WFH isn’t working for everybody. Here’s how employers can help

Working from home

Working from home is a staple of our ‘new normal’ lives, but what this actually looks like varies wildly for different people. There’s a difference between working from a three-bed house with a garden versus from the kitchen table of a small share house.

While working from home is an important way to prevent the spread of the virus, it’s also important that we acknowledge that it doesn’t offer the same sort of relief to everyone — especially if you’re an employer figuring out how to best support your team as they settle into remote working.

But the good news is that there are ways for employers to make their staff’s day-to-day more manageable.

The human touch

Feeling some sort of connection with other people around us is essential for our sense of motivation and self-worth. When we are working from home, it can be difficult to feel that same sense of connection to our team: as well as in-person feedback and guidance, we miss out on casual conversations and other interactions that forge relationships and a sense of belonging. For those early in their careers, these conversations are also an important way to learn and develop their skills.

Many companies have tried to remedy this by using video conferencing tools such as Zoom, however when overused, this can actually feel more tiring and draining than having no team contact at all. But a happy medium exists between no and too-much contact, and it’s up to each manager to work with their staff and figure out what that looks like.

Be flexible

One group of people who have been especially tested during this time are parents of young children, who have now had to take up full-time caring roles alongside the responsibilities of a full-time job. And in many cases, employers have not stepped up to support them: a YouGov poll reports that approximately 2.6 million parents feel that they have been treated less fairly at work due to their childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.

Flexible working would help to alleviate some of the pressures on working parents, however nearly four out of five parents who weren’t working flexibly prior to the pandemic said that the reason was because their manager had said that it wasn’t possible.

Consider the workload of each staff member: is there a way they can still achieve what is required of them while changing where, when, and at what times they are working? What degree of understanding and compromise you can offer as an employer?

Space to think

The physical space we are working from has a significant impact on our creativity, productivity, and motivation. In some instances, employers may be able to support by kitting out their team with home office equipment, including a desk and an appropriate office chair.

This might not be possible in all homes, for example, for those sharing a living space with multiple others or living in a small flat with no room for any additional furniture. Creating a safe and welcoming workspace for people in situations like these was part of the rationale behind Kindred’s new Group membership, which allows small teams of at least three people access to our Grade II listed members’ space.

We understand that, for some people, working from home feels more like living at work, and while it is safe for us to be open, we want to show up for our community as best we can.

Above all, remember that the pandemic is a health crisis that is affecting everyone differently. Be compassionate towards your team and consider their unique experiences of isolation: perhaps they are missing their family or friends, or perhaps their mental health is being affected in ways you aren’t aware of.
Kindred are taking the pandemic extremely seriously and have put a number of measures in place to ensure that our guests and staff are safe. Learn more

Monica Karpinski

Monica Karpinski

Monica Karpinski works with Kindred on digital and content strategy, including brand storytelling.

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