HR WhatNow: What Happens to Work-From-Home as Phase 3 Eases? March 31, 2021

With the announcement of further easing of Covid-19 measures last week, public servants who are currently working from home will return to the office at least three out of five working days. Private-sector employers are also be allowed up to 75% of a company’s employees to return to the workplace at any one time up from the current 50%.

While the regulations are easing up, the questions remain, should employees be given a choice to continue to work-from-home? What transformation needs to take place to make it a win-win for your company and employees? Here are a few pointers for considerations

WFH arrangements have become a new norm for the workforce

According to the surveyed data from Fluent, a company that runs regular polls on its web,  employees are now comfortable with not needing to wake up earlier to prepare to head out and commute for work. Also according to the respondents of the survey, other benefits they found with the WFH arrangements are

  • More time with family (34%)
  • Flexible schedule (17%)
  • Saving money (11%)
  • More productive (5%)
  • Less office politics (4%)

The Pandemic helped realized that many jobs are compatible with remote work

Whether it was a traditional working norm or by pure employer expectations, working in an office or workplace had always been a default mode for all types of work. However, with the advancement of technology and affordability of remote connection devices, the pandemic catalyst the progression pace of the new norm of remote employees, and many employees find themselves just at ease with working from home as they would in the office.

Productivity may not increase even with working in the office

Productivity and performance are not measured by the mere presence of employees in the office or workplace.

According to a survey conducted in America by Harvard Business School, companies in the information & technology space, almost felt no impact from the remote working arrangement, while hospitality and food services felt the most. But even within the company(s), the administrative functions in a company experience an increase in productivity while the logistics & warehousing functions experienced the largest drop.  The question is what and how to maintain and measure productivity and performance if WFH is offered for non-front line employees?

With all considerations, making WFH an option for employees whose work functions can still be delivered may be a good consideration as a form of building trust and employee retention strategy. 

If you have concern on designing performance management and measurement as you embark on WFH arrangement for your employees, please feel free to reach out to one of our consultants who have and are helping companies manage their remote workforce here

What transformation needs to take place to make it a win-win for your company and employees?

Communicate the reasons behind the request

When workplaces needed to go remote, there was a period where managers and the workforce were challenged to conform to the WFH arrangement, now that the reverse is happening the discontentment can be managed by communicating to the employees why they were selected to return to the office.

Gather evidence of work successes among the employees

From the time WFH arrangement started, the results of who and which function type thrives and shrivelled would have become clear. By showing to employees why some among them are selected to remain at home for work will help to manage expectations.

Set up plans to maintain the spirit of teamwork and cohesion among employees

With some of their peers working from home and some reporting in the office, there may be a sense of exclusion or being nit-picked. Managers should set up regular sessions where both sets of team members can get to see each other (even if it is using online virtual tools) and share their daily work’s ups & downs to maintain team cohesion.

Retain technology infrastructure

The truth is, we will never know when another wave of an outbreak will occur, which is why retaining the WFH capability and capacity will enable the organisation to respond swiftly to the need for remote working if another lockdown is required in the future. By not removing the equipment immediately from their home premises also help the employees to mentally slowly transit back to the office.

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Established in 2013, enable Consulting is a specialised HR solutions provider for small and medium-sized enterprises.

We believe that having a strong and robust HR function is a key driver for continuous growth in any successful business. It is on this belief that we have built many successful partnerships with clients across different industries.

We are a people business and it is our talent pool that defines us. Each and every one of our consultants is highly professional with many years of experience in HR management and services.

Our Consultants are PMC certified to further be able to help local SMEs improve and optimise their HR operational efficiency through Singapore Grants. enable is about offering affordable, high value adding solutions to improve business performance; while at the same time nurturing and inspiring a fair and respectful working environment. But above all, enable is about enabling you.

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