Never Grow Up
Remote Working Lessons From the COVID Era
While working remotely wasn’t a concept that came into being during the COVID era, it still wasn’t a frequent or normal style of working for most organisations out there. Covid-19 normalised working from home by leaving people no other option, and thus made everyone realise that it’s not as impossible as they once thought.
While learning to deal with remote working was how it all began, very soon most of us mastered it and realised the benefits and best practices. It told us so much more about work-life balance and other lessons in remote working that we may not have otherwise learnt. With experience comes wisdom they say, and the pandemic did end up making us wiser in some areas. It taught us some valuable lessons in remote working which can make the future of work more seamless.
WFH Fosters Inclusion and Diversity
Not working under the same roof during the pandemic has opened a large number of avenues to embracing diversity at the workplace. Talented candidates who on other days would not have been the right hire because of logistical reasons now have a solution in the form of remote working. This work scenario is more convenient and comfortable for people with disabilities, as recruiting them no more faces the roadblocks of non compliant commutes or office spaces. The same goes for new and single parents, or employees who are the primary caregivers in their family. This is because they can now be more productive while functioning remotely, unlike times a lack of workplace flexibility hindered their professional advancement. Getting a diverse set of employees onboard with the help of the best talent consultants, will only work in favour of the organisation.
Communication is Key
With employees working away from each other, a quick and clear internal communication strategy proved to keep everyone informed and together with every update and decision taken by the organisation. It helped organisations avoid rumours and alarmist news during the crisis situation, and also helped to ensure that employees are up to date with their responsibilities. Such seamless conversation reinforced the importance of face to face conversations and at the same time, reminded us to be thankful for technology and its far-reaching impact.
Health - Priority of the Highest Order
Many times in the pre-COVID era, employees would sideline their health in order to check things off their task lists. Many employees went off to work even when sick - but it was the pandemic that made everyone put their health before anything. In fact, it even opened up conversations around mental health - something that wasn’t as frequently discussed otherwise. This shift mainly came into being with many people experiencing loneliness, anxiety and depression during the lockdown. Organisations devised programmes around mental health awareness, equipped employees with therapy or counselling sessions to help them cope with any issues they were facing. This change is a positive one, and must absolutely be carried to post-COVID era.
Upskilling Employees is Crucial
Employees from across generations who don’t usually need to depend on technology found this reliance to be a little nerve-wracking. With this, many organisations realised the importance of training and upskilling employees now that the IT department staff isn’t accessible to solve minor glitches. At the same time, this brought organisations to ensure that every employee is fully equipped with all the technical support they need to function seamlessly and with increased productivity.
Empathy Maintains a Positive Workflow
Unlike before when everyone worked physically together, the way they led their life at home would be masked away. But with everyone stuck in their respective homes - it made people realise and acknowledge that everyone’s day isn’t the same. Some employees live alone, some live with large families while some may not have house help - and this makes a huge difference to their day. Personal life cannot be left un-intertwined and is bound to affect not only the way people work but also their state of mind on any given day. It is important that the leadership team and colleagues are involved in team bonding activities to help build empathy towards each other and maintain a smooth workflow.
Hybrid Work is the New Normal
Working from home started off as a worry, but as time passed it turned out to be something many employees don’t want to let go of. Because of an increase in the agility it provided, remote working allowed employees to let down their guard and focus on being more productive. It opened up alternatives for the way employees communicated and stayed in touch, and saved time on commute. This has paved the way for a hybrid working style to come into being and thrive, by ensuring flexibility in terms of functioning, something that the global workforce can carry into the post-COVID era. While organisations and employees weren’t new to this concept in the pre-COVID era, remote working, effective internal communications strategy and other lessons are a great supplement to the usual way of working.