As businesses begin welcoming their employees back into the workplace, there is the realisation that the ongoing health crisis and numerous lockdowns have had a significant effect on mental health. Additionally, many employees have grown used to remote working and, as such, have developed habits that may no longer be appropriate or efficient for a shared office space. Companies and managers are already starting to see higher levels of stress occurring and significant demand for workplace counselling.
To improve morale is an important pursuit for businesses, not solely for as it is required for duty of care but also for the sustainability and improvement of productivity within the workplace. A happy environment functions well, whereas low morale increases costs. Businesses now, more than ever, must rethink their approach to employee satisfaction or accept the risks.
A new approach has risen within business whereby managers and leaders set a task with strict guidelines and outcomes but then take a step back and allow employees to complete it as they desire. This autonomy allows employees to complete the tasks as and when they please, including working from various locations, promising that they meet the predetermined outcome.
This somewhat hands-off approach has proven to be immensely successful, empowering workers to manage their time and resources without the interference of line managers. It improves job satisfaction, allows employees to develop their own methods for completing tasks, and can be implemented at many levels.
Empowering employees with new skills or developing and refining their current ones are advantageous for both individuals and businesses. Corporate training courses, for example, simultaneously elevates an individual’s ability to improve their work performance, reduce their risk of error, and helps them to feel valued by the business. This sense of value stems from the investment made within the employee, acknowledging the mutual trust between business and individual.
In addition to ongoing corporate development courses, many training programs now also offer post-pandemic specific education, much of which details how operations, as well as the needs of employees, have changed and what must be considered moving forward. For those businesses that are seeking to work remotely, either partially or entirely, this can be hugely beneficial, enabling managers to better lead and support teleworking employees.
The health crisis has prompted many businesses to rethink the way sickness has been approached. No longer will managers risk encouraging their ill employees into the workplace. This is a positive development as a preventative measure but also because it enables employees to more freely talk about their illnesses, no longer fearing stigma for requiring time off.
As a result, mental health is also being taken more seriously. Prior to the pandemic, many employees would disguise mental health issues with physical ailments to avoid the repercussions of being judged. For businesses to empower their employees and develop better workplace morale, they must continue supporting a non-judgemental environment and allow their employees to speak freely.