By Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO
It is fair to say that almost every single worker in the UK has had to dramatically adapt their lifestyle and routine to accommodate a new work/life balance amid the Coronavirus lockdown. While many have successfully adapted to the new ‘normal’, there is still a measurable proportion of the British workforce that are struggling with the transition more than a month into lockdown.
In fact, a recent report from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) showed over half of surveyed workers reported new aches and pains related to home working, with 64% reporting a loss of sleep due to worry and 48% reporting working patterns that include long and irregular hours.
Perhaps most worrying, half of all respondents reported being unhappy with their current work/life balance; with a third feeling isolated, and 21% worried about job security. These findings highlight a workforce that unsurprisingly has many issues weighing heavy on its mind. It is therefore more important than ever that employers adapt to change quicker than they expect their workers to.
Modern-day businesses must be agile and flexible and those at the head of the pack would have tested their disaster recovery systems ahead of the official lockdown in order to ensure that any fundamental flaws were identified and addressed before compulsory shutdown. Of course, this is just the first step in a marathon to regularly gauge and monitor employee wellbeing and happiness.
The human element of business
When it comes to remote working, employers should enable their staff to replicate the office environment, by encouraging them to take as much office equipment as they need to make their home offices more comfortable. Regular breaks away from the screen to spend quality time with loved ones should also be encouraged.
Once the systems and processes are in place and work well in theory it is essential to remember that it may be difficult for staff to adapt to the new set-up, from an emotional and physical perspective.
For this reason, any employer’s focus on staff wellbeing should be stronger than ever and in this period of remote and virtual living, companies should take extra steps to make sure that remote and virtual emotional support platforms are accessible to all of their staff members.
An effective approach could be to offer confidential online access to Q&As with a certified therapist, emotional coaching sessions, and online therapy sessions if the need arises. To keep employees happy and productive, another useful tool to strike the right balance is continuous performance management software that enables remote workers to rate how they are feeling to provide line managers with more context and a better overview of the performance of an employee that they do not engage with regularly on a face-to-face basis.
Healthy eating and exercise (or lack thereof)
The report also showed that a third of employees are eating a less healthy diet, and as much as 60% acknowledged that they are exercising less. To get fitness levels up while encouraging some good-natured competition, employees should be motivated to join social fitness networks too.
From my own personal experience, I have learnt that if you do it properly, home working really does work just as effectively as onsite working and when we finally come out of lockdown, Tempcover will certainly consider the remote working option, while always placing the health and wellbeing of our employees at the top of every decision that we make.
About the author
In 2006, Alan Inskip had a lightbulb moment – an insurance provider that can offer truly flexible cover for the time drivers actually need. No long-term commitment, no auto-renewals, just the cover they want for the time they need. The UK’s first InsurTech company, Tempcover, was born the next day. Alan sets himself apart from other InsurTech business leaders, as he is an experienced insurance broker whose parents spent more than 40 years in the industry too. As a result, Alan has since grown the business into a market-leader and is today responsible for overseeing company strategy, policy and performance.