what next for the wfh’ers?

So WFH (so that’s Working From Home for the unaware…where have you been!) is the new norm and so many companies are quoting that their teams have never been more productive.  Employees are saying they love stumbling from their bed to their desks in minimal time, commuter rush hour is a thing of the past and they no longer have to fight Bob from Accounts in the race for the perfect car parking spot!   But is it all rosy in the post COVID garden or a ticking time bomb waiting to happen?

Many companies, big and small across the UK reacted swiftly and cohesively to being locked down and moved teams to a home working environment almost overnight.  The resilience shown by so many British business was and still is rightly being shown like a badge of honour.  Being agile and offering true flexibility to our workforce should be very much part of our overall employment package, but maybe we should also be considering what the long-term implications really are.   So, before we all rush out to hand back our office keys to landlords across the country, here are our top 4 things to consider:

  • Empty House Syndrome – working from home during the summer months whilst the sun was shining, birds were tweeting, and kids were happily playing in the garden meant for a very happy WFH’er.   With the children now back at school and Autumn rapidly approaching, will the house offer the same type of companionship that it did in gentler times during 2020? Humans are wired to be part of a tribe.  If your employees are now working from home the majority of the time, make sure you check in with them regularly.  Are they really ok?  Is there the ability for them to come back to the office quickly and when they need to?
  • Costs – whilst fighting Bob for the car park space is a thing of the past so is the cost of the NCP!  However, is working from home really the cheaper option for your employee?  With Winter around the corner will you be allowing them a subsidence for the additional heating that they will no doubt need?  How is their Broadband being proportioned for cost and how are they covered by Insurance?  Another thing to consider is how safe is your data?  With GDPR breaches rife do you know where those highly confidential documents are really being stored?
  • Culture – building a culture within a business has a huge impact on its success.  If your culture is one that you’re proud of how will you continue with this great work?  How will you onboard your newest recruit?  Where are your Friday afternoon drinks taking place or those water cooler moments?  It really is essential that you allow communication across your team on a more personal level in as many ways as possible.  With the latest restrictions on social interaction many employees will be feeling this pain and socialising at work may be the only form of human interaction they are having!  
  • And lastly… Mental Health has been a massive issue over previous years and companies are becoming increasingly better at spotting and supporting people in the workplace when they are at their most vulnerable.  As employers with larger number of people WFH what procedures, policies and ways do you have that can reliably pick up the early trigger points?  Suffolk Mind, a local charity supporting Mental Health, has some excellent advice on their website https://www.suffolkmind.org.uk/covid19blog/

So whilst here at polkadotfrog we know that WFH is here to stay in some way perhaps we’re not quite yet ready to reduce our need to be part of a tribe that we love to work with, chat with and play with.  If you’re looking to hire new tribe members call Emma Cotton of polkadotfrog on 01473 213 136.