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Create a Collaborative Workplace During These Turbulent Times

image credit: Illustration 111310066 © Photoking | Dreamstime.com

Management always searches for ways to create an engaged, active workforce. To reach that goal during these uncertain times, utilities need to positively impact employees’ lives. Creating such a culture improves employee job performance, lowers turnover, and attracts top talent.

Nowadays, employees desire flexibility in the workplace. The traditional 9 to 5 job description is being rewritten for a few reasons. Technology advances mean that employees are available more now than ever before, so, the line between their professional and personal lives has been blurred.

Covid’s Impact on Utility Workforces

The Covid-19 pandemic ratcheted up such feelings. To sequester workers and slow the virus’ spread, utilities closed up their workplaces and sent employees home. Traditional routines were shuttered, and new ones created.

As a result, many workers found themselves caring for children who normally would be in school simultaneously when trying to complete their work. In some cases, employees are now back in the office, but many continue to work remotely for at least some of the day -- and all of the day in many cases.

Making a Change

Utilities need to adjust their business processes and expectations. Progressive organizations must trust their employees by embracing work flexibility. Now, employees have less control over their daily routines and need more slack over where, when, and how they do their job. 

Building such a culture translates to improved corporate performance. Utilities that create such organizations have more engaged workforces, greater employee retention, and a higher likelihood or attracting the best talent, according to Gartner Inc.
In fact, Gartner found that 36% of organizations where employees work a standard 40 hours per week in the office are high performers.  In contrast, 55% of organizations that let employees choose how work gets done are high performers.

Emphasize Physical and Mental Health

Supporting associates personally as well as professionally also has a major impact on how well they perform. During these uncertain times, individuals are under tremendous stress because established routines have been disrupted.

Corporate support is important to employees’ physical and mental well-being. When employers develop deeper relationships with their employees, there is a 23% increase in the number of employees reporting better mental health and a 17% increase in the number of employees realizing better physical health.  Healthier employees are more engaged and productive than those grappling with such issues.

The pandemic created dramatic change, and utility management needs to respond in kind. Executives must focus first on employee well-being and second on business objectives. In that case, both the employees and the company benefit.

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Paul Korzeniowski's picture

Thank Paul for the Post!

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