In my very humble opinion, it is all about trust and choice, both for the employer and employee, something that works and is comfortable for both parties. In my companies, I have always had a very open approach to working from home, flexible working, treating people culturally with respect and trust in order that they treat my products, our vision, and values in the same way, well before (like 25 years) before the pandemic or before working from home was trendy. I believe it at the heart of good culture we care for the people that work with us and their health and mental wellness is part of our responsibility but also theirs. Working happily creates more value.
Happiness at work is linked to how we are thinking, feel behave, and put effort into it, linked to mental health and combined with multiple variable factors of how people have their home life set up, stage age, place, some characters cannot cope with working in isolation. For me, it is all about what is relevant at the time and simple trust. I honestly believe that if you have a team that shares in your passion and what you are trying to achieve in your company, you can work around any issue. For instance, if a staff member suddenly had a family issue that meant they had to be at home, then they were fully trusted either to work once they got home or to make the time up later, more often than not, I also gained more hours, such was the level of positive input from my people.
WE always have a family-first attitude, I cannot count how many times this pays dividends.
Offer flexibility where possible, really it costs little and gains huge amounts – including the unforeseen value of staff retention, staff promotion, individuals being proud of their workplace, their product, and going the extra miles in the services we offer. If your staff can, and want or need to work from home, they have an option, if your workplace is open and operating, they have this alternative. Let them choose, within reason and subject to conditions, ie current government guidelines and that of the precedence you set. Individuals will manage differently in their approaches to working from home.
Remember the old cliché, communication is key.
Consider those that live on their own and the workplace may be the only other contact they have with people. There may be others that find time out of the working environment, without all its distractions, makes them more productive. Horses for courses. The question for me is, have your workers had previous experience of working from home? If not, the ensuing new regime may be a total culture shock, that could, at worst, and as we have heard a lot of recently in the news, cause an awful lot of feelings of isolation, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues, in varying degrees.
As an employer of teams that work from home, I feel it is my duty to anticipate problems and guard against these potential impacts upon the people that are also taking care of your business. There is an adjustment period through which your whole team should be caring for the individual struggling in small ways, (send a note and of course one of our Scentered de-stress candles ), in bigger ways, send the right chair!
Strategies are easily implemented to care for the wellbeing of your team. The answer to me is simple.
What support is offered?
What do you do to care remotely for your staff?
Do you take the time to call to check-in ( or a direct line manager at least)?
Drop-in a “hang in there” handwritten message, pop in if possible, arrange team meetings online, or as many are doing, arrange a corporate health and wellbeing package for your workforce. This may include, access to online apps and self-help services, perhaps an in house HR consultant that is trained in mental health. Alternatively a subscription or membership to a wellbeing brand for reading and community support. A gift, not always a monetary or cash consideration, in my experience, also works wonders and lifts the spirits. Offer an unexpected day off, flowers, a book voucher, a rose on Valentine’s Day, small gestures will show appreciation and understanding.
All of this could have a major impact and may just be the boost in morale required to ensure a content workforce and sustained productivity in difficult times.
Whatever you choose to do, do the right thing, and always look after your people with authentic and heartfelt care.