When lockdown restrictions were imposed during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in March 2020, employers like NHS Property Services (NHSPS) were faced with having to make significant changes to their businesses.
With 1,000 of its 5,000 of its employees working primarily in office-based roles, NHSPS initially found it challenging to address the health and safety risks of the pandemic. The business quickly adopted a remote-working policy to ensure a smooth transition.
Through this time of change, the employer launched its own internal pulse surveys to grasp how its office-based employees were feeling. NHSPS found that more than half (59%) of employees thought that remote working positively affected their productivity, while 95% felt that they were still connected with the business.
Cheryl Pate, head of people and talent at NHSPS, says: “Throughout this challenging changing time, we were constantly checking whether employees felt productive and engaged by asking questions about their work-life balance, and making sure that they were safe.”
To ensure that employees were prepared for future workplace changes, NHSPS began to look at future flexible-working arrangements in July 2020.
“We introduced a smarter working policy across the whole business to look at employee wellbeing and engagement, giving employees control of how, and where they want to work,” says Pate. “As a property business, we always look to focus heavily on offering an appealing and attractive place to work. Now, we are putting the control in employees’ hands to ensure that they are remaining as productive as possible during times of change.”
NHSPS set out to ask employees how many days they would prefer to work remotely, and how many days they would prefer to work in the office. The business also mentioned to employees that they can agree on flexible working times to deal with tasks outside of work.
Its new policy has improved employee wellbeing and efficiency, along with better productivity and relationship with peers, says Pate. With this data gathered from surveys and team meetings, the organisation has set out to find what employees feel about a future flexible-working pattern to support their wellbeing and productivity.
“Over the past five months we have spent time monitoring the productivity and wellbeing of our employees that are working from home, the results have been positive, so we want to continue the success of this remote-working policy by understanding what works best for our people,” adds Pate
As part of the new policy, NHSPS also offers employees funds to purchase equipment for their new working office, such as plants or new chairs.