Our lives have forever been changed since COVID-19 hit our province. We have learned new terms (like flatten the curve), new behaviours (like physical distancing), and for those of us who were able to do so, new ways of working away from office.

As a learning organization, we want to use this experience as an opportunity to better understand how we can support staff in flexible working environments now and in the future. We surveyed our staff who have been working from home (WFH) during the pandemic and more than 600 Providence staff shared their feedback. Below are some of the takeaways.

Overwhelmingly, staff who are working remotely are:

  • Happy, fulfilled in their remote work situation and enjoy their work.

  • Able to provide quality work, collaborate when needed and have clear expectations on their work from home.

  • Positive in their attitude towards working remotely compared to pre-COVID-19.

  • Keeping a regular work schedule, being active and taking care of their mental health.

  • Talking with their managers/leaders on a regular basis and feel informed, supported and trusted by them to get their work done.

  • Confident in PHC’s future direction, have a sense of trust in PHC and like our culture.

However, the survey also revealed WFH is not without its challenges. These include the limitations of a home office – slow Internet connections, inability to access programs outside the network, virtual desktop glitches and having to use personal devices or not having the proper equipment at all. Also noted was the added stress of caregiving for our staff with school aged children or elderly relatives.

Yet despite these significant strains, the top challenge facing our staff – that more than two thirds of our people reported – is feeling socially isolated and disconnected from their teammates. Many staff expressed missing face-to-face interaction:

“I miss the interactions and organic conversations/idea-sharing that happens in the office environment.”

“Ok to work from home a couple of days/week, but beyond that I would feel quite lonely and miss the stimulation of interacting with others.”

Human beings are social beings and a large part of why we choose to work at Providence is our culture. It’s clear we need to bridge this gap and find a better way forward so our people and teams feel connected to each other – we need to learn a new way of interacting that fosters trust, compassion and connection.

It’s also clear there are many benefits to WFH (no daily commute means less car emissions in the atmosphere), and for those who continue to stay home in these unprecedented times, we remind you there are resources available to support you.

Find these resources and many more on Working from Home as well as abundant resources on Mental Health & Wellness Support on the staff COVID-19 website.

Tackling the bigger issues of social isolation and disconnection in remote work and having the right tools in place to support our staff who continue to WFH is a priority for Providence as we define our new normal. As a start, we have developed guidelines for leaders on working with virtual teams.

Thank you to all of you who shared your feedback and WFH experience with us, and for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like to share additional feedback, please reach out to Tammy Young, Executive Director, People, or to Sandy Coughlin, Director, Occupational Health & Safety.

This page last updated May 28, 2020 6:39pm PDT