Whilst 2020 was arguably one of the most challenging years in recent history, it brought about a change and development in our attitude towards work. Traditional working days are being replaced with flexible working arrangements (where possible). But should employers look to keep these new employment features?
For many people, working from home has been invaluable. Saving time on commuting has enabled us to get more sleep, more exercise, more household chores done and even save travelling expenditure. However, not everyone feels the same way. Feelings of loneliness have increased and working at home alone exacerbates isolation.
And what about those who cannot work from home? For example those operating public services, catering/food outlets and key workers. To accommodate a working culture that is inclusive and supportive, employers can introduce flexi-time style arrangements where working hours do not need to be completed between the typical hours of 9am–5pm. This could be particularly helpful for employees with young children.
Unfortunately there may be less on offer for key workers specifically, which is often due to shift work that is rigid in nature. This is frustrating both in terms of showing appreciation and value. Other benefits such as early access to wages and 4 day working weeks are reasonably new benefits to the market, that may be more appropriate for key workers.
It’s safe to say that we have learned a lot about the capability of any workforce this past year. Whether it be resilience to change or courage to step forward, it has driven change in the typical office working environment. We have realised that the workforce can be more productive outside of the office and that rigidity can contribute to unhappy employees. Perhaps employers should be introducing a new workplace culture that supports flexibility and promotes communication at the heart…
The post-pandemic workplace may look a little different. Remote working, flexible working hours and shorter working weeks might mean that you no longer see all of your colleagues. How can organisations retain cohesiveness and team spirit?
It would be fair to say that conferencing applications, such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, have been key to keeping teams together. Meetings like these may have become part of your daily/weekly routine. Communication through remote working and isolation may have been a lifeline to so many individuals throughout 2020, especially those living alone.
In addition, virtual rewards and recognition have never been more important. Rewards and recognition are a crucial part of employee wellbeing providing individuals with appreciation and giving them a sense of pride to their work. Recognition, when you might not have seen your colleagues or manager for 12 months, is another way to help individuals feel that they still belong to the team and organisation.
Whatever the way forward, 2020 has changed our working lives forever. What would you like to see in the post-pandemic workplace?