As we are now (slowly but surely) returning to something closer to our pre-Covid lives, this has meant the return to office life.
Flexible working is no longer a perk but a common expectation from employees and businesses. It is something to be embraced by business leaders or their company risks appearing outdated and unattractive to potential future employees. But the benefits of flexible working are not only allowing employees to enjoy an enhanced work-life balance - they add value for businesses themselves. Employees can hopefully spend more time with families, pursue passions and hobbies outside of work, increase engagement, as well as lower companies’ carbon-footprint with this new way of working. As for businesses, they have the opportunity to develop further from a diversity and inclusion point of view. Without the restrictions of a required physical location, talent can be hired from different areas, bringing different perspectives.
At OpenPayd, our new Future of Work policy outlines our approach to flexible working now the world is opening up again and offers our employees the opportunity to experience working from home, the office, or anywhere else in the world. We’re proud to have a diverse, multinational workforce, so giving our employees 60 days of working abroad to either see family overseas, or simply experience new cultures, is something we’re really excited about.
Remote working can however also come with some challenges. We must make sure our employees continue to feel supported and part of a team, and we do that by encouraging all of our people to communicate openly and regularly, and to get involved in all of our social events which occur throughout the year. Our hybrid approach means our teams will continue to work in person for a proportion of their week, so employees can still benefit from the social aspect of office working.
Supporting our employees’ mental and physical wellbeing also continues to be a top priority for us, whether remote or working from the office. This is partly achieved through our employee benefits scheme, including private healthcare and an Employee Assistance Programme, but also through the training of our employees towards continued development.
Communication is also key, encouraging our managers to have open and honest conversations with their teams and team members is more important than ever. Throughout 2021 and beyond we will always encourage anyone who is struggling to speak to one of our trained mental health first aiders: Aysun Ahi and myself.
Back in March 2020, we all had to go through a period of adjustment to get used to what we now know as ‘the new normal’, but having worked remotely for more than a year now, we are all likely to have found a routine which individually works for us. Whether this includes getting up and making a nice breakfast, some morning Yoga with our very own yogi Holly or getting out of the house at lunchtime to stretch your legs in the fresh air, our own routines are essential in helping us to remain focused.
As we slowly return to the office, our old commutes and routines will also return (in one form or another) and no doubt this will also take some adjusting to. This is why it is so important that firms are vigilant and responsive to the needs of their employees. The pandemic is not over and its impact on mental health will still be felt by many. There is no single correct approach to tackling this next stage, but listening to our colleagues is a good first step.
The next 6 months will be an interesting time as we find our way back to normality whilst incorporating flexible working into the long-term, but I am excited for the future - as well as seeing my colleagues' faces in person, not just over Zoom!