Businesses report a shift in their workplace culture
For many UK businesses and employees, the government enforced lockdown brought upon their first experience with home or remote working. With many businesses lacking an appropriate contingency plan, the forced remote working came as a shock, with some businesses scrambling to transition to the ‘new’ way of working within a short time period. Despite this, over a third of employees have stated that homeworking has led to an increase in their productivity and almost half of those who were initially ‘forced’ into working from home no longer want to make the return to the workplace, opting for remote working as a permanent option, changing their traditional workplace culture.
It seems that a great number of employers have risen to the challenge, with a large proportion of employees stating that they have seen/felt a positive boost in the workplace culture. You’ve likely heard the last few months referred to as ‘turbulent’ or ‘uncertain’ times and this is with good reason. A lot of employers were required to take on a new set of responsibilities during the lockdown, whether it be creating new avenues for communication, providing essential business updates or finding new ways to work and complete daily tasks.
A recent study/survey found that over half of all employees found that home working had a positive impact on their work-life balance, cutting down commute times and allowing more time to mentally prepare of a morning and decompress of an evening.
For many, workplace culture has improved. Office politics and clashing personalities can make for an uncomfortable workplace. The same study showed that one third of employees feel that unnecessary comments or passive aggressive behaviour has reduced along with bullying and workplace conflicts, with many interactions and meetings now being reserved for team catch-ups, updates and check ins, yielding more positivity and cutting down on opportunity for personal clashes and gripes.
Naturally, transitioning from office based to homeworking creates questions about honesty and trust. In the workplace it is easy to see who is being productive, who is wasting time and who is slacking and indulging in too much office gossip. That being said, workplace management can often lead to micromanagement, with overzealous managers creating additional stress or pressure for workers. Homeworking requires trust and confidence, with many employees feeling a boost in positivity, motivation and control in knowing that they are trusted with managing their workload and don’t feel the pressure that comes with an ever-present watching eye. Whilst there may be those that abuse this system, both employees and employers will have benefited from this new culture of trust and ownership which in turn has made employees feel more confident and comfortable to raise any concerns they have over their workload, tasks or even their mental wellbeing. Also, almost 50% of employees surveyed state that their manager/employer has been more invested in asking about their wellbeing and mental health since homeworking was imposed upon them.
Of course, there have also been some employees who have not taken so well to the introduction of homeworking, some of the negative effects being:
- Isolation – Whilst many employers make efforts to increase communication through the likes of ZOOM or Microsoft Teams, it’s hard to replicate the workplace environment that some workers find vital to their motivation and wellbeing.
- Self-doubt – Without the support and encouragement, a team or manager can offer it’s easy for an employee to doubt their abilities and feel like an imposter within in their role. Many rely on validation from others and a lack of face-to-face or regular communication can lead to this dropping off or being reduced.
- Lack of development – Working from home and losing some connection to the business can prevent an employee from seeing opportunities for growth.
- A lack of structure – A breakdown in communication, whether it be a lack of team meetings/huddles can dissolve the structure that an employee may rely on for motivation, accountability and support, leading to them feeling lost with their role and overwhelmed by the list of tasks they have to complete.
Now that businesses are returning to work, employers are faced with the task of finding a new working culture that best suits all employees, with employees having worked from home for an extended period, immediately switching back to office based working could be rather jarring and difficult for some. It’s important to cherry pick the positives that homeworking offered and incorporate them into your working culture from this point onwards.
If you have any further questions or queries with regards to the content above, or if you would like support in managing your transition back into the workplace, please don’t hesitate to contact the oneHR team today.
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