The ability to work from home, have greater flexibility and a more balanced work-life were largely unheard of pre pandemic. Now it’s the new ‘normal’ and virtual remote work is mostly here to stay.
There are benefits of remote working, as employers can save on real estate costs and tap into more flexible talent pools. Whilst some employers are sceptical about the productivity of unsupervised staff working from home, the pandemic has shown that companies that have focused on recruiting trustworthy, highly committed and performance-oriented individuals found the transition to more flexible workplace arrangements much easier and beneficial.
Labour shortages are impacting company growth, making sourcing and retaining talent a huge challenge. Rising cost of living pressures and a strong jobs market, many employees are being lured into alternative roles with higher pay and benefits such as flexible work arrangements on offer. Some have even used the pandemic to reinvent their careers altogether. One of the biggest disconnects is staff wanting to work remotely from home with an expectation management will consent to the arrangement. It’s hard to argue against the logic of less time commuting, lower transport costs associated with going into the office and better management of family commitments.
Employers no longer hold all the cards when it comes to retaining staff in today’s fast paced environment and relying on old habits and techniques aren’t working anymore. Failure to offer a culture where autonomous expression, employee recognition, flexible working arrangements, clear lines of communication and competitive remuneration feature heavily, will adversely impact an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent.
Providing flexible working hours to allow employees to attend to personal issues and encouraging employees to keep strict working hours to avoid the common burnout issue, that we have recently posted in the professional “sweat-shop” post, are important mechanisms in avoiding emerging mental health issues. Important mitigation strategies include mentoring and training as well as encouraging employees to take advantage of wellness programs. Also creating clear channels where employees can raise concerns and health issues is another way of monitoring the health and wellbeing of your workforce.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s only going to become more complex with ever-changing workforce demographics and the unique needs of Millennials and Gen Z-ers.
About the Author
Stephen Helberg is an Partner at Alac Partners and Co-Founder of GRCReady.com. Stephen's experience includes extensive board level, executive management and governance experience, nationally and globally across diverse industries, and in top ASX20 organisations.