Is work from home the new normal for India?

Everything around us changed overnight with the order for a complete lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.>And thus, waking up early to reach the office on time, getting ready, booking an Ola or Uber or speeding up to catch the metro now seems like a dream.

The biggest change this pandemic has brought for many of us has been the conception of work from home. Almost the entire workforce of the nation is now forced to do that. Some have predicted that by the end of 2020 many engineers would go remote.

So how do businesses and HR leaders deal with challenges and find opportunities in this new phase of working from home?

Through this pandemic, new realities have shaped work like social distancing, online or virtual work, self- isolation, lockdowns, closures, quarantines, etc.

1. Finding the right work/life balance

Working at home has removed the traditional boundaries of going to work. It has created additional pressures of doing work along with managing children (especially when children have online school due to schools closures), and it also requires discipline to avoid other distractions like television, internet, food, and family issues.

Managers encourage employees working at home to set proper work norms and routines (e.g., responding to calls on time, finding a private space to work) and to prioritize tasks that have to be done on required time span.

2. Defeating the workplace isolation

Social isolation is a leading cause of mortality, and thus working at home many times creates distances between employees from each other. Here, leaders can promote and encourage interactions among team members with regular contacts via email, video calls, provide beforehand coaching and frequent mentoring by personal “check-ins” on how employees are working, and encourage employees to stay connected.

3. Compensating for the loss due to lack of face to face communication

Reliable and emotional trust generally comes from face-to-face interactions, which are obviously more difficult while working at home. To compensate for this barrier, leaders can go for regular video contacts where employees can showcase their personalities by wearing hats, setting different backgrounds, or sharing personal moments.

4. Compensating for lack of visibility

Employees will want to know how they are performing and also have their contributions recognized. These celebrating moments often happen via casual and straightforward comments in the office. Leaders can be mindful of celebrating success in remote settings by sharing success stories, offering personal good comments to remote employees and giving credit to employees who delivered best results. When leaders recognize and manage these four challenges, remote workers will feel less isolated and more connected, and thus increase productivity.

5. Communication

Undoubtedly, now leaders will need to communicate even more. This includes developing protocols to stay in touch with remote employees, to conduct virtual meetings at convenient times for remote employees, to keep sharing all vital information, and also to engage in both formal and informal communications.

6. Culture

The term “right” culture here is defined as the identity of the firm from the key customer’s prospect. For remote workers, this implies making sure that customer promises (e.g., for modernization, services, relationships) are shown up in how actually remote workers are handled. Leaders in such cases can monitor how the external commitments turn up in internal working relationships by enquiring, “How well are we representing what we promise our customers?”

Companies that flourish have a holistic methodology to working at home. Through attending to coordination, communication, and culture, employees can find more meaning and purpose, learning and growing, and belonging to the community. At Creative Social Intranet, we believe that these challenges of remote working can be shifted from challenges to opportunities that will improve talent, leadership, and organizational key factors in responding to this immediate pandemic disaster.

The Corona pandemic will eventually fade off, but the insights about working at home will suffer. By facing the numerous challenges and recognizing the right opportunities, we dream of a new normal from where and how work can be done. Creative Social Intranet is one of its kind portals that will ensure this digital transformation for your people and organisation covering everything from communication, collaboration, onboarding and engagement and many more.

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