Returning to the road: healthy and productive habits we’ve learned during COVID

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Increasing productivity is an enigma every employer wants to crack. But it’s not always easy to increase productivity – particularly for your travelling employees. To become more productive employees need to feel happy and willing in their job to want to get better results.

In the wake of COVID, Great Britain and Western Europe employers have reported varying results from employees. Aside from 22% finding it increasingly difficult to measure productivity accurately, 15% of surveyed employers state that productivity has increased amongst their workforce, with 27% saying COVID has had a small negative impact on productivity.

These findings highlight that employees’ needs vary – where some have thrived through the pandemic, others have struggled. The same survey by WillisTowersWatson, also suggested what could be the reason behind lack of productivity. The study reports that 34% of employers have made no changes to support employees with childcare through the pandemic. If businesses don’t listen and deliver what employees require, productivity could continue to decline post-pandemic.

With that in mind, we’re sharing our top six healthy and productive habits we’ve learned during COVID.

1. Flexibility is paramount

Being able to spend time with our families in unlimited quantities has been priceless. When else could we have spent so much time with our loved ones?

This time at home has helped many employees refocus what they deem necessary in their lives – and sadly, for many, that means they require more from your company.

Offering a flexible work pattern when possible, will add value to the quality of your employees’ work-life balance and could increase productivity by 13%.

2. Focus on task-led measurability

Did you know that Henry Ford implemented the 9-5 working day in the 1920s?! It’s incredible when you step back to appreciate the advancements we’ve made in the modern world, but the eight-hour working day has remained untouched for around 100 years!

Encourage your employees to focus on a task-based day. Measure output rather than hours put in. This circles back round to the element of flexibility – being able to build their working day without feeling tied to their work phones until five or six o’clock, can go some way to achieving a healthier relationship with work.

3. You don’t need to check your emails all the time

Your travelling employees might feel they have to be ‘reachable’ at all hours of the day – they’re on a work trip so they should be working all hours, right? Wrong. You need to lead by example and enforce a strict no email after 6 pm policy. Allowing them their own time, just like when they’re at home, almost permits them to stop actively thinking about work.

To increase productivity, Rod Kurtz from Business Week suggests checking into your emails just five times a day. It’s a pretty good suggestion, considering checking your emails leads to responding to new emails and then, guess what, you’re thinking about work again. You need to teach your employees to switch off from work.

4. We need to care more about employee wellbeing

This doesn’t just stretch to work relationships; everyone is genuinely concerned about the health of others. This kindness should be taken forward post-COVID. Many employers have noticed employees have enjoyed time at home and slowing the pace down. Work can be stressful, and stress has a lot to answer for when it comes to mental and physical health.

Being aware of how your employees are feeling, particularly when they’re travelling around the country or internationally, should be your priority. Make routine time to check in on your travelling employees – are there things you could be doing to support them more, or helping them achieve a healthier work-life balance?

5. Importance of clear communication

Communication should play a big part in your business. Between the travelling employee and the client, of course – but what about the communication between your company and your travelling employee?

After COVID, it’s natural that your employees will feel anxious about travelling around different countries. It’s your job to reassure them – from planning their journeys with the help of your ground travel provider to keeping them updated with timely route disruptions or country alerts.

6. We’ve learned to adapt quickly

Everyone in every country affected by COVID has learned pretty quickly how to adapt their lifestyle. This adaptability is something every business should factor into their plans moving forward.

Hopefully, a pandemic like this won’t happen again any time soon – but other factors can play a part in how you operate your business. Embracing digital transformation should be high up your list of things to do now.

Shifting what might have been traditional processes – perhaps travel expense reporting – have highlighted the need for a shift to digital. You’ll have noticed pretty quickly, that sometimes sticking with the traditional processes because they work OK isn’t the answer to business growth in the future.

We’re living in a modern age, and new processes should be researched and implemented consistently. Your business needs to feel ready for change – whatever that change might be.

Read next: Balancing savings & safety in business travel: is agile technology the answer?


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