It is no secret that our way of working has been completely upturned and irreversibly altered as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. And although there is talk about restrictions being lifted in the coming weeks, the fact remains that many employees will still continue to work remotely and will be likely to face an uncertain and daunting return to work as ‘normal’.
The one certainty in this challenging period for businesses is the need to quickly adapt to significantly disruptive change. And in order to successfully promote the mental and physical wellbeing of every employee, it is more important than ever that employers continuously adapt to ongoing change far quicker than they expect their workers to.
A recent report from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) has revealed that the UK workforce has many issues weighing heavy on its mind as a result of the lockdown restrictions. The most notable being that half of all respondents reported being unhappy with their current work/life balance; with a third feeling isolated, and 21% worried about job security.
This highlights the need to make remote and virtual emotional support platforms more readily-available and accessible to employees. To keep employees happy and productive, a useful tool to strike the right balance is continuous performance management software that enables remote workers to rate how they are feeling to provide line managers with more context and a better overview of the performance of an employee that they do not engage with regularly on a face-to-face basis. For emotional wellbeing, one of the most effective approaches may be to offer confidential online access to Q&As with a certified therapist, emotional coaching sessions, and online therapy sessions if the need arises.
From an IT perspective, it is important to regularly test disaster recovery systems to identify and address any fundamental flaws to ensure that an entire workforce is able to remain productive while working remotely. When it comes to remote working, employers should enable their staff to replicate the office environment, by encouraging them to take as much office equipment as they need to make their home offices more comfortable.
However, a work/life balance is difficult to maintain when an employee is home-based almost entirely around the clock, so regular breaks away from the screen to spend quality time with loved ones should be encouraged for their wellbeing. Employees should be also motivated to join social fitness networks, as this raises fitness levels while simultaneously encouraging good-natured competition among colleagues.
The lockdown has been tough for most businesses and their employees, and although we still do not have a clear indication of when things will return to ‘normal’, we have all learnt some very valuable lessons that will hopefully make us more resilient in the years to come. We know now that if you do it properly, remote working can be just as effective as onsite working, and for many businesses, this may be considered as a permanent option moving forward.
By Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO