As many of us begin the transition back to the workplace it’s time to start thinking about settling back into the office, or indeed, hybrid life!
Did you know 70% of people say that remote working will be a major factor in their decisions to keep current jobs or go on ventures new. Therefore, it is pivotal employers offer a working situation that is mutually beneficial.
The pandemic caused a huge amount of disruption much of which we’d sooner forget than discuss over coffee, but one question that keeps coming up is: ‘how are you feeling about going back into the office?’. I’m sure the answer we receive varies depending on who we ask and what their overall circumstances are, but did you know:
*🔹47% of people feel they now have more time for life, hobbies, and exercise
🔹22% feel more mentally well
🔹26% report a healthier work/life balance
🔹30% have reported an improved relationship with their line manager
So, how do we begin to help those people who have become accustomed to home-working make the transition to hybrid working? In short, work on making the office environment one which employees want to be in. Make it homely, add soft furnishings e.g., plants, rugs, wall art, to really create that at home feeling, in the workplace.
Introduce weekly / monthly team-bonding sessions – by the way, they don’t have to cost the earth to impress 😉. Do you have a breakout area? Or a quiet space in your office? Just a zone where the team can connect, this can be structured or unstructured but will always give the opportunity to discuss, share and bond about the trials and tribulations of life/work. Please note, this won’t be for everyone, so don’t force it, but this small gesture will go a long way and will remind those who have been working from home since March 2020 that the office is a fun, and often happy, place to be; 66% of people reported a drop in team fun because of working from home, and 51% of people would love to see ‘random chat’s with colleagues in the near future!
Acknowledge individual circumstances, what pleases one will not please them all! Sure, everyone worked 9-5 before but isn’t that recipe a bit stale anyway? Set up individual meetings with your team to ascertain what their expectations are now. Help them understand the difference between flexible, and hybrid working. Flexible working is reduced hours, starting earlier, or finishing later. If your business can meet the needs of those employers who would now prefer flexible working those members of staff need to be aware that whilst you’re happy to support them, their annual remuneration will be impacted. For the hybrid workers: set a series of standard questions that will help you understand their needs. We could provide examples but let’s be honest you know your business needs, and your employees better than we do!
Make well-being front and centre, employee well-being is not optional, and it should be far more than a tick-box exercise. In fact, the CIPD state “fostering employee wellbeing is good for people and the organisation. Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive. Good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organisational performance”. So how can you shape a good employee well-being programme?
- You could consider introducing metrics that specifically measure how your team are feeling emotionally? From an employer perspective, it helps you drive further initiatives and from an employee perspective it shows you are holding yourself accountable for staff well-being
- Ask the staff returning to the office what well-being means to them, and how they’d like to see well-being incorporated into their working life.
Staff wellbeing is not only morally good but also imperative and the key to more productive, resilient workforces now more than ever.
Are we in favour of hybrid working? It depends, we acknowledge that a hybrid policy for many businesses is the best route forward, but we also recognise that some businesses just do not have the option to work from home.
Before you go….
*Statistics taken from results based on the opinions of employers/employees in Cambridgeshire. This project was led by Business Psychologist Kelly Drewery, Talent Glue – https://www.talentglue.co.uk/
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