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Retaining talent in a post-COVID-19 work culture

Workplace wellbeing, hybrid solutions and retaining top talent aren’t mutually exclusive - employers need to adapt to a post-COVID-19 work culture.

With the recent news of Britain's 'fuel shortage' and the related impact on road activities, it's thrown the discussion about hybrid and remote working into sharp relief. This is added to the continuing discussion - and headache for many intransigent companies - surrounding transitioning their workplace from an office-based model to a hybrid one.

The UK government has recently issued a plan to make flexible working an employment right from day one, ​​under reforms announced on September 21st. Ministers are set to confirm laws to protect flexible working that were first mooted before the pandemic. Given the trajectory of hybrid and flexible working in recent months, this legislative turn is fascinating and - if not surprising - does accentuate the points raised about how firms will need to adapt in a post-COVID-19 world.

The right to request working from home is clearly a by-product of the flexible working movement and one which all leaders will need to be mindful of as they optimise their teams and utilise digital technology.

As businesses and employees adapt to new technologies and digital innovation continues to shape the way we work, the question of sustainability is also raising interesting discussions. On the one hand, the reduced commuting to offices has lessened vehicle-related pollution, but on the other hand, as we continue to roll out technologies to enable employees to work from home, there is a growing concern about the damaging impact that this could have on the environment. So, just as businesses have had to adapt to a post-COVID-19, so too will the tools, technologies and processes businesses need in order to adapt to hybrid ways of working need careful evaluation.There is no question that digital innovation has only just started its transformation of the way we live, and indeed the way we look at the question of sustainability too. An entire mindset shift is in process, which includes one that prioritises wellbeing.

As we emerge from the trauma of the pandemic, the impact of mental health has risen to the agenda as a priority and it’s an area closely linked to the adoption of hybrid working too, having had the matter forced by the lockdown.Unfortunately, COVID-19 has negatively impacted mental wellbeing, consequently having a huge effect on staff retention. Simply put, the pandemic had invaded people’s work and personal life. As an employer, workplace wellbeing should be at the forefront of your mind. Not just for employee engagement and retention, but because you care. To put this in context, finds that a staggering 89% of workers experiencing poor mental health report a negative impact on their working life.

For employers looking to reset their priorities and perspective of workplace wellbeing but curious about the business benefits, there are many to consider, but it requires a holistic mindset with a long term approach. An increase in productivity is well-known, as stressed people are rarely productive. Equally, the whole culture of a team is hugely important. Not only will a culture based on workplace wellbeing help staff retention, it will help bring in new talent.

Cost benefits are naturally a core attraction for businesses, so the fact that mental health programmes can generate a return on investment of up to 800% - according to - should win over the leaders yet to be convinced. Astonishingly, staff turnover and lower productivity cost UK employers £42bn in 2017, and with mental health reaching crisis point, those numbers are sure to rise. 

From convenience, workplace wellbeing, sustainability and enabling more efficient and successful businesses to attract and retain the top talent, the story of hybrid working and how digital innovation is set to transform this has only just begun.


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