This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 13/05/2020. You can register here to receive them monthly.
This month’s eBulletin follows on from April’s Home Working issue as we see the evolving landscape from a national, corporate and individual standpoint. I have outlined our view of the way employers are approaching the various issues and provided links to a selection of useful resources, as well as the products and services we offer. In the last month, we have made significant changes to how we operate in order to meet customer demands. This has resulted in new suppliers, new products and new logistics partners as we constantly seek new ways to meet the changing needs of our clients.
Last month, I indicated that some clients were adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach to homeworker health whilst others were being much more proactive. Despite the lack of time to prepare, most organisations are finding that their enforced homeworking programme has been largely successful but this means everyone now needs to recognise that it is no longer a temporary solution. It is not going to be viable or even desirable to bring people into the office unnecessarily for several months so employers are creating a strategic sourcing plan for essential home worker equipment.
There is already a need to tackle pre-existing injuries and MSK issues. Now employers are realising they need to prevent further health impacts in domestic environments over which they have a duty of care but no direct control. Let us help you create the optimum homeworker support programme to future-proof your talent.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on May 10th, we are all being inundated with messages about safe travel and minimising risk in the workplace. Amongst the guidance I have found most useful, the government’s own information is a really good place to start, Nigel Oseland’s Workplace Trends piece encourages us to look at what we already know before reinventing the wheel and Peter Kinselley of Cardinus provides a good strategic overview.
The big questions, of course, are how many staff will actually be comfortable to return to an office and in what circumstances? Most of our clients expect to accommodate no more than a third to a half of their regular personnel in the workplace as long as social distancing exists in its current form. We see most employers developing Home Working and Workplace plans concurrently and providing physical separation tools as part of their approach to keeping their people safe.
The impact of home working and lockdown on the mental health of many workers has (rightly) received even more attention than that of physical health in recent weeks. As employers come to terms with all that is and has been happening, it is clear that a truly robust wellbeing programme is essential for every employer, large and small. Whilst some organisations have already mastered this, it takes very much more than an EAP and a rolling programme of monthly highlights.
Our conversations with employers and other interested parties suggest that many wellbeing programmes may be well-intentioned and enthusiastically promoted but lack focus or direction. It is essential to identify where the principal pressure points are and develop a responsive programme to ensure both effectiveness and return on investment. As I outlined in this blog, we have partnered with Champion Health to provide exactly this service. Find out more here.
The plethora of government programmes and financial support packages are indicative of the commercial demands on employers in the current pandemic.
Whilst many furnishing programmes have been moth-balled or are being completely re-evaluated, other organisations see an empty office as an ideal time to carry out refurbishment or reconfiguration programmes. Where cashflow is a major consideration, asset finance can manage an immediate issue with a longer term solution.
If you completed a furniture project a short while ago and now need liquidity, it is even possible to sell and lease back your existing furniture. This is a topic for specialist providers so please request an introduction if you want to discuss it with our finance partner.