National Windscreens head office in Tamworth is rolling out a hybrid working model for its employees, amid changing working patterns and employer attitudes to home-based working accelerated by the pandemic.
Like many employers across the UK, the pandemic situation has revolutionised the way people engage with work. Positive attitudes towards remote working and relative surprise at the level of output that it can achieve have remained in place, even as typical office blocks reopen their doors. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by the BBC revealed that 70% of people do not expect to return to the office full time.
National Windscreen’s new hybrid working policy is backed up with enhanced mental health support to its employees across the business, with new mental health first aiders becoming available.
Susan Venables (pictured right), HR manager at National Windscreens, said: "The coronavirus pandemic completely shifted the way we live and work. National Windscreens had to quickly adopt new initiatives and technologies to ensure employee safety whilst maintaining productivity and meeting customer demand.
"Working from home has become the normality for many of us and continuing to embrace this way of working is essential for employee engagement, commitment and maintaining a positive work life balance."
The Office for National Statistics reported in June that of working adults home working at the time, 85% wanted to have a hybrid approach of both home and office working in future. However, there was some uncertainty among businesses, with 32% stating they were not sure what proportion of the workforce will be working from their usual place of work.
Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
"Businesses shouldn't rush to simply revert to how they used to work now we have experience and evidence that it can be done differently, and with positive impacts on employee health and wellbeing, inclusion and productivity. People generally want a mix of workplace and home working, and the possibility of more choice in their working routines, meaning hybrid working can provide an effective balance for many workers. Employers should be trying to understand and support individuals’ preferences over more flexible working arrangements where possible, balanced with meeting the needs of the business."
Susan Venables said: "We do need to re-engage and reconnect face to face at times, with our teams, managers, and wider workforce. A hybrid working approach like what we are rolling out combines the best of both worlds, with the benefits of occasional team contact in the office, plus the improved work-life balance of working remotely."
National Windscreens conducted two employee surveys in 2021 which resulted in an increase in mental health first aiders, more awareness and promotion of internal and external mental health tools, such as the employee assistance programme and local charities that provide support and NHS apps.