Working from home: a JRS employee’s perspective

This year, we have been living in ‘unprecedented times’ as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. Our ability to meet friends and family, to visit the shops and to work as normal has changed. This has meant employers have had to introduce different measures to adapt to a new way of working to protect employee’s health and wellbeing.

JRS sought to ensure the safety of their staff by moving to homeworking prior to the official lockdown being announced by the government. JRS was designed to allow flexible working and working from home so this really helped make the transition from office working to working from home as smooth as possible, although we admit technology has been a challenge for everyone!

As full-time working from home was a new experience for us, JRS managers ensure to regularly check in with staff members to alleviate any concerns and ensure staff had all the equipment they needed to work at home effectively. As in the office, team meetings continue virtually. Not only does this allow staff to discuss their workload and collaborate to solve issues, it also allows JRS to keep staff updated with the changing landscape of COVID-19 and its effect on working life. JRS has also been keeping staff updated with plans on returning to the office, considering phased returns and how to do so in the safest way for staff and clients. Right now, we still aren’t sure when we will be returning to the office, but we are planning for this for when the time comes!

JRS have also allowed staff access to external supervision from Mandala Consultants. This has been another positive step in protecting staff wellbeing. Mandala Consultants aims to collaboratively nurture resilience and wellbeing within individuals, communities and organisations and to support social change. We are very excited to start working with the team at Mandala!

JRS aimed to keep working life at home similar to working life in the office, ensuring staff have the same support and human contact to prevent anyone feeling isolated. This led to the introduction of virtual coffee breaks throughout the week for staff to meet. This facilitated a catch up, as would happen in the office, with a cup of coffee and a chat about how we were getting on – something which has been a big hit with staff. The popularity of virtual coffee breaks led to the organisation of virtual social events after office hours. Having friendships with colleagues in the office is beneficial for everyone, these social events allowed the consolidation of existing friendships and even the creation of new ones. This has had positive effects on staff morale and teamwork.

One of the biggest differences between working from home and working in the office is the juggle of family and work life. With most people working from home, and schools being closed, it can be difficult to balance caring responsibilities while working productively. JRS has introduced an early finish at 3pm on a Friday for all staff members and this has been beneficial for all staff in maintaining a good work life balance.

I’m sure all staff would agree that JRS have been excellent at prioritising staff health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic and that has had nothing but positive effects on staff morale and productivity! With the help of our amazing team, we have been able to continue working at full capacity throughout the pandemic helping our clients and the wider public.