The Future of Working is Remote
Huge multinationals such as Unilever and Nationwide Building Society have announced that staff are never going back to the office full-time, and research from Gartner has found that 80% of company leaders plan to permit remote work after pandemic.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that more than 95% of the company’s workforce is working remotely and it plans to make adjustments to ensure employees can continue to do so on a long-term basis. Verizon-owned phone service company Visible announced a plan for all employees to move to permanent work-from-home status.
Additionally, HR professionals appear to be supportive of remote-work arrangements. More than half of HR respondents to a recent survey by social network Fishbowl said they would elect to continue working remotely permanently.
But while the situation is clear – people no longer need to endure the stresses, strains, cost and risk of commuting – practical questions will arise.
Where will staff work from? How can employers ensure maximum productivity as well as wellness support for employees?
James Santi, founder of Work Anywhere Hub, discusses what employers and employees should consider when making the permanent shift to remote working.
Support Employee Wellbeing
Half of UK workers (51%) reported feeling ‘burnt out’ at the end of 2020, with the blurring of boundaries between work and home being a contributing factor. Employers need to address this or run the risk overburdening staff and affecting their health. While many have embraced the flexibility and the lack of a daily commute, remote working can present its own issues too. When other elements are considered – from caring for dependents or experiencing feelings of isolation, to not having a dedicated home office space – pressure can quickly mount. Regular ‘checking-in’ sessions and emphasising the fact that an employer or HR department are always accessible are key to maintaining wellbeing in staff.
Employers might be able to use the current situation as an opportunity to focus on initiatives that improve workers’ sense of belonging, including ‘window working’ – a system in which employees are able to reconfigure their workweek so as to make it more flexible, and tailored to their timings and commitments.
Identify COVID-safe hotdesks and meeting locations
One search of Work Anywhere Hub can provide a plethora of options for local hotdesk locations and meeting facilities. Each venue must list its facilities and COVID procedures. Larger companies can book bulk spaces, while individuals have the freedom to find a single hotdesk close to home offering anything from free Wi-Fi and coffee refills to a light lunch or loyalty programme for regular visitors.
Keep in Touch
Managers can improve workflows by setting regular virtual check-ins and using a group approach for setting goals. Set targets weekly, then enjoy a group meeting at a central venue, or virtually, at the end of the month to maintain colleague relationships.