Just a while before WFH or flexi working was one of the tool organizations were using for employee engagement. But suddenly things have changed overnight, we all have started with remote working. WFH is not an engagement tool anymore; it is a new normal that we all are trying to adopt. Pre -pandemic days WFH was offered as a perk and an employee used to utilize his/her flexi working to maintain right balance of work and life. WFH is not flexible anymore and there is a lot of uncertainty associated.
The changes have been so rapid that the rules have changed overnight. And we are forced with these new normal leaving little or no room for flexibility. If you are new to WFH here is a quick read for you on how WHF has challenged our lives and some tips which can help us.
Challenges with WFH
Lack of physical environment: For employees who are experiencing first time WFH most likely do not have a dedicated study/ workspace at home. Even if there is one there are more contenders for the same. Form both couple working from home to children online classes, this is turning out to be a big challenge.
No weekends: There is no lunch or coffee break with our colleagues where employees were seen chit-chatting or even gossiping. This was such an unwinding exercise, which am sure most us will agree. But now we are mostly working without any specific break time or weekends.
Technology: All our review calls are on video, with challenging internet bandwidth or power cuts etc. Employees find it difficult to add value such in such virtual meetings and sometimes their viewpoints even get unnoticed
Lack of connect: With all the timeline issues at work and family front, there is little or no time for employee bonding. The conflicts which were resolved over a coffee now takes more time and effort.
Tips to manage WFH difficulties:
- Set up a dedicated work station for yourself. Ensure to equip this space with all the tools / stationary required for your day today work.
- Use technology to your benefit. From high bandwidth internet to WIFI extenders use these tools to ensure you have least distraction
- Make sure you are always dressed before you start WHF. This way you are always ready for an impromptu video calls.
- Ensure you follow a work pattern that works for you. Let your team know about the pattern you follow( 9am to 6pm or 11am to 8pm, whatsoever works for you). Use out of office when you are taking you lunch or cooking breaks etc.
- Stay in touch with your team. Ensure you make regular calls and ensure to talk about things not related to work. If possible use facetime/WhatsApp video calls so you can see the person.
- Stay in conversation. Contribute regularly to team chats/group emails so you don’t drop off the radar. Ask about what people are working on and share what’s on your plate. Being physically separated means you miss the ‘water-cooler moments’ so this is a means to keep informed.
- In a review session you notice one of your colleague sounding low, do check on them.
- Ask for support when needed. Mental well-being during such uncertain times is most important.
- Be clear in your communication. Speaking in person gives you visual and audio cues that help you communicate. Conversing remotely removes a lot of that extra information so make your communications extra clear and concise.
If you are an employer / manager it is time to re-think on your employee engagement model. Employee well being has to be a critical part of our new engagement model.