Recently published research has shown the plan of Australian SME’s to retrain their staff as a recent survey showed that only one in three workers are happy with their employers investment in their professional development.

The research showed that 74 percent of workers believe that the development of a worker’s skillset and capabilities is an important element in an organization’s overall strategy.

When surveyed about what factors influence an employee to feel demotivated at work 43 percent said they feel undervalued or invisible. The outcome of workers feel unmotivated often leads to a deduction in levels of productivity. 49 percent answered with a loss of productivity levels in the workplace. 48 percent answered with a decline in their mental health and 39 percent answered with a reduction in their quality of work.

SME’s To Retrain Their Staff To Expand Their Skillset

The covid-19 pandemic is also another factor, with a total of 34 percent of Australians admitting to having trouble staying motivated when they are working from home. The results from this survey illustrate that small (21%), medium (16%) and large (44%) Australian businesses are looking to retrain existing staff over the next three months.

“In these uncertain times, it costs businesses significantly more to recruit new staff members than to invest in upskilling them that’s why there is plan for SME’s to retrain their staff. There couldn’t be a better time to upskill, as people are working from home with less distractions. Costs and timing aside, upskilling allows employees to feel more valued within the organization. If staff sense that they will be appreciated more elsewhere, they are less likely to show loyalty to their current workplace and entertain other opportunities,” said Chris Tzalabiras, HR and IT training expert at Koenig Solutions.

The Pros And Cons of Working From Home

There are some key benefits to working from home in terms of the flexibility it provides and the money saved that is usually spent on public transport or fuel. Despite this, there are also some negative side-effects which mean it is important for employees to take care of their mental health whilst they are stuck in their home.

Many people working from a home which they share with other family members often suffer from “time elasticity illusion”. This phenomenon happens when other people assume the worker can spend time on household tasks without it having an impact on the amount of time the employee spends on their paid work. This involuntary overlap of household and work commitments often leads to fatigue.

It is therefore crucial for individuals who are working from home to set-up a dedicated, distraction-free work space where they can foster deeper cognitive processing and stay focussed for longer periods of time. Having a separate room to work from can help separate work hours from non-work hours. This is extremely beneficial as many people have found that there is a blurring of professional and personal space within their home. This has resulted in some employees struggling to switch off from work. This consequently in some cases has negatively impacted their quality of sleep.

Craig Dangar from C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory says that “working from home has been challenging in terms of the isolation and the lack of day to day interaction, as businesses have identified that there has been a knowledge gap. For businesses that have adapted work from home occupancy cost and productivity has been improved, especially small businesses that have been able to reduce operating costs” says Mr. Dangar.

People with office jobs often sit for up to 80% of the time during their working day and on average manage to walk over 3,600 steps per day. This is often due to the opportunities for activity to talk to their other colleagues or to go out to a café for lunch if they work in the CBD area. Without the opportunity to cycle to work or walk to get lunch it is important for workers to make sure that they are remaining active and still getting a daily dose of exercise and movement.

The loss of a 30-minute commute which is often referred to as the “buffer zone” deprives workers of an opportunity to mentally prepare for a big day at the office or a chance to unwind in the evening. It is advised that people who are working from home incorporate transitional periods into their daily schedule to substitute their daily commute. This might be as simple as walking around the block for 10 minutes or practicing meditation before they cook dinner.

On a positive note, working from home can create opportunities for employees to engage in deep work. Being at home especially if they are alone means that there are less opportunities for them to be distracted from their work. This consequently has the potential to help employees fully engage with their work when they are working, and be more psychologically present with their family when they are not working.

Individuals who work from home can also integrate their work time into their family time to benefit the entire family. This could be achieved by using a work break to read a story to their child or to play with their pets or help their child with their homework.