Will working from home become the new normal?
Well before COVID-19 began to impact our lives, the demand for flexible work including working from home was on the rise. This was largely driven by the need to attract and retain top talent.
The impact of COVID-19 however has forever altered the way that certain sectors operate for the foreseeable future. Businesses have had to rapidly shift to remote working, some for the first time, forcing them to maximise the capacity for their employees to work remotely to keep their operations going. Since Scott Morrison spoke about businesses returning to “business as usual” and the release of State and Territory guidelines, organisations have been looking towards a return to normal operations and defining what the ‘new normal’ will look like in a COVID-safe workplace.
Despite the gradual easing of restrictions, many businesses will continue to maintain remote working for at least the next few months or potentially longer. Maintaining remote working arrangements will help prepare for any possible future need to return to remote working arrangements should there be future community outbreak or should an employee contract the virus. Both situations may require all employees to return to full-time remote working.
Organisations also need to give special consideration to those employees who are considered most at risk, such as older workers or those that are immunocompromised. For those that have family members in this category also, it may be best that the business eliminates, or at least limits that employees need to travel to the workplace.
For some businesses, both the employer and employees have come to the realisation that they can be highly productive, effective, and happier while working from home. Organisations, mainly in the tech sector, are announcing a permanent move towards a ‘Work from Home’ model for any staff that wish to continue with this arrangement. It is expected that this trend will continue into other sectors where it is possible.
Getting back to business will require a range of ‘return to work’ models and plans depending on your organisation and industry sector. For many organisations, the return to the workplace arrangements will include an ongoing work from home policy to meet social distancing requirements and to minimise risk.
If any of your employees are working from home, you need to be aware of the work health and safety (WHS) obligations that apply to your organisation. You will need to implement appropriate guidelines, policies, procedures, and education for those individuals, to keep the workforce and you, safe!
Drake’s new Working from Home WHS Guide and Checklist is designed to help businesses understand the fundamental elements that need to be assessed regarding the potential health and safety risks associated with having staff working from home. The guide also provides an overview of the Working from Home compliance training and education solutions available from Drake Safety.
Discover how Drake International’s portfolio of Talent Management Solutions solves your people, productivity and performance issues. Visit us at au.drakeintl.com