You’ve had the conversations and read the research. Everyone who has been working from home during COVID-19, is going to want to do so continuously, right? Well, this might not be completely true and it may not be the right thing for all businesses either.
Whilst clearly the benefits of working from home have enabled some to continue to work and businesses to remain “open” over the last few months, with examples of increased flexibility, greater autonomy, and making better use of technology, is it something that could be done more permanently?
We think it is something that should definitely be determined on a case-by-case basis – businesses will have differing needs and wants and there won’t a be one size fits all solution that works for everyone.
Working from home may work for some people, but it may not work for others and business leaders need to be careful that they don’t make decisions without thinking of the potential unintended consequences on engagement. Chatting to someone the other day, they said that whilst they have appreciated the flexibility of remote working, nothing substituted being able to speak face to face with their colleagues. To talk about what they had on that day, to work through an issue they were trying to tackle or just chat about what happened over the weekend. Actually, getting out of the house and connecting with colleagues may also help your team to manage whatever else may be going on in their personal lives too.
Research tells us that strengthening relationships, feeling close to, and valued by others at work, is critical to boosting wellbeing. As an added bonus, workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive, leading to increases in productivity of up to 12%. Whilst we can feel connected when we speak and see others by Teams, Zoom, or FaceTime while at home, it’s not the same as those water-cooler moments, the informal but productive chats whilst you’re grabbing a coffee. Also, let’s not forget how good it is when you can just “go and chat” to a colleague about a project in person.
Engagement needs to be based on a foundation of trust and collaboration, with employees able to be themselves and show respect for each other in everything they do. But it’s also about having good relationships with colleagues, talking, listening, being heard and feeling a sense of belonging which may be difficult to fully achieve remotely.
At Be Business Fit, we have created a unique framework designed to facilitate these conversations and get you thinking about the future of work, from strategy and culture, through to inspiring leadership and engagement. What is right for one business may not be for another and our framework is designed to be flexible and tailored to your needs.