Tag: workplace

By Steve Prentice for CEOWORLD

The concept of working from home ricochets around the media like an echo in a canyon, and the stories reveal an interesting duality. First, most employees whose jobs can be done from home actually enjoy it and would like all or at least some of their job to exist there; and second, most managers and corporate leaders want their staff back at the office.

This isn’t surprising given that the culture of work for the past century has been for employees to come to an office or physical place where they can be led and supervised. But for those whose jobs are based largely on the use of a computer, the lockdown events of Covid showed an interesting new possibility. This is starting to shape this century’s second decade into something new and different, one that delivers some truths that many managers don’t want to admit.

Here are five facts about the new work-from-home paradigm:

Most employees actually want to do good work

The fear among many in management is that employees, if left unsupervised, will slack off, as if work itself is a punishment they would rather avoid. Though there will always be a few like this, most employees take pride in doing a good job, are self-motivated, and are enthusiastic about learning new skills. They don’t need to be monitored in order to do good work.

Everything that can be done at the office can be done from home

We all know that we can meet online through video chat and do self-directed work outside the office. But the component that managers always warn is missing — casual time where employees and managers can interact, chat, and create spontaneously — is also available. While some take place in the formal video chat platforms used in great number over the past two years, these interactions also happen in the newer, less formal, and more immersive online environments designed specifically for existing together in a virtual and casual place.

Work and life are blending

The 2020s aren’t the same as the 2010s or earlier. The world has changed and has become much more connected and certainly more expensive. Professionals who struggle to balance jobs with home responsibilities are looking for opportunities that are flexible in terms of work hours and times, as well as those that don’t incur commuting. Not all change is brought about by novelty. Some happens due to realities of today’s life.

Managers are responsible for many employee-workplace failures

In general, managers call meetings and send emails that interrupt the flow of concentration. They make additional requests and announce unplanned urgencies, requiring fast reprioritisation. They approve training and meeting sessions that include too much information too fast or that don’t fit an individual’s working and learning styles. This doesn’t apply to all managers, but sadly is more common that it should be. When teams and individuals are left alone more often, they actually get more done.

People are choosing to work from home anyway

The Great Resignation represents an uptick in the number of people who are resigning from their current job because the ROI just isn’t there. Their desire to do good work has been stultified by the traditional processes and pressure of the workplace. So, in greater numbers than ever, they’re voting with their feet, seeking and finding work that they can do on their terms.

To be fair, there are many great managers out there who are working hard to evolve and to create a better work environment. But many, as well as the organisations they work for, find it difficult to pivot quickly, especially when there’s so much legacy — including processes, traditions, buildings, and floor space to account for.

What can managers do? They need to dispense with the idea of being monitors and focus instead on becoming mentors. They need to establish and demonstrate trust through better, more personalised relationships with employees. And frankly, they need to step back and let their teams do the work that they truly want to do.

 

By Serah Louis for Yahoo! Finance

It’s been over a year since the American workplace turned upside down, with employees quitting en masse in search of more fulfilling jobs and flexible work arrangements.

But as inflation hits a 40-year high, stragglers have found yet another convincing reason to jump ship.

“It’s a worker’s market,” says Andrew Flowers, labor economist at job advertisement firm Appcast. “And this bargaining power, it means that, with high inflation, this is the time to either ask for a raise or to potentially find a better offer elsewhere.”

Another 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, the latest numbers show, nearly unchanged from the month before and still among the highest levels in decades.

While job vacancies decreased, there remain almost two jobs available for every worker who’s looking.

With the rising cost of food, gas and everything else giving all Americans a pay cut, workers who haven’t yet made a move have every reason — and every opportunity — to act soon.

The window remains open for now

The consumer price index surged to a spectacular 8.6% in May from a year earlier, putting pressure on workers who would otherwise be happy with the status quo.

Globally, one in five employees is likely to switch jobs in the next year, with most leaving for a better salary, according to a recent survey by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Over a third are planning to ask for a raise in the next year, though that number is significantly higher in the tech sector (44%) and lower in the public sector (25%).

“Employers know that quit rates are high. They know that job openings are plentiful. And so they know their employees can be choosier,” Flowers says.

The added pressure of rising prices means employers may consider proactively hiking wages to avoid losing employees. Wages and salaries in the private sector increased by 5% for the 12-month period ending in March.

“Employers have a really insatiable appetite at the moment to hire,” Flowers says.

However, he adds, it’s unclear how long the labor market will remain so tight, especially as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to cool off the economy.

