From Donna’s Desk
What a month it has been. The day I got the final proof for last month’s newsletter, I had to pull the front page. It had contained our big announcement – we had found a new home, just one year after taking our first offices, we were moving onwards and upwards to bigger and better things due to our continued growth and success.
However, as I said, I needed to rewrite the front page – just four days before taking up residence I took one of the most bizarre calls I had ever taken. Now, I am a fairly good judge of character and I can usually tell if someone isn’t being completely straight with me and this call left me with the distinct feeling I was being lied to. What emerged over the following 24 hours is that I had had a lucky escape.
The call was from the legal director of the company I was renting from. He told me I could no longer have the offices. He couldn’t tell me if this was a short term or permanent situation. No indication if we were talking a week, a few months or ever. Did I feel a bit paranoid, you bet I did. Did I feel even more paranoid when the estate agent wouldn’t take my call…. Oh yes. Did I panic? No, surprisingly not. I made two phone calls and then decided to go bury my nose in a good novel and not to do anything else until the morning. My two calls…. One to my current landlord to see if I could keep my office – nope! He had taken a deposit that morning. Fortunately I had given two months notice, so I had until 18th December to find us a new home. Call two was to the Broadband provider to stop BT going and installing my broadband line.
That night I went to bed and figured I would start dealing with the problem the following day when I was less emotional.
The outcome is, that a couple of weeks down the line, I am very relieved not to have had that particular company as my landlord and I am spending A LOT of time finding us the right new home. We will be moving into temporary offices mid December, but we want our permanent home to be the right new home and we will of course keep you posted.
So many lessons from this little experience, even down to asking estate agents who the landlord is when I look at office space.
That’s it from me for this year. All that remains is for me to wish you a very happy, successful, prosperous and healthy new year.
Charlotte introduces herself
Hi. I’m Charlotte Mitchell DOHR’s brand new apprentice. I joined the business in October and have thoroughly enjoyed my first two months at DOHR! I will be assisting Donna and the team with DOHR’s social media, marketing and of course the business administration. Previously I have worked as a customer service assistant at Homebase. This role helped me to perfect my communication skills and enabled me to gain experience working within a commercial business.
I have studied media for the past 6 years and is I’m a bit of a wiz (if I do say so myself) when it comes to all things media and marketing! As a subject, media instantly captured my attention as I found it relevant yet challenging and a real outlet for my creativity. Every project I completed as part of Media Studies has broadened my knowledge and understanding of media and marketing as a whole. One project I particularly enjoyed was creating my own promotional package for a horror film. This involved: developing an idea for a horror film, writing a script, selecting actors and suitable locations, filming and editing the horror film trailer. I also created a magazine front cover and poster which was part of the promotional campaign. My other A-levels gave me the opportunity to consider the influence of media and marketing on wider society. For example, Psychology has encouraged me to consider how the media impacts on human behaviours such as eating patterns, aggression and addiction. English Literature allowed me to develop and broaden my writing skills. I have always been a keen writer and I won a poetry competition and had my own version of Martin Luther King’s poem ‘I Have a Dream’ published in the book ‘I Have a Dream 2009 – Words to Change the World.’ Winning such a competition was a source of great pride for me and I look forward to future opportunities to have work printed.
I am extremely excited to get involved and contribute to DOHR by updating the Facebook and Twitter accounts and editing the website. I am looking forward to creating recruitment and marketing campaigns and attending exhibitions and networking events. I have already attended a BNI morning, The Business Show Exhibition at Olympia, the Entrepreneurs Circle Success Summit in Birmingham and the Get Connected Expo in Watford.
Ask the Expert
We employ several employees of foreign origin. Is it acceptable to ask them to communicate in English while at work?
It is fine to ask employees to speak in English so long as you are able to objectively justify it. Failure to justify it could amount to indirect discrimination against a worker. Objective justifications could include the need to avoid misunderstandings, whether legal, financial or health and safety related and would include the need to create a cohesive workforce.
While employers may be able to justify a rule requiring communication to be carried out in English, a blanket rule requiring all communication to be in English is unlikely to be justifiable. For example, there may be no business reason why employees should have to speak in English during their work breaks or otherwise outside working hours. Even during working hours, a prohibition on informal, casual conversation in a language other than English is likely to be unjustified, particularly if the role is not customer focused and some workers have problems with the English language or speak very little of it.
The Equality Act provides that where a workforce includes workers who have difficulties speaking English, the employer should consider taking reasonable steps to improve communication. Such steps might include providing training in language and communication skills, or providing interpreting and translation facilities, such as multilingual safety notices to ensure that all workers understand health and safety requirements. The code can be used in evidence in legal proceedings and courts and tribunals must take account of any part of it that might be relevant to a question arising during those proceedings.
The Immigration Bill, which is currently before Parliament, includes a provision aimed at ensuring that every public sector worker operating in a customer-facing role must speak fluent English (or Welsh in Wales) in the workplace. Whether this will be extended to non-public sector workers remains to be seen.
Quotes of the month
This month I share with you some of the learnings from the great Michael Gerber who at the age of 79 is an inspiration to many of today’s entrepreneurs and business owners. He has written over 20 books mostly around his E-myth concept. He also has another book coming out in 2016.
“Most entrepreneurs are merely technicians with an entrepreneurial seizure. Most entrepreneurs fail because you are working IN your business rather than ON your business.”
“The greatest business people I’ve met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost.”
“My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.”
Answers to last months Time Out!
How many of the 43 4 letter words could you find in the word INTERVIEW? The answers are below:
This month we ask how many words can you make from the word Christmas. Remember, we are not playing Scrabble here! Prize for the person who sends us the most words. Your entries can be sent to [email protected]
Welcome to new readers: