Last March, we saw millions of employees in organizations across the globe break away from normality, finding themselves almost immediately dispatched from their offices to begin the biggest working from home experiment in history.
Following this drastic change and time of uncertainty for many businesses, employees have proven to be invaluable in supporting their companies through the pandemic – demonstrating their loyalty and ability to adapt to a new way of working.
It is now time for businesses to give back and show their appreciation towards their employees by upholding their commitment to workers’ professional and personal development post-pandemic. Human Resources will now reflect on what has worked and what can be implemented post-pandemic to support staff and attract new talent.
This begs the question, what does the modern employee want? With many businesses eagerly looking for answers, these five important points will advise how companies can align with employee needs to provide a workplace in which workers feel valued and are more likely to stay long-term.
Prioritize health and wellness
Whilst working from home, many employees have found it harder to prioritize their personal needs and often found themselves slipping into unhealthy working habits – with many forgoing their precious lunch breaks and ploughing through work instead.
Businesses can show employees that they’ve recognized this issue by encouraging healthy work habits that offer employees a much-needed break from work. By implementing free or discounted gym memberships or weekly team exercise classes (whether that be by Zoom or in-person post-pandemic), employers can show that they genuinely care about their employees’ health and wellbeing. This will also offer staff the opportunity to prioritize themselves and their personal goals too.
By offering these extra benefits during and post-pandemic, companies show their value and long-term investment in employee wellbeing, which will ultimately boost team morale.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that one size does not fit all. Employers have had to take employees’ differing needs into account throughout the pandemic and support them on an individual case by case basis.
Businesses have proved that flexibility is not only possible but that it works. Understandably, employees will now be expecting this level of flexibility to remain post-pandemic.
Organizations will have to accept that whilst some will be keen to get back into the office, others will not feel as confident. The pandemic will have lasting impacts on mental health, particularly for those suffering from anxiety who may panic at the thought of heading back into the city or commuting in rush hours again.
Companies must also bear in mind that some have actually benefited from spending more time at home, particularly those with their own families and child-care needs to juggle.
Is it really fair to push employees back into rigid working patterns when we’ve learned that many can perform equally as well when they work in the way that suits them?
It is now up to businesses to recognize that employees will have different attitudes to the way of work moving forward and that to compete with other businesses post-pandemic, they will need to take on a more flexible approach long-term.
Show your appreciation
Gratitude goes a long way. Even just a small gift or team treat can boost employee morale and keep staff motivated.
Whether it’s providing team members with a hamper of sweet treats, sending a lovely self-care package to someone feeling under the weather, or surprising someone with a birthday box of cupcakes, employees will feel an immediate sense of appreciation and care from their employers.
These small tokens of gratitude should not be underestimated. By showing your employees that you value their hard work and commitment to the company, you will also earn their loyalty.
Allow time for your employees to socialize
As humans, we are social creatures that thrive on company and interaction with others, yet the pandemic has left much staff distant from one another despite the daily zoom calls.
Although companies have got creative in finding ways for employees to socialize with one another virtually with cooking classes, group yoga sessions, and weekly quizzes, many employees will be longing for in-person social events post-pandemic.
Employees have realized how much in-person social events really mean to them and are more aware of their benefits to team morale. There will be more emphasis on socializing going forwards, and staff will likely be calling on their employers to incorporate more team lunches, after-work drinks, and Christmas parties once again, post-pandemic.
Support employees beyond the workplace
Supporting employees does not start and end in the office. The modern employee now expects their company to extend their care beyond the workplace. While working from home, we’ve seen that the boundaries between work and home life often become far more blurred, especially for those juggling homeschooling as well.
With this in mind, employers must understand the busy and at times, chaotic, personal lives of their staff and find ways to invest in their wellbeing outside of the workplace too.
It’s quite common for employees to feel stressed, whether it’s at work or in their personal lives, so any tools that can help to reduce this will be well-received. In the same way that businesses offer their staff private health care plans or financial advice, they can also offer perks to support their day-to-day personal lives as well.
Employers can show workers that they care about their families and lives beyond the workplace with personal organization platforms that enable organization flow at work as well as at home. Helping staff in staying organized in all aspects of their lives will be very much appreciated!
All in all, employers can show workers that they care through understanding, appreciation, and empathy. By taking these points into account, employees will feel respected, valued, and supported by their employers, helping to fuel the business’ overall success.