Blogs | 1230 TWC - Part 10

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Social Media?

As the last taster workshop with Heather Bond at the 1230 Bromley meeting was on “Blogging” I thought I would do another Blog here.

I find all this Social Media quite time consuming and wondered if any one had some advice as to how I can get better organised to keep up with it all.

I am working hard at the moment on my second Website for the publication of my Book “Birth Made Easy” on 7th October by The HotHive. It should be in the shops and on Amazon by 1st November. My book is still taking up quite a bit of time too.

Therefore I really do have little spare time at the moment with seeing lots of clients too so any suggestions would really help me.
Thank you

Posted by on 22/07/2011 20:51:03

Balancing the Bump – Working mums still prefer part time work

The National Statistics Office published its figures about maternity, motherhood and the workplace today. Some interesting things to ponder when we are all trying to manage parenthood in the workplace.

The majority of women with children under 16 are in the workplace (65%). Women with younger children are less likely to be in the workplace in the first few years.

Women with partners are even more likely to be in the workplace (71.8%). It is women without partners who are less likely to be in the workplace (55.4%). Women with young children and no partner are a significant proportion of the statistics – as the children get older, single parents are more likely to be back in the workplace.

Women are having children later, so the age of Mum’s in the workplace is increasing. So far, the recession has increased unemployment amongst young women, who despite the rumours, are the least likely to be mothers.

23.1% of women with children under sixteen work full time , and 37.7% work part time. Part time work is still the most popular option for working mothers.

After that, 13.7% of mothers have got some kind of ‘flexible working arrangement’ (compared to 12.3% of women without children). The most popular flexible working arrangement is term time working (12.7% of women with children) and a distant second favourite is annual hours contracts (4.3%).

Only 1.3% of women with children have a job sharing arrangement, which is only fractionally more than women who have ‘on call’ working arrangements (1.2%).

From this, there seems to be a big gap between government regulation, employer concerns and what is really going on. This seems to match our hotline experience.

It seems that women returning from maternity leave really do want to return part time, and that job share arrangements are almost as rare as gold dust. Employers are plainly struggling to provide a range of return to work options, relying on part time working or nothing at all as their plan for retaining working mothers.
Source of statistics – Office for National Statistics

Do you have a query that you’d like Laura or Annabel to answer? Follow this link and post your question for them –

Posted by on 18/07/2011 09:54:38

When’s the best time to plant a tree?

A friend of mine has organised an event called “who will you be in 5 years time?” Sadly its not in Spain, however this got me thinking about the 100s of possibilities for the journey as well as the arrival (a goal without a plan is just a wish).

What would Costa Women or my business look like? What about you? Maybe you would have moved up the corporate ladder, or taken an idea and turned it into a successful business, or perhaps you will have sold your business and have moved on to your next project? What would your relationship status be? Perhaps you will have married, or finally ended a destructive relationship and be free to move on with your life? Would you have children, grand children? Where will you be living? How will you be dressed, look and behave? Will you have finally cracked the healthy campaign and be enjoying more energy, better sleep patterns and carrying less weight about (both physical and emotional)?

As we get older 5 years can come and go in a flash so I plan on giving this some head room over the next few weeks.
Oh and when’s the best time to plant a tree? 10 years ago… when’s the next time NOW! Off to plant my tree; care to join me?

