Work from home and limited physical interaction has many limitations but also multiple advantages for both companies and employees.
By Varun Sridhar
The outbreak of novel coronavirus has proved to a calamity for businesses and economies worldwide. Several sectors including aviation, travel and tourism, real estate, auto etc. have come to a complete standstill. Even though the Indian government has done a commendable job in containing the spread of the virus, the country’s business landscape has been hit severely by the nationwide lockdown. Besides essential service providers, all businesses have had to move their staff to work from home and deliver without physical proximity the same products & services.
At realme PaySa we expect this necessity during a lock down to result in a permanent change in the way business is conducted. Work from home and limited physical interaction has many limitations but also multiple advantages for both companies and employees. So if we were to assume this to be the new normal then the biggest risk is employee morale. The challenge is to keep loyalty, commitment, energy, quality and efficiency at similar or higher levels when compared to pre-Covid situation.
Given the extraordinary circumstances, at realme PaySa we decided in early march that it is necessary more than ever before to keep our workforce motivated and positive.
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Transparent communication is the key to keep employees informed about the current state of the organization. If the business has suffered, keeping everyone upto date will ultimately avoid conflicts or misunderstanding amongst the staff and lead to finding solutions than discussing/speculating about the extent of the problem. As a company leader, it is imperative to conduct regular meetings and interactive sessions over video conferencing platforms such as Zoom to communicate with your team. A phone call or video chat with top talent occasionaly, helps people know they are still wanted and we care.
Conduct engaging activities
Remote working, despite its benefits, tends to become monotonous after a while. At office premises, employees get the chance to socialize with others during lunch hours or coffee breaks. Achieving the same level of engagement, however, is difficult in a work-from-home setting. Tackling such issues calls for team-building activities so that the entire workforce can feel like a big family and spend quality time with each other. Another way to keep employees engages is by conducting live sessions that ask gives them a platform to showcase their talents, projects completed or new-found hobbies.
Encourage creativity at the workplace
Remote working can make the employees weary, leading a decline in their productivity. However, as the business environment continues to evolve, only a creative workforce will be able to survive in the post-COVID future. Hence, this is the perfect time to ask employees to show their creativity at work. This will boost moral, and also instil a sense of self-ownership into their minds. You can launch special workshops or reward programmes to recognize the most innovative employees who come up with novel ideas relevant to their area of work.
Provide upskilling training
In a changing world, upgrading skills & knowledge is a constant exercise. The current crisis has just given a full throttle to this transformation and everyone needs to upskill. We need to ensure that the team is skilled enough to adapt to the rapidly-changing business sentiments as well as customer behaviours.Providing upskilling and reskilling training is one of the most effective ways to do that. In addition to technical skills, these training sessions should also focus on creative thinking and emotional intelligence skills.
With the COVID-19 crisis causing unprecedented chaos in our daily lives, it is only natural that employees and team members may choose to be absent on some days due to household chores or familial responsibilities. Exercise compassion by approving the essential/unavoidable leaves of your staff without asking for specific explanations. You can also offer the option of flexible working hours so they can contribute to their fullest potential. Likewise, refrain from judging employees too harshly on their poor performance. Assess the situation first, and then only come to a decision.
The world as we knew has changed, our employees are at the heart of this change. At realme PaySa we have been focused since Day 0 to make sure our employees, interns, partners stay motivated, happy and focused. At the end, we realised that keeping our family together and transitioning into the new world easier together than alone!
(The author is Lead realme PaySa. Views expressed are personal.)