Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much discussion surrounding the advantages of remote working. However, according to a recent survey conducted by Kaspersky, a third of participants expressed dissatisfaction with this approach. Reasons for this may include a lack of a suitable workspace, difficulty in prioritizing tasks and the potential for disruption from family members.
As 2023 approaches, employers are trying to devise strategies to ensure continued remote working opportunities. As we move out of the pandemic, it is essential that we listen to employees who do not wish to work from home, as well as looking for ways to enhance the work from home experience. It is also important to consider how working from the office may be different in the future.
The coronavirus pandemic has added an extra layer of complexity to the issue of remote working, however, it has also presented an opportunity for businesses to better accommodate the varying needs of their staff. In this article, we discuss potential solutions for businesses that wish to ensure their employees’ requirements are met.
Acknowledge the Diverse Nature of Human Requirements
The reported sense of work-life balance by those working from home (WFH) is a major driver of the trend’s ongoing popularity. It has been suggested that this has led to improved physical and mental health due to the reduction of travel time, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with family, friends and pets. Many people find that this alternative to a conventional workplace is more desirable.
For many, the prolonged period of remote working has become a difficult challenge for various reasons. Isolation can have a detrimental effect on both physical and mental health, particularly for individuals who may already be suffering from depression. Conversely, some may struggle to work from home due to a lack of resources, space or the presence of distractions. For others, the lack of social interaction may make it difficult to remain productive.
It is important for businesses to understand the varied perspectives of employees on working from home, and to consider the potential for telecommuting to meet their individual needs.
It is essential to take into consideration the views of team members who express their discontentment with remote working. It is advisable to engage in conversations with such employees to identify possible solutions to any objections they may have towards the transition to a fully home-based work environment. By doing so, it may be possible to find a suitable alternative that works for everyone.
We need upgraded tools.Those who are not able to afford the appropriate equipment to create a workstation suitable for ergonomic use may suffer physical distress due to prolonged sitting in an unsuitable position. Providing, or contributing towards, the necessary tools may be beneficial.
Donate money toward my relocation costs.It may be challenging for certain employees to work remotely, as they may lack the suitable space to do so. This issue could be resolved if their employer contributes to their coworking costs.
Health care for the mind.Some people may struggle with working alone at home. If mental health concerns are a concern, comprehensive insurance coverage may assist.
Meetings and parties in the workplace.Those who dislike remote work may benefit from more frequent contact with their colleagues. Consider scheduling enjoyable activities during the afternoon or evening, or arrange meetings at the workplace with time for socialising afterwards.
Take a Mixed Methods Strategy
It may be challenging to imagine what a middle-ground strategy between the pre-pandemic ‘all-in-the-office’ approach and current entirely remote teams could look like. However, a hybrid strategy could potentially offer the best of both worlds, offering numerous opportunities.
- A smaller, centralised workplace where employees may set their own work schedules (or “shifts”) and do most of their work from home.
- Methods that emphasize working from home, with in-office meetings and customer visits being the exception, rather than the rule
- With the option to work remotely at any moment, this strategy emphasizes in-office work.
A mixed-methods approach could be the most suitable option, allowing for the development of a range of suitable models to meet a variety of needs. Team members can work from wherever they feel most productive, be it the office, home or elsewhere.
Acknowledge the Signs of Separation
It is acceptable to fully transition to a Work From Home (WFH) model if the business requires it. Workplace policies often require regular updating, and not all employees will be positively impacted by each change. If certain staff members struggle to adapt to the new system, a plan must be in place to help them succeed.
If an employee is of significant value to the organization, they may be allowed to remain in their role for as long as necessary, whilst utilizing the company’s resources to seek alternative employment. Should the individual reconsider their decision to leave, a letter of recommendation will be provided as well as an open invitation to return.
Towards a New Norm
Following the pandemic, we had to make permanent changes to our production processes. Remote working on a large scale is not only feasible, but in some cases preferable, especially for those who had to make significant accommodations to work in an office. Nevertheless, not everyone agrees with this viewpoint. Not everyone requires a quiet area to be productive, while others simply prefer to be in the company of others.
Fortunately, businesses can be creative in their approach to workforce management. Many have found that a combination of strategies, providing employees with a range of options for completing their tasks, yields the best results.