How is your workforce adapting to remote working? John Cox, Alliant Vice President, shares some essential tools to ensure your employees are ready to perform at their optimal levels.
As Charles Darwin once said, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor
the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Earlier this year, many companies had to put that quote to action when the COVID-19 outbreak hit. It was no longer safe to be in the office, and it seemed like implementing “remote working” was the only option that would allow for the continuity of many businesses. Zoom, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Slack replaced face-to-face meetings, physical documents, filing systems, and day-to-day chatter with colleagues. Some companies had similar systems already in place, and hence, the transition was not as drastic. But for others, it was a whole other way of doing things that they had never previously explored. To them, it was a monumental shift, and of course, like many shifts, it was almost impossible to avoid the myriad of problems and obstacles that could come along with them.
But what problems did employees face?
I mean, remote working does sound great, right? More time with the family, less time spent in traffic, and, of course, no distracting conversations in the office.
But apparently, it does not work for everyone.
The lack of social interactions and not having a standardized workplace setting has caused productivity and overall morale to dwindle. Moreover, the lack of boundaries between personal life and work-life has had a significant toll on many people.
Now fast forward a few months later, and suddenly working on your couch all day does not sound as enticing. It quickly became apparent that some adjustments had to be implemented for remote working to be an effective long-term strategy.
Corporations can do several things to help alleviate some of the issues usually associated with remote working.
We have compiled our favourite categories below:
1. Co-working space
Some people rely on the workplace to put them in the “zone” because sometimes their home environment is not adequate for working, or there are many distractions to keep them from performing at optimal levels. That is why providing employees with reimbursement for a co-working space could go a long way to improve productivity.
2. Company trips
Remote working could lead to isolation and can make employees feel a bit “distanced.” This distance could be quite problematic, especially when onboarding new employees who have had no previous bonding experiences with their co-workers. That is why organizing some trips, or even small outings will help create a sense of belonging that will increase your employees’ loyalty to the firm and improve their mental wellbeing.
3. Home-delivery subscription services
As a result of the pandemic-induced changes in our lifestyles, we have seen several start-ups rise in the space of home-delivery subscription services. So why not subscribe to a dog toy startup that would send a new toy every month to all your remote workers who own pets? Maybe home care services? Or a food delivery subscription or even a coffee-of-the-month subscription? Do not underestimate how small gestures like these can affect your employees’ morale and overall retention rate.
4. Wellbeing tools and services
In general, the biggest concerns associated with remote working are the number of physical and mental health issues that could arise. Instead of physically going to work, walking around all day, and interacting with people, you can now do everything from just your bedroom; this could have dire health repercussions over time. That is why it is of critical importance that employers consider increasing the money they spend on health and wellbeing programs for their employees. Companies should start by looking at their employee healthcare data because many might already be struggling with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and musculoskeletal issues. The new unhealthy habits of remote working may further exacerbate matters, leading to higher health claim costs and lower productivity.
That is why the following are must-haves for your corporate employee benefits plan:
- Resilience and mindset training
- Direct primary care
- Digital therapeutics to treat chronic diseases and musculoskeletal issues
- Nutrition programs + coaching
- Incentives to get their preventive diagnostics completed
Ultimately, remote working was already on the rise. However, the pandemic outbreak has expedited its adoption across all industries. That is why employers should “adapt” as needed using the tools above to ensure that their employees are ready to perform at optimal levels in this “new norm.”