At the beginning of 2018, both the Government and the Royal Family stated their goal of improving mental health awareness and standards in the UK. Throughout the course of this year, it has become more and more apparent that promoting happiness in all aspects of life- including work- is essential.
Research conducted by Happiness Works has found that 63% of UK employees experience stress in their jobs.
As a business owner, it is financially and ethically essential that you command and promote a happy and healthy team. The business perks of promoting a happy team are a decrease in absenteeism, staff turnover and an increase in productivity, all resulting in a financial and standard gain for your business.
Below are a few simple steps you could take to improve happy in your workplace:
1. Evaluate your staff's happiness level
One of the very first steps you should take in the pursuit to improve happiness in your workplace is making sure you are constantly reading and evaluating the satisfaction level of staff. This can be done through reading non-verbal communication (i.e. body language) and by simply asking- this could be done in routine appraisals.
2. Encouraging conflict resolution
Conflict can be a major limitation to happiness in a workplace. As an employer, it is important to employ an effective and efficient strategy in the workplace and ensure that no conflict goes unresolved. It has been estimated that conflict wastes approximately eight hours of company time in gossip and unproductive activities.
3. Improving employee confidence
Confidence is identified as one of the major components of a happy individual and team. It is therefore important to seek out opportunities and strategies to build individual and team confidence within your workplace. Whether that be through celebrating staffs successes, delegating responsibilities, mentoring or staff building activities.
The Tax Perks of Making Your Employees Happy
In the spirit of promoting happiness in the workplace, our team of chartered accountants has put together a 101 promoting happiness in the workplace for tax purposes. Below are some of our suggestions:
Bike to work schemes
Exercise is a commonly recognized promoter of happiness. A Bike-To-Work scheme encourages staff to cycle to work, which has not only mental health benefits but also environmental benefits.
Under the scheme, employees are allowed to choose a bike and accessories, of which expenses you recoup through employee salary sacrifice (a monthly deduction from gross salary for the duration of the hire period).
These benefits employees in the sense that the employee spreads the cost of the bike and accessories over the period of their employment and makes a saving on their tax contributions; 32% for standard rate taxpayers and 42% for higher rate taxpayers.
As an employer, you benefit from the scheme through a 13.8% saving of National Insurance Contributions.
Training can be a huge component of any businesses expenses. Tax relief is not typically given if an employee is paying for their own training, even if the purpose of the training is to help them improve at their job.
However, tax relief will be granted if the employee’s training is ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred’.
If you have paid for the training, as an employer, the expense is normally allowable.
Training can work to improve the ‘confidence’ factor of staff happiness.
Work from home
According to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, authors of The 100 Year Life, Flexibility can be a huge factor in promoting the happiness of staff. One way of bringing flexibility to your workplace is allowing staff to work from home. This can reduce the limitations of having to work away from home.
If you provide equipment, services and/or supplies to an employee you can claim the expense against tax; provided that the items are only used for work purposes.
Combatting the issues associated with a lack of confidence and low happiness further, if you provide welfare counseling services to your employees, you are not required to pay any national insurance on the expense.
This is based on the counseling existing for welfare issues, such as bereavement, ill health or stress, problems at work, sexual abuse or personal relationship difficulties.
The counseling service cannot be in the form of tax, legal or financial advice on matters other than debt problems.