In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, work from home was merely an option for survival. With the pandemic at its peak, the majority of the workforce operated from home full-time, leading to business sustenance and running the economic activity of the nation. In hindsight, saving the jobs of millions!
The economic benefit, positive impact on the environment, and sustainability with the lesser commute are a few benefits of working remotely that cannot be ignored. US employers saved over $30 billion per day by allowing employees to work from home. The world is already seeing reduced pollution, less congestion, and traffic during the pandemic leading to reduced carbon footprint and climate change.
Let’s look at how one can leverage the potential of WFH and mitigate the risk to optimally run businesses and engage the employees:
- Clear and effective communication:
Communication is an essential part of sustaining work relationships at all levels of the organization. With working remotely, communication has become necessary now more than ever. Keeping the communication clear and precise will reduce any gaps or differences, and function more effectively and efficiently. WFH has facilitated some new modes of communication right from virtual meetings through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype to maintain productive communication through virtual engagement.
- To keep Employees Up-to-Date on Company Issues
It is important for managers to communicate regularly and ongoing and keep abreast of company issues and progress. It instills a sense of purpose and belongingness among the employees. Employees feel they are a part of the business when updated and give their best. This will also reduce the feeling of awkwardness or incognizance among the employees. They are less likely to feel the need to seek new jobs elsewhere.
- Employees should be encouraged to take the time off:
With remote working, employees work in isolation under performance pressure, and a need to prove indispensable, thereby leading to skipping designated leave or vacations. This can run the risk of employees burning out. It is important to take vacations and unplug & unwind from work. Employees returning from vacation can bring new ideas and a fresh outlook.
- Manage workspace and working hours effectively:
We all have experienced or rather handled the work-from-home distractions right from Kids playing in the background, family obligations, and household chores. Managing workspace and working hours are important to maximize workflow and reduce distraction. Set aside a dedicated workspace and follow a schedule with regular breaks like you would do in a traditional office setup. Be transparent and communicate openly with your managers for any flexibility for important family obligations like dropping Kids off. Remind yourself when to end your workday and turn your computer off and store it somewhere away so you’re not tempted to keep checking in.
Through the pandemic, work from home has been a savior for a large workforce and organizations. It is surely an optimal way forward keeping in mind the employee’s interest, the organization’s long-term objective, and the impact on the economy.