For employees, Covid-19 and the effects of lockdowns has not been easy to swallow. Many employees could no longer perform their duties, or worse, their contracts were terminated because of depleted revenues and the instability of the economy. Their day jobs became a thing of the past as the virus took over.
To investigate this deeper, we asked employees exactly how they have been coping in 2020 in relation to their job, and it has been quite a rough ride. At the time of our report (May-July 2020):
21% were unemployed
17% were on furlough
46% were working remotely
39% are looking for jobs immediately
21% will be looking for new jobs when we get back to normality
84% agree or strongly agree that the economy will be badly hit for 18 months or more.
These statistics are enough to make anyone feel uncertain about their job and the sustainability of the workplace. The harsh reality was that some employers were pushed to lose their employees, who many would argue is the most valuable asset to a business. Therefore, a greater responsibility lies with employers to engage and retain their staff by offering a ‘new normal’ for a post-Covid workplace.
So, what might this new normal look like? A look at employee insecurities and values could help.
40% of employees strongly agreed they wanted to continue to work from home
20% are strongly worried about travelling
80% said they agree or strongly agree they are interested in looking after their health
83% said they agree or strongly agree they would like to spend more time with their family
23% found working from home difficult
46% were unable to say whether it was easy or difficult to work from home.
With half of the year being encouraged to stay at home, avoiding other people and continuously being told to wash our hands, wear masks and adopt hygienic measures, health concerns are pretty valued by all. In the past, health benefits were provided by some employers as an additional benefit. Of course, a healthy workforce minimises sick days, delays and a weaker business, so providing unbeatable health services might just be worth looking into.
Moreover, a lack of travel, especially around the capital, has opened eyes in a commuter heavy location. Thousands have only been travelling unless it is unavoidable, snowballing a negative emotion around using transport. This has major effects on how employees feel now travelling to work, and it is only natural for them to want to safeguard their health by reducing travel to work. This is backed up by the increased values to spend more time with their family too. Remote working and flexible working patterns are put into a positive light once again, proving higher capabilities and benefits than ever before.
Last but not least, working from home has been an obvious necessity in many ways, but how this unfolds, and how employers ensure their people are still engaged and happy in their role takes new levels of difficulty. In the Post-Covid report, analysis shows work/life balance, lack of equipment and emotional stress as some of the biggest barriers. Employers must play to their strengths to create a comfortable, reassuring environment if they want to keep hold of their best performers. Increasing wellbeing, mentoring and IT support are just the beginning for this.
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