Work From Home: How Companies Need to Build Their Strategies and Maximize Productivity
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The world was taken by surprise when the cases of COVID-19 started accelerating. During these unprecedented times businesses across the globe required to take some unique decisions to be able to keep the businesses running. It is especially important for the Healthcare industry to keep functioning at its optimum during this time. The only option for organizations that are enabled to work through IT infrastructure support was to facilitate the workforce on a Work From Home capability.
It was crucial for organizations to quickly mobilize as many possible employees from the workforce for the Work From Home capacity just as the situation intensified, and start servicing clients with due authorization almost immediately. The process of changing the working paradigm for the workforce needed intense coordination and last-minute preparation. While the process of planning the transition was a priority, employee engagement, and connectivity through the changing paradigm were imperative. Increased levels of engagement with the workforce, was an absolute must to maximize productivity amidst uncertainty and unpredictability.
The industry and organizations, in particular, can consider employing some of the strategies to keep the employees engaged, well informed, and have meaningful interactions with.
Timely Organizational Messaging: It is important that organizations keep the teams informed of the developments within the organization. Whether it is messaging from the top leadership or from immediate line managers, one can create an information cascading protocol and adhere to that. It is important that organizations have a well thought out structure for the information flow. There are many tools available presently to address this need for remote working; one can use recorded videos, limited attendees video calls, or open to all workforce telecasts through various channels.
For organizations operating in multiple geographies various employee advisories need to be released that specify the measures taken by the local government and any employee benefit, if applicable. This would empower the employees with the knowledge that is specific to their geographies and that which impacts them directly.
It is also important for the employees to trust the organization, the messaging should also include all the steps that are being taken to make sure of the safety of the employees. As organizations prepare to move from the lockdown to working at office mode in a few weeks, it is imperative that all precautions are taken by the company be communicated to the employees through various mediums like emails, safety campaigns, social media, and intranet.
Over-Communication: The most important advice at this point in time would be to over-communicate. It is a situation that none of us have experienced before, and when you are faced with undesirable situations it is time to take those unprecedented steps. Although I would recommend that organizations need to over communicate at this time, we need to also be mindful that the information is relevant and meaningful. Organizations need to get their communication machinery active and make sure that there are regular and multiple channels of communication.
Virtual Town-halls: While we are all working remotely, it can also be tough for managers to manage teams and set the right expectations. Timely and regular virtual town-halls can be key to the success of cascading communication format, and in setting the right expectations. A wide range of virtual town-halls can be organized for the right and pointed messaging at the right time. This can be divided based on the seniority and designation of the workforce, and the different verticals that the business operates in. This would ascertain that the right message with the right tonality is being shared with every employee in the organization.
This would also make sure that the managers are equipped with answers to organizational directives while they set specific teams and operational deliverables.
Amping up the Learning and Development Initiative: During this time, teams are working from home, they may/may not have enough work to keep them engaged throughout the 8/9 hours of productive time. This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to develop our workforce. It is the right time to develop and initiate learning programs that can be launched and monitored remotely. These initiatives can cover process education, behavioral development, and/or upskilling the existing workforce.
Internal Communication and Engagement Platform: Many organizations find it challenging to meaningfully engage their workforce, especially while working remotely. I would recommend for Internal Communication teams to chalk out the objectives for engagement and work their platforms backward. With large workforces that have varied backgrounds and age groups of employees it is peculiarly challenging to offer a single initiative that would appeal to all. An organization can prepare a platform that offers participation in a multitude of activities to cover maximum ground. At these times people may feel left out and employee engagement becomes incredibly important to make them feel that they are still a part of the larger organization.
Sessions for Healthy Living: Health and wellbeing of the employees should be on the top priority for organizations in these difficult times. Organizations should take up this opportunity to enable their employees by organizing sessions and creating platforms that share expert advice on this matter. Mental health in particular is a matter of concern at this time as employees may feel isolated and grim due to the imposed lockdown. Messaging that evokes positivity and hope, tools that help them be competitive towards fitness goals, platforms where they can share their activities while inspiring others are some of the ways by which organizations can engage employees for Healthy Living.
The need of the hour is to stay connected and engaged with the workforce. There may be various methods that organizations can adopt to keep the workforce informed and engaged, the mantra is to keep in touch. An engaged employee is also a happy employee which reflects in their outcomes. It is important for organizations to create a culture of transparent communication with high levels of engagement thus inculcating positivity within the workforce during these trying times.