Should you be letting your employees work from a beer garden?
As we stampede towards summer, beach bags and flip flops in tow, you might begin to see some of your employees pushing the boundaries of ‘working from home.’ While the Maldives looks unlikely for many, the Red Lion’s beer garden is looking very appealing.
So, if your employees’ new address has ‘arms’, ‘inn’ or ‘crown’ in the title, it might be that they are perched in their local during working hours. But how does this impact your business? Do you have rights as an employer to enforce working locations? And what are the potential benefits of alfresco or ‘agile’ working?
Five top tips for employers
While shipping your whole workforce to the local might not be a fit for every business, there are some steps you can take as an employer to cover yourself if this style or working is already in play, or is on the cards.
It will come as no surprise to you that this model of working will not suit every business and every industry. Back-to-back client calls with football fanatics loud and proud in the background might just raise a few eyebrows. On the other hand, for more independent roles where there is little interaction with external personnel, this could be less of an issue. Establish whether ‘remote working’ to this extent is a fit for your business and take next steps from there.
Review your policies
Depending on your individual remote working policy, you may enforce that ‘working from home’ or ‘remote working’ is only applicable to your employees’ four walls, and one IP address. What’s stipulated in your individual policies will impact what restrictions you can or can’t put on your employees. If your flexible working policy is not working for you and your business, then it might be time to review your policy.
Speak to your managers
Check in with your people managers. How do they feel productivity levels are currently? Do they have suspicions this is already happening? Are they struggling with an individual in particular? And most importantly, how can you support them this summer?
Communicate remote working restrictions
If your policy stipulates you can, and you feel the need to put restrictions on where your employees can work from, then this will need to be effectively communicated to your employees. Make sure you have capacity in your team for employees to ask questions in response to this – it could be worth creating a FAQ sheet in advance. The security of the information your employee is working with may be a contributing factor to the restrictions you want to apply.
Review and monitor
Ultimately, if remote working is causing issues within your business, then measures need to be taken. Ensure you have the structures in place to sense–check how your policies are working to benefit both employees and your business. If you need to make a return to the office, then do you have the correct policies in place? Is your building COVID safe? And do you have the capacity in your space if social distancing is still in place?
While the thought of mixing your workforce and an establishment that serves alcohol might ring alarm bells, there are some benefits that come along with this level of flexibility.
The pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of life, not least people’s social lives. As restrictions begin to lift it’s no surprise that the temptation of a ‘sickie’ starts to grow stronger – in fact, a recent survey we conducted showed that 32% of people are considering bunking off work this summer! Unplanned absence can be damaging to your business and workforce. Allowing for flexibility in working locations could just be your ticket to a ‘present’ workforce.
Our research found that 19.5% believe more relaxed managers who support the work life balance would stop them bunking off, while just 3% stated stricter managers would stop them from bunking off. So, if the toss up is let Sandra running the 4pm call from outside, or her taking a free day off due to a “bad cold”, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Employee wellbeing has been in the spotlight long before the pandemic began. However, now more than ever it is important to support the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees.
Shockingly, 57% of indoor workers spend less than half hour outside during the working day. With 65% of people stating their job is their biggest barrier to spending time outdoors.* This is all despite research suggesting being outdoors improves memory, lowers stress levels and increases happiness.
An easy way to do this is to get employees out in nature. While the beer garden might not be a 10k walk, it might just be the change of scenery that your employees need.
Holding onto great talent isn’t always easy, and it’s clear that employees value more than just their pay packet these days. In fact, over 59% of surveyed respondents** agreed that having great perks means they’re more likely to stay at a company for longer.
Ultimately if your team are smashing their target, happier than ever with the flexible working arrangements and getting some vitamin D to boot, then they will bring more motivation and optimism to their working day.
Think it’s time to review your policies to reflect the ‘new normal’? Check out our HR services that cover policy reviews and much more.
*L.L.Bean 2018 Work and the Outdoors Survey
**Sodexo Engage 2021, The value of employee perks & benefits