Posted by on 18/07/2011 14:28:35

Balancing the Bump – Keeping it simple and Keep in Touch

Annabel: As entitlement to maternity leave has increased, women increasingly run the risk of losing touch with their workplace during their one year absence. One attempt to remedy this was Keeping in Touch days (KITs), introduced in 2007. We started to write an article about what they were and how they could be used, but we walked straight into a typical Government induced muddle.
Laura: It makes good sense to keep in touch with a new mother. Fostering good communication and helping to facilitate an easy return to work (both emotionally and financially) will mean that when she does come back to work she is happy and able to do a good job. But in reality using KITs can cause stress, humiliation and offence.
Annabel: A woman can ‘work’ up to 10 days within her maternity leave period (except in the protected two weeks after birth) without triggering the end of her maternity leave. These are KITs. Men on additional paternity leave will also have KITs. However, any hour’s work done on any day is a whole KIT ‘day’. So, if you do one hour’s work on each of ten days you have used all your allowance, and working on another day could trigger an end to your statutory maternity pay.
Laura: I always understood that doing any work on a KIT meant you had to be paid for the whole day – how come we two professionals have completely different ideas about this? No wonder women and their employers get confused!
Annabel: A day’s KIT is not the same as a day’s work, so there is no rule that says if a woman does an hour’s work she is entitled to be paid for the whole day. I can see how people get in a muddle, but using up your allowance, and how many hours you are paid for are two entirely different things.
Laura: The EHRC website says that the rate of pay and duties are something for agreement between the employer and the employee.
Annabel: I have read and re-read the statute and regulations and I don’t see that. The Employment Rights Act 1996 says a woman is not entitled to be paid her normal pay when she is absent on maternity leave, but when you are having a KIT day you are not absent! Even with agreement, I am not convinced that this would get employers out of National Minimum Wage or discrimination problems if the reason for the lower rate is related to pregnancy.
Laura: So you can the employer ask the employee to do any duties?
Annabel: Women are not obliged to agree to any KIT days but KIT days are set up so they can do their normal contractual work, or training, or for communication – so making you clean the toilets if you don’t normally do it, is not something you’d expect to be asked to do on a KIT day.
Laura: In my experience KIT days can be badly used. One example I have is of a senior employee who was asked to come back in for a team meeting, which lasted a couple of hours, and then her manager insisted that she had to do a full day’s work for her pay and had her stuffing envelopes to fill in the time – totally de-motivating.
Laura and Annabel: This can only get worse while the Government tinkers with regulations on how to share maternity leave between parents. Would it be too much to ask for someone to clear up this mess while they are doing it? Employers shouldn’t have to guess which law trumps another!
If you would like a discounted one hour one to one with Laura (Feb/Mar 2011) to help make your maternity plan you can save £175 on an introductory one to one at Laura’s clinic in London at the Monument. Mention FMWF or Balancing the Bump. Call 020 7283 8908 to book an appointment.
If you are at risk of redundancy and about to start maternity leave (or on it), click here to join us for this FREE KoffeeKlatch on 24 February 2011 @ 11am GMT to talk about the additional rights you have and how to make them work for you
Do you have a query that you’d like Laura or Annabel to answer? Follow this link and post your question for them –

Posted by on 11/07/2011 09:55:41

Preparing for maternity leave/birth – childcare issues

Annabel: There is no doubt about it that having a baby is a very big event in a woman’s life. From an employer’s point of view though, it is can be just another thing they need to work around and deal with. Some employers find this really difficult to deal with on a practical level and uncertainty about whether a woman will really return from leave a year later can make some bosses withdraw from the relationship. This can make the woman feel she is not welcome to return and set off a spiral of ‘disengagement’ that can make it hard for both parties.
Laura: Having a good handover and return to work plan can really help. Discuss this with your boss and showing that you are planning to make things as easy for them as you can.. Keep talking – even when you are on leave. If you don’t get on with your boss get someone in your office that you trust to keep you up to speed with changes and projects.
Annabel: Your boss is not the only person you may find yourself liaising with at this point. Whenever your baby is due your partner is entitled to up to two weeks’ paternity leave. They can take this to coincide with the birth or within the next eight weeks. They need to sort this out with their boss and make the appropriate requests. If your baby is due after 3 April 2011, your partner may also take up to six months additional paternity leave if you return from maternity leave early. In a nutshell, he can take the rest of your leave (to a maximum of six months) when you go back to work … and if you go back to work before your statutory maternity pay is finished, he will also get paid (at the same rate and for the same period as your outstanding statutory maternity pay). Your partner has to give at least eight weeks notice to their employer before they can start the leave, and there are other processes to go through and conditions that he must meet. You have to give at least eight weeks notice if you want to come back before your year is up. Although you don’t have to do this before the baby is born, you need to start talking about what you want to do, how it will affect you financially and emotionally. If you really are planning for your partner to take the final six months of leave, then it would be a good idea to mention this informally to your boss so they know that you may want to come back early and make suitable cover arrangements.
Laura: I have one client in particular who is waiting for the Paternity leave to be extended in order to start a family. They cannot wait to start a family and it makes far more financial sense for him to be the main caregiver. However without the new paternity rights it would have been difficult for him to take the extra leave and return to his job. I am excited by the changes which I feel will really benefit family units. Both partners get to experience the highs and lows of being a parent and will be far more supportive of their partner knowing the full story. More families are having to adapt to a new way of working and roles are no longer clearly defined in the home. Even feeding breast milk can be continued (although in a bottle) when Mum is away as companies become even better at providing facilities to express milk for nursing mothers.
Would you like someone to talk you through calculating your maternity start date?. Download our presentation for £1 – profits will be donated to Ovacome the Ovarian Cancer Charity. Follow this link

