What are the biggest changes employers have made?
The coronavirus crisis has seen many organisations change how and where they work...
COVID-19 has radically altered the world of work. In response to the pandemic, many employers changed traditional ways of working. This included creating remote and flexible working schedules, investing into home-office set-ups and extra paid days off to address mental wellbeing. It is likely that further change is on the cards, too.
Earlier this year, Barclays’ boss, Jes Staley, said that having thousands of bank workers in big, expensive city offices “may be a thing of the past”. According to the BBC, Staley explained that circa 70,000 of the banking giant’s workforce were working from home due to the pandemic and this had caused them to re-think the firm’s ‘long-term location strategy’.
Many other companies, whether large or small, have followed suit, taking time to reassess their current working practices to see where they can cut costs and improve employee experience and productivity levels. To showcase some of these, HR Grapevine has charted some of the biggest workplace changes that employers have made during this time. Read on to find out more.
What do the stats say?
91% of the UK workforce wants to work from home after the pandemic ends – Eskenzi PR and OnePoll
Burnout doubled from March (2.7%) to April (5.4%) in 2020 – LinkedIn’s Glint
UK workers are 15% more productive when working from home – Leesman
Remote working arrangements
Earlier this year, social media giant Twitter told staff that they could work from home ‘forever’ if they wanted to. According to the BBC, the decision came after the firm revealed that its homeworking measures had been a success.
“The past few months have proven we can make that work. So, if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” a statement from Twitter read.
Several organisations including Mastercard, RBS and Salesforce have followed suit, allowing employees to work from home more permanently – or, at least until early next year. With research from Eskenzi PR and OnePoll showing an increased appetite for homeworking among UK employees, it is possible that HR teams will have to adapt their strategies and tailor them to remote workforces. The COVID-19 Remote Working Survey found that 91% of the general working population wants to continue working from home, while just nine per cent would want to work in the office full-time.
Financial reimbursements for home-office set-ups
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw many organisations move to remote working arrangements virtually overnight, one employer revealed that it would reimburse employees at the firm up to £814 ($1,000) to pay for equipment needed to help them work from home.
According to CNBC, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote to employees in May to let them know about the reimbursement. With research from the smart meter energy provider Utilita revealing that Brits spend more than £65million collectively each month on energy while working from home – as well as other costs due to boiling the kettle and microwaving lunches – financial support from employers towards home-office set-ups is likely to be a welcome addition.
Google isn’t the only company to be forking out large sums of money to facilitate more comfortable homeworking. The e-commerce giant Shopify also announced that it would give newly remote staff an £814 ($1,000) stipend to buy office supplies and help ease the transition of remote working amid the pandemic, according to CNBC. Not only will this ensure that staff members have the right equipment to work productively, it will help them maintain a good mental and physical wellbeing too.
‘You Days’ to tackle COVID-related stress
Some employees who were forced into remote working may have found it difficult to separate their personal and professional lives. Research from LinkedIn’s Glint has highlighted the extent of the problem, showing that burnout doubled from March (2.7%) to April (5.4%) in 2020.
One firm that recognised potential burnout as a problem, and came up with a strategy to combat it, is Indeed. The job site has given 10,000 staff members an additional six days of paid annual leave. Following positive feedback from a ‘You Day’ – which was hosted back in May – the firm has rewarded staff with an extra paid day of annual leave for each month worked until November 2020
“At Indeed, we felt it was important that our employees could take a moment to focus on their personal lives. While our benefits exist to attract, engage and retain talent, they also play an important role in allowing us to rest and recharge,” explained Helen Durkin, Employer Brand Programme Manager at Indeed.