As the world gets used to seeing people in real life instead of on-screen, a return to in-house working is gearing up. But employers should have one concern on their minds as this transfer occurs: their company culture. Returning to ‘normal’ after such a fragmented period of time comes with challenges, and this includes reevaluating the way businesses function. Mylo Kaye suggests three main points to focus on while facilitating the return-to-work period.
Highlight (or re-highlight) the company’s mission statement
If employees have spent time away from the office — whether on furlough or working from home — a post-pandemic workplace return is an ideal time to refocus on the company’s mission statement. Mission statements unite the whole team in a common goal, but when the statement isn’t clear workplaces can feel divided rather than unified.
To explain, says Mylo Kaye, a mission statement should sum up the “who”, “what”, and “why” of the company. Take some well-known examples: Patagonia’s mission statement is, “We’re in business to save our home planet.” Crocs’ is, “To become the global leader in sustainable lifestyle footwear, apparel, and accessories.” Both are inspiring, both are educational, and both are clear.
When you’re focusing on your company’s culture, the mission statement is incredibly important. It builds a company identity, guides the culture in a specific direction, and it aligns staff to work towards it every day. After an unstable period of time, like we’re currently experiencing post-pandemic, a mission statement is exceedingly important. Forbes found that mission-driven workers are 54% more likely to stay for five years at a company. Since businesses are dedicated to retaining their loyal staff in these unprecedented times, now is the perfect time to dust off their mission statement and reintroduce it to the workforce.
Make mental wellbeing a priority
The pandemic has undoubtedly had an effect on many people’s mental health. The death toll, the uncertainty, the isolation — these all add up to poor mental wellbeing, and two-thirds of adults in the UK report feeling worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their lives. This is why it’s more important than ever that workplaces take mental wellbeing seriously.
Mylo Kaye recognises that there are three main offerings businesses need to provide. The first is a sense of understanding. When team members realise that they won’t be judged or discriminated against while discussing their mental health they will be more inclined to speak openly and honestly about it.
Bosses should follow up their understanding with action. Employers ought to be aware of the resources available to staff living with mental ill health, and this should be communicated to the workforce whenever it is needed.
Companies should also be aware of the need for accommodation. The Mental Health Foundation reports that nearly 13% of all sick days can be attributed to mental illness. This can be avoided by talking to your staff about the compromises that need to be made: sometimes this includes flexible working hours, time off to attend doctors or therapists, and a decreased level of stress and anxiety in the building.
Promote flexible working
If there’s one thing working during the pandemic has taught us, it’s that each employee is in a unique situation. Some may have thrived in a work-from-home environment, others may have discovered challenges balancing childcare with their working hours, and a percentage may have been discouraged and unhappy.
This year, EY Global found that 9 out of 10 employees want flexibility in their workplace. With this discovery comes a host of circumstances employers need to consider: where do their employees want to work? How do they want to work? And what about job retention?
Mylo Kaye believes that the prospect of working from home is one obvious outcome offered by a flexible working policy — and its positives are two-fold. Employers stand to benefit from the reduced cost of running an office, while employees have cited an improvement in work-life balance.
Most employers are seeking to implement a hybrid model, encompassing homeworking; flexi-time; staggered start/finish times; and self-rostering. This healthier work-life balance allows employees time for unstructured childcare, emergencies, and the day-to-day life admin that often proved difficult to implement in a nine-five worklife.
The current environment sees more workers than ever who are willing to change jobs. Employers need to move with the tides and recognise that what once was the norm may not be anymore. Job retention and employee loyalty are important to every company, but if businesses cannot give workers what they realise they can get elsewhere, they should be prepared to lose them.
About Mylo Kaye
Mylo Kaye helps companies with coaching, people development, and training. Based in Manchester, Mylo Kaye has more than 10 years of experience helping people communicate and work more effectively. For more information, visit https://www.tawli.co.uk/members/mylo-kaye/.