The current pandemic has forced employers to rethink the way we work. Employee safety, mental well-being and productivity, as well as alternative working arrangements, must be considered as a top priority for 2021.
1. BUILD AN ADAPTABLE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT
2020 has brought a lot of changes to the way we work and the new year will be a continued demand on our ability to change. One of the most essential questions we should ask ourselves in 2021 is - how can we be in control of change instead of being controlled by change?
Leaders in the organisation need to lead by example and show employees to stay positive during insecure times. Behind every change, provide employees with safe solutions so that they can work from a mindset of present confidence instead of future fear. With the pandemic altering the way we work every other week, change will be the only constant and it will continue to move faster than before. Thus, when an issue arises we need to think of a solution and learn to adapt to it quickly.
In an example, more than 1 out of 5 employees fear for their own safety and health as they return to the office, expressing concerns about the resurgence of COVID-19 infection and their co-workers’ compliance to measures. Aside from putting in-office safety measures to curb this concern, flexible work arrangements should be made and allow employees to continue working from home to reduce the concern over their health and safety in the office. This term is commonly referred to as a hybrid workplace.
2. INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE HYBRID WORKPLACES
It is more sustainable for organisations to plan for a hybrid workplace given the strong desire of employees to continue to work from home (WFH). Across industries, over two-thirds of respondents would prefer to work from home 50% - 75% of the time. With many organisations also introducing rotating shifts, partial occupancy, and work-from-anywhere, this means that employees will neither work 100% remote nor 100% onsite. Organisations need to invest in technology and cloud-based infrastructure that supports employees wherever they are working.
Cloud-based infrastructure has emerged as a must-have since the pandemic to solve top challenges around remote work such as having access to tools and communicating with their peers. Cutting-edge technologies can also convert processes and activities that once traditionally relied on face-to-face interactions such as all-hands meetings, hiring and onboarding, performance management, and orientation. With this, it maintains employee engagement while minimising the need for physical contact. While organisations invest in technology to improve engagement and wellbeing, how to ensure that they also remain productive?
3. ENSURE PRODUCTIVITY WHEREVER ONE IS WORKING
An employee’s ability to stay productive depends on a variety of factors and time plays an important role in this. Over time, employees become more familiar with WFH processes. In April, 42% of respondents said that they need more time to do the same tasks at home. This number dropped steadily over time to reach 29% in June, reflecting good ability to adapt to the new working environment.
Teamwork and infrastructure are also two primary factors when it comes to productivity in remote working. 82% of productive employees rate their teams favorably – 14% higher than non-productive respondents. Similarly, 77% of productive employees are happy with their infrastructure, compared to 55% of their non-productive counterparts. Organisations can support by equipping employees with the necessary training to bridge this. Soft skills training can help employees to communicate better and strengthen bonds with their teams. Finally, digital upskilling can help to maximise company infrastructure more effectively. It is important for organisations to constantly check-in with their employees to understand how they are adapting to the new working arrangements and the skills they need to stay productive and perform in their role wherever they are working.
4. IMPROVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT TO BOOST RESILIENCE
Organisations with engaged employees are 4x times more likely to achieve a high degree of business continuity program success than those who sweep disengagement under the rug. Our recent study also found that engaged employees are 5x times more likely to be “strongly” confident about the organisation’s future and committed to working towards the company’s recovery.
Gaining employee’s trust and confidence cannot happen overnight. However, constant communication, empathy, and care can build this over time. According to our survey, communication has a “high” to “very high” impact on loyalty. Employees value regular updates on dealing with the pandemic such as wellness guidance, WFH best practices, and new policies. Showing care also has a “very high” impact on loyalty. Respondents who feel taken care of by their organisations are likely to be more loyal and engaged, therefore, resilient.
These four areas are the key to succeed and thrive in 2021. Organisations need to prioritise these areas in order to build a team that is ready for the future of work.
Download and read our full research report here on the Resilience of the Singapore Workforce.
Want more like this?
- Watch: Webinar - The Resilience of the Singapore Workforce Through the Crisis of a Generation
- Read: 5 Tips to Ace Leading a Team While Working from Home
- Register for masterclass: Leading Remotely - How to Keep Employees Engaged and Motivated Remotely
- Read: Employee Onboarding - Your Game-changer During a Challenging Period
- Read: How To Demonstrate Empathy Virtually
- Read: How To Strengthen Remote Collaboration In Teams