In the news, yesterday morning, we heard that fifty of the UK’s biggest employers have no plans to return all of their staff to the office full-time in the near future. Indeed, 24 companies have no plans to return their staff to the office. Some small businesses are even deciding to abandon the office altogether.
How do we accommodate large numbers of staff and at the same time maintain social distancing? This was the question most of the companies asked of themselves in research carried out by the BBC.
We know from the CIPD’s People Profession Survey that employers are expecting a 75% increase in requests to work from home once social distancing measures have been lifted.
The are many reported benefits to working from home;
- An increase in productivity
- A better work-life balance
- More time to stay on top of domestic chores
- Time to exercise
- No need to commute on crowded roads or being squashed like a sardine on public transport. And what about all that money saved?
- And for many, the opportunity to master the art of sourdough!
This all sounds great, but what about some of the challenges created by working at home, and does it create a better work-life balance? For some, the lines between work and home life have become increasingly blurred.
Not everyone who works from home has a room, or the space to set aside a dedicated work area. For many the kitchen table, the dressing table in the bedroom or the corner of the living room becomes ‘the office’ for the working day. This can be even more challenging, and often complicated if there is more than one person in the household working from home.
Meet Karen, a Client Service Representative, an experienced member of the team who has been working for her employer for three years.
The kitchen table is Karen’s new desk. With a little bit of daily juggling, this has, in the main, been working alright.
It’s getting late in the day and Karen takes a call from a client, Paul. Paul was promised a call back last week after speaking to one of Karen’s colleagues. Irate because he didn’t receive the call, Paul feels like nobody is taking him seriously. Karen is using all the skills and techniques that she has received in training to be able to effectively manage customers like Paul. But, this time, it doesn’t seem to be working. Whatever Karen does, Paul keeps interrupting, talking over Karen. The volume of Paul’s voice keeps increasing to the point when he starts shouting at Karen. It’s starting to feel personal.
It’s early evening and we are back at the kitchen table, the desk has gone away for the day. Karen is chatting to her husband, Michael, over a cup of tea. It’s Michael’s birthday and they had arranged to go to the local pub for dinner.
“I’m really sorry Michael, do you mind if we give this evening a miss”
The desk may have gone away for the day, but Paul is still there, in Karen and Michael’s home.
For one of our clients, this has become a real issue and even though they have a great support structure in place often people like Karen remain quiet, believing that they can cope or don’t want to impose on anybody else’s time.
As an employer who is focused on maintaining the health and wellbeing of its employees, our client has asked us to get involved. Working with our team of professional actors we have recreated Karen’s story to raise the awareness of some of the challenges of working from home. How do we separate work from home? From a practical sense, we can switch off the laptop but from a mental wellbeing perspective; how do we leave work behind when it’s in our home?
If Karen’s story sounds familiar to you or it’s something your business is grappling with at the moment, get in touch with us here at ted Learning and find out more about how we can help.
Image used courtesy of https://magnet.me