For most, who are used to work from office it was a sudden shift to operate from home, when the pandemic was declared. Though there were number of challenges, to respect the social distancing rules everyone had to adjust immediately. Now with the work force adjusting to the “New Normal” ways of working, organizations are searching innovative ways to calibrate their policies, infrastructure etc. to operate with less delivery disruption. Organizations in coordination with the Government agencies had to quickly decide on the minimum number of employees needed to provide the essential services.
For almost every leader in the organization this is a new situation to handle, no set of guidelines that they can refer to from previous situations. We need to appreciate those leaders who immediately reached out to their employees / colleagues extending their support to help them deal with the mental stress. Initial thoughts and feelings from everyone when lock-down was proposed was that we would get back to control in a month or so, but it turned out to be even bad and no clear finish line visible in near future.
Some organizations quickly realized the opportunity in this situation and even decided that certain percentage of their workforce can operate from home permanently. It turned out to be a new trend and a new normal. Now the question before the leadership team is how do we continue with the same performance and foster in the future. They have to deal with the culture shift also. Speed of trust between the different teams within the organization and also outside is important. Communication has to be more clear, definite and fluid in these trying times. Confusion creates lot of anxiety when one is not on-site and face-to-face interaction is missing, however to some extent it can be minimized via Video conferencing tools but not everyone is yet fully comfortable.
With this, listing below few general observations that can help organizations to deal with the situation
- Delivery and Performance – We are already into the sixth month approximately; it is a mixed feedback on the employee performance and overall delivery. Observation is that the companies who earlier had a policy and allowed employees to work from home partially are the early gainers in terms of business continuity as they are equipped enough in terms of infrastructure and team adoption. First timers experience a bit of jitteriness initially but slowly getting used to the situation.
- Hiring and Firing – Few of the sectors like pharma, health care and partially information technology continued to recruit resources and honor offers released, other few industries especially in the manufacturing and start-up space lot of employees were fired. Organizations need to balance considering all the aspects showing some empathy from employee perspective also so that when this will end it be a win-win for both.
- Training and Empowerment – All in-house and classroom trainings came to a halt, giving way for the online ways of enablement. Organizations needs to consider the attention span, content, flow and learning map to help employees benefit most.
Finally, it is not so difficult or not so easy situation to go virtual or remote. Organizations need to constantly look out for the things to improve, assess the situation and take decisions judiciously.
Happy Remote Working – Let us all calibrate and operate in our own ways.