Has COVID Killed The Traditional Workplace?
The World Calls In Sick…
As we continue to snowball into the unknown, I look back and realise how many changes the world has taken on since COVID. One thing is for certain: there is no ‘one way’ to bring everyone back safely into the office. Before COVID, the only time you were able to contribute from home, were if you had a job role that allowed you to do so, and these were very hard to find.
Now, when the world calls in sick, how does your business continue to grow?
Some companies thrived, others had to compromise with Furlough, closing of shops, working from home and this continues to challenge them. The unfamiliar guidelines, new rules, new practices, but what if this was the most positive attribute to demolishing the traditional workplace?
In the last year, some of us were put into the category of ‘vulnerable’. Just by giving someone this label, due to Health/Ethnicity/Age (etc.), gave us a ticket for loneliness and isolation quite quickly. Now this was a physical wake up call, people who we saw every day were no longer able to do as they pleased. Now, unfortunately, this shows similarities to how the traditional workforce used to be. Isolating those who are not ‘equipped’, ‘healthy enough’, ‘young and fit enough’. Not in their ideal candidate box so to speak. But what did businesses find out? These people were vital for a workforce, the different perspectives and knowledge are unique and powerful to a company. Realising your physical presence isn’t always necessary, allows a person to make a change and contribute to society in new creative ways. Forward thinking companies have acknowledged this, employing those who are versatile and can bring more of an innovative, out of the box mentality to your company, making it unique and stand out.
Due to the situation with COVID, the government advised – ‘Those that can work from home should and continue to do so’. Most of us have realised by now that the work we completed in the office, we could be doing from our own homes and not contributing to global warming. So employers have been thrown into unknown waters. With companies returning to work, beneficial changes and having their eyes opened to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion needs of their employees, as well as the impact that it has on their business. This is a big deal in the EDI community, when businesses open themselves to a greater range of potential candidates, more talent can be accessed and utilised. Not passing over applications due to a disability, transport, or anything else, for that matter allows more people to be secure in employment, which will in effect mean fewer people stuck on benefits.
As a mother, without a job, I would find it nearly impossible to find something that suited school hours, term time and occasional sickness which I have no control over. Working from home allows me to be a part of the community, progress in my career and still make a living. Something I could only have dreamed of if not given an opportunity like Diversiti UK have done for myself. Just because I’m restricted doesn’t mean I can’t get everything done. It just means I get creative with my organisation and planning. Employing someone who has barriers or restrictions can be a huge investment in loyalty, productivity, decreased turnover and clientele. The traditional workforce, I could not be a part of despite wanting so desperately to work and become something great. The opportunity of working from home gives hope to so many people who need a purpose.
Considering, working remotely shows a company recognises that employees may have different needs. Then through effective communication they will be able to find out what these are. Now, as an employer, once they have realised not everyone needs to be in the office or be uniformed in ‘their’ way, they can unlock their unconscious bias to see what potential candidates have to offer. In turn reaping the benefits of becoming a more inclusive employer. Letting the floodgates open to possible candidates that could give businesses a whole new perspective on the company and even suppliers.
Now with working from home, it can be difficult to separate work and personal life. Mental health can suffer through feeling isolated, not part of the team and less of a contributor. It has been proven that people feel less likely to get promoted rather than in office roles where they are physically ‘in situ’. This often leads to segregation of those who work in office against those who work remotely due to COVID or other factors. Through the channels of clear communication and education these emotions can be avoided. Team meetings and catch-up’s are vital to keep up momentum, interaction, and inclusion, and are key factors to making sure the team is running smoothly. It also gives a chance for people to share their thoughts and views on a more personal level.
Promoting wellbeing and positivity reflects on morale, motivation, and creativity. If you look after your staff correctly, they will in return look after you.
I believe COVID has killed the traditional workplace due to opening peoples’ minds in what the ideal candidate should be.
Did you know 35% ethnically diverse companies outperform their competitors. Having a highly diverse workplace offers employees a better sense of community, employee engagement, and a more positive business culture. Giving people the opportunity to work remotely can remove certain barriers and see an employee thrive if given the chance, dedication, motivation, and innovation will be returned from the right candidate.
So, if money is to be made, it makes business sense to make sure all your employees are up to date on legislations, policies, and behaviours in the workplace. To make sure the leaders within a company are committed to growing a reputable, forward thinking business and removing barriers to find true talent without an unconscious bias fog.
But don’t worry if you haven’t got all of this set out yet. Here is where Diversiti UK is here to help with your business needs. We provide training packages catered for your business’s goals and needs.
Book a consultation today to discuss the needs of your business and how we can help you on your path to become a more inclusive company with Diversiti UK’s expert guidance.
This is no longer just a box ticking exercise.