Is It Time To Reflect On What’s Important?
The daily commute – starting with the sleep deprived rush to the station and culminating in a mad dash to be home in time to see the children, before they got to bed – is now a dim and distant memory for many. So called “dead time”, previously spent in train carriages, buses or cars, can now be spent more productively at home, optimising both work and family life.
Hours in the day have now been reclaimed and this is giving people time to reflect on what is important in life. Previously absent parents are left contemplating whether financial rewards have been all too superficial measurements of success when more tangible emotional returns are staring them in the face at home.
Some will no doubt find the physical and social confines of remote working too claustrophobic and yearn for a return to office interaction but for many it will have presented a chance to step back and re-assess their priorities.
Rather than passively progressing along an employer driven conveyor belt, that breeds a fear of diverting from an established career path, many will have been emboldened by Covid’s impact on established ways of working and decide to take back control of their lives and treat this as an opportunity for positive personal change
Some may decide to embark on a new career or work closer to home. Others may reflect that remote working has given them the time and the belief to realise their true worth, in terms of skills and experience, and decide that now is the time to set out on their own.
As a result of these changes to employee mind-sets, employers will be forced to review their approaches to staff retention and as a result the employer/employee relationship will need to be recalibrated to become a more holistic proposition.
If working from home is to become the new norm then supporting an employee while at work will inevitably overlap into their home life. This blurred line between the two will necessitate an even greater emphasis on the understanding and support of mental health. If someone is both happy at work and at home then his or her willingness to commit to a company long-term becomes a realistic prospect but trying to define this objective of employee contentment is never going to be “one size fits all”.
An increased emphasis on the learning and development (L&D) opportunities for employees should become a key factor in generating “company appeal”, and therefore integral to any retention approach, and by making L&D a greater strategic priority, this should give employees the ability to influence a company’s approach to innovation, products and culture.
Ultimately if one of the impacts of Covid is to shine a light on the need for change in our work life balance then it’s up to both employee and employer to ensure its opportunities are harnessed rather than rejected.