The Post Covid Workplace

 The post Covid world is something that we are all looking forward to. Many of us are eagerly anticipating a shared dinner with family and friends or that much needed holiday. But what will the post Covid workplace look like?

Many aspects remain uncertain but what is sure is how businesses structure the return to work, how much care they take of their employees and how they present themselves to the market place will be critical. Businesses will be judged by their customers, competitors and future employees by how they act now.

What we do know is that both health and safety at work and the wellbeing of the workforce will need to be navigated before reintegration can be achieved.

Health and safety aspects are fairly straight forward to implement, as businesses will look to mitigate the reoccurrence of outbreaks which could disrupt workplaces in the same way that the common cold does even amongst a vaccinated population. This is achievable by continuing to allow a percentage of colleagues to work from home, hybrid working, hot-desking, staggered start times, spaced work environments, screening between desks, sanitisation stations, testing and a degree of continued distancing particularly in congested areas; including the lift lobby and kitchen / break out areas.

The positive outcome of recent events is that it has been proved that team members have worked efficiently and diligently from home and we believe this is now fully engrained into office culture. We highly recommend downloading the CIPD guide on returning to the workplace and in particular its Three Key Tests before bringing employees back. 

The wellbeing issues of the workforce are harder to navigate. SMEs may not have the budget to offer extended benefits, nevertheless, the owners and line managers are going to need to be sensitive to the impact the pandemic has had on individual employees.

For many the psychological effects of the pandemic will be far reaching; it is predicted that individuals will struggle to cope with close contact, public transport and of course the effects of Long Covid. With this in mind many larger businesses are expected to react by offering flexible benefit packages.  Employees will then be able to tailor their benefit budgets to their individual needs. Elements on offer could include:-

- Buying and selling leave 
- Cycle schemes
- Childcare vouchers
- Pension contributions
- Medical insurance
- Gym memberships
- Life insurance
- Health screening
- Dental insurance

Flexible benefits have the advantage of giving people peace of mind that their needs will be accommodated and are a major attraction for new recruits who enjoy having the control over structuring their budget to best suit their lives. 

Some businesses have also reported that they will be offering counselling, alternative therapy including head and shoulder massage, reiki, aromatherapy and lunch time yoga sessions in order to support their teams and in an attempt to minimise sick days during the new normal. Particularly for SMEs who may not have the budget to offer extended benefits.

As a recruitment business our aim at JMF is to partner with clients who respect and value their workforce. We are proud of the relationships we have across the South East with businesses large and small who have invested resources and budget into the safety and wellbeing of their people in the past 12 months and post pandemic planning. If you have a few minutes to spare, we would love to hear about how you have coped or your strategy for a return to ‘normal’ working life in the upcoming months. Hopefully we can share this in a future article.

If you would like to contact us, then please call the JMF office on 0208 663 6699 or email us at team@jmfassociates.co.uk 

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Jennings Morton Friel Associates Ltd
Duncan House, Burnhill Road
Beckenham, Kent BR3 3LA

team@jmfassociates.co.uk
+44 (0)20 8663 6699

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