12 May 20

Smart Mobility Workshop: how to address Employee Wellbeing in the New Normal

The rise of homeworking may be one of the most lasting legacies of the COVID-19 crisis. A BDO survey indicates most professionals want to maintain some degree of homeworking after the crisis. Not a bad idea, because it increases both employee well-being and productivity. But how best to organise this? Check out this upcoming workshop by the Smart Mobility Institute.

Technology hasn’t changed, attitudes have. Before the pandemic, we had the same technological tools that enabled us to videocall and homework. But both employers and employees were generally unfamiliar with the concept, and thus reluctant to give it a go. The coronavirus forced our hand, and working remotely is the ‘new normal’, for now.

Better policies
As it turns out, we like it. Audit and consultancy specialist BDO Belgium conducted a survey with more than 1,500 employees and managers. Once the situation normalises, nine out of ten would like to continue homeworking 1 to 3 days a week. However, half of the respondents also pointed out that their companies needed better policies regarding homeworking.

“With the benefit of hindsight, it’s remarkable we didn’t introduce digital meetings sooner,” says Mario Santi, Management Consultant in Strategy & Transformation at BDO Belgium. “For decades, we’ve been asking employees to come into work from 9 to 5, forcing them into traffic jams and into meetings where their input is minimal. That’s not efficient.”

Working from home has always been an alternative option, but a largely unexplored one. COVID-19 has mainstreamed it. And it has created a ‘new normal’ in which it has become much easier to balance attention to employee health, safety and well-being with the tasks and targets of corporate life.

Unexpected shift
It is now up to the companies and their HR divisions to integrate this unexpected shift towards homeworking and teleworking into their corporate policies. If done well, it will benefit both employers and employees. The employee will feel empowered and appreciated. This will translate into higher well-being – i.e. less burnouts – and more productivity. “Some research indicates homeworking two days a week can increase employee productivity by up to €2000 a month,” says Mr Santy.

An attractive homeworking policy will also be an important tool in the war for talent. New employees will appreciate the flexibility offered by homeworking, and it is likely to become an important consideration when deciding to take a job.

So, how does your company make a success of homeworking? Here are four elements to consider:

  1. Trust your employees: 
    Homeworking means giving more autonomy to your employees. This requires trust – and a change in leadership style: from task-based to project-based management. And even if you can’t physically check up on your employees, other means of control and evaluation are available.
  2. Set clear priorities: 
    Remote working requires a clear agreement between employers and employees about what needs to be done, and to which deadline. It’s up to employees to prioritise their own workload, but they need to know they can reach out to management when issues arise that require assistance.
  3. Communicate transparently:
    Clear and transparent communication is essential – but that’s easier said than done. Employees and managers need protocols for the various means of communication: when and why to use emails, phone or video calls, etc. Also, communication involving the entire team is essential, to maintain corporate culture and streamlined communication.
  4. Get efficient tools: 
    Efficient homeworking is only possible if employees have the right tools to do so. One thing is procuring those tools, another is offering the right guidance in setting them up and using them.

Is there an ideal ‘amount’ of homeworking? Mr Santy suggests two to two-and-a-half days could produce the best results; but the right balance of course depends on the type of work and the profile of each particular employee. What’s important, is finding the optimal balance for each specific case.

Employee Focus Workshop

If you’re looking for that sweet spot, and for the right corporate framework to make homeworking work for your company, register now for the Employee Focus Workshop.

A virtual session offered by Fleet Europe’s Smart Mobility Institute, it’s designed to support professionals from the Fleet, HR and Facilities communities to address homeworking and other new employee requirements.

Supported by CMaaS, the online workshop will take place on Friday 15 May and again on Wednesday 20 May. The workshop is aimed exclusively at corporate buyers.
To register, click here


Picture copyright: Shutterstock. 

Authored by: Steven Schoefs