We started Ouro Consulting in August 2020, when Guernsey was in the unique position of life returning to near ‘normal’ within our Bailiwick bubble, shortly after a three month lockdown in response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Our mission was to support organisations through change, to adapt to new ways of working and to emerge stronger, with a particular focus on sustainable continuous improvement and user-centred optimisation of processes and workflows to maximise human capital.

With this in mind, we issued a survey (The Guernsey Post-Lockdown Employment Survey), via social media, to learn about people’s experiences of the effects of lockdown on their relationship with their employer.

66 people completed the survey, giving an insight into how lockdown had affected their work. Most respondents worked from home for the whole of lockdown, with the majority returning to the office afterwards. The responses suggest the lockdown experience may have encouraged some employers to integrate more flexible working including facilitating staff to continue to work from home, but others did not continue supporting home working after lockdown restrictions were lifted.

During lockdown the proportion of working respondents with a good work/life balance increased from 71.2% to 82.1%. However, after lockdown it dropped below the pre-lockdown level. Respondents indicated that they valued flexibility in their work. There appeared to be a correlation between employees feeling respected and their perception of whether they are treated fairly, both of which factors decreased incrementally through and after lockdown from pre-lockdown levels.

Unsurprisingly, the results indicate an upsurge in use of online communication channels during lockdown, which dropped again afterwards, but was still at a higher level than prior to Guernsey’s response to the pandemic in March 2020. The performance of IT systems and infrastructure was reported as a key factor in what worked well or proved a particular challenge to support workers during lockdown.

Following lockdown, only 60.7% of respondents had a positive view of their relationship with their employer and overall the employer/employee relationship gradually deteriorated through and after lockdown.

19.7% of respondents believed their employer was inadequately prepared for a further lockdown should one occur.

If you would like to see our full report on the survey findings, please go to ouro.gg/survey and click the link to register to our mailing list.

These survey results support the growing body of research that points to a need for increased flexibility in working practices and increased investment in staff wellbeing. The business case is clear that the ‘feel good’ approach will also pay dividends to the bottom line. This will need a fresh approach to ensure staff have sufficient structure (e.g. clarity of processes and responsibilities); have a sense of purpose in their work and understand their contribution; and that performance measures are outcome and not input focused.

Are there lessons to be learnt in what worked well and what needs improvement from your organisation’s lockdown experience? How can your organisation leverage these lessons to optimise processes and ‘revive and thrive’ in the ‘new normal’? Is your organisation as future-proof as it can be to respond to a return of lockdown if necessary?

To discuss how lockdown has impacted your organisation and how we can assist you to navigate the “new normal”, please contact us at hello@ouro.gg.