How to go about asking for a raise

Whether or not it’s a good time for you to request a raise can really depend on your industry and whether your organisation is thriving, says Chelsea Jay, a career coach based in Lansing, Michigan.

The accommodation and food services and leisure and hospitality sectors have seen the highest quit rates, reports Harvard Business Review, while retail and non-durable manufacturing industries have experienced the most growth in their quit rates. Workers in professional and business services are also leaving in droves.

Flowers says it’s fair to bring up rising prices when asking for a raise, though Jay argues that shouldn’t be the focus of the conversation.

“You can talk about inflation — but more than inflation, I encourage professionals to talk about their skill set and what they have brought to the organization,” says Jay.

She recommends talking to your coworkers about your salaries and doing research within your company, industry, city, state and career level. It’s also a good idea to look into when your company typically gives out raises and bring an estimate to the table at that time.

Nearly half of workers who tried to renegotiate their salary last year were successful, a survey by the job search site FlexJobs found.

What if you can’t get a raise?

If your request is denied, consider renegotiating your benefits. You can look into a hybrid working arrangement or more paid time off, or ask your employer to pay for a professional development opportunity, like a certification course.

That said, Jay warns against relying on short-term handouts, like retention bonuses.

“It’s a Band-Aid to cover up the bigger issue,” she says. “Companies don’t give bonuses every single year. So if you are not happy with your salary, either you need to get a raise from them, or you need to move on to a company that is willing to pay you right.”

She adds that everyone’s priorities are different, and you need to determine what’s most important to you if you decide to seek work elsewhere. In your interview with a potential employer, ask about the company culture, leadership, expectations of your role and the benefits and perks you’re interested in.

“Don’t settle. You’re in a time where you do not have to settle anymore,” she says.

What can employers do to retain talent?

Employers may see higher retention when they promote from within, Flowers emphasises.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to leave this job and get a 10% raise elsewhere.’ But if a worker sees that they have a future and that they can move up the ladder through internal mobility … then maybe they won’t just go take the highest offer.”

Jay also advises employers to give quitting employees the space to be transparent about why they’re leaving in their exit interviews.

It’s important that companies actively respond to feedback by implementing new policies and making changes to avoid losing even more workers in the future.

“[The Great Resignation] really shone a light on the issues that corporate America and these companies are having when it comes to the way that they treat their employees and how they show value and how they show respect,” says Jay.

“So if anything, what it did for a lot of companies was made them realise, hey, we’re slipping in these areas. We need to step our game up here.”

 

By Rachel Pannett for The Washington Post

Thousands of workers in Britain had another reason to celebrate after returning from a long weekend to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. They’re participating in the world’s biggest trial of the four-day workweek, as the global movement toward fewer workdays gathers momentum in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

From fish-and-chip shops to big corporations, more than 3,300 workers from 70 companies will work 80 percent of their hours for 100 percent of their pay — provided they commit to maintaining 100 percent productivity.

Iceland tested a 4-day workweek. Employees were productive — and happier, researchers say.

The six-month trial, coordinated by nonprofit groups 4 Day Week Global and 4 Day Week U.K. Campaign, with researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities and Boston College, and labor think tank Autonomy, comes as workplaces are grappling with pandemic burnout and the phenomenon dubbed the “Great Resignation.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognising that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge,” Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, said in a statement. “The impact of the ‘great resignation’ is now proving that workers from a diverse range of industries can produce better outcomes while working shorter and smarter.”

Similar trials are set to begin in Scotland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada this year. Belgium announced in February plans to offer employees the option to request a four-day workweek, as the government seeks to boost flexibility in the workplace amid the coronavirus crisis.

Belgium to offer employees four-day working week

Caleb Hulme-Moir, who owns a New Zealand-based P.R. firm, Mana Communications, instituted a schedule of nine working days every two weeks in early 2020, initially as a way to hold on to workers as his business slowed during pandemic shutdowns.

At first, they all agreed to a 20 percent pay cut. Business rebounded swiftly, however, and within a month, they were back at full pay. The short week was so popular, though, that they kept it. His staff in Sydney and the New Zealand capital, Wellington, alternate between four- and five-day weeks — a move he sees as a steppingstone for a small business with not enough workers yet to be able to move to a four-day week and still be available for clients every weekday.

“I’ve always toyed with the idea of a short working week. It’s good for staff retention in a hot employee market,” he said. “People love it.”

