The Importance of Flexibility in Future Workplaces

Many employers and organisations across the UK may be in the midst of reopening and attempting to return to how they operated before the coronavirus pandemic. With this in mind, it’s possible that workforces will grow and competition for top talent will increase. In order to recruit and retain employees, it’s important for employers to understand the priorities of both current and prospective employees in a post-coronavirus future.

Remote work was already a growing trend prior to the events of the past year, but the pandemic greatly accelerated its rise in popularity. With many employees having now gotten used to working from home, organisations must understand how remote work has changed the employment landscape. Industry experts expect that flexibility, such as remote or hybrid work environments, will be a top priority for many workers even after all coronavirus-related restrictions have been lifted.

Consider the following findings from a Microsoft Surface and YouGov survey conducted earlier this year:

  • 87% of employees reported that their employers had adapted well to hybrid work.
  • 56% of employees said that they are happier working from home.
  • 57% of respondents said that working from home has allowed them to maintain a healthier work-life balance.

It’s also important for organisations to understand that the desire for workplace flexibility is not a new trend caused only by the pandemic. Generation Z (people born between 1995-2010) now makes up a majority of the world’s population. As such, these young people will soon make up a significant portion of the workforce. According to a 2019 study conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos, 33% of Generation Z employees said that they would not work for an employer who gave them no control over their work schedule.

In a post-pandemic world, it’s important for employers to understand that top talent may prioritise a variety of factors aside from financial compensation. If workers are not happy with a return to stringent, on-site work arrangements, they may look elsewhere for their desired flexibility.

Steps for Keeping Lone Workers Safe

Employers are responsible for maintaining safe and healthy working conditions for their workers. This requirement extends to employees who may be working away from their employer’s premises, especially when they may be working alone or without supervision.

When an employee is working alone, they may be subject to many additional risks and hazards. For example, delivery drivers or couriers may find themselves in areas that are unfamiliar or unsafe. Organisations must take the time to understand and mitigate potential risks in order to keep employees safe at all times. Consider the following steps:

  • Assess the risks. Lone workers may have a greater chance of encountering violence or struggling with mental health issues.
  • Select proper workers. Some employees may have medical concerns that make them less capable of working by themselves.
  • Consider the work. Certain tasks or settings, such as confined spaces, might not be suitable or safe for solitary work.
  • Provide training. Training workers on how to manage and cope with dangerous situations, especially those that may involve potential violence, can help limit the consequences.
  • Communicate. Establish regular intervals of contact and be sure to pay attention to any concerns or feedback from lone employees.

Lone workers may inherently experience higher risk levels than those who work with supervisors or colleagues. It’s of the utmost importance that managers and senior leaders take these situations seriously and remain apprised of all developments that may put lone employees at risk.

For more information on the importance of flexibility in future workplaces and keeping lone workers safe, contact your Konsileo broker today.


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