COVID-19: Remote working - things to consider

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Health Assured team

20 March 2020

The Office of National Statistics believes that 50% of UK employees will be working remotely by next year.

 

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, organisations worldwide are turning towards enforcing remote working to help protect the wellbeing of their employees and the functionality of the business itself.

 

While it is wise to take these measures to protect your staff, there are a few things to consider before rolling out remote working throughout your organisation. This is especially true if this is the first time your company has implemented ‘working from home’ processes.

 

Benefits of remote working

While the reason you may be considering remote working is due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus, it’s important to know that there are many benefits to remote working for both your people and your organisation.

 

Remote workers are often more productive, more engaged (with lower levels of absenteeism) and more loyal—in fact, 54% of quizzed workers say they would change jobs for one which offered more flexibility.

 

According to Populus, you’ll also be improving your employees’ mental health by ending their commuting woes, with 55% of UK commuters reporting increased stress levels due to their commute.

 

Things to consider

While there are many benefits that remote working can bring to your organisation, the sudden change to your employees’ routine, combined with the growing concern of COVID-19, can be the catalyst for mental health concerns in your team members, if not managed carefully.

 

Here, are a couple of factors to consider when implementing remote working within your organisation and some solutions to consider:

 

Isolation: Being away from their normal work environment will result in your team members not having access to their regular support network. This can make your team members feel isolated, as they have no one to turn to if they have an issue.

 

Combat this by regularly and informally checking in on your remote workers via phone, web chat or video call. Ask them how they are coping with their workload or if they are experiencing any issues with working from home.

 

It‘s important to note that these check-in’s should be made to assess the wellbeing of your team members and to offer any support that you can offer. Don’t use them as an opportunity to chase work or add unnecessary pressure.

 

Set limits: A common issue that remote workers find is that they struggle to separate work and home life and as a result, work longer hours and risk becoming burnt out.

 

Studies have shown that remote workers are online more and work longer hours than on-site staff. This could be because they don’t want to give the impression they are avoiding their responsibilities.

 

Avoid this from affecting your employees by making it clear that you don’t expect them to work longer than they would in the workplace and that they should stick to their normal work schedule.

 

During these turbulent times, it’s vital for you to be fulfilling your duty of care towards your employees and ensure that they feel supported. Introducing remote working is a great way to protect the wellbeing of your workforce as well as maintaining a consistent output for your organisation, as long as it’s managed with compassion and careful consideration.

 

 

Please know that our confidential helpline is available 24/7 to all our clients and their employees during these times of uncertainty.

 

For more information, click here to read our COVID-19 Statement.

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