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Rachel's Edit: Workplace Culture and Emerging Trends

As more Millennials and Gen Z join the workforce and progress to senior roles, with it comes a much-needed tidal wave of change for how employees are treated and cared for in the workplace.


Workplace trends are constantly evolving, and companies with outdated habits are being called out for their inability to provide the sustenance required to leave their employees feeling fulfilled.

It's becoming ever more important for businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in order to attract and retain top talent.


If you're looking to create a shift in your workplace culture, or are wanting to have a discussion with your team about their needs, I'm sharing some of the current and emerging workplace trends that we have adopted at Ouma that have been welcomed by our team.



Remote work

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend towards remote work, and many businesses realised the benefits of enabling their teams to work remotely whether that be permanently or occasionally.


At Ouma we've opted for flexible remote working where the team work 3 days per week at the office and 2 days remotely. This ensures we have team members available at our office for client meetings, training and collaborative working, while also providing the opportunity for our employees to work from alternative locations that suit their needs.


Flexibility

As more and more people are working remotely, employers are realising the importance of flexibility in the workplace. We've found offering blended working patterns to be incredibly beneficial to our team, in particular for our working parents and those who are carers. Flexibility with their hours provide the team with the ability to take time out of work to go to the gym, attend university classes, run errands, or collect their children from school.


Our team can work their shift any time between 8am - 6pm. This works for everyone as the team are available to be contacted during the same times as our customers, while also being able to take up to 3 hours out during the day as and when needed. And at the same time we aren't encouraging impractical work hours that could jeopardise their health and wellbeing.

Employee wellness

More than ever we're seeing employers focusing on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of their employees. I have always been of the opinion that mental health should be taken just as seriously as physical health, they are two sides of the same coin. Entirely inseparable and should be treated equally.


Ouma has a substantial Mental Health and Wellbeing programme, which showcases how we're developing a supportive culture and addressing factors that may negatively affect mental wellbeing. Along with this we're providing support for employees experiencing mental health difficulties such as our wellbeing sessions delivered by a leadership coach and burnout specialist, along with mental heath support at work, and time off for mental health days.


Collaboration

Companies are finding that providing opportunities for team collaboration enables a culture where employees can work together towards a common goal, not only enhancing productivity, but also leading to improved problem-solving and decision-making.


It's written on our wall and instilled in our beliefs. We're dedicated to creating a culture of open communication and shared responsibility within our team, and having a safe working environment where the team feel empowered to share their opinions, suggestions and ideas to allow for incredible creative outcomes.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion

In recent years employers have become more aware of how their business policies and culture provide equal opportunities for all people. It's imperative that businesses ensure equality, fairness and respect for all people within their employment, and that they are providing an environment where all individuals feel valued.


In addition to creating an environment that values and champions collaboration, we understand the importance of creating a workplace culture where everyone feels valued and respected. With our updated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy in place, we're taking active steps to removing any subconscious biases from within us as individuals. Our aim is for our workforce to be truly representative of all society.


Sustainable practices

Businesses have a responsibility to the environment beyond legal and regulatory requirements. Sustainable practices in the workplace should be second nature, and many companies are making efforts to reduce their environmental impact.


The Ouma team is committed to reducing our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance, it's become an integral part of our business strategy.

In addition to our work being entirely digital, we are constantly considering what more we can do as a company to improve our sustainability. Living an eco lifestyle is something that is incredibly important to me personally, so I've been able to introduce some of my own practices into the workplace. We work to reduce our carbon footprint and offset our energy usage in ways such as our new annual tree planting activity, where we once a year we plant a tree for every client that has worked with Ouma in the past 12 months. Things such as working from home and using our cycle to work scheme also go a long way in reducing our travel emissions.


It's important to remember to only implement new ways of working that benefit both your business and your employees. I've discovered over the years that creating a good workplace culture is about finding a balance and compromising, it's not a one-sided give and take.

In addition, thoroughly communicating the processes for new policies such as remote working and flexible hours has been vital for our team to clearly understand the guidelines around options available to them.

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