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Post-Covid 19 work environment requires a “new deal” between employers and employees

Employment contracts and HR policies will need to be overhauled to create a “new deal” for employers and employees reflecting changed ways of working, global consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) has found.

According to AWA new “working together agreements” will have to be drawn up to reflect that for a large part of the time workers will not be going into an office to do their work.

A new report by AWA “The new deal – the post Covid-19 contract between employees and employers”  concludes:

  • For many people, government guidance alone will not be enough to get them back to traveling to offices in city centre locations;
  • Organisations will need to develop “build back better” change and engagement programmes to address employee confidence, negotiate new working arrangements and demonstrate to their employees that office attendance and travel are safe;
  • Many employment contracts and HR policies will need to be overhauled to recognise the new normal hybrid world as most contracts refer to “the office” as the place of work;
  • Where organisations wish to transition to more flexible working models, leaders at all levels will need to facilitate conversations with their employees to identify and agree new models of working for the team that blend individual needs and desires with business needs and priorities.

Andrew Mawson, founder of AWA commenetd: “The post Covid-19 world of work needs a new psychological contract between employers and employees that recognises the unique needs of people at different stages in their lives. Ultimately, the creation of new ‘working together agreements’ will need to be agreed by leaders and teams, nailing down the details of how they will work together in the new world of flexible, hybrid working.”

AWA also found that the human brain’s natural pre-occupation is to maintain our social and physical safety and many people will take time to accept that the risk of commuting to the office is greater than the value of physical attendance. Factors that may influence the perception of risk include age, current state of health, ethnicity, personality, personal circumstances, feelings of wellness and work experiences during the pandemic.

For younger workers, the draw of social interaction coupled with a lower mortality risk may well encourage an early return. In all AWA’s studies, working with organisations as diverse as Legal Practices and Not for Profit organisations, younger workers are seeking roughly the same levels of flexibility as their more mature counterparts, contrary to popular belief.

About Sarah OBeirne

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