenaline fuelled activities (10 per cent)

•    Unlimited alcohol on Fridays (5 per cent)

Speaking about the results, Shai, the managing director of Reboot Online, said:

“I think it’s important to offer incentives and benefits to employees to show them you appreciate their work. I like to keep my staff on their toes; maintaining the thirst to learn and achieve while ensuring there is never a dull moment.”

Are you thinking of offering incentives to your staff but unsure of where to begin? Contact us today to find out how.

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Gender pay gap a turnoff for jobseekers


According to new research by job site, Glassdoor, 65 per cent of women would not apply for a job at a company where “men and women are not equally paid for equal work”.

This comes on the back of the impending introduction of new rules whereby companies with over 250 staff are required to publish gender pay differences. Although, there are some who are concerned that the lack of public understanding regarding the difference in equal pay and gender inequality will confuse the two.

The poll of 2,000 workers last month shows a strong support for greater transparency around pay with two thirds (65 per cent) believing that employers who choose to embrace equal pay transparency will help to eliminate the gender pay gap.

Speaking about the results, Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist, said:

“The gender pay gap is set to be a major issue in the UK this year, not least because employers are grappling with the challenge of how to analyse their own data and there is a relatively low level of understanding amongst the workforce about what causes the gap.

“Both male and female employees want more transparency around pay, and companies that offer this will have the advantage when it comes to recruiting.”

He added: “Simple gender pay gap reporting doesn’t give any real insight unless people know what the causes of the gap are or if men and women are paid equally for equal work.

“We know that men and women can be paid differently for doing the same job, both in the UK and other countries too.”

Separate analysis

According to an analysis of Glassdoor user data, uploaded anonymously by 22,500 employees in the UK, the gender pay gap is 22.9 per cent, with women earning 77.1 pence for every pound earned by men.

Glassdoor then analysed the data to provide statistical controls for differences in age, education, experience, industry, company and job title and found women to be paid 5.5 percent less than men.

Mark Crail, head of salary surveys at XpertHR, said:

“In almost every organisation, most if not all of the gender pay gap can be explained by structural differences in employment, some of which are beyond the control of an individual employer, rather than by equal pay issues. But that is not going to be the first thing that springs to mind for an employee who comes across their employer’s gender pay gap data.”

Our advice is to study your internal data well before publishing it. Sometimes the numbers can be misleading and are often explainable with simple controls attached. Alternatively, if you do see an unexplained gender pay gap within your organisation, now is the time to do something about it.

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Average Brit works two months mostly unpaid overtime a year


According to a recent study by totallymoney.com, Brits are working more overtime than ever and it’s mostly unpaid.

The study, run by OnePoll, surveyed over 2,000 workers in February 2017, across all sectors and the results were surprising. On average, British workers are putting in 8.4 hours of overtime each week, adding up to 68 days of unpaid work a year.

The study found that 64% of respondents weren’t paid for their overtime hours, and only 13% did overtime for the love of the job.

The region you work in also plays a big part in how much overtime you do and whether you are paid for the privilege. Londoners put the most overtime hours in (9.6) closely followed by workers in the West Midlands (9.2) and East Anglia (8.5). Those in the East Midlands do the most unpaid overtime (71%), while workers in the West Midlands are the most likely to be paid for their endeavours (47%).

The study also found that:

  • Only a third of British workers leave the office on time
  • Four out of five workers admitted to working through their lunch break each day
  • Teachers work an average of 6.5 hours overtime each week, with 80% not being paid for it
  • Almost 60% of people surveyed feel that they don’t have a good work / life balance
  • Healthcare workers on average put in an extra 7.7 hours each week, with over half (55%) not being paid. The most frequent reason for putting the overtime hours in was feeling overwhelmed by the workload

Gender pay gap

The results of the study revealed yet more evidence of the gender pay gap with 43% of men receiving pay for overtime, compared to just 30% of women.

Almost a quarter of women surveyed (24%) said they felt pressured into working the extra hours to progress in their career as opposed to 11% of men. And that doesn’t just extend to the office, 24% of women admitted to working while on holiday compared to just 13% of men.

For more information about the survey or to discuss any issues this may have raised in your business contact Opsium today.

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