Since last week’s article, we all will have heard the amazing news that the first Covid-19 vaccine has been administered today and as such it would seem that the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, is appearing a little brighter. This incredible achievement will see organisations of all sizes and across all sectors start to breathe a sigh of relief as they look to establish plans for 2021 and beyond.
Restructuring due to WFH requirements
For many organisations, these plans won’t look the same as they did 12months ago. It is increasingly accepted that the workplace and structure is likely to have changed forever, with a degree of flexible or permanent working from home (WFH) for many employees becoming the norm. Organisations that had previously avoided allowing employees to WFH, have discovered that their preconceptions on the subject were inaccurate and in fact for many, enabling employees to WFH has in the short term, led to increased productivity, as commute time has become work time, technology has enabled wider collaboration than expected and improved flexibility in the working day has delivered greater motivation and wellbeing.
Whilst this shift may not be a preference for all organisations or indeed individuals, for many it will represent an opportunity to identify significant financial benefits, not least through the reconfiguration of its physical office space. With property Rent, Rates and Service costs being some of the largest overheads an organisation has, the chance to downsize or at the very least not expand, is an opportunity not to be overlooked.
On the surface, this all sounds fantastic. Reduce the workspace, get employees to WFH on a permanent or flexible basis and save money. If only it were that easy. In the medium and long term, failing to take into consideration the total needs of employees will ultimately have an impact on the organisation that is far greater than any savings made. There is only so long that someone can work at the breakfast bar, with a laptop, surrounded by distractions and in isolation from colleagues, before disillusionment, frustration and poor physical and mental health sets in, thereby damaging productivity, creativity and relationships.
Can WFH solutions improve the bottom line?
Investing time, resource and some of the savings achieved through the above measures however can reap significant rewards for both employer and employee. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that employees have a WFH environment that supports their physical and mental health and wellbeing and by doing so, the medium to long-term bottom line benefits can be significant.
The WFH environment covers a range of key Services and Products that fall within 4 main areas of operation:
Ensuring the designated area within the home is set up to include the most appropriate Office Furniture, Lighting, IT Equipment, Office Supplies and Accessories
Implementing the most relevant IT Systems and Services, Communication, Utility and even Virtual Assistant services
Creating a work conducive vibe by introducing appropriate ergonomic Furniture, Décor, Plants and even Gym Equipment.
- Support/Advice Ensuring the most up to date and relevant application of Human Resources, Health & Safety principles are employed as well as on Insurance and Finance
Clearly a fundamental requirement of such investment in employees, is the need for them to either be self managed or centrally managed and monitored in relation to their productivity and creativity levels, as opposed to ‘how many hours’ they are in the office. The technical ability to implement such elements has developed significantly over recent years but at a pace during 2020.
If the WFH option is going to be part of the employer’s structure moving forward, a holistic approach is required to ensure the many benefits can be realised – including bottom line improvements.
The WFH Zone is the UK’s first online portal designed to assist organisations in the process of setting employees up to work from home in the most cost effective and ethical way. Our service provides a filter and search facility that helps employers and employees find quality suppliers of a range of Services and Products specifically associated with a work from home zone.
98% of employees want to continue to WFH after the pandemic is over... with more than ½ of companies NOT having a remote working policy in place (World Economic Forum Dec 2020)