One of the positive outcomes of the past two ‘pandemic’ years is the fresh approach to the world of work and now, more than ever, flexible working is key.
At Zonal we have always been open to new ways of thinking – after all innovation is in our DNA. But I have to admit that up until the government’s ‘working from home’ diktat, we were pretty much traditionalists when it came to ways of working.
Unless their job required being on the road, most of our employees came to one of our four offices to do a day’s work: spending frustrating hours battling commuter traffic, clogging up the atmosphere with car fumes and stressing about getting home in time for the nursery pick-up. We’d also sit together, particularly during the winter months, sharing our various germs, streaming colds and coughs.
From an HR perspective, what has been fascinating to see is the impact working from home has had on us as a business. Feedback from our employees has been overwhelmingly in favour of agile working practices and having choice when it comes to working from home and the office.
A hybrid approach is defining the future of working at Zonal.
Extra flexibility has changed people’s approach to the working day. And it’s not just that this approach means we have a happier, fitter and more engaged workforce, but our productivity has improved too.
Absence has reduced more than 50 per cent, in particular from sickness such as colds and flu. This is clearly the result of our employees no longer picking up germs on public transport to get to and from work and sitting with colleagues in air conditioned offices, recycling viruses day in day out.
Feedback from our employees also shows the absence of the daily commute has led to a much happier workforce. Stress levels have drastically reduced, with staff members much more prepared to offer to work overtime when required as they don’t have to face a lengthy commute.
Being a family business and working in hospitality, we are very much aware of how important it is to create a way of working that genuinely offers balance, fulfilment and fun! The positive mental health stories have inspired us as a business to take stock and make sure we overcome the hurdles of a hybrid approach – as it’s not without challenges – as the benefits definitely outweigh any negatives.