Eloise’s June 2020 News – Working From Home, Virtual Onboarding, Mental Health, and more

Welcome to June

First of all, I really hope you and your loved ones remain safe and well. The last few months have had a dramatic impact on many things, especially people’s health, both physical and mental. I’ll share some links at the bottom of this post that may help if you need it.

Well, it looks like we’re almost halfway through 2020! This year is proving unique for many reasons, but the time still seems to be passing as fast as usual (maybe even faster!). It’s true that the recruitment industry, in general, has taken a massive hit along with almost all other businesses. At Vanilla we are working as hard as possible to help individuals, both job seekers and clients to get through this situation. It has and continues to be extremely tough to effectively work or seemingly make a difference in this market. What we have found that seems to help more than anything is for us to be available to talk through things with people. Every conversation we have is unique, and I feel that just discussing your thoughts, concerns and general feelings really does help. Although there has not been much need for our recruitment services over the last few months, thankfully we are seeing the first signs of recovery in the market with business-critical hires moving forward recently. The world will get back to ‘normal’ at some point, and if we can all look after our ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally we will be in a better position to cope when things start improving with the economy.

If you need to talk to me please feel free to contact me at any time on 01858 898058 or [email protected]. I’m here to help.

Some great new content for you

We’ve continued creating as much new and useful content on our blog as we can to help people cope with the current situation.

So, this month’s news is going to be a mix of tips, updates, advice, positivity, and looking to the future.

Working from home: Our 10 tips for success

As companies everywhere are forced to make adjustments and prioritise the health and safety of their employees and communities during the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have been forced to set up their teams to be able to work from home.

As the coronavirus pandemic persists, most employees are now getting used to working from home and many are noticing benefits including avoiding stressful, time-consuming commutes; saving money on travel and food; managing work more efficiently; fewer interruptions; and seeing their children more often.

But, working from home can bring many challenges including an inability to get enough work done or actually working too much. If you’re new to working from home or struggling with the change there are many risks and challenges to avoid or overcome. The better you recognise them, the easier it is to mitigate them and succeed as a remote worker (maybe for the long term?).

Read the rest of the article in our blog post ‘Vanilla’s 10 Tips for Working from Home’

Virtual onboarding new employees : Our tips for success

At this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is still unclear how long the encouraged “work from home” will last. For some businesses, this will mean pressing pause on onboarding new employees. For businesses that have business-critical hires or are growing during this time, the show will have to go on. This means that some new employees will be onboarded into the company virtually.

Onboarding new employees virtually is something companies can do with the right amount of planning, coordination, and proper tools. If you’re considering taking your onboarding process virtual over the next few months, here are a few areas to consider as you map out your new hire’s welcome into the organisation.

If you’re making an investment to grow your team during these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever that you get the onboarding process right for any new employees.

Read our straightforward guide to ensuring that your new team members join your organisation smoothly and remember their first few weeks as a positive, exciting experience: ‘How to virtually onboard new employees’

Vanilla’s 2020 Salary Survey for the East Midlands

We’ve had this on our site for a little while, but it might be worth us mentioning it again. Our salary survey for the East Midlands is available to download on our site.

When you’re getting ready to advertise a job, it’s really useful to know how much the average pay is for an equivalent role nearby. This way, you know where you need to pitch your job in order to get the right level of applicants.

Using the extensive data in our Salary Survey, you’ll be able to benchmark across your business and set competitive salaries for your future recruitment.

Our data for this survey has been collated through Vanilla’s knowledge of the local employment market and research and data collected through a wide range of online sources.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opened for online claims from Tuesday 26 May 2020. This government Scheme is for employers who had a PAYE scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and less than 250 employees before this date.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks coronavirus related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) at the applicable rate for current or former employees who were unable to work on or after the 13 March 2020. This is because they either:

  • Have coronavirus.
  • Are self-isolating and unable to work from home.
  • Are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

The Scheme covers all types of employment contracts including full-time, part-time, employees on agency contracts, flexible or zero-hour contracts. If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP, you can only claim the current rate amount.

Read the rest of the article in our blog post ‘Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme’

Looking after the mental health of employees during the Coronavirus crisis

With the global pandemic taking hold of our daily lives and completely changing our routines, levels of sleep and stress now more than ever the subject of mental health is of the highest importance. The pandemic has far-reaching consequences for society and the workplace beyond the immediate crisis. Its potential impact on people’s mental health is one of the most pressing issues now facing organisations.

When life is ‘normal’, the subject of mental health and wellbeing can sometimes be taken for granted and is not something we always consider to be the highest priority. But, let me ask you this. If you broke your arm or leg, would you just ignore it and put it to the back of your mind and let it heal itself? The answer is obviously no, and your mental health is just as important and needs to be taken care of. During this time, you need to make sure you are being kind to yourself as well as to others in the same way you would if a bone was broken.

Read the rest of the article in our blog post ‘Managing the mental health of your employees’

How to remain positive and occupied during the lockdown

Our very own Caitlin has written a great blog post about her time on lockdown, including her list of the “9 ways that I’ve survived lockdown”. Here’s a little snippet and you can read the full post here.

“As we approach the thousandth (?) week of lockdown, I wanted to reach out to share with you some tips and advice on how I’m personally trying to keep occupied and upbeat during these very strange times we are living in. I use the word ‘trying’ as I am sure you will all agree that there have been good days and bad days, highs and lows. Whenever I have been struggling however, I have found comfort and hope in knowing that we are all in this together and that we will all get through this together.

I am lucky enough to have a fantastic support network around me in my family, friends and colleagues to help to pick me up on those down days and to share ideas on how to pass the time. I therefore felt that writing a blog to pass on these ideas, could be useful to those of you who perhaps may not have friends and family around you, or to those of you who have also been struggling.”

Read the rest of the article in our blog post ‘My tips on keeping positive and occupied during lockdown’

Can employers force someone to go back to work after lockdown

As we move through this extended period of time dealing with the restrictions and lockdown rules brought on by the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, we are now heading towards what is hopefully a gradual transition back to our more typical day to day lives. We’ve now started to receive an indication of what might be involved in the movement back towards normality in the working world.

With all of the changes that have happened in our personal and professional lives over the last couple of months, it’s understandable to feel a little apprehensive and perhaps confused about your working circumstances, what you are obliged to do and what your general employment rights are.

Whilst it is heartening in some respects to learn that life is slowly on the way to return to “normal”, the transition can also be extremely worrying, especially if going back to work might be difficult for any reason at the moment.

Read the rest of the article in our blog post ‘Can employers force you to go back to work after lockdown

HR Huddle Facebook Group

With the success of the virtual HRHuddle events, we decided to start a Facebook group. So far the group has been a tremendous resource and has really helped with advice, content, and peer to peer learning within HR.

The HRHuddle group aims to bring together talented HR professionals from across the East Midlands, to learn, discuss and debate the latest thinking and techniques within HR. If you’d like to join the HRHuddle Facebook group please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HRHuddle (Please note this is a closed group, and not accessible to the public. It is only open to HR professionals)

Still remember that we are here for you now and in the future

There are so many unknowns but we’ll do our best to keep you informed and up to date on any important information and advice, especially with regards to employment and recruitment in general.

That’s all from me this month. Stay safe and I’ll be back with a new monthly blog in July.

Best wishes



Please find below some helpful links:

We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – SalesMarketingAccountancy & FinanceHR and Office