The post-COVD-19 the workplace isn’t going to be the same. We’re currently living through a large scale social experiment testing the restrictions, and freedom, of remote working and trust culture.
Most companies will be rethinking their overall operational efficiency moving forward, but this experience has accelerated ideas which Cordant already had on the agenda. We’ve done the thinking and we’re now ready to adapt.
In 2017 we kicked off a research project for a key client to influence their thinking around adaptable and flexible working. The data derived from our focus groups spoke volumes;
88% of participants questioned would be interested in flex working
65% would embrace a 3-day working week
30% saw flex as an opportunity to ease back into work after long term unemployment
21% believed flex would allow them time to upskill or explore training opportunities
Priorities and people are changing. This doesn’t make them any less passionate about their career, loyal to an employer or hardworking, it just means that juggling their commitments is a challenge…. Their work-life balance isn’t all that balanced.
For me, work-life balance is about making adjustments to the traditional working style or pattern to allow improved focus, productivity and success in the workplace, but also ensure time can be dedicated to what’s important; caring for family members, and caring for yourself; maintaining good wellbeing, happiness and health.
So, here are some workplace practices Cordant are exploring to support employees in getting the balance right.
Flexible and remote working
This is the autonomy for employees to manage their time whilst still delivering maximum output. Working from home, variable office hours and part-time/shift work will all be options.
Rather than counting hours and monitoring attendance we want to empower colleagues to take control of their productivity.
Project management tools
There are multiple time management tools available which monitor activity, however, I’d question if these tools promote trust. KPI tracking, on the other hand, would motivate and encourage employees. Project and team management software gives staff a sense of control over their work and will encourage them to monitor their own performance.
Duty of care
Health and safety is paramount for flexible workers. Although better work-life balance will improve the wellbeing of most, employers have to be aware of the risks associated with working from home. Risk assessments must be carried out on employees home workspace, policies must be updated, guidelines should be set to ensure colleagues don’t burnout and regular contact and support should be offered to avoid feelings of isolation.
Read our article on Working from home; Mental Health Management
Over the last 6 weeks, I have seen impressive levels of focus and productivity as employees not only adapt to remote working but also push limits in such challenging circumstances. We haven’t had to time-manage or micro-manage, just trust and encourage.
Many employees may be keen to achieve a better work-life balance… others are likely satisfied with the time they spend working. The key is giving them the option.
The 9-5, office-based mentality is outdated. As long as tasks are completed and targets are met working hours don’t need to be restrictive. People aren’t machines, nor are we the same, we work better in different circumstances and employers need to meet the needs of their people if they want their business to succeed.