The Pandemic has severely impacted lives, with many ripple effects – a huge one is the disruption to almost every aspect of daily life, including work. Leaders who are managing a team in WFH mode or working remotely thanks to the Pandemic outbreak, will attest to the fact that they & their colleagues really find the transition from coming into a workspace every day to working from home to be quite stressful and different.
But change has been the one constant in the pandemic and companies, leaders, managers & professionals must gear up to adapt to new situations, working styles, reporting modes and work itself, as business continuity remains the norm and remote working goes mainstream. Till a few years ago, the idea of working remotely was unimaginable.
Now, remote work and telecommuting are fast becoming mainstream, because even the businesses with online partnership firm registration are recognizing the remarkable impact a work-from-home scenario has on finances, productivity, and employee wellbeing. Moreover, productivity has been proven to increase when employees are WFH.
Korn/Ferry International, in a survey, found that remote employees are as or more productive as their in-office colleagues; 78% of managers said. But then, there’s a downside to this – as productivity, efficiency, and innovation rise in a remote environment, work culture often falls by the wayside. The main drawbacks of remote working feelings of isolation and lack of personal interactions and feelings of isolation. Organizations and leaders will need to work hard create and sustain a happy virtual workplace, or risk losing top talent and reduced morale of the team. Staying connected while showing compassion are great ways to boost team morale during this uncertain time.
Stay in Touch: People’s health and wellbeing is a priority during a public health crisis like the pandemic. Schedule a reminder to enquire with your team daily about their physical and mental wellbeing. In these stressful times, people could be experiencing stress or anxiety about personal health, the health of their loved ones, economic uncertainty, and overall state of the world.
Ensuring the team is equipped to deliver: For employees, having the right equipment on hand to work with really increase productivity and help to reduce stress. Empower the HR team to provide the requisite equipment to people in the team (where required) with someone to guide them on troubleshoots, tech issues etc…
Being Open and transparent: Being transparent about issues can help build a confident, motivated team. These are extraordinary times and frank communication will keep everyone on the same page. Be open and clear about whatever you share and ensure that they know whom to reach out to in case of any specific queries.
Technology is a great help: Especially when the leader is not meeting everyone everyday, communication is very important with businesses turning be more agile. While using chat programs like Slack or Teams, a dedicated channel for your team will boost productivity. Conducting regular check-ins over Zoom and GoToMeeting will help to drive agendas and achieve targets.
Online meetings are in: Ensure everyone on the calls turns on their system’s cameras – you can communicate directly, resolve issues and also set agendas. If you are seeing people you are speaking to, you can view their body language and see expressions. Also, if some team members are practicing social distancing or self-isolation, it can help them to feel more connected and included.
Go beyond just work: Virtual just cannot replace real – this reality has hit home – hard. The conversations and camaraderie over coffee or the water-cooler meetings are of course missed. Why not have someone host coffee breaks on video chat? Have an informal channel where team members can share their WFH experiences in short paragraphs, or photos, or of their pets, etc…This can help to replace the bonding exercise which is normally part of the working day.
Guidance & Counselling: Any form of change often meets with resistance. Especially if it involves moving from an organised, set routine in the work-place to an unforeseen WFH scenario. This can definitely cause stress, worrying, anxiety etc…for some team members. It would be helpful to have a senior member of the staff and HR available to speak to team members like these. These staff members can hand-hold them and ensure a smoother, better transition to remote working.