Several large-scale trials of a four-day workweek in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 found workers were productive and happier, recording fewer instances of stress and burnout.

In the United States, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) has proposed a bill that would reduce all standard workweeks to 32 hours, requiring overtime pay for anyone working beyond that. A number of companies in the United States have tested the four-day workweek model.

Four-day weeks and the freedom to move anywhere: Companies are rewriting the future of work (again)

The 40-hour workweek became the norm in the United States following the Great Depression; the government saw it as a way to address an unemployment crisis by spreading work among more people. During the Industrial Revolution, it wasn’t uncommon for employees to work six days, for 70 hours or more.

Automaker Henry Ford was among the first to switch to a five-day workweek in 1926. Ford argued that his employees were more productive in fewer hours. In 1933, the Senate passed, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt supported, a bill to reduce the standard workweek to only 30 hours. He later changed his mind, amid an outcry from businesses. The 40-hour week was legislated by Congress in 1940.

In the latest trial, involving 70 companies, researchers will measure the impact on productivity in the business and the well-being of its workers, as well as the impact on the environment and gender equality.

“We’ll be analyzing how employees respond to having an extra day off, in terms of stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel and many other aspects of life,” said Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and a lead researcher on the trial.

The first day of the trial, Monday, wasn’t entirely auspicious: It coincided with a strike by thousands of London transport workers that brought Britain’s capital to a standstill, perhaps underscoring the pitfalls of commuting.

Gillian Brockell contributed to this report.

 

The multigenerational workforce demands balance The pandemic has underlined the importance of values in the workplace – a factor made even more critical as we go through a generational shift in the business space.

The current workspace is usually mapped across four generations: a few Baby Boomers, some Generation X, and an ever-growing cohort of millennials and Generation Z. Each is characterised by its varying values and unique approaches. A challenge facing modern managers is in ensuring quality output, innovation, and teamwork in such a diverse workplace.

The key to managing a multi-generational workforce is leadership. Nokwanda Shabalala – the first woman commercial general manager at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa – is a prime example of such a leader.

Shabalala has learned to navigate several multi-generational workspaces, the legacy of male domination, and the Covid-19 pandemic using versatility and an open-minded approach.

“This is the first time we have had so many generational groups working together – and it can be quite a challenge,” she says. “Generation Z and Generation Y place great emphasis on the impact of their work on the environment, and on communities. These generational groups also demand a work-life balance.”

Shabalala says that while earlier generations might have always prioritised work as a definition of a good work ethic, the values of the current generation are forcing professionals to re-evaluate that mindset.

“My professional career started in investment banking, which is renowned for being output driven, but my professional journey since then and my role at CCBSA has encouraged me to re-evaluate my understanding of work ethic. It is an ongoing process for me.”

She says she has learned to value balance, boundaries, and compromise – not just between work and home life, but between the sometimes-competing needs of her team members.

“My leadership style is collaborative and places a lot of emphasis on allowing people I work with to apply themselves and grow, rather than just doers. I prefer not to give answers but rather collaborate with my team to derive answers. It promotes ownership of the solutions and greater desire to perform from the team.”

By Faeeza Khan for Flux Trends

The earlier months of the pandemic saw younger workers moving from mostly service-based industries to better paying positions or relying on government subsidies in what has been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. Since then the US has begun to see a shift towards older workers mostly in permanent positions, particularly knowledge workers, resigning in what is now being dubbed ‘The Great Midlife Crisis’ by Columbia Business School professor Adam Galinsky. He says, “At the midpoint of life, we become aware of our own mortality, and it allows us to reflect on what really matters to us.” The pandemic has amplified this phenomenon. Dan Springer, the CEO of DocuSign, suggests that leaders are looking at this in the wrong way and that it should be reframed as what can businesses do to attract staff instead of what can they do to stop them from leaving in the first place. He calls this ‘The Great Embrace’.

Quirky, novelty benefits such as sleep pods and ping pong tables are less important to workers in the current post-pandemic landscape. People are resigning for more substantial benefits such as flexibility and meaning. The cost of failing to understand the needs of the workforce is a loss of access to the best and brightest talent. Employees will resign in the search for better benefits or meaning, and new employees may be difficult to attract. Mandating that workers return to the office, for example, has been facing a backlash from employees, the vast majority of whom, according to research, prefer more flexibility.

