Just days ago, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, appeared by video link to update the country on the next stage of national lockdown. While, for the first time, the update encouraged a return to work for some, any tentative optimism was overshadowed by uncertainty as to what the announcement really means for employees today.
For those now furloughed or unable to work from home, Boris stated: “We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home (…) should be actively encouraged to go to work.” The PM went on to state that we must continue to avoid public transport as far as possible and maintain social distancing measures in the workplace.
And so, the country remains unsure of what phase two in life and work under lockdown really means. Many employees are left questioning what their working life will look like over the coming weeks: Should I be returning to work today and, if so, how do I get there? How do I manage childcare? Am I subject to increasing fines? Could I risk losing my job if I refuse to return to the workplace?
Above all, where can I go for answers?
Alongside speculation around the PM’s announcement, news of a ‘workplace revolution’ has hit the headlines. Workers may soon benefit from the legal right to work from home. The law, if passed, means companies will only be allowed to refuse a home-working request if an employee’s tasks and responsibilities cannot be undertaken outside of the workplace.
It’s clear that the world of work is changing as a direct result of COVID-19. What were, just a few months ago, small steps towards a world of flexible working have now escalated to giant leaps. Rather than adapt at their own (much slower) pace, businesses are now being forced to move with the times and facilitate change for their workforce.
Changes to the world of work at large will indirectly impact your company culture. Employees are likely feeling very uncertain of their futures.
Communication and transparency go hand-in-hand in combatting speculation and confusion around the future of your organisation. In practice, this means regularly sharing company policies, procedures and general news. Your monthly newsletter no longer stands the test of time; even the most disengaged staff are likely to be on the lookout for information from your business today.
With staff working remotely, the risk of incorrect information circulating internally is high. For this reason, taking control of your corporate communications is essential. For many organisations, a flexible and controlled approach to staff engagement is easier said than done. For customers of Cascade HR, however, it couldn’t be easier.
New functionality to Cascade HR, IRIS Engage (powered by our parent company, IRIS Software Group) is your one stop shop for internal communications. IRIS Engage integrates seamlessly with the Cascade HR platform, automatically importing staff data and enabling targeted SMS messaging, email and digital form collection.
With staff spread far and wide, implementing a secure staff engagement strategy bridges the home/office gap and ensures every member of your team knows how to stay in touch with you.
Send messages to groups, teams or individual employees and save time with handy scheduling functionality. Prewritten templates make sharing information quick and easy; your own company branded microsite acts a central location to host secure documents and information, accessible to staff no matter where they are.
IRIS Engage is free functionality for Cascade HR customers – it just needs switching on and you could be up and running in no time. Find out more about IRIS Engage or click here to take the step towards simple, cost-effective staff engagement.