2020 Round Up

Well, what a year that was. None of us could have ever expected the events of this year and what it would mean for our businesses. But here we are, approaching the beginning of 2021. And what will hopefully be a year of positives for us all. 

Everyone has worked incredibly hard this year to overcome the obstacles thrown at us either by the pandemic or the looming Brexit deadline (remember that?) 

We thought what better way to see what’s been… Let’s just say, an ‘interesting’ year with a few highlights. 

The Northern Affinity grew.

There has never been such a need for a support system and community, and that’s something The Northern Affinity is proud to be for our partners. Despite the odds, we welcomed a number of new partners on board. To those of you who have found us in 2020, welcome. We’re chuffed to bits that you’re here. 

We’ve now filled all our available spaces; something we weren’t sure we’d get to say back in March. And yet here we are. 

As we look ahead to 2021, we’re working on ways in which The Northern Affinity can continue to grow; offering the support and circle of trusted colleagues to others in the north. Keep your eyes peeled for this and sign up to our mailing list if you haven’t already. 

If 2020’s proved anything to us, it’s that we need to stick together through troubled times. Pandemic or no pandemic. 

We expanded our online presence. 

Being at home for a large chunk of the year has given a lot of business owners the opportunity to turn attention inwards. Time to put some real time and effort into their marketing and business development. 

We made sure to get busy at The Northern Affinity, too. We took our online presence to the next level by starting our YouTube channel and The Northern Affinity Podcast. A big thank you to all the partners who have taken part in a live video, hosted a webinar and been interviewed on the podcast. Thanks to you, we now have an impressive library of media for everyone to enjoy and learn from. 

We were also able to introduce Workplace as our central hub for all our partners to chat and share their successes, ask for advice and generally, have a bit of a laugh. 

We’re looking forward to continuing these projects in 2021, as well as constant improvements to our brand. Definitely a perk of the rest of working slowing down. Have you been able to spend some uninterrupted time on your business this year? 

We had a laugh along the way. 

Through so many obstacles and hardships, our partners have been able to remain positive. Especially as a large proportion of our partners are self employed, at times this has been a pretty mean feat. 

But through it all, we’ve had plenty of laughs, good spirits and we’ve all learnt valuable lessons throughout the year. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that.  

What is there left to say other than thank you. Thanks for sticking with us this year. We’ve loved having you along for the ride and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for The Northern Affinity. 
If you’d like to get to know us better in the new year, why not come along to our first ‘Getting to know The Northern Affinity’ session on Friday 8th January? We’d love to see you there.

Avoiding HR Headaches at Christmas

Your HR department will probably be a little busy at the end of the year. Not because they don’t enjoy the festivities, but because there’s a lot to think about when it comes to Christmas. It’s important to consider staff well-being, provide clear guidelines, and be encouraging and motivating to help your team cross the end-of-year finish line on a high.

Christmas policy

Every workplace has different policies when it comes to Christmas working hours, bonuses, holidays, etc. You need to make sure that you’re giving clear and realistic guidelines over the Christmas period.

If you leave it too late, it’s going to have a bad impact on employee morale. People want to plan their Christmas holidays in advance, especially if they’re travelling to see family (well, under normal circumstances anyway). And with the slightly lighter Covid Christmas guidelines, that’s still the plan for a lot of people. 

Try to be realistic – not many people will want to work over the entire Christmas period. Some employees will need a break, especially after what 2020 has thrown at them. Others might be happy working the entire way through. It’s about finding the right balance and communicating with your teams.

Motivate, encourage, include

Everyone’s exhausted by the end of the year. 

You could provide incentives like flexible working. That gives your employees space to plan for Christmas (which will probably be trickier this year) without worrying about falling behind on work.

It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Make sure you don’t inadvertently discriminate by not including everyone in the festivities. And don’t go the other way by forcing them to join in either. 

It’s worthwhile to consider flexible holidays too. Some workers might prefer to work over Christmas and take the leave at a different time that’s more important to them. It’s just about knowing your staff so that everyone can be comfortable.

Another big one is saying thank you to your team. It’s important that they feel valued and appreciated.

Gifts

Is it really Christmas without some presents? We all love to rip open the wrapping paper, but it’s worth taking a few things into consideration when it comes to gift-giving at work.

Communicate a clear corporate gifting and entertainment policy that’s relevant to giving and receiving. It helps to avoid accusations of bribery or favouritism. 

Secret Santa is always a fan-favourite. Everyone can be included, and it saves you spending on presents for the whole office!

January Blues 

It’s widely considered that January hosts the most depressing days of the year. With post-Christmas bills, failed New Year resolutions, short days and cold weather, it’s a recipe for discontent. 

According to research conducted by Leetchi.com, the 31st January has been found to be the day most Brits hand in their notice!

Make sure you’re thinking about staff well-being after the holiday season too. January blues are real, and people really appreciate the support.

No Christmas party

One thing you don’t have to think about this year is the office Christmas party.

Often this can make the HR Department a bit nervous. There are no guarantees when drinks are flowing. But this year, with many work-dos happening virtually, or not at all, that’s one you can cross off the list!

Remember, Christmas is about caring and community. So when it comes to HR at Christmas, if you’re starting with these values, it’s hard to go wrong. 

At the Northern Affinity, we love community, caring, and Christmas! And we’re always looking for more people to join the family. If you’re interested in joining us, we’d love to hear from you.

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