Businesses need to clearly understand what their employees need and offer them benefits accordingly; the most significant one being added flexibility. Consider a more hybrid approach instead of mandating employees back to the office, and offer employees the support they need to work effectively remotely. The pandemic has given people a taste of remote work and employees are not ready to give this up. Workers are choosing companies whose mission aligns with their personal values. Businesses should consider taking a stand on important societal issues which will attract and retain staff who support these causes. Overall, being supportive of a healthy work life balance will go a long way towards keeping employees happy.

 

19 May is Work Happy Day. From the first cup of coffee to the time you turn off your computer, you need to have a positive experience when working in the office – whether a home office or formal corporate office.

It is important how it is designed, what furniture you are using and what products you have available.

Small changes can recreate an environment

Source: Business Furniture Solutions

Most of us just want to get on with our core business, we want to catch up on lost time and hopefully regain our previous business momentum.
And while discussions around the hybrid office & remote working might apply to companies with large workforces and global policies, most of us need our team back around us…and maybe we need to make a couple of changes to encourage them back:

Softer spaces

After working from home, a softer more domestic feeling in the workplace could be key. Space to sit back & catch up, space to scheme & dream, and space to talk more privately – away from the gossips.

Focus nooks

Escaping from barking dogs, noisy kids and hooting delivery vans is another added benefit of getting back to the office.
Capitalise on that need and set aside areas where staff can focus in silence, avoiding work related distractions that now replace home noise.
Allocating existing meeting rooms or empty offices can work. Acoustic furniture is another option.

Places to meet

Now that we are all experts on Zoom calls, Microsoft teams and Google meet, we are finding it so much richer to engage face to face, relating to subtle nuances and body language again.
Places to meet and brainstorm, to problem solve and dream together might now need to include online discussions, and the need to share working documents.

 

With hybrid work, the workplace is no longer inside the four walls of the corporate office—it’s an ecosystem of employees working from home, in co-working spaces, and the office.

“It offers employees the autonomy to choose to work wherever and however they are most productive,” says Linda Trim, director at Giant Leap.

“But while it is conceptually appealing, it’s fraught with subtleties and risks. For instance data shows the longer people are away from one another, the less they trust each other. This is true for leaders and employees, and for colleagues.

“When it comes to work, distance does not make the heart grow fonder.”

So what are the biggest mistakes businesses make when implementing hybrid working?

1. Treating talent as transactional

It’s important company leaders work to rebuild and maintain trusting relationships — with and among their employees. Those that don’t risk increased attrition, lower productivity and stalled innovation. People want to feel like they belong, feel valued and have a sense of work-life balance.

“Focusing only on the effort to attract and retain talent on pay and remote work policies creates a purely transactional relationship which undermines the importance of the workplace.

When office architects Steelcase, who are represented by Giant Leap sister company Inspiration Office in South Africa, surveyed 5000 people in 11 countries, they found that people who like working from the office are 33% more engaged, 20% less likely to leave and 9% more productive.

2. Changing policy, not place

By adopting hybrid work models and transitioning to more unassigned spaces, organisations are creating a new group of workplace nomads.

Not surprisingly, when people work in the office they’re more likely to sit in the open, where co-workers might be even more distracting than the kids or the dog at home. According to the research, it is also not surprising that currently more individual contributors (57%) than leaders (37%) sit in the open. This difference in the level of control people have over their privacy at home compared to the office could contribute to why some people prefer the dining room table.

Yet, right now, people at all organisations are increasingly dropping assigned spaces.

The workplace needs to do a better job drawing people in and creating an engaging culture. Offering people a destination — such as a team neighbourhood — can give them a sense of belonging, a comfortable, familiar place to find their teammates and feel at home. Having the ability to reserve a workspace can help people know what to expect when they arrive at the office if spaces are not assigned.

3. People want control and belonging

Leaders are focused on creating more flexible policies, but hybrid models alone do not address other important factors like a desire for control, a sense of belonging and a need for privacy.

Many leaders are shifting to hybrid work models with good intentions — to give people greater autonomy and control over their work-life. But hybrid policies alone will not address the control and sense of belonging people are seeking. They want a destination and a place to call home at work.

According to the research, people are more likely (55%) to choose an assigned workspace over more remote work when given the choice.

4. Forgetting about focus

New hybrid work habits mean people are spending more time on video — alone and with teammates. In fact, people say hybrid collaboration in the office is more important now than pre-pandemic. But, collaboration isn’t the only need.

