Friday, 08 January 2021 15:07

Not Quite Back to Square One

As we start 2021 back in lockdown, we might be forgiven for taking a “here we go again” attitude. But that would be missing a huge opportunity to learn from our experiences of Covid-19 and to take appropriate measures that will help us to continue to move forward both as businesses and individuals.

Businesses have certainly learned over the past ten months that they need HR. Good HR is agile and adapts quickly. Flexibility in policy application and people management is what enables organisations to continue to operate in extraordinary times; maximising potential for long-term success.

As we now endure Lockdown 3, the furlough scheme will be a lifeline for many businesses, but for others and some public organisations, there is still a need or obligation to be productive and if you have work for employees to do then furlough isn’t really a solution. Below we have listed some concepts learned from the last 10 months that can be applied to keep businesses operational and productive:

  • Flexi-time at home: Many workers will once again be working from home; that’s if homeworking ever truly ended. With schools closed, the burden of childcare will be intensified by the requirement for home-schooling. The pressure can be taken off employees with a simple agreement that whilst in lockdown they can work their hours whenever it suits, provided this still meets the needs of the business. There may be times when presence on an online meeting is required for example, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to weave this into the day. We can offer support with time-management.

  • Hours vs Output: There are long-standing studies that home-workers become significantly more productive once they are removed from the daily interruptions of working in the average office environment. Ultimately, employee performance is about getting the job done in an acceptable amount of time so rather than worry about staff clocking in and out and putting in the hours, focus on output and productivity. Tracking this requires effective leadership to set tasks or goals rather than hours worked. Setting SMART objectives features in many of our training courses.
  • Empower workers to formulate a time plan: Childcare is a significant disrupter of employees’ ability to do their jobs whilst at home. Depending on their tasks and role you could allow staff to propose their own plans of how they intend to manage their time that merges their childcare needs and the needs of the business. Reduced working days that are either made up later, taken as holiday or unpaid leave. For example, two hours less work per day which might only equate to one day per week of holiday.

  • Office vs home based teams: We’ve learned that whilst output soars for some employees, home working isn’t for everyone. You need to balance productivity with the wellbeing of your team. Issues surrounding mental health and domestic abuse have been widely reported in previous lockdowns. Without disadvantaging anyone and with complete agreement from all concerned, establish if there is an option to have some workers always at home during lockdown and some always in the workplace. Alternating teams, a week about perhaps, might also be an option.

Finally, don’t forget the quick wins. Regular updates, a solid communication plan or even a “Team 5” over Zoom at the start and close of each day. Staying engaged with colleagues will help to maintain engagement, accountability and morale.

For help, support and advice with implementing any of the points raised here, are phones and e-mail remain covered. Call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 1100 times Last modified on Friday, 08 January 2021 15:11


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  





We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.