Young workers are feeling isolated after spending 18 months working from home due a lack of communication with their employers.
A new report from software company Advanced found one in four employees aged between 18 and 24 have been working in their bedroom while living at home or isolating in a flat or house share with strangers.
These young employees reportedly feel let down by the lack of time their employer has spent checking in on them, as just 37% have had regular check-ins from their boss since working remotely.
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Alex Arundale, chief people officer at Advanced, said employers need to be more considerate of how their young employees have been working during the pandemic.
She told HR magazine: “While it will be some time before we understand the true cost of the pandemic on young people, HR teams have a responsibility to find out exactly how the pandemic is affecting the budding careers of young employees.
“This means actively listening and responding to their concerns, and then working together to address them by putting in place the right structures, processes and tools.”
Each person is different so their needs will be too, said Arundale.
“HR teams will therefore need to listen and support young people on an individual basis.
“Some young workers, for example, will want to communicate with their boss and their colleagues more frequently than others, especially if they are continuing to work in isolation at home,” she said.
According to the report, 44% of 18–24-year-olds are looking forward to returning to the workplace, compared to 19% for over 25’s.
Over half (60%) cited social interaction as the main reason for wanting to return to the office.
For those who haven’t returned to the office yet, Arundale said team chats are a useful tool to stay in contact with younger members of your teams, as are virtual happy hours and team lunches.
She advised: “Buddying up is also invaluable so that young people working remotely, especially those starting their first ever job, have a dedicated person to coach, guide and support them during what is a very testing time.”
Arundale added HR teams play a vital role in noticing how workers deal with stress and signposting them to the right support.
“And it should go without saying, effective mental health strategies and a company culture that normalises mental health issues can help young workers feel supported,” she said.
Advanced’s 2021 Workforce Trends Survey was carried out online by Research Without Barriers between 11 June and 21 June 2021. The sample comprised 1,058 employees working in organisations in the UK with more than 100 employees.