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Your Workers Are Sad—Here’s Why

Your Workers Are Sad—Here’s Why

Office Genie, a UK business support consultancy, surveyed office workers about their happiness in the workplace. Based upon the 200 surveyed employees, the average score was 3.63 out of 5. The five most commonly cited reasons for unhappiness were the following:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed

  2. Feeling a lack of control over current position

  3. Feeling unfulfilled

  4. Having a bad or poor relationship with management

  5. Having a poor working environment

The survey also found that 51 per cent of employees with mental health problems felt unsupported in the workplace. To ensure that all the employees at your organisation are happy, consider implementing these six simple practices:

  1. Award deserving employees a pay rise.

  2. Present the opportunity to earn bonuses.

  3. Offer flexible work hours.

  4. Provide employees with the choice to work from home.

  5. Permit a greater degree of privacy for your employees.

  6. Rearrange your office to have a more open concept.


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Top Tips for Preparing Your Home for Summer

Top Tips for Preparing Your Home for Summer

It pays to inspect your home for safety and efficiency before the summer season fully sets in. While you can complete some of these cleaning procedures yourself, other duties require professional help to ensure the work is completed accurately.

  1. Clean out your fridge, freezer and pantry. Take everything out, wipe down the shelves and throw away expired food. Rearrange your food for better organisation and cleanliness.

  2. Organise the garage. Seasonal items can quickly become dusty and disorganised when not in use. Keep your garage clean and organised by installing shelving and by hanging tools on the wall.

  3. Examine door and window insulation. Make sure weather stripping sufficiently seals openings, and immediately repair any cracks or peeling. Then, open your windows to expose your home to fresh air.

  4. Inspect your roof. The roof is your home’s first defence against heat and rain. Maintain the roof’s integrity by hiring a roofing professional to examine its flashing, caulking and shingles.

  5. Sort your wardrobe closet. The winter months may have left your summer clothes buried and wrinkly. Use this time to rotate seasonal clothing, clean any dusty items and select old clothes for donation.

  6. Maintain your garden. Rip out weeds and dead plants, rake mulch and plant beds to promote oxygenation. Then, use a lopper to trim shrubbery and overhanging trees.


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Directors & Officers Liability for Higher Health a

In February 2016, the new guidelines from the Sentencing Council came into force. These amendments dramatically increased fines for corporate manslaughter, food safety and hygiene offences, and health and safety offences. Within the first year, the number of health and safety prosecutions against directors and officers have tripled. What’s more, is that the value of the 20 highest fines in 2016 totalled £38.5 million, which was just slightly more than all 660 successful prosecutions in 2015-16. Research from law firm BLM shows that there has been a 148 per cent rise in the overall amount of fines since 2015, with the average fine amount rising from £69,000 to £211,000.

These new guidelines place a much higher burden on directors and senior managers to ensure that their organisation is compliant with health and safety regulations. If they do not rise to meet this responsibility, the average health and safety fine is £75,000 more than the cost of compliance, according to health and safety consultants, Arinite. Yet, steep fines are not the only deterrent for noncompliance, as it has become increasingly likely that directors and officers could go to prison for either intentional breaches or a flagrant disregard of their responsibilities. In 2016, 34 company directors and senior managers were prosecuted and found guilty, resulting in 12 prison sentences.

To help your organisation avoid these potentially debilitating fines, consider the following best practices:

  • Have a health and safety professional conduct a health and safety review of your premises and policies.

  • Provide annual comprehensive safe work practices training for all your employees.

    However, the most beneficial practice that your organisation can invest in is to purchase robust directors and officers (D&O) cover that also provides run-off cover. For more information, contact the professionals at Weald Insurance Brokers Limited today.


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30 Billion Reasons to Prioritise Cyber Security at

30 Billion Reasons to Prioritise Cyber Security at Your Company

Two-thirds of UK organisations have not provided their employees with cyber security training, according to a recent survey from professional IT solutions firm, Ultima. What’s more, half admitted they are unprepared for an attack and, if an attack occurs, they have no recovery plan in place. This extensive negligence for cyber security is particularly troubling, as each UK organisation was subjected to 230,000 cyber attacks in 2016, according to research from internet service provider, Beaming. While not every attack was successful, the ones that were cost the UK economy approximately £30 billion in total losses.

The five most common and dangerous cyber threats to your organisation include the following:

  1. Ransomware: A piece of malicious software that encrypts all of the data on an organisation’s network and can only be decrypted after paying cyber criminals a ransom.

  2. Hacking: A cyber criminal will exploit an unpatched vulnerability within an organisation’s security software to access its data.

  3. Denial-of-service attack: An organisation’s website is maliciously overwhelmed by a high volume of data pushed to its servers, which temporarily or indefinitely interrupts services.

  4. Human error: Information lost or distributed to the wrong person.

  5. CEO fraud: A cyber criminal poses as a senior person within an organisation, either by hacking or ‘spoofing’ an email account, and convinces someone with financial authority to transfer money.

    Fortunately, according to government research, 80 per cent of all cyber attacks can be stopped by implementing basic cyber security. These practices include the following:

  • Install and regularly update firewalls and antivirus software.

  • Require all employees to choose a strong password.

  • Encrypt all of your hard drives.

  • Provide your employees with robust cyber security training.

  • Purchase a comprehensive cyber insurance policy.

    For more information on how insurance can protect your organisation from cyber attacks, contact Weald Insurance Brokers Limited today.


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An EU Referendum Update for Businesses

    

An EU Referendum Update for Businesses

As the government’s 23rd June referendum to decide whether the United Kingdom will remain in the EU looms closer, the outcome still remains uncertain.

