Although it’s become the norm, working from home is still a polarising concept. While fans of the remote life are keen to make it permanent, others crave the buzz of the office as they grapple with feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Yet, despite these feelings being widespread, the government is urging us to continue working from home where possible until all COVID restrictions are lifted on 21 June. A year on, remote working has changed the way we work forever.
So, how can employers keep supporting home workers in the coming weeks – and beyond?
Working from home statistics – an overview
According to the Office for National Statistics, April 2020 saw 46.6% of UK employees work from home in some capacity –86% of them doing so because of the pandemic.
Recent research by the University of Nottingham and Stanford University revealed that post-pandemic, 40% of workers surveyed want to continue working remotely two or three days a week.
Interestingly, 76% of people felt perceptions of home working had improved as a result of the pandemic.
What challenges are homeworkers still facing?
A report from the Royal Society for Public Health revealed 67% of homeworkers felt less connected to colleagues, and 56% found it hard to switch off while home-based. Yet only 34% received mental health support from their employer.
As we face another six weeks of enforced home working, employers must maintain measures to support employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.
WFH employee checklist –
Keep up the support for your remote working team by continuing to:
Maintaining excellent communication levels for the last lap will inform how you shape your working practices moving forward.
Whether it’s a weekly Zoom or a daily call, we all know clear communication channels are the key to a happy remote workforce.
Personalise your approach
Everyone likes to communicate differently, so you have to understand your employees individually to support them effectively. Some may love a daily WhatsApp check-in; others may find group chats overwhelming, so take a sensitive approach to strike the right balance.
Everyday life is challenging for us all, so be open-minded and flexible where possible.
Approachability is critical: if your team feels comfortable giving you a heads up that they’re struggling to meet a deadline, you can make adjustments and stay on track.
Without in-person watercooler chats and Friday pizza, work can feel all-too-serious. So, keep scheduling those virtual coffee breaks and remote socials to encourage your team to switch off and have fun.
And if everyone has Zoom fatigue by now, a surprise early finish or an unexpected brownie box landing on their doorstep can brighten up even the gloomiest remote worker.
How can employers ease the transition into more permanent remote working solutions?
The next step you take as a business could significantly impact your future productivity and morale, so tread carefully to ensure you make the right decisions.
Ask your employees what their ideal situation would be. Do they want to work from home permanently? Are they desperate to get back to the office? Or, is there a happy medium of agile working between the two settings?
Find out what works for your employees, then look carefully at how you can make this work for your business. After all, giving your team the freedom to integrate work more seamlessly into their lives will ultimately boost morale, retention, and productivity.
Making the return to work easy
If you feel you need support welcoming your team back into the workplace, our free return to work toolkit is a great place to start.
It’s full of helpful information, guidance, procedures, and policies you can implement to ease the transition and successfully support your team through the change with zero disruption to your business.
Access more help supporting your team
If you need further help to support your team or you have specific questions about remote or flexible working, we can help. Contact the Crosse HR team by calling 0330 555 1139 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org