Supporting Staff - Working from Home or Returning to the Office?

A recent poll by People Management suggested that a fifth of employers are planning on reopening workplaces from September and a third will expect employees to come back into work on a certain number of days per week unless shielding. The shift of emphasis from the government on going back to work if possible has clearly had an impact, but many employers, including some Civil Service departments have said that they are not planning on asking staff to return to work until the end of 2020 at the earliest. And some have said that they are considering making working from home permanent.

So what are the implications?

Whilst many of us have been working from home over the last few months, many employers dealt with it initially as a temporary arrangement. But if this is to last much longer – or indeed be implemented on a permanent basis, thought needs to be put into changing contracts of employment; making sure that employees have the right working environment at home; and that they have the right equipment and insurance and that it is set up correctly from a H&S perspective. To do all this you need to put in place a Working from Home policy to ensure that all aspects such as data security etc. are covered.

Nevertheless, working at home permanently can affect the mental health of those employees, who thrive when they are amongst colleagues. There have been reports of increases in the number of people suffering from depression and of those who have developed problems with excess drinking during this period, so clearly it is important to find out from your staff how they are feeling. If you need more help with doing quick staff surveys, Cherington HR can help with the provision of Pulse surveys. For more information see https://cheringtonhr.com/news/608

Thought therefore needs to go into how frequently staff should meet up and how that should be organised. A weekly Zoom/ Skype/ Teams call may not be sufficient. Managers will also need support as managing remote teams requires a very different set of skills. If your managers need some support to help them improve productivity in their staff, get in touch. See https://cheringtonhr.com/news/609 for more information.
Posted on 26 Aug 2020
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