The way we work has changed forever, whether we like it or not. The working conditions which have been necessitated by the COVID-19 outbreak are likely to have lasting effects on working culture, long after the pandemic is over. The momentous shift in the way we work and how leaders manage employees remotely has been instrumental in changing the expectations of both employee and employer.
The rise of digital connectivity has facilitated remote collaboration in ways never before possible. In a strange way, COVID-19 has tested the resilience and overarching remote working model, to a level whereby employees have adapted to working from home and employers are more coordinated in their approach to setting the right structures around performance measures and ongoing support of employees.
Shift in Working Culture
Increased flexibility in working arrangements is likely to mean that more and more people now complete their jobs from home. Alternatively, this could be a ‘sometimes’ arrangement, where people split their time between traditional workplaces and other external locations. There will be substantial advantages to this shift. Some of the key benefits of a more flexible working culture will include:
- Greater job satisfaction – more understanding and concessions being made for peoples’ individual needs, will increase the workforces’ holistic satisfaction with their jobs.
- Improved employee retention – directly linked to greater satisfaction, people will be happier to stay in jobs that are more accommodating of their lives.
- Decreased commuter stress – this will put less strain on roads and public transport, as well as providing employees with more time in their day.
- Variable work hours – many employers are happy for their employees to complete a certain number of hours, regardless of when they start and end.
Risks of Flexible Working Arrangements
This is not to say that these drastic changes will not be without risks. Something which employers must consider, with employees operating remotely from home, is how the employer fulfils their obligations to their employees and what compliance issues are required to be adhered to.
Working from home does not eliminate workplace risk, but rather changes the types of threats commonly found in a workplace. Issues such as mental illness, isolation and disconnection are currently the biggest concerns for employees who are working from home. As employees spend more time at home rather than interacting with other employees and stakeholders, these risks will rise to the forefront and how they are managed will become more pertinent to both the employer and employee. Employers must take great care to implement measures to regularly check-in with and assess their employees’ mental wellbeing. There are many protocols that an employer can implement to safeguard employees’ mental health the best they can, with a changing work environment.
The value of regularly touching base with employees cannot be underestimated. Encouraging employees to not just speak with managers and leaders, but each other is also deemed important in caring for their wellbeing. Being isolated can be lonely and disheartening for some, and as an employer, if you are regularly checking in, that can be helpful in removing some aspects of remoteness. Regular contact and communication provide the opportunity to discuss concerns, worries and other feelings that might be impacting one’s mental wellbeing.
How JESI Helps
JESI is not just a journey management tool. The platform is an employee safety tool, allowing employers to check-in with staff, regardless of whether they are travelling or working from home.
As work-culture changes to encompass different working arrangements, the systems which assess employees’ wellbeing requires employers to re-think the way they operate and adapt the types of measures they have established to support their workforce. JESI accounts for this by facilitating remote risk assessments and daily check-ins. It’s more than fulfilling the employer obligations but enhancing the culture of an organisation and embracing the ability for people to be effective and perform at a level that is fitting for the role within the organisation. A ‘caring’ employer is one that leads by example and ensures that every employee works in a safe, sustainable environment conducive to optimum performance, yet cleverly providing a workplace that is inclusive.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on employees and employers. The changes in the workplace and the psychology behind how we have all adapted is a critical lesson in evolution of work environments.
While there is a cadence for ensuring that employers are compliant, it’s so much more than that, and the benefits of providing employees with the ultimate ‘working environment’ is a win-win for all involved.
For more information, reach out to the team at JESI.