So while some are considering a “collaboration-only” workplace, if leaders intend to entice people back to the office, people also need access to private spaces. Without options for privacy, the workplace won’t address how work really gets done. People who make the commute into the office are unlikely to collaborate all day long. Three of the top four elements people value more now relate to access to private spaces: 64% of people valued hybrid collaboration space, 62% single person enclaves for hybrid meetings while valued privacy.

“Giving people more options for the office privacy they crave can mean a lot of things — private offices, workspaces with enclosures that provide visual privacy or reservable enclaves or workspaces, “ Trim concludes.

 

By Thandazani Ngwenya, client executive at 21st Century

There is a lot of research about the varied needs and world views of different generations. In this article, a working millennial discusses how work looks through his eyes and what has changed in comparison to how his parents did it.

The age of instant gratification

I am in month three of the world of work, in my first job and an excited employee. As a millennial, flexibility, accessibility, ease and instant gratification are part of our ‘genetic make-up’.

The very first work experience

Technology and its advancements are very familiar to me. Growing up in the digital age meant that a large portion of my relationships, both personal and professional, were established online. My career, in terms of how I positioned myself, was conducted on a virtual basis; for instance, via LinkedIn, and unlike my parents’ era, I was not confined to physically having to deliver my CV. My job search was made easier by access to technology.

This is an element that I have come to associate with my current world of work, where seeking and starting work during the global pandemic meant that relationships were established on a virtual basis. I met the majority of my colleagues via platforms like Zoom and Microsoft teams. The relationships were not difficult to establish or maintain. In fact, I believe these circumstances made people more accessible at all levels of the organisation, including management.

Being raised in the digital age made me accustomed to a life that is characterised by access, increased usability, and to a degree, instant gratification. These are characteristics and expectations I have brought to my workspace.

Was it different to what you expected? In what way?

It was VERY different! I grew up observing not only my parents but extended family and their friends, donning three-piece suits for interviews, having to physically submit CVs to HR representatives and attending activities such as interviews and onboarding/orientation in person to outline a few elements.

Transitioning from university into the real world with that as the basis for how I have come to see the working world was quickly displaced by technological advancements and the COVID pandemic. For starters, my interview was conducted virtually, and I had attended a funeral on the same day, which prompted me to conduct my interview from a car in a different province than that of my prospective place of employment.

This scenario embodies my attributes as a millennial. It was convenient, easy (not bound to the traditional brick and mortar confines) and allowed for flexibility. When I got the job, my orientation into the organisation followed a similarly flexible path. It was conducted both virtually and in person. And because of the remote element, I had the opportunity to form relationships with some of my colleagues that I would not have ordinarily had access to.

The hierarchical divide I expected was not the same as how previous generations described it. The channels of access were opened immensely, with immediate access to executives and management.

My outputs were within my control, as if I had become the CEO of my own enterprise, motivated to produce work and achieve optimal results, not because of constant supervision but because I was driven. For me, I believe this is an important responsibility when flexibility and an excess in freedom is introduced.

I have come to understand the culture of my new company, and see that it is likely I would have experienced a non-hierarchical entity in any event. But I have been impressed at the adaptability and strength of relationships and culture, particularly at this early stage of my employment.

As days roll into nights, into weeks, months, years… we are prone to changes at the core of our existence as humans, having to adapt as life evolves. Society at large is not immune to this evolution and the world of work is vastly different from the way it was introduced to me from a spectator’s point of view.

What does it all mean?

Flexibility in today’s world of work for me is indicative of an ability to structure my life in the way that I see fit. For instance, I have been able to dabble in online courses in between my breaks, learning new skills on YouTube or just spend time reading a book.

A flexible work structure takes away the notion of surveillance, and with that, an ability to accurately measure productivity in its traditional sense. As a millennial, I feel like a CEO of my own job, where flexibility has given me the ability to take responsibility and become the ‘boss’ of myself. My pay is influenced by everything I do every day; my job satisfaction is up to me; my learning and development is in my own hands.

Accessibility as an element of my ‘genetic make-up’ is experienced in the way that the communication lines between myself, my superiors and my colleagues have opened up, replacing the hierarchy I expected with a harmonious openness and access to other team members.

Post-pandemic, most office workers are looking forward to returning and increasingly say they prefer to spend the majority of their workweek there too to meet face-to-face, socialise, brainstorm, and connect with each other again.

Linda Trim, director at Giant Leap, says that while workers have some new needs and expectations driven by COVID-19, most of the issues and trends raised were already here pre-COVID — and were just exacerbated by the pandemic.

