• Nicky Webster-Hart

Isn't it time we trusted our employees?

Home working pre-covid was seen as unusual and a case, generally speaking, had to be made for it. In fact some felt that it was a privilege for their employees to able to work from home and used this as an opportunity to not pay market rate salaries. A lack of trust was usually implied or for some MD’s openly admitted; they liked to see their staff from the glass office they sat in, made sure they were all working and hitting targets and of course, making the boss their coffee, answering their calls, fetching lunch etc.



With COVID the balance changed, those who were not frontline or key workers had to work from home and a new normal of a work/life balance was established (including making our own coffee, getting our own lunch and answering our own calls). Out of the many lessons learnt was that employees can be trusted to get their work done remotely (even if it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea) - it could certainly be done and often with great productivity.


In fact some businesses have now realised that trust is important and have rethought their packages to include unlimited holiday (a clever idea that typically results in a lowering of annual leave days taken), work remotely or flexible office space depending on each person’s need and overseas/remote working allocation. In fact Countries such as Portugal and Barbados are now offering remote working visas.


Or is there more to this? How much is trust linked to employee loyalty and engagement? It seems a logical conclusion that if your employer trusted you to do your job from whatever location you choose and at the hours of your choosing there is a good amount of trust there and in response employee engagement would increase considerably.


So why are there still those employers who want everyone back in a fixed office space? Don’t they trust their employees? As an employee would you really want to work somewhere that doesn’t trust you to get your job done remotely/hybrid or from flexible working options (even though you have been doing exactly that for nearly two years)? You know exactly where you do your best work. For some that is working in an office environment, others prefer the ability to drop the daily commute and work remotely.


After everything we have all gone through during the last few years, surely by now it is time to trust our employees to work the best way that suits them and if you don’t trust them to do a good job then don’t hire them. Micromanaging them remotely is surely a waste of your own productivity and not time best spent. More than that, you risk losing your best employees. Take a look at the freelancing market ask them what their motivating factor was for going it alone and their stories are similar. The lack of flexibility or ability to work remotely pre-pandemic was the catalyst to them deciding to do something else and work for themselves.


HR director has today published an article on a report that has been published by Instant Offices, where over 78% of its surveyed HR respondents said that they had monitored employees accounts for time and productivity. A whopping 94% stated that they tracked their employees emails. The lack of transparency about this and the perceived invasion of privacy, whilst admittedly time spent on company equipment, is almost certainly going to get your employees backs up, particularly if HR departments don't communicate why they you are doing it. The threat of Big Brother looming large won't do much to encourage employee loyalty.


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