At the moment, many of Jersey's workers seem stuck between the old and the new.
Some have gone back to the office after the 'stay at home' instruction from government ended - but the office they have gone back to, isn't quite like the one they left.
Others are still working at home - loved by some, hated by others - and that's looking set to be their location for the foreseeable future.
The covid-19 virus has already ripped up our former working practices, and employers and employees across the island are now working out what exactly that really means for them.
In the next of our series, which first featured in Connect Magazine, on how the different economic sectors might recover in 2020 from the effect of covid-19, today we get two perspectives on how the way we work is going to change...
"Covid-19 has brought about many changes and uncertainty to businesses and, in turn, to employees over the last two months. This is set to continue for a period of time, as businesses start to get back to operating, and employees start to face the new reality of job uncertainty, changes to working practices, and an impact on the stability we have seen for a number of years now when our economy was healthy.
Sadly, some business will never recover from covid-19; employment disputes are inevitable as businesses had to react to the situation quickly, and by doing so, may have breached employment legislation. We will continue to see a rise in redundancy programmes being implemented, particularly in the service industries, and businesses having to review their current employment documentation and practices, to work towards protecting the business in case of the same, or similar, situation happening in the future.
Employee wellbeing has never been so important. Covid-19 has, and will continue to, impact on individuals in its own unique way for each person. Employers will be expected to provide support to employees on wellbeing issues, and will have to be contemplating what support they currently provide, and what may be required in the future, for more complex wellbeing needs."
"As working from home quickly becomes the new normal, employers are faced with greater challenges which include data security and staff motivation.
The controls imposed by having work PCs within a secure employee-only accessible area is no longer applicable, and so alternative long-term solutions are required. Tighter policies and procedures will help to some degree, but additional technology is required. With a larger percentage of staff working from home, there is still a risk screens on devices such as laptops, computers and tablets can be left on, while family members, friends and potentially neighbours could view the content. Some devices already have a mechanism to allow the device screen to be locked if the user physically separates from the device, but in the rush to have 100% of staff work from home, earlier in the year, many existing devices do not have this feature.
Regulation such as GDPR and the sensitivity of client data will result in new security standards being imposed. New technologies will likely provide ways to ensure only one individual is viewing the screen at a time, and may also lock a device as soon as it senses the employee is not viewing the screen. New reporting will enable IT and risk departments to track employees’ adherence to policy, and it is possible home IT security audits will occur.
Staff appear to be split by those who thrive on the personal ‘office-scene’ social interaction, and those who find productivity gains by flexible working from home; so it is likely employers will encourage both, in order to maximum staff productivity.
As the new working environment finds its feet, overall productivity will most likely dip further, and many financial services firms will be looking for ways to reduce expenditure. Before firms start implementing a quick fix staff reduction programme, there may be savings on the table in the form of a reduction in office space, a lesser requirement for in-house IT infrastructure, and the productivity gains which will occur as individuals find better ways to work.
There may be a greater focus on new metrics for tracking the productivity of individual staff members. This should encourage staff to keep up the good work and not abuse the new flexibility offered by their employer.
There is so much uncertainty and a general expectation for further economic downturns, so firms will need to adapt quickly and keep staff engaged and motivated."
Tomorrow, we'll be focusing on the private rental sector.
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