Last updated 4 May, 2022

Why an “out of Sight, out of mind” workforce is not the answer

With the rise and normalisation of remote work post-COVID, it has become apparent that employee needs should be prioritised over organisational needs in order to drive successful workplaces. Employee attitudes have shifted. To build community, cohesion, and a sense of belonging, organisations need to evolve their approach.

While leaders are increasingly worried if they’ll be able to ‘earn back the commute,’ many believe that ship has sailed; and Mckinsey’s Great Attrition survey justifies this point of view. It details that “More than half of employees who left their job in the past six months did not feel valued by their organisation (54%) or manager (52%), or they lacked a sense of belonging (51%).”

So what support functions can be put in place for a reimagined remote workforce? How do you provide perks when no one wants to travel to the once fancy office? How can you ensure that your employees’ physical, emotional and social wellbeing needs are being met?

While employers struggle to create some kind of one-size-fits-all model, empowering employees to choose what’s right for their situation reaps much better rewards 

Supporting teams in a work-from-anywhere world

For any organisation that has a work-from-anywhere policy, what does this really mean and how are you supporting your people to do this? The answer could lie in local workspaces.

It’s no longer just about working flexibly, but having the ability for employees to work globally. PwC recently announced via the AFR  that staff with working rights to operate remotely could do so from eight different countries, including India and Malaysia, for up to eight weeks to enable them to have an extended overseas trip. The firm will also allow staff to work from any Australian office for up to a month and will next year launch an app to help staff find and swap accommodation.

Closer to home where the sea change and tree change migration of Australia spiked during COVID – as employees took advantage of remote working and sought out lifestyle changes – a new pattern began to emerge. 

While the trend towards remote working has become more obvious during the pandemic, it has actually been on the rise for the past several years. Pre-COVID, it took 612 commuting trips from Berry to Sydney, the conversion of a garden shed into a failed home office before the penny finally dropped for WorkLife founder Kate Dezarnaulds. Deciding there had to be a better way to support the juggle work and life, she created the solution she craved for her own life and founded WorkLife, the South Coast’s first coworking space in 2017. She says that while working from home was a novelty at first, like her, the employees of the corporations she now serves craved connection and separation between home and work in a professional space. 

Employers can benefit from employees who feel motivated too, rather than languishing at home in their pyjamas. This is proven by the 12 years of research completed by Dr Adam Fraser on the importance of the transition between work and home. Even the ritual of getting ready for work can foster a sense of wellbeing, not to mention the benefits of social interaction with your local community.

Many employers have found that they can support their remote workforce by providing an allowance to work from coworking spaces in preferred locations near employee’s homes; giving them a space that is both compliant and better for mental wellbeing (while replacing the approximate $12,000 they spend per head on employees in CBD offices). What’s more, walking or cycling to a workspace can improve mental wellbeing by up to 26% – far easier to do when the location is close to home.

Wellbeing support from anywhere

PwC’s Hybrid work study shows “42% of workers regularly experience loneliness and isolation when working from home, 31% feel more stressed and burnt out, and over one-quarter of Australian knowledge workers (28%) have accessed formal mental health and wellbeing support since working remotely.” It remains to be seen how working remotely will influence the winners and losers in the war for talent.  

Hello coach founder Victoria Mills knows a thing or two about the power of coaching to support employees, “Coaching provides the means and the tools to unlock potential and build resilience no matter what life brings, to create the outcomes you desire.” Coaching can provide a much needed respite and give a non-judgemental perspective.

When speaking to HR doesn’t seem like the right avenue, staff still need to feel supported by other services that support mental health. Unlike counselling, coaching considers your whole self. It builds on the present to shape the future, providing you with actionable steps to move forward. Coaching is solution-focused human development. It’s not therapy, which is a long-term process that seeks to address past or present trauma. It works as a collaborative partnership between coach and client that centres on quickly moving the client forward.

Coaching focuses on goals, education and accountability. It provides clients with proven techniques and tools to help them overcome personal and professional challenges, and take practical steps towards achieving their goals. Hello Coach experts are highly qualified, professionally certified, and trained to be completely objective. What’s more the service is global, so a coaching session can be accessed quickly and easily in any time zone.

As the benefits of supporting workforces to work remotely are becoming clearer – both from a productivity and wellbeing perspective – will employers stick with the status quo? Or evolve quickly to embrace employee-first models in this new world of work?

Want to better support your remote workforce? Get Hello Coach for your team!

Book a demo with one of our business concierges here.

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