Are we going back to the office? Will the way of working before the COVID-19 pandemic return in its entirety?
Research undertaken across the world suggest not. In Britain a recent survey of nearly a thousand companies by the British Institute of Directors found that almost 75% of companies intend to continue working from home. This is reflected from an employee perspective also, global analysts Gallup found that American employees found that almost 60% of those surveyed would like to maintain working from home as much as possible.
The story is similar in the Netherlands also, a recent MobileIron survey shows that more than 80% of Dutch employees do not want to fully return to working from the office after the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s an overwhelming consensus that returning to the office full time after the pandemic is unrealistic. At HRHelp we believe it is better to embrace working from home in the long term. To do this a company needs to understand how best to maximise the opportunities as well as mitigate any negative issues that may arise.
How do you ensure that you continue to work as a team, that you maintain the culture of your organisation, that the quality of the work is guaranteed, that privacy rules are sufficiently observed, that there is a proper balance between work and private life, that the workplace of the staff meets ergonomic standards? And so there are many more questions and topics that require follow-up. Let’s look at two of them: working as a team and the home workplace.
In order to work as a team, it is important to be able to connect with each other. Being together on the phone is not enough. Ensure the availability of a Video Conference system. Teams, Zoom, Cisco, etc. There are plenty of possibilities to achieve this. Help them understand how it works and what it offers.
In addition, plan periodic meetings with your team to get together. A seminar, a work meeting, a coffee break or even host a charitable quiz, giving your employees something other than work to form a bond over. Ensure your team sits together periodically online. Plan these activities clearly with each other and encourage employees to have face to face interaction online.
Hosting events throughout the year will further engage your staff and strengthen the team spirit. Various tools are available to make this possible. Think for example of Kahoot! to set up a quiz or Wellable to set up a physical competition between colleagues / teams. An online training course or webinar are other possible options.
Ensure your employees have a good home work space at their disposal. Give them the opportunity to obtain advice on the layout of the workplace. In all probability, the employees will need to have better office furniture. This can be logistically difficult to manage and it may be better to offer your teams a Working From Home Allowance, which not only pays for their furniture and supplies, but is also appreciated as an employee perk. This can be undertaken on attractive tax terms.
We’ve briefly looked at a couple of home working issues, but would welcome discussing this with you in more detail. Contact us for a free initial conversation to discuss your HR needs.