Fostering a vibrant company culture is more important than ever but working from home poses many challenges to this. Here, curatd investigates the main difficulties and how HR departments can step in to help.
When ringing in the beginning of 2020 back in January, almost no one could have predicted how unique the year would end up becoming or how different their working life would look within weeks.
Now, almost half of the UK workforce is working from home and though the benefits (no commute, more money to save, more convenience) are significant, the drawbacks of a remote working set up are as well.
Difficulties for employees
The digital platform Skillcast found that 45% of workers struggled to stay motivated, whilst a third reported technical issues and an inability to ‘switch off’ at the end of the working day as some of the biggest pitfalls. Perhaps the greatest challenge reported of all, though, is the feeling of loneliness that many workers are facing. According to the survey, 36% of participants find working from home lonely, with 44% millennials specifically agreeing.
Difficulties for employers
This year has brought with it a new working culture - one in which the lines between work and life are becoming more blurred and that all-important balance more difficult to discern, and it is this grey area that many company leadership teams are currently navigating. For many, fostering team camaraderie whilst ensuring employees are still delivering - all whilst dealing with financial strain and ever-changing guidelines from the government - can be source of great stress and pressure.
HR is there to help
Given the current circumstances, the role of the Human Resources department has become increasingly important. Aside from handling matters such as payroll and recruitment, they also act as an intermediary between employees and employers and are responsible for managing policy to ensure the wellbeing of all staff - including finding ways to make this working from home transition easier.
Fredrika Juhlin (Freddi), The Furniture Practice (TFP) and curatd.’s HR Manager, has implemented a number of strategies to ensure the connection between the company and its staff remains strong, many of which can be implemented in other companies.
First of all, actually listening to the concerns or challenges faced by staff will enable the company to tailor its policies to best suit everyone. “We started by conducting a home working survey relating to mental and physical health as well as the home working set up - this allowed us to provide the support and equipment that was needed. Wellbeing surveys to assess staff wellbeing and provide opportunities to talk are now a regular implementation.”
Keep up real-life connection where safe and possible
As restrictions continue, Freddi felt it was prudent to keep up some form of real-life contact where possible. In order to do this, TFP implemented an open office but with reduced capacity - “with staff on rotation to maintain social distancing.” Outside working hours, launching safe and socially distanced get-togethers such as run clubs and book clubs have helped the company maintain its connection. “Our company culture is hugely important to us and these steps have helped us keep alive the passion and dedication that sets TFP apart.”
Enhance digital connection
For some companies, real-life meetings might not be possible, especially as restrictions evolve. Though like TFP and curatd, many companies may have already been set up with cloud-based technology and Zoom, there are several other ways that Freddi feels HR departments can ensure their staff still feel seen and valued, even when working from home.
“We encourage staff to talk about personal aspects of their lives in lockdown that they feel comfortable to share through coffee catch ups. Training is provided for furloughed staff to ensure they still feel connected, and access to online fitness classes through company gym memberships such as ClassPass and Virgin Active are a great way to encourage people away from their desks and into shared movement.”
Remind them they’re not alone
“Perhaps one of the best things a company can do is introduce a buddy system,” says Fredrika. This is where two or more staff members act as each others’ “buddy” by staying in regular contact, providing support and perspective and therefore ensuring no one becomes isolated or overwhelmed.
Though working from home can feel like a mixed bag of pros and cons, following such conscientious steps can ensure no-one feels like they’re working alone.
To discuss a curatd. WFH solution for you and your team, get in touch with us.