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RE-IMAGINING THE WORKPLACE


Where there is crisis, there is opportunity. Here it is in re-imagining the workplace.


During the pandemic, it has become increasingly important that managers and owners of businesses are best prepared to manage the health and wellbeing of themselves and their employees, particularly when working remotely. This is vital to maintaining a happy and productive workforce.


In response to this challenge, a set of remote and hybrid working principles have been developed to support SMEs with the ‘new normal’.


The principles have been created as a result of research from the Centre for SME Development and the Institute for Research into Work and Employment at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), into the impact of Covid on SMEs.


The study’s aim was to understand better and support SMEs to rise from the Covid ashes, which has led to practical advice to re- imagine work through the new remote and hybrid working principles.


They are applicable to any size SME (indeed any size of business) adopting remote working or a hybrid model. Research-informed, they are designed to act as a guide to respond to the ongoing challenges, while being productive and supporting employees’ wellbeing.


Common sense could probably tell us this, but the research has enabled us to delve deeper into the challenges facing SMEs and identify some of the many ways we can focus support for them.


There is clearly a moral and legal case for supporting employees and ensuring safe work conditions, but there is also a case for productivity: employees with higher levels of health and wellbeing are a happier, more productive workforce.


Prof Sue Smith, director of the Centre for SME Development at UCLan THE PRINCIPLES ASK EMPLOYERS TO:


  secure, sustainable and productive work wherever possible.


2. Support skills development and training to focus on development and progression for the whole workforce.


3. Create a platform to understand the employee voice and create an inclusive work environment to ensure minority voices are heard.


4. Foster social relationships between co-workers to enhance the informal dialogue across the organisation.


  improve work-life balance.


6. Support physical and mental health and wellbeing.


INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY Covid has enforced a drastic shift in the way we work; organisations and employees have had to adapt.


 


Our research showed a key challenge for SMEs is the organisational capacity to manage the workforce, or themselves as sole traders, working remotely, or in a hybrid capacity, while meeting customer needs and maintaining productivity. We look to policy makers to further the anchor institution role and civic duty of higher education institutions in the socio-economic regional agenda and the importance of SMEs in this mix.


Covid has enforced a drastic shift in the way we work;


organisations and employees have had to adapt


Recent studies have shown around three-quarters of directors expect home working to continue after the pandemic, although staff’s mental health and wellbeing and interaction with employees are cited 


CENTRE FOR SME DEVELOPMENT MEMBERSHIP


Membership to the Centre for SME Development is free and can be accessed all year round – the centre provides a gateway to our internationally recognised research centres, the expertise of staff,  sme@uclan.ac.uk or call 01772 894321.


LANCASHIREBUSINESSVIEW.CO.UK


49


HEALTH AND WELLBEING


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