If there's one word that could be used to describe 2020 so far, it's "uncertain."
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked immense, unprecedented change over how we live and work, and the way forwards is still unclear. To help manage the second wave of the virus, England has just entered a second lockdown; one that some news reports claim may last into 2021.
With swathes of people instructed to work from home until the foreseeable future, there is at least one reliable forecast: remote working is here to stay.
This means that, just as companies have adapted their business practices to the rise of technology, their leaders must now adapt to the rise of the remote workforce.
The route to home working
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report that "before Covid-19, one in three of us worked from home at least one day a week."
This figure rose to 60% in July, with 46% - almost half the UK population – working from home on five days per week.
Prominent companies have announced long-term plans for remote working, including Lloyds Banking Group, who recently stated that staff will be working at home until spring 2021 at least. Meanwhile, Deloitte has decided not to renew the property leases on four of its key UK offices, giving over 500 staff the opportunity to work from home full time.
These reports support the recent CIPD finding that "employers expect the proportion of the workforce that works from home regularly to double (to 37%)" even after the crisis is over.
Issues like the Black Lives Matter movement have shed new light on diversity in recent months. However, it seems that many organisations still aren’t doing anything about it. According to a recent poll conducted by the networking group Black and HR, 77% of respondents said that their workplace has not addressed “what has been happening in the black community at the moment.”
As a result, some employees could be experiencing heightened emotions, or have questions about how their organisation encourages diversity and inclusion.
Here are some ways in which your organisation can demonstrate its support.
Once upon a time, allowing employees to work from home was a flexible 'nice to have' for many organisations. Now, in the face of a devastating global pandemic, home-working policies are helping businesses to survive.
Not only that, working from home comes with an unprecedented wealth of additional challenges. For example, there is a new need for many people to keep on top of their workload, whilst simultaneously educating their children from the kitchen table.
Not to mention those people who do their best work in an open and collaborative environment, now forced to isolate themselves with their laptop (and perhaps a partner whom they are fast realising they don't get on with).
In short, the new rules are very different to those we've ever seen before. It is therefore worth taking some time to review your home-working policy and procedures, to ensure they not only work for your employees, but are able to benefit your organisation as a whole.
After a divisive referendum and three muddled years of negotiations, Britain exited the European Union (EU) on 31st January 2020.
Whichever side of the debate you were on, if your organisation has EU premises, and/or you employ large numbers of staff, there are almost certainly far-reaching changes to take account of.
Although Brexit is by no means complete, some questions are now able to be answered. This means UK businesses can start preparing themselves for a future outside of Europe.