Remote but not forgotten

You may be forgiven for thinking that your employer has forgotten about you if they haven’t been in touch for a while. For those working remotely, or still on furlough, these are challenging times. Yes, the lifting of restrictions is to be applauded, but if you haven’t been to your workplace in 18 months, it probably won’t feel any different.

This has been highlighted in recent research that suggests around a third of furloughed workers feel forgotten by their employers. Further, around a quarter of these felt unhappy with their employers’ return to work plans, whereas only 15% of non-furloughed workers were unhappy with them. For those on long term furlough there must be a real anxiety about their future, particularly if they are employed in sectors that are still affected by the restrictions.

Additionally, it seems that around half of all staff feel nervous about going back to their workplace, which is not helped by the lack of information from their employer and the changing nature of work over the last year.

Those I most feel for are new employees who have changed jobs and been ‘onboarded’ remotely; they probably have not met their line manager face to face, only on a screen, and have no real idea who their colleagues are. This can’t help with team working, bonding and aligning yourself to the corporate ethos. And how do you then prove your worth to your new company?

It is great to have flexible working, with its inherent increase in productivity and employee well-being, but I am sure most of us have missed the social interactions that work gives us. To younger generations communicating by digital means is the norm and many find it hard to talk face to face with other groups anyway, which can only have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Now, many adults as well have got out of the habit of chatting and interacting with peers and managers…

I guess though that this is the future: flexible and remote working with cloud connectivity to your employer and colleagues, digital interactions and no prospect of meeting anyone face to face. And what about the Christmas party?

(Research by Westfield Health)