Until recently, polling has generally favoured the United Kingdom remaining in the EU, but the margins are so tight that most experts agree it will be too close to call—with the still-undecided voters likely to determine the result. However, multiple sources have recently reported a slight swing towards the ‘Leave’ camp. A 3rd June YouGov poll found 45 per cent favour leaving, while 41 per cent favour staying. A 5th June Opinium poll found 43 per cent want to leave and 40 per cent want to stay. And a 6th June ICM poll found 48 to 43 per cent in favour of leaving.

A Brexit outcome would usher in a minimum two-year period during which the United Kingdom would slowly disentangle itself from the EU and negotiate a complex withdrawal agreement. Whatever the outcome on 23rd June, proactive UK employers would do well to understand what Brexit would look like, the general pros and cons, and how they can prepare their businesses for leaving the EU.

What Would Brexit Look Like?

While divisive topics such as Europe’s influx of migrants and the intractable euro crisis have galvanised anti-EU sentiment, Brexit would not be a cure-all. Indeed, Brexit could take many forms, including but not limited to the following models:

  • The Norwegian Model: Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), but not the EU. This grants the country access to the European Single Market in exchange for requiring Norway to adopt most EU standards and regulations with no influence over changing them. Despite not having voting rights, Norway still contributes to the EU budget—it is the tenth-highest contributor according to the Guardian, although the organisation ‘Mission of Norway to the European Union’ maintains that ‘it is not possible to compare net payments between those of an EU Member State and those of a Non-Member State’.

  • The Swiss Model: Switzerland is neither a member of the EEA nor the EU. It negotiates access to the Single Market sector by sector and has about 120 bilateral agreements with the EU. These negotiations took years to complete, and may be difficult to replicate as they are a complex, patchwork collection of agreements. Notably, Switzerland does not have unfettered cross-border access in financial services, which is a huge part of the UK economy. Financial and related professional services account for 11.8 per cent of UK gross domestic product (GDP), according to UK Trade & Investment. Switzerland cannot vote on EU regulations but must contribute to its budget.

  • The Canadian Model: The Canadian model refers to the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU, which aims to eventually scrap 99 per cent of tariffs between the two parties and remove other barriers to business. The Canadian model would neither involve paying into the EU budget nor accepting free movement of people. However, such a model would not necessarily permit the continued ‘passporting’ of financial services, and thus might make it harder for UK-based financial services firms to sell in the EU.

    What Are the Pros and Cons for Businesses?

    Each Brexit model is complex and carries with it much uncertainty. However, Brexit’s general pros and cons for businesses are more straightforward and less contingent on unknown circumstances:

    Cons:

  • Out of the EU, the United Kingdom will have less control over EU legislation that it may still have to apply if it wants access to the Single Market.

  • Companies may have to pay new taxes and customs costs as well as deal with slower administration processes for conducting business with suppliers in continental Europe.

  • Companies may have difficulty hiring qualified employees from outside the United Kingdom to address the skills shortage, and employees who are non-British nationals may be required to obtain a visa or work permit in order to keep working in the United Kingdom.

  • Other countries may be hesitant to invest in the United Kingdom until it is clear that the UK economy can be successful while independent of the EU, which could weaken the pound.

  • Britain’s trade relationship with the EU could sour if Brexit negotiations go poorly. This situation could be further exacerbated if the United Kingdom is unable to secure beneficial trade deals with other countries.

    Pros:

  • Leaving could return regulatory control to the United Kingdom in areas like health and safety and employment law.

  • Companies could have fewer regulations governing how they can conduct business, which could spur serious growth.

  • Unburdened by EU trade rules, the United Kingdom could negotiate better trade agreements with non-EU countries.

  • A pound slightly weakened by Brexit could actually help manufacturers export their goods, since a strong pound is a main deterrent to overseas customers buying British goods.

  • The government will either no longer contribute to the EU budget, or contribute less.

    This list is not comprehensive and represents a general, non-industry-specific overview of the benefits and drawbacks of Brexit.

    Certain industry bodies and polls have found more sector-specific support for staying. For instance, the Engineering Employers Federation and the majority of polled construction executives are in favour of remaining a part of the EU. However, the British Chambers of Commerce reported in May that more businesses are opting to leave as the vote draws near—54.1 per cent of businesspeople polled would vote to remain, down from 60 per cent in February. And 37 per cent would vote to leave, up from 30 per cent in the same February poll.

    How Can I Prepare My Business?

    Preparing your business for a possible Brexit is vital. If you have not started, you are not alone—April research from the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors found that only 21 per cent of FTSE 250 companies had made or were currently making contingency plans for Brexit.

    It is never too late to begin planning for Brexit. To assess the impact on your business, do the following:

  • List out three scenarios for how your organisation will be affected by Brexit, based on the three models outlined in this News Brief. Pay particular attention to how those models will affect issues critical to your business (eg, reduced legislation, free movement of people, or the inability to ‘passport’ financial services).

  • For each scenario, understand the main exposures your business faces and how they will change depending on the outcome.

  • Focus on short-term effects—how will immediate market volatility and reduced economic growth affect your business?

  • Ask yourself:

    • How much of my business is with the EU?

    • Will reduced EU funding impact my business?

    • Will Brexit halt my future plans for growth?

    • Will changing international trade regulations help or harm my business?

    • Will Brexit affect my workforce?

    • Do I need to send out internal communications ahead of Brexit?

  • Search for any opportunities created by Brexit. The change is monumental, and a post-Brexit Britain may open up new avenues of growth.

    Uncertainty Is Inevitable

    But poor planning isn’t. Rely on the insurance professionals at Weald Insurance Brokers Limited to help uncover and manage your risk—whatever the future has in store.


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