Posted by on 08/07/2011 16:06:42

An offer from Wisewolf – A simple but very effective form of personal and professional development.

Coaching is a simple but very effective form of self development – either professional or personal.

The client and coach work together to promote a change and to help the client become who they want to be; to overcome obstacles to their success.

Coaches work with individuals in their personal life and with executives, managers and others in their professional and business life. I work with people in the round so I don’t draw a big black line round the personal to distinguish it from the professional, the two often overlap!

But I do work with change and transition. If you are not going through a change and don’t want to make one, then perhaps I wouldn’t be the right person to work with you.

Many of us have plans about what we want to do, who we want to be and what we want to become. A coach works with you to find out what is important and how to create the conditions that foster it.

Coaching builds skills; both personal and professional.

It is about growth; both personal and professional.

I started my professional life qualifying as a nurse. I have many years of experience of working with people and organizations going through all kinds of change and transition. And somewhere along the way I did undertake professional training in change management.

You may be starting a new business, or wanting to improve the way that you communicate with other people. Or perhaps you want to change your business. Perhaps you need to deal with a difficult supplier or a difficult business relationship. Then working with a coach could help you on to the next step.

If you are facing a change in your business life or you want to make one, you may wish to take advantage of a special offer.

For a limited period I am offering a FREE half hour telephone coaching session to members here

If you would like to take advantage of this, please email me at

If you would like to know more about my professional background, you can find it on LinkedIn at

Posted by on 01/07/2011 16:41:36

What good is Twitter? It’s only for social use, it’s only for business use……

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve attended meetings where I’ve heard “I only use Twitter socially, definitely not for business”, “I don’t use Twitter, will never use Twitter”, “my clients come to me through personal contact only” and “I’m proud to say I don’t use Twitter”.

Interesting. On Saturday, within the space of less than one hour, I’d made 3 really useful contacts and all I’d done was put out a request on Twitter for a personally recommended venue.

Actually, the initial contacts were made within seconds. Here’s what happened.

Mark Shaw, Twitter Guru extraordinaire runs the free lead generation service – @msrfr (Mark Shaw’s request for a recommendation service) – what better place for 1230 TWC to seek help in finding a suitable, personally recommended venue for a 1230 TWC meeting. I sent out “anyone personally recommend restaurant for lunchtime meetings, West End #London which values networkers #msrfr

Back came 2 responses – one from Kevin Coughlan of C.Elect Electrical Services Ltd, and one from Mike Briercliffe of Mike Both of which I followed up by looking at the recommended venues’ web sites. The one recommended by Kevin looked good and was more the required locality. But I will be visiting both venues.

Looking at this venue web site I spotted a typo, sorry, but it’s a bit of a thing with me. Having nothing better to do this rainy Saturday, lol! I let the web developer know about the typo. I was thanked with a brilliant social media map, and another typo! Oh dear, what to do……. Well, you’ve guessed it; I let him know about that one too! And then posted on Twitter as to whether the web developer would appreciate my letting him know about the 2 typos.

