Wellbeing and working from home, by Marilyn Davy
Why is it important to have workplace policies and procedures?
Policies work alongside employment agreements to make sure both the employer and employee are clear on the expectations and obligations of the employment relationship. They tell your workers what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you.
It is important to have clear and consistent workplace policies and procedures.
They need to be in plain English, simple to understand and match your workplace values and culture and consistent with your employment agreement. Ask yourself “Is the policy fair and reasonable?”
Procedures should explain how things are to be done and linked to a policy.
Policies should not just be discussed as part of your recruitment and induction process and filed away. You should check staff understand what the policies mean, and they reflect the behaviour at work.
In the COVID world it is important to have a Wellbeing policy and a Flexible work policy. As circumstances are constantly changing these policies need to be reviewed and updated as appropriate.
The Wellbeing policy is all about supporting your staff and treating them fairly. Change is a common cause of stress and anxiety at work which is exactly what the pandemic has forced on us all. A good Wellbeing policy should reduce stress in the workplace and help with overall staff happiness and engagement.
Talk openly and honestly, remember everyone’s situation is different. It may feel difficult to talk with employees about their wellbeing and about challenges facing your business. But it’s much worse to avoid these conversations.
More businesses in today’s climate will have staff working remotely from home and have flexible work arrangements.
The Flexible work (including working from home) policy
needs to be fair to the employer and all employees. Consideration needs to be given to those left in the office, who may feel the people at home are relaxing in their slippers. On the other hand, those at home may be envious of the morning/afternoon tea chats that they are missing out on.
It takes effort to ensure that a “them and us” environment doesn’t develop. New ideas/policies may be needed to retain good staff morale.
Well written policies outline the benefits and entitlements for staff, save your business time and money and help build great relationships with staff. They will help you comply with your obligations as an employer and reduce misunderstandings that can lead to disputes.
You can’t expect staff to follow the rules if they don’t know and understand them.
Business.govt.nz and Employment NZ have launched the Workplace Policy Builder to help you easily and effectively create policies tailored to your business.
The tool guides you through steps to create policies tailored to your business. A policy can be as short or as detailed as you need.
Remember that happy staff are your most important asset.