Working from home has many benefits but it can also increase feelings of isolation, which may be heightened further during lockdown. It is therefore important that employers consider how to bring out the social aspects of a total reward package.
They may suggest that teams have a weekly social catch up on video where work is not discussed. It is also important that managers have regular catch-ups with their team, are checking in on their wellbeing and asking about any challenges they face with working from home.
While there were teething problems at the start, on the whole, it seems that mass home working has been a success for the majority of organisations. Employers may want to take this opportunity to look at other forms of flexible working they can offer, particularly given the extra caring responsibilities that many workers have right now with schools shut.
It is unclear how long people will be expected to be working from home and making sure people have a comfortable workstation will go a long way in making people feel valued. It should also boost their productivity. Giving people an office chair and fan are relatively low-cost investments for an employer but can make a big difference.
While it is highly likely that learning and development budgets have been slashed since the pandemic started, it does not mean that employees cannot be encouraged to invest in their professional development. Professional subscriptions and online learning platforms can all be accessed from home and are low-cost options to explore. They are also a good way for employers to demonstrate their commitment to their staff.
One way of ensuring employees keep focused and not distracted is by employers ensuring that they have got the basics right. The Reward management report [the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development ] published in November 2018 found that 16% of employers do not always communicate what benefits are on offer and 21% say their benefits are not easily accessible. For instance, how are employers making fair pay outcomes and how are they communicating their remuneration decisions and the processes behind them?
Once an employer has the basics right, it can think about the intrinsic value or motivational factors’ that employees find from their work. Here, an employer should be looking at how it recognises employee contribution remotely, how it gives its people the opportunity to develop, and how it makes work more interesting.
Charles Cotton is performance and reward adviser at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)