As employers move to a post-Covid world, one of the main points of contention is what may cause business disruption and organisations are still divided.
A recent study has discovered that 33% of employers are looking to bring the employees back into the workplace fulltime. A further 28% of employers planning a 3 day per week approach. The Study also discovered that nearly 15% of employers are looking to implement a system of complete flexibility. This approach will allow employees to choose where they would prefer to be located.
During the current time of uncertainty and confusion, organisations have had no option but to change the approach towards the workforce and their location. Many companies voiced concerns for disruptions to operations as employees return to the workplace. The most common answer, identified by 37% of organisations, was a worry of staff absences due to the policies currently in place. In addition, 27% voiced concern on the hardship of keeping all involved happy when deciding a plan for the future.
4% of organisations listed the refusal of staff to return to work as their most pressing concern. It is surprising that the majority of organisations are not concerned about individual disputes. This is surprising as the potential for division between employer and employee is very high due to the uncertainty and difficulties for all involved when planning a return to normal operations.
The matter of individual disputes and staff refusals is still a factor many companies should consider despite the small number of organisations that voiced their concern. Our senior HR advisor, Claire McGuinness, produced a guide for employers who are dealing with employees refusing to return to work and can be seen here.
Due to the uncertainty and ever changing environment, it is imperative that organisations ensure a smooth transition to the roadmap they set out for the future. Doing so will avoid further confusion and difficulties for both employer and employee and therefore reduce the likelihood of disruption. Therefore organisations should ensure that any contract changes are documented and any changes to how often employees are attending workplace is specifically stated to avoid confusion. In addition to this, it would be useful to check that any policies in place are fit for purpose and update any policies in need accordingly.
Another useful way to ensure a smooth transition is by ensuring an agreement is in place between employer and employees, before introducing any new decisions. This is to ensure that the decision will not discriminate. It is imperative to ensure an agreement with employees if the employer wants to seek a contractual change, especially as for many organisations, a hybrid approach is untested and there are many legal, practical and HR implications for organisations that take a hybrid approach.
If an employer is unsure of how an approach will result, employers should implement a trial period to test how the changed will impact the business operations. An employer is required to tell the employee of any decision made within three months. Therefore organisations could take 3 months to determine if the new approach to operation is the best course of action before permanent implementation.
It is very important to ensure a smooth transition to a post-Covid strategy for both employer and employee. If you would like to speak to one of the team about how you can avoid disruptions to business, please feel free to contact us.
If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the topics within this article further, please get in contact with the HPC team today.
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