Post-Pandemic Businesses Need To Focus On Employee Well-Being
With COVID-19 rapidly altering the nature of the workplace to one that's more digital and flexible, the debate about the future - and the purpose - of the office continues. As society adapts to post-pandemic life, businesses need to figure out how to accommodate their employees’ desire for flexibility while navigating all the difficulties that come with the lack of regular in-person contact with their team. Hybrid working appears to be the solution, but comes with its own challenges.
Striking a balance between the two is in the interest of employers, with studies showing a direct correlation between a company’s growth and the health of its workforce. With the sudden blurring of boundaries between work and home, and given the anxiety and stress of working through a pandemic, businesses have had little choice but to focus more closely on employee wellbeing. Many companies have therefore shifted their priorities from organisational issues to personal ones, with conversations that used to be confined to HR departments now being discussed in the boardroom. And for good reason: with fears looming of a “great resignation”, the pressure is on employers to give their best talent a reason to stay.
A number of changes have been implemented at Zencargo to adapt to the world of COVID-19 and beyond, and focusing on how we can benefit our employees has been at the forefront of our thoughts. Fortunately, despite all the difficulties of the past 18 months, the company is still growing at a rapid pace and is forecast to grow even more. Our people are the engine of that growth, which is why they’re our top priority.
The first step was to implement more flexible hybrid-working arrangements. During lockdown it became clear that most people could do their jobs perfectly well from home. Now, after 18 months of testing this arrangement, it’s evident that not everyone is keen to return to the office full-time. It’s our job to help facilitate this and find a balance that works for everybody. If companies want to keep their employees happy and engaged, the question is no longer whether to shift to hybrid working, but how to best implement it.
This being said, it does take some work to get it right. With people no longer in one office together, managers need to ensure that everyone has access to the same information and understands the overall purpose of what the company is trying to achieve. Building a company culture, fostering inclusivity and maintaining effective communication can also be a challenge if your only contact with your colleagues is over video call and you can’t fall back on water cooler chats and afternoon coffee breaks.
This is where prioritising thoughtfulness, creativity and transparency becomes key. The aim is to foster a culture where people are thoughtful and courteous to each other regardless of what medium they are communicating through, where new ideas are encouraged and where information is kept in such a way that everyone can access it at all times. At Zencargo, we are also encoding best practices in a hybrid-working playbook, to document our learnings and to make sure we're practicing what we preach. We stay open to experimenting, because this helps work out what does and doesn’t work for us as a company - and most importantly, a commitment to open dialogue helps get feedback from all levels of the company.
Ultimately, the aim is to make people feel that they’re part of a genuine community, because one of the key predictors of long-term happiness in a person’s professional and personal life are meaningful relationships. If employees feel a genuine bond with their colleagues and employer, this will be reflected in their work and encourage loyalty to both the company and the wider workforce. But it’s up to those at the top to implement the conditions where this is possible.
Within the Zencargo team we’re trying to combat this by subsidising employees who live near each other to meet up with their colleagues. Everybody needs human contact and meaningful connections and employers have the power to show their support by helping to facilitate this.
The pandemic has thrust well-being at work into the spotlight like never before and this is a unique opportunity to get it right. We want our organisation to grow and flourish, and it’s clear that the best way to achieve this is to help our employee community thrive. Ultimately, an organisation is only as healthy and successful as the people who work there. By being both flexible and supportive to our people, we can ensure that they have everything they need to excel.