SME Agony Uncle: Bobby Kerr answers all your business and work-related questions

Join Bobby on The Hard Shoulder every Tuesday, with thanks to Energia

Each week broadcaster, entrepreneur and agony uncle Bobby Kerr joins The Hard Shoulder to answer all your employment-related questions.

This week, Ivan kicked things off with Bobby by discussing what people really want in work and it's not pool tables or drinks on Fridays. A recent survey by Employmum shows what people actually want is flexible working. 

In fact, 67% of parents surveyed said flexibility in the workplace was the most important thing in the ideal job. 

Bobby says this was especially evident with the recent weather in Ireland, causing many employers to shut their offices for a number of days and people had to work from home, adding that the traditional hierarchy of the office layout with desks and offices is becoming increasingly irrelevant. 

Of course, with most jobs you will still need to meet people but people need the flexibility to be able to work when they want and where they want because our work and home lives are no longer as separate as we might like them to be, according to Bobby.  

Now onto your questions... 

I worked as an intern for the last three months in an open plan office with about 40 people. I got on great with everyone, got good experience and felt I did a good job at the end of it all. I thought my effort might be acknowledged in some way at the end and I even brought in muffins on the last day to say thanks to everyone but nothing. Nada. Not a card, not a penny, nothing. I am feeling totally dejected and feel they took advantage of me. 

Bobby says this is tough love and he feels for this person and understands why they might feel this way. Bobby says something not too dissimilar happened to one of his own daughters recently and his advice was to just leave with her head held  high and remember that treatment some day when you're the boss and have an intern and make sure you never treat anybody like that yourself because you know how it feels.   

We are a small group of 60 working in the creative industry and have recently grown so much that we are soon moving to a new location, which I myself as the owner have purchased and intend to rent back to the company. One employee who is transgender has asked me if I will be putting in transgender toilets. I hadn't considered it because of the extra costs before but do you think having transgender toilets will ever become law and if so, should I put one in now and this might end up being the cheapest time to consider this. 

Bobby says this man is under no obligation to do this with where we stand today in terms of the law. However, Bobby says some colleges, such as UCD, have made their pre-existing disabled toilets gender neutral and added new signs to the doors so this could be an option for this business owner as well.

A big customer of mine recently told me I'd have to collect all of my packaging from his warehouse after delivering my good because he no longer wishes to be responsible for the disposal of it. This has resulted in me having to send a van, collect the packaging and then dispose of it all the same. I was going to increase my prices to reflect this for that customer, otherwise I am supplying him at a loss. What do you think? 

Bobby says this man should really analyse what this customer is saying before he raises the prices - could he maybe deliver without packaging? Could he send the goods in crates and maybe collect them the following week instead? 

Bobby says this might actually be a sign that the customer is trying to tell this man something about the amount of packaging he is using -something a lot of businesses and customers-alike are becoming increasingly aware of these days when everyone is trying to do their bit for the environment. 

You can listen back to all of Bobby’s employment advice from Tuesday’s The Hard Shoulder here: If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to