Back to the office or not?

Despite employees’ desire to continue with remote working arrangements or at least part-time, studies have proven the hard truth is that it can’t be the reality forever.

17 February 2021 | Business

Remote working arrangements may seriously impact morale and productivity as loneliness sets in.

Petrus Haimbodi - The future of the workplace remains uncertain, with business leaders still facing unique hurdles, including whether to return the workforce back to the office or continue with remote working arrangements.

To help set the course, recent PwC reports focused on key takeaways for companies to assist with refining recovery strategies and transition plans.

Human resources (HR) professionals need to continue navigating remote work situations, prepare for a return to work in the near future and plan for the days when everyone is back in the office or on-site.

The trend found from surveys is that employees will only work from home one to three days a week and work the remainder in the office.

Stanford economist and researcher, Nicholas Bloom, argues people need to be in the workplace at least some of the time.

The Stanford study showed only half of employees working from home are at least 80% efficient compared to on-site work.

Many leaders found employees were originally more productive at home. But as time has worn on, employees were significantly less productive on Mondays and Fridays.

Tip: Managers should meet weekly with employees and assist with setting goals and strategies how to stay on course for the week.

CHALLENGES

The study should that more than one-third of employees don’t have the internet capacity to handle video calls. The majority doesn’t have the level of technology or network speed they have on-site.

Tips: Employers should do what they can to help employees get the internet capability they need or consider a lower-tech solution. Meetings should be scheduled very early or late in the day when internet usage is lower.

The majority of employees struggle with appropriate workspace in their homes, making the environment less conducive to be productive and comfortable.

Tips: Send employees regular tips on ergonomics and best practices for working from home. Consider a survey of employees to determine if you can assist with home-office setup.

ISOLATION, ANXIETY

Many employees aren’t just isolated from the office. We need to be aware that employees may not see or interact with family and/or friends, specifically those who live alone. Remote working arrangements may seriously impact morale and productivity as loneliness sets in.

Tip: Some interesting ideas include Zoom happy hours. This can’t completely replace real-time, in-person interaction, but attempt to create opportunities for employees who face similar circumstances to connect, share stories and best practices to create a remote working community in the organisation.

The longer employees stay out of the workplace, the longer they feel trapped in unpredictable circumstances.

They don’t know how long and to what degree remote working arrangements, whether in full or partly, will infringe on their personal lives and lifestyles. Change is good, but constant change with no expectation of stabilisation tends to cause uncertainty and with that come anxiety.

Tip: Plan to normalise your operations as much as possible. While some employees need flexibility, many are more comfortable with a defined schedule. Also, keep employees updated on your return-to-work plans so they can prepare for the new – or return to – predictability.

BURN-OUT

HR leaders shouldn’t be surprised that employees who feel isolated, stressed and suspicious will become burned out.

Gallup researchers recently found employees who work from home are more burned out than those who work on-site. Prior to the pandemic, the opposite held true: Remote employees faced less stress.

Researchers say there’s a difference between choosing to work from home and being forced to work from home. When people had flexibility and autonomy to go to the office, they didn’t feel “trapped” at home.

In conclusion, organisations will need to carefully consider the future way of work into their long-term strategies. Re-evaluate whether remote work arrangements will benefit the organisation, the workforce and the corporate culture in the long run.

Petrus Haimbodi is an associate with PwC P&O Consulting Services.

Similar News

 

Capricorn overtakes NamBrew, FirstRand Nam on NSX

7 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Capricorn Group kept its ground today as the biggest company on the Local Index of the Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX) following a...

Scam: Covid-19 support grant circulating on WhatsApp

11 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – The ministry of finance has warned the public against a message circulating on WhatsApp inviting people to apply for “Covid-19 Support Grant”,...

FirstRand Nam’s profit dives 9.4%

16 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Locally-listed FirstRand Namibia reported a profit of about N$564.9 million for the six months ended 31 December 2020, a drop of some...

Letshego Nam takes N$60-mln profit hit

17 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Locally-listed Letshego Holdings Namibia reported a profit of about N$341.4 million for the year ended 31 December 2020, a drop of nearly...

Otjikoto sitting on a gold mine

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine is expected to reach record-level production this year and through to 2024, the Canada-based low-cost international senior gold producer...

Mining survey: Chamber hits back

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU Too few responses have skewed Namibia's performance on the 2020 Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies, tarnishing its image as an attractive investment...

Nam mining licence loophole closed

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

From the beginning of April this year, Namibians who hold mineral licences will no longer be allowed to transfer it to foreign companies or persons...

Aroab SME owners hope for business uptick

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

Suzith Tjitaura – Small business owners at Aroab say they hope for better days as they have hardly generated any profits since the start of...

Mufhiwa business activities declared illegal

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

STAFF REPORTERThe Bank of Namibia (BoN) has concluded the investigation into the business activities of Mufhiwa Building Projects and found it to be illegal.Mufihiwa activities...

COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

Glencore's mine expansion risking sitesExpansion at an Australian lead and zinc mine run by miner Glencore puts at risk several sacred Aboriginal sites including a...

Latest News

Scam: Covid-19 support grant circulating...

11 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – The ministry of finance has warned the public against a message circulating on WhatsApp inviting people to apply for “Covid-19 Support Grant”,...

FirstRand Nam’s profit dives 9.4%

16 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Locally-listed FirstRand Namibia reported a profit of about N$564.9 million for the six months ended 31 December 2020, a drop of some...

Letshego Nam takes N$60-mln profit...

17 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Locally-listed Letshego Holdings Namibia reported a profit of about N$341.4 million for the year ended 31 December 2020, a drop of nearly...

Otjikoto sitting on a gold...

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine is expected to reach record-level production this year and through to 2024, the Canada-based low-cost international senior gold producer...

Mining survey: Chamber hits back

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU Too few responses have skewed Namibia's performance on the 2020 Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies, tarnishing its image as an attractive investment...

‘Not up to you’

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Education

TUYEIMO HAIDULA ONGWEDIVA Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says institutions of higher learning...

Sioka in hot water over...

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Ministries

JANA-MARI SMITH WINDHOEKThe clock is ticking for child welfare minister Doreen Sioka who has less than a month to present a...

Corruption - A social disease...

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Columns

Johan CoetzeeGiven ongoing media articles about governance, manifested in contraction of investment and increasing unemployment, it is appropriate to reflect on several trends covering several...

EDITORIAL

1 day - 04 March 2021 | Opinion

The phony attempts by mainly men in the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) to undermine its president Esther Muinjangue will only further dissuade women from...

Load More