As the restrictions of COVID lockdown begin to ease, and in-person interaction is finally permitted, employers the world over are asking themselves the same question: what will become the new normal of working patterns?
After more than a year in which much of the working population has been working from home – for the most part, successfully – will we ever go back to a situation where pretty much the entirety of a workforce is office-based?
Or will office spaces evolve, only accommodating perhaps half of the workforce at any one time as the rest continue to work from home (WFH the now-familiar acronym), taking it in turns to come into the office, or only coming in as needed.
Certainly there are signs of life in the London commercial market, with the Evening Standard recently reporting a number of new office developments being built. Optimistic, perhaps – or at least it would be if the assumption were a ‘full-time in the office model’.
In fact, what developers and employers alike currently have in mind is a hybrid model: a flexible approach to working that consists of part-time in the office, part-time from home, in appealing offices with more space, more value-adds, more focus on the environmental impact of the building itself.
The details are still being fine-tuned, and employers will inevitably adopt different strategies depending on the sector in which they operate, their methods of teamwork, the slow easing of restrictions and, bottom line, the productivity of their workforce. But hybrid is firmly on the table.
The era of hybrid
The main question, of course, is for how long this hybrid model is likely to be in effect – and the answer, at least at this stage, appears to be ‘for the foreseeable future’.
After all, many people have thrived in the WFH environment, with the lack of commute ensuring they’ve had more time for family and, dare we say it, for themselves. More time to sleep, exercise, walk in the park, quietly read a book…
It’s not overly surprising, then, that Deloitte research found 61 per cent of workers would prefer to continue working from home more often after lockdown.
Of course, others have struggled with the lack of human contact; Deloitte also reports that 38 per cent of workers say lockdown has had a negative impact on their wellbeing. And even among those keen to work from home more often, a good number will no doubt be open to a bit of time in the office, if only to see and speak to people face-to-face rather than via a screen.
A focus on wellbeing
One thing is for sure, though: wherever they may be, your employees’ awareness of health – and the importance they place on their wellbeing – will have grown during lockdown.
That’s true whether your employees have embraced working from home and are enjoying the extra ‘me time’ the lack of commute affords them. Whether they’re still going to be home-working for now and are struggling mentally with that concept. Whether they’ll be coming back to the office full-time or just for a few days a week.
It’s true whether they’re looking for a way to ease and re-mobilise their bodies after sitting at a desk all day long. Whether they want to achieve a moment of calm during their commute, re-energise during their lunch hour by getting their heart pumping, or wind down at the end of a busy day.
All of which means – with your employees now potentially at home, in the office or a mixture of both – you need a highly flexible employee wellbeing offering. Ideally one that continues to be of benefit outside their working hours, too.
And Wexer’s white label Web Player meets that brief. Offering access to hundreds of premium quality, on-demand wellbeing programmes – any time, anywhere, on any internet-enabled device – there’s something for everyone on this user-friendly platform.
From traditional cardio and strength workouts to dance, meditation, yoga, pilates and stretching – and far more besides. From short format to hour-long sessions. From bodyweight only workouts to classes using gym equipment. Wherever your employees are, whatever equipment they have to hand, whatever time of day they want to take a wellbeing break, as an employer your own label Web Player will provide them with the highly-valued support they’re looking for.
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