Back came Andrew Palmer, said web developer and it would seem, web developer and video businessman extraordinaire, whilst thanking me, I felt was a slightly less than happy response I thought. Oooopsy. Oh dear, I was just being helpful I thought – I’d want to know, but to be fair, wouldn’t necessarily be happy about being told by a stranger. Anyway, I explained to Andrew the how’s and why’s and being the super chap he is, it would seem I have a permanent spell-checking role (just teasing) plus, and more importantly, 3 extremely helpful and delightful contacts 2 of whom I will shortly be meeting – all through Twitter! Thanks Guys!

So, what good is Twitter? Need I ask?…….


Posted by on 21/06/2011 09:01:10

Need some ‘me-time’?

If you’re busy, busy promoting your business and would like/need some ‘me-time’, I’d love you to join our charity walk this Saturday morning. It’s a civilised start time and it’ll really make a difference to the lives of some seriously under-privileged children. To sign up or just donate go to NB NO sponsorship required!

Posted by on 07/06/2011 14:56:49

Bribery and corruption …..

The Bribery Act comes into force on 1st July 2011. And, as is typical when a new piece of legislation affecting business is in prospect, your email box starts to fill up. You get offers for any number of courses that will provide, for “just” a few hundred pounds and a day of your life — an explanation of this “important new legislation”.


The Bribery Act does NOT – despite what people are saying – set up anything complicated or difficult that you have to do … provided you have already been running your operation with a modicum of sense, and a reasonable employment contract. Normal business hospitality is not going to be made illegal! But ‘facilitation payments’, or completely disproportionate hospitality, will be a problem under the new law in exactly the same way that they were under the old law.

If you have taken no steps at all to protect your operation from corrupt practices, then the nudge that the new Act may give you to sort this out will not go amiss. But if you have nothing in place, don’t just ‘fix’ the bribery issue — look at how corruption of any form might affect your activities, and how to guard against it. As always, let your business needs drive what you do … don’t let legal changes distort your business priorities.

The Ministry of Justice has issued straightforward guidance about how the new Act will operate. [But do remember, “guidance” is not the law – so take it with a bit of a pinch of salt – check out our earlier blog.]

In a nutshell:

– your organisation can be liable for failing to prevent a person from bribing on your behalf
– solution: consider whether there is actually a risk that this will happen, and where these risks may arise
– if a bribe is made on your behalf, you will have a defence to a prosecution if you can show you had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery
– solution: once you have identified actual risk areas in your operation, consider how you can best put procedures in place to prevent bribery occurring.
– if you do need to put procedures in place, they should be proportionate to the risk
– solution: for most businesses, you will not need extensive written policies or special processes.

For many organisations, all that will be needed is a short addition to the employment contract or employee handbook. For any organisation that already has an effective “ethics” policy in place, it is quite likely that nothing additional will be needed at all.

But the trick is to do the job in the right order.

Start with the risk assessment – which, as always, is best committed to paper so that you can prove later on that you did it.

Then, if (and only if) the risk assessment shows you that it’s necessary, put in place relevant and appropriate new prevention procedures and documentation.

Many companies will need to add precisely nothing to what they already have in place at the moment!

Christopher Head is a barrister and director of employment law specialists Irenicon Ltd.
Irenicon Limited, Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon, CR0 OXZ
Tel : 08452 303050 Fax : 08452 303060
Email :
Website :

Posted by on 26/05/2011 11:46:06

A Strategy Against Stalking & Harassment – Tony Lambell

A huge “thank you” to today’s Guest Speaker Tony Lambell of Secose Ltd for helping us get to grips with the statistics and details of stalking and harassment as well as providing us with a Strategy Against Stalking & Harassment. If you missed today’s enlightening talk, be sure to watch for details of Tony’s next visit.

Posted by on 18/05/2011 15:44:01

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