Here are five workplace trends that have been accelerated and now are driving priorities for the new post-pandemic office:

1. Mobile

“Workers will now expect the ability to work remotely and the autonomy to match work to the right setting far beyond the pandemic”, said Trim. “Our pre-COVID research has consistently shown that people who spend at least a portion of their typical workweek outside the office have higher workplace satisfaction and score higher on indicators of innovation. She added that people working in a “hybrid model” – balancing days at the office with working from home – appear more deliberate with how they use their time and have higher job satisfaction overall.

2. Choice

Employees’ variety of work settings must now include the home. Said Trim: “Workers’ desire for choice in the workplace is not new. We find that employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work were seen as more innovative and higher-performing.” Our previous research found that innovative companies spend more time collaborating away from their desk and spend only about 3.5 days (74%) of their workweek in the office. Many workers depend on specific resources at their office. But the nature of work is changing — we’re becoming more versatile, agile, and collaborative. We need a wider array of solutions — both inside and outside the office.

3. Privacy

Many workers already struggled to find privacy in the workplace — now they expect to maintain the privacy they have become accustomed to at home.

“The trend toward more open environments has led to the rise of shared or unassigned seating to provide more space for collaborative areas for group work, but to the detriment of space for focusing or personal use,” says Trim.

Employees don’t want a complete reversal of these trends, but better space allocation. In our consulting, we find that “mostly open” workplaces were associated with higher performance and greater experience, but noise, privacy, and the ability to focus remain key determinants of workplace effectiveness. Striking the right balance will be key in the future.

4. Unassigned seating

Just months before the pandemic sent office workers home, global design and architecture firm Gensler reported in a 2020 Workplace Survey that workplace effectiveness was in decline. And those in unassigned seating were struggling the most. Says Trim: “In South Africa we’ve noticed workers overwhelmingly favour a desk assigned only to them and are typically not willing to trade an assigned desk for increased flexibility to work remotely. Organisations will need to develop clever space reservation programs to balance space utilisation, employee and team schedules, and safety.”

5. Health & well-being

“People expect health and wellness to be built into everything. As workers reprioritise the importance of health and well-being, employers now face mounting pressure to combine indoor and outdoor spaces, nudge healthy behaviours, and support a sense of psychological well-being.”

Across the globe, workers have experienced working from home, and many find their home environments provide greater comfort. Employers must now work harder to establish how their offices and workplace policies can support health and well-being.

“Now is an opportunity to create spaces where employees not only want to be, but to do their individual and collective best work,” Trim concludes.

Source: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has outlined some of the key considerations for employees returning to work this January.

Returning from holiday and working from home

Where an employee is able to work from home while quarantining, the employee may do so and will therefore be entitled to their full salary. In cases where an employee is unable to work from home, the employee may make use of their annual leave for the quarantine period.

Where an employee has exhausted their annual leave, the principle of no work no pay will apply and the employee will be placed on unpaid leave.

Employers should alert employees to the fact they will be required to self-quarantine upon return from a hotspot area and that they will need to make use of annual leave or unpaid leave for this period where they are unable to work from home.

Under the exceptional circumstances of Covid-19, requiring an employee who has returned from a hotspot area to self-quarantine, it can be argued that this does not amount to unfair discrimination

“Unless the employer can show that the conduct of the employee has damaged the employment relationship in some way, the employer is not entitled to discipline the employee for their conduct outside of the workplace,” Cliffe Dekker Homeyr said.

“A balance must be struck between an employer maintaining a safe working environment post the holiday season and an invasion of an employee’s privacy. Employers can only encourage employees to adhere to government protocols outside of the workplace.”

Obligations at the workplace

In terms of the adjust level 3 regulations, an employer has the following obligations and responsibilities:

  • To adhere to all sector-specific or other health and safety protocols issued to date;
  • To appoint a compliance officer to enforce compliance with the adjusted level 3 regulations and all other health and safety protocols issued to date;
  • Prohibit employees from entering the workplace or performing their duties unless an employee is wearing a face mask;
  • Determine the floor plan area of the workplace and the number of persons who may enter the workplace based on the floor plan area, while still maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres;
  • Ensure all persons queuing either inside or outside their premises maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres;
  • Take measures to enforce physical distancing of 1.5 metres in its workplace, including implementing measures such as remote work, restrictions on face-to-face meetings and taking special measures in relation to employees who are considered vulnerable due to their age or co-morbidities;
  • Provide hand sanitisers outside its premises.
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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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