How to prepare for the future of work?
“Should you return to work during COVID-19?”First off, you need to get a sense of people’s safety needs. And from our point of view, you can split that into three key areas:
- Policy: Here, you’ll understand if the rules you’ve put in place – from social distancing, to what to do if you’ve got a bit of a sniffle – have hit home. If not, you need to get your comms right to reassure everyone involved.
- Travel: You need to know if it’s the commute that’s putting people off office work. If so, there’s a few things you can do – from offering later start times, to providing protective equipment to mitigate the risks.
- Environment: The office itself matters too. What’s the seating plan, how well ventilated is the space, is it secure and regularly cleaned? Find out what matters to your team, and you can prioritise those changes.
“How can you support a hybrid work environment?”Up next comes an assessment of your people’s ability to get on with the job at home and in the office – are they enabled to do well, wherever the location?
- Tools: To measure whether remote working is the right option, you first need to take a long hard look at whether you’ve provided the right tools. Have you done enough, could you do more? This will guide your next steps.
- Collaboration: We all know collaboration is crucial for a thriving business, so this helps you understand if it’s taken a knock due to remote working. Your employees may identify gaps, or give crucial suggestions to make it work.
- Communication: Are leaders and teams communicating properly remotely? Again, if you’re planning to take on a hybrid working model, getting this right is important – so listen to your staff’s feedback.
“How can I transition to a hybrid workforce and keep staff happy?”The third thing you need to consider is personal needs. With four generations in the workforce, your employees will have a wide range of different needs, responsibilities, and concerns.
- Wellbeing: As work takes up the biggest proportion of our waking hours, it’s inevitable that it’ll affect mental wellbeing. So is remote working a positive, or a negative… or even both? What is remote working doing to your team?
- Responsibility: Do your employees have children? Are they caring for elderly relatives? Everyone’s got a homelife to consider and, if you can plan your next steps with that in mind, you’ll have a happier workforce overall.
- Vulnerability: If employees do have family or friends they care for, they may be worried about exposing them to illness. The only way to tackle that is to know about it first, so you can find a mutually agreeable solution.
“Why aremodels the future of work?”Finally, you need the question you may be most nervous about. What is everyone’s preference when it comes to working location? This is important: your employees are adults, and will have their own reasons, so thinking you know best will backfire.
- Locations: Office v. remote. The big debate. With a high number of employees threatening to quit as they don’t want to work in an office, you need to be aware of preferences and the reasons behind them.
- Ways of working: According to your employees, do teams work better in the office? Don’t assume so – research has shown some find remote meetings liberating, and written records of everything can be useful.
- Productivity: How productive are people when they’re at home? Business leaders like to joke about pyjama-wearing layabouts, but is there evidence for that? Listen to your people and trust them – if you don’t, you have bigger problems.