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A week further on from lockdown and everyone appears to be settling into the new normal. You would expect things to start settling down from the employer perspective, but it is quite the opposite based on what our customers tell me.

By the end of March, most organisations had solved the most pressing logistical challenges of enabling employees to work. This has now been replaced by the complexity of whether and how to furlough employees, including how much the organisation will pay with the government’s contribution not covering an employee’s total salary. That, however, is a different blog entirely and given that many organisations are still concluding discussion on this, I thought it better to wait for a week or two.

In the meantime, I wanted to discuss another (positive) point raised by many of our customers. That is whether the current enforced changes to people’s roles, will improve the way employees and organisations work in the future.

The homeworking - productivity debate

When we have previously conducted surveys on home working, some organisations have stated that they believe their (traditional) culture has discouraged employees from home working. This has often been driven from senior levels, who argue that people need to be in the office to work effectively. This, oft-described “presenteeism”, has sometimes created tension within some parts of organisations or employee generations, who have been used to greater freedom in other employers. They have argued that it does not matter where you work, as long as you get the job done; and that you could arguably get through more work outside of the office environment with all its interruptions.

I have spoken to a number of customers who work in organisations with this traditional approach, who say that the last few weeks have been very positive, as organisations and employees have had to make best of the current situation. They state that there are important lessons to be learned from having to adapt so quickly to this new normal and that the coming months will demonstrate their point about effectiveness and productivity from homeworking.

Many managers describe how precious time is and working from home has certainly enabled them to be fresher for work or forego travel for longer working hours. For Paydata, it will be interesting to see how our Spring HR Workshops work as telephone / video calls. Then in the future, whether a combined face-to-face and dial-in meeting will be an effective option. I hope you have found this helpful.

Take care and best wishes,

Tim


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