Wellbeing for 2021 - A review of the impacts of home working
by Joe Williams, Supplier Governance Manager at Aviva and member of the GSA Executive Council
The Covid pandemic has been a huge challenge for businesses across all sectors and industry, however in amongst the challenges some notable opportunities are presenting themselves. A recent survey completed by the City of London Corporation indicated that (of 52 COL based firms) 60% of COL firms were reviewing their space requirements. Pre pandemic figures suggested that less than 1 in 4 members of staff were working from home (WFH) at least one day a week prior to the pandemic compared to an expectation that from the end of the pandemic that this will increase to 3 in 4 staff members WFH at least once a week. At the GSA, we know that a large portion of our member base are also reviewing their property footprints (as we have done ourselves) with an expectation that more of our people will move to virtual way of working on a more frequent basis.
Whilst there are obvious opportunities that present themselves from having a more virtual workforce, we must also consider the potential wellbeing impacts on our people, to support this move to a more virtual workforce, the GSA has completed a Wellbeing study to identify trends and themes that we will all need to consider as we work through property plans, ensuring that we recognise the different wellbeing demands that are in place across our workforces.
The research focussed on understanding the impact to wellbeing against 4 different metrics:
Key Observations1) A major wellbeing challenge with WFH for firms to consider is PRESENTEEISM
· Educate our managers as to the potential problems and warning signs,
· Educate our people, make them aware as to what presenteeism is and encourage them to speak to their managers where they feel they are,
· Understand the individual issues which impact our people and how it affects them so a tailored support programme can be put in place
2) Most people expect to increase or significantly increase their time working from home post the pandemic;
· Understanding our individuals, make sure we know what makes them tick and how different factors are impacting them both positively and negatively
· Regular virtual engagement – adding team events not just focussing on work but keeping engagement up
· Reviewing future property footprints, ensuring that those people who wish to return to the office can do so
· Understanding the working environments that our people have at home, are people supporting childcare, working in ‘unsuitable’ places?
4) We are seeing significant increases in wellbeing across 3 of the 4 metrics
· Reduction in travel and commuting
· Reduction in ‘pointless meetings & office politics’
· Significant increase in personal/family time
The underlying data from the research indicates that the move to more homeworking has seen an increase in wellbeing, this is something that needs to be cultivated, invested in and focussed on. When considering our future footprints, and working practices the GSA would encourage all organisations to look at the wellbeing impacts of increased homeworking as well as the potential issues, to support the financial business cases being pulled together for the future.
View the Wellbeing